Holiday Flashback… “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”

I loved The O.C. when I was in high school. I wanted to marry Seth Cohen. Fact: it’s listed in my Senior yearbook prophecy (and I’m still waiting for it to happen). And one of my favorite episodes happens to be one of the best television holiday episodes of all time: Season 1’s “The Best Chrismukkah Ever.”

"What's it gonna be? The menorah or the candy cane? Relax buddy. In this house, you don't have to choose!" PHOTO: TV.com

Nowadays, everyone knows what Chrismukkah is. But back in 2003, it didn’t really have a name. I’m not saying The O.C. invented Chrismukkah, but it popularized the term. This episode is a perfect blend of drama, Cohen and holiday cheer. But what’s best about this episode is its insight into America’s love of celebration and how our faiths were all mixing and meshing in the new millennium. Please check out the original promo, which hardly does it justice:

If you can’t remember, Ryan hates Christmas because it reminds him of his drunken mother and interactions with the cops. You know, he’s from Chino. (*cue Ryan punching anyone in the face*)

PHOTO: TV.com

But Seth — his new bro — introduces him to the magic of Chrismukkah, an amalgamation of Christmas and Hannukkah fitting for the half Jewish-half Catholic Seth Cohen and his blended family. Meanwhile Marissa is all drunk.

PHOTO: TV Fanatic

She also manages to embarrass herself and nearly get Ryan arrested while he drives her drunk-mess home. No surprise there.

PHOTO: My Take on TV

The big surprise is actually the fact that nerdy Seth has super hot Summer and indie-queen Anna (barf) fighting over him. They each vie for his affection with gifts. Anna makes him a super cool comic book. And Summer does this:

Naturally the girls come to respect each other a little more and respect the boy who got them both the same present a little less.

PHOTO: TV Fanatic

We also manage to capture our first glimpse of Oliver, who turns out to be the best villain ever on The O.C. (Please insert a Summer Roberts “EW!” right here for effect)

But the great thing about this episode isn’t the fighting or the drunkenness or Ryan being all surly — as per usual in the first Season. The magic is that a teen show was able to reference some actual popular culture. And let’s face it, at its best The O.C. referenced pop culture — and was itself a pop culture reference– all the time.

Also noteworthy is the soundtrack for this episode titled Music From The O.C. Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah. (It features a C wearing a Yamaclaus!) This is also an example of The O.C. mixes at their best. My favorite track is probably The Eels’ “Christmas is Going to the Dogs.” But the entire album always manages to put me right back in that “Wow, The O.C. is SO FREAKING COOL!” state of mind from Junior Year.

This pic is not from the first Chrismukkah, but it's still cute! PHOTO: New York Magazine

Since I’m obviously such a die-hard fan, I’m sure you could guess that I own Season 1 of The O.C. on DVD. And I plan to watch “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” straight away. If not to put me in the mood for some holiday cheer, at least to let me bask in some nostalgia.

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