Around this time many years ago, we were introduced to my favorite television holiday of all time (and arguably the greatest thing to come out of The O.C.): Seth Cohen’s “greatest super-holiday known to mankind,” Chrismukkah. Thanks to Seth’s father, “a poor struggling Jew growing up in the Bronx,” and his mother, “Waspy McWasp,” the witty young man came up with his own super holiday by “drawing on the best that Christianity and Judaism have to offer.”
Chrimukkah featured the best of both worlds: Eight days of presents followed by one day of many presents. Its best feature? It was fully equipped for O.C. drama with twice the resistance of any normal holiday. And that was a good thing, because The O.C.‘s Chrismakkuh episodes were some of its most dramatic.
Here’s how they rank:
1. Season 1, “The Best Chrismukkuh Ever”: Not only was this episode the introduction of Seth’s brilliant holiday, but it was filled with everything from a big party to a Sandy vs. Caleb showdown, a drunk Marissa, and, of course, the Anna vs. Summer party extravaganza, which featured Summer in a Wonder Woman costume. Plus, there was that adorable mall sequence for Ryan and Marissa, and no one can forget Sandy’s Sylvester Stallone impersonation.
2. Season 4, “The Chrismukk-huh?”: Season 4’s Chrismukkah episode took the biggest risk by having Ryan and Taylor fall off a roof and end up in some sort of It’s a Wonderful Life alternate universe, which showed what the people of Newport would’ve become if Ryan had never showed up. And the result was pretty freakin’ great. The alternate universe was packed with humor — Summer’s “Ice Ice Baby” — and heartbreak. The moment when Ryan chose to stay in the alternate world if it meant he could be with Marissa? And then watching him find out that if he’d never arrived to Newport, Marissa would’ve died in Tijuana? It was both genius and incredibly sad, and the perfect catalyst to getting him to say goodbye to his lady love. I also have to mention the amazing alternate credits scene. I love this show so much.
3. Season 2, “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t”: Drama-wise, this episode got an A+. Kirsten finding out about her father’s affair and throwing a vase at his head was great television. Summer and Marissa working to pull off a Chrismukkah miracle for Lindsay? Also great. And then there were the Yamaclauses and Seth’s amazing Chrismukkah song set to Death Cab’s “A Lack of Color,” which featured a lyric about Jesus and Moses both having beards. Does it get any more Cohen-y than that?
4. Season 3, “The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah”: This episode started strong, with one of my favorite “normal” scenes featuring the core four going tree shopping. The Bar Mitz-vakkah idea didn’t work out as well, and unfortunately this episode involved Johnny almost robbing a convenience store, but thankfully, our boy Ryan was there to save the day. And while that drama unfolded, we got to watch Marissa and Summer sing Christmas carols, which was priceless.
In the end, they were all memorable episodes. Then again, of course they were. They had Jesus and Moses on their side.