We continue our countdown of my favorite 1970s Christmas TV episodes with 1978’s “O Come All Ye Bums” from Laverne and Shirley.
“O Come All Ye Buns” was in the 4th Season of Laverne and Shirley, which was essentially the last “classic” season of the series (Season 5 involved them being in the Army Reserve, and then in Season 6, they moved to California). It was the second Christmas episode of the series, with a Season 2 episode being almost entirely just a variety special disguised as TV episode.
This one had some more plot, but really, like so many Laverne and Shirley episodes, it was really all about arranging set pieces. The plot of the episode is that Laverne’s dad can’t afford to have his annual Christmas dinner for the homeless of Milwaukee. Laverne (Penny Marshall), Shirley (Cindy Williams) and Carmine (Eddie Mekka) try to raise some money for the dinner, but they fail. In the end, though, the homeless folks pull a Stone Soup and make a makeshift meal anyways, and then Lenny (Michael McKean) and Squiggy (David Lander) come through with a feast by promising a butcher that they’d stop dating his daughter (ah, the days when it was, like, “Yeah, these guys are super sketchy around women, but hey, it’s all in good fun!”).
The two big set pieces in the episode are a visit to the department store, where there’s some epic physical comedy, and then another set piece where Laverne, Shirley and Carmine compete with two other charity groups on a crowded block with ever-increasing volume of the music before the cops get involved.
This was a pretty slight episode, but it was still fun and festive enough to make the list (although, I won’t front, this is a weird list this time around where I really struggled with the fact that there are certain shows that should probably have, like, four entries on the list while shows like Laverne and Shirley wouldn’t make it at all, but I tried to temper myself a bit to get some variety, without outright ignoring shows that had multiple great episodes).