Like Newhart’s comedy, this special takes a little time to ramp up to greatness. The first few scenes are your regular Christmas special cliches: gifts awkwardly exchanged, one member of a couple being more giving than the other, etc.
But once Bob gets into his routine about Christmas parties, the special becomes really funny. Newhart sells well-trodden the tropes of awkward parties and guilt as new and fresh.
If anything, the special feels oddly adult. Even The Mary Tyler Moore Show felt like an examination of a woman’s disappointment with not feeling like a child anymore. But “I’m Dreaming of a Slight Christmas” is truly about grown-ups trying to not step on each other’s toes while getting through the holidays.
It’s totally free to watch on Hulus, so get to it.
Mike Drucker is a lovely man with many positive characteristics. He has written for Saturday Night Live, The Onion, McSweeney’s, and Nintendo. He’s also a stand-up or something, I guess.