The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Alan Brady Show Presents (1963)

Watching this episode was an odd experience, to say the least. I had watched The Dick Van Dyke Show in re-runs as a child, and remember it fondly. Erin had never, to his knowledge, seen an episode.

And thus we discovered that if you aren't familiar with the show, this episode makes absolutely no sense.

The premise of The Dick Van Dyke Show is that it follows the lives of the writers of a television comedy skit show, primarily focusing on the relationship between the head writer and his wife. The loose plot of this Christmas episode is that the characters perform a series of skits on the show themselves, in the spirit of the holidays. It's not exactly a great example of the series, more of a weird one-off that they did for fun. Wikipedia tells me that it's one of the few episodes that wasn't filmed in front of a live audience. The characters sing and tell jokes, and I found it kind of cute, but not generally that interesting. The costumes and skits are fine, but nothing special. The humor is broad and slightly old-fashioned. When they try for poignancy, it just turns dull.

I can't really recommend this as a holiday special, or even as an episode, although if you also have fond memories of the show, you may find it charming. If you've never seen the show before, you may find it boring and incomprehensible.