It's December, which means all over the dial TV characters are learning the true meaning of the holiday season. Below, a few of Grantland's favorite Christmas specials.
"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"
Michael Weinreb: I don’t know how many television sitcoms have ever started their run with a Christmas special (other than South Park, which did it on the Internet, but not on the airwaves), but this is why The Simpsons is The Simpsons: They shattered so many rules about television that this episode — which originally aired December 17, 1989 — doesn’t even seem particularly good anymore (even when some mysterious dork remixes it in sepia tones and speeds it up to 78 rpm). I have a distinct memory of watching it as a teenager and thinking I’d never seen anything quite like it, but now it comes across as so earnest and slow-paced that it doesn’t even feel like parody. All of which is further proof of The Simpsons' colossal brilliance: No writing staff has ever lapped itself this many times over the years.
And so it’s fair to say that there may be Christmas specials on this list that hold up better over time, and there may be Christmas specials that are funnier or more endearing, but this is still the most culturally important Christmas-related program ever to air on television. Even the dumbest greyhound on earth can see that.