Lassie: The Christmas Story (1958)

This thing was hilarious.

The special starts with Lassie, Timmy, and the parents in town for some Christmas shopping. Across the street, a young girl rolls a toy ball into the road in an apparent attempt to lure Lassie into the path of an oncoming truck. When she realizes that he's not that dumb, she tries larger bait, running out after it herself.

Lassie leaps into action, knocking the petulant child out of the way and taking a potentially lethal blow to the head in the process. The heroic dog is then whisked away to the doctor's office, where a waiting newsman pounces on the story.

But... will Lassie die? Cue the solemn Christmas music. How about dramatic close-ups of Timmy praying for her recovery, a parade of supporting cast members and their pets visiting, and as much dramatic tension as the producers could wring out of this half-hour melodramatic episode.

Lindsay and I laughed out loud.

The best part, in my humble opinion, was when Timmy prayed to God, asking him to contact Santa and tell him that the only present he wants this year is for Lassie to recover. Awesome.

If you're looking for an unintentional comedy to enjoy this season, you could certainly do worse. The fact that Hulu's streaming it for free is an added bonus.