Sophia: Best Holiday Episodes from Your Favorite TV Shows

As soon as the clock turned from 11:59 on October 31st to midnight on November 1st, I turned my speakers up and pressed play. “All I want for Christmas is you” blasted from my room and into the kitchen, and my roommate, used to my holiday antics, rolled her eyes.

“Sophia,” Georgia said, exasperated. “You can’t just skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. That’s not how it works.”

But, oh, that is exactly how it works.

I was ready. Ready for the Starbucks red holiday cups, the Michael Buble Christmas albums, the “Home Alone” re-runs, and, of course, constant replays of TV’s best holiday episodes. From “The Office” to “Lizzie McGuire,” there’s a holiday episode out there to cure everyone’s frigid-Boston-blues. Here are my favorite.

The Office, “A Benihana Christmas”

Okay, this one’s easy. I have never met a single person who isn’t entertained by Dwight Schrute’s bizarre antics, especially in this Christmas fav.
New Girl, “Christmas Eve Eve”

If you’re not already in enraptured by “New Girl”’s leading man, Schmidt (Max Greenfield), this episode will surely do the trick. This episode highlights the gift-giving pressures of the holiday season and pokes fun at Christmas traditions, such as Secret Santa.
Friends, “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”.

If you haven’t watched every episode of friends, are you even a real person? This episode is all about Ross trying to figure out a creative way to explain Hanukkah to his son, Ben, while still being as entertaining as the man in red himself.

Lost, “The Constant”

This episode is widely regarded as the best one created in the infamous sci-fi series, so it’s definitely a must-watch anyway. But its underlying themes of family and unconquerable love are sure to get you feeling as mushy as watching a wood-lit fire. Characters Desmond and Penny finally reconcile on Christmas Eve after years of separation, and their reunion is sure to make your heart burst.
How I Met Your Mother, “How Lily Stole Christmas”

As another classic sitcom, HIMYM is more well-known for their Thanksgiving episodes, so if you’re like Georgia and don’t want to skip Thanksgiving, maybe take a look at one of these. However, this Christmas episode came out early on in the show’s life when the characters were still establishing themselves, making it one of the series’ most important.

South Park, “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo”

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I totally get it if South Park, like, isn’t really your thing. It’s a smart, satirical show, but it is laced with plenty of dumb humor that really turns people off. But they really are a hilarious show, and they’re so popular for a reason. Their Christmas episodes never fail to entertain (and offend) viewers, so check this out if you’re looking for some holiday-induced laughs.

Spongebob Squarepants, “Christmas Who?”

If you spent your whole life wanting to see Patrick’s famous picture of Spongebob at the Christmas party, then look no further than Spongebob’s first Christmas episode ever. It’s hilarious to go back to the earlier seasons of Spongebob, but this episode is truly adorable. It’s all about Spongebob bringing Christmas back to Bikini Bottom, and if you don’t find that entertaining, I’m not sure what you will.

Lizzie McGuire, “Xtreme Xmas”

There’s nothing quite like the lessons taught from old Disney Channel shows like “That’s so Raven” and “Lizzie McGuire.” This episode is all about Lizzie choosing selflessness instead of selfishness. The same choice that many find hard to make when the holiday seasons roll around. However, Lizzie and her friends always seem to make it out okay.

Sophia: Why I’ve Seen “It” in Theaters Three Times (and may even go again)

To be mainstream, or not to be mainstream. That is the question.

As a communications major (and especially as a journalist), I am enthralled by this inclusive, all-encompassing, addicting world we’ve created on social media. Gen X and Baby Boomers are constantly stumped by Instagram and Twitter, citing them as silly and egotistical. But we’re really not that hard to figure out! Every choice that millennials make can be traced back to one underlying desire: inclusivity.

It’s the reason we buy Kylie Jenner Lip Kits, post incessantly about current events, tag our friends in memes and Snapchat every part of our weekends. Some call it mainstream conformity and mindless following, but I don’t think that’s it at all. It’s not that we devalue individualization — it’s that we’ve created this web of people, people who share the same humor and desires and political views, and it’s an absolute thrill. It encompasses more than just our immediate circle of friends — it encompasses every millennial who has a computer, a Twitter, a voice. And it’s incredible.

It’s why people hop on board so quickly when shows like “Game of Thrones” go viral, or start hashtagging #TakeAKnee when the National Anthem gets sung during the Patriots/Texans game. We are all eager and excited to be a part of this culture, this movement that we have created on our phones in between classes and fostered in every group chat we’re in. We’re all a part of this grand, collective something on social media. It’s not definable, and it’s not quite tangible, but everyone feels it bursting from the ends of their fingertips as we type quickly, deliberately, clumsily, not quick enough.

“It” is another one of those cultural phenomenons happening right now, but this one is special. Just like “Game of Thrones,” it’s success is based off of the fact that it thrives as a cross-generational adventure. I can remember so vividly my Dad reading Stephen King novels on the beaches of Cape Cod, a native New Englander finding pleasure in between the pages of someone who shared such a similar upbringing to himself, and I can remember the first time I read the pages of a King novel myself, the book “11.22.63” sitting heavily in my hands. And although there are things about his generation I will never understand, and things about my generation he will never understand, “It” is where we come together.

So, why have I seen it three times? Because of the soul of this film: the Loser’s Club. These kids, these kids, these kids. The boys (and Beverly, of course, played by Sophia Lillis) are not only hilarious and awkwardly adorable, but the Loser’s Club is jam-packed with a group chemistry so special it’s unmistable. As someone who spent her entire upbringing hanging out as the only girl with her older brother and his friends, this cast’s humor, friendship and weirdness resonates with me hardcore. And I’m sure it resonates with others hardcore, too — running around outdoors, summertime freedom, mischief and trouble-making, childhood crushes and timid first kisses. But these themes are timeless and faceless. There is a reason why both my Dad and I can find common ground in the land of Derry, New Hampshire, the film’s setting. There’s something more to “It” than just hilarity and nostalgia — it’s this feeling that, no matter what, we’re all in this together.

That is why we are addicted to films like “It” and talking about films like “It” and blogging about films like “It” and re-watching films like “It.” We are a generation of inclusivity, relatability and discussion. We are a collective voice, a voice heard over social media and through our earphones, and our culture feeds off of this cohesive, collaborative, fluid network of the people like us. And we invite everyone, no matter what generation, to join in on this web of something that we’ve spun.

So, to quote Richie (Finn Wolfhard) at the film’s climax, “Welcome to the Loser’s Club.”

Sophia: The Sophomore Slump

“Why am I always so tired?” I had grumbled last week, taking a seat next to my friend in Mugar. However, she just ignored me and continued working, her pen scratching across the notecards in front of her. As a senior, she did not like to feed into my academic-based complaints, especially when I came to interrupt her in Mugar (which was often).

“I mean, come on,” I tried again, nudging her elbow with my own. “I just feel so, like, done with it all lately.”

My friend sighed, put her pen down, and finally looked up at me. “That’s because you’re in your sophomore slump,” she said.

“Sophomore slump?” I asked.

“Yup, sophomore slump. It happens to the best of us. Even me.”

I had remembered thinking that that was hard to believe as clearly there was no way this girl, a second-semester senior who still chose to study in Mugar, could ever have a ‘slump’ of any kind.

“You, Marcela? You had a sophomore slump?” I had asked her, my disbelief evident.

She then glared up at me, choosing to pick up her pen again and continue her work. “Yes, I did. I know, shocker,” she had dead-panned, averting her glare down to her notecards. “But it’s a real thing. The best and worst part about going to school in Boston is the fact that it’s in Boston. We all get a little lost in the city sometimes.”

And she was completely right. As I let her go back to her notecards and pulled out my own work to begin, I pondered how my sophomore slump had come to be. Was it the academics? No, I always looked forward to all of my COM classes and projects. Was it my social life? No, my sorority had given me plenty of friends and activities to keep myself occupied. Was it the long winter? Doubtful, seeing as I had grown up in New England my whole life and had never gotten the winter blues.

Then what was it?

I considered what Marcela said: “We all get a little lost in the city sometimes.”

And there was my answer.

Boston is one of the most incredible cities in the world, and it was a rarity for a day of my life to pass without any acknowledgment of how much I adored this city. Everything about Boston and BU seemed to beckon me to go here in high school – Fenway, T Anthony’s, the Charles River — but I really fell in love with BU because of the faculty I couldn’t wait to learn under, the thought of being on a real news broadcast for BUTV10, and getting published in an established and acclaimed collegiate magazine and newspaper. Sometimes, I found myself getting lost in my sheer amazement of this school, but more so, I felt intimidated.

So many times, it’s so easy for COM students to get swept up in the brilliance of this school, its faculty, and the endless opportunities this school provides you to produce great content for the world of media. As a sophomore who is involved in a lot of different clubs on campus, I still find myself getting lost in the vastness of BU and Boston sometimes, just because I’m constantly surrounded by such incredible people who have accomplished such incredible things. It’s easy to get lost in the magnitude of what we do as COM students, sometimes – but it’s easy to find your way through it all, too.

The COM faculty, while super impressive, is also super friendly and approachable. They’re teaching because they want to, and are great resources to help get yourself grounded. They’ve helped me a ton in my years so far, and I can’t wait to get to know other faculty and build those relationships with them, too.

BUTV10, the Daily Free Press, the Buzz, the Tab, and all the other clubs here at BU are groups made by your peers, for your peers, and establishing those connections with other students like yourself is something that has helped me establish myself as a student and media professional. BUTV10 is my favorite thing on campus, and the friends, mentors, and experience I’ve gained from it is absolutely priceless.

And, of course, you are your own best friend. You know what you can handle – you know when you’re burning out, ready to take on more, or just need some Nutella and a nap. If you are good to yourself and try your best in COM, COM will always be good to you right back.

My sophomore slump happened for a lot of different reasons – and it may even be happening to some of my other COM peers right now, too – but you can always find your way back to COM, back to BU, and back to Boston with a little help from the wonderful people around you.

Sophia: Valentine’s Day deals for the cheap, single folk at BU

The best part of Valentine’s Day is the obnoxious (and amazing) amount of discounted food and crazy, silly events available for the young and in love.

Except this year, you can get all these amazing perks by having a healthy sense of humor and love for yourself, your friends, and free food.

Here are some super cool (and cheap) things for you and your gals to do on V-Day this year in Boston. Love yourself, ladies.

1) Want free Mexican food? Buy a burrito and then share a totally platonic kiss in Qdoba to get a second one for free. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

2) Grab a friend and head over to Faneuil Hall for some churros and chocolate. For just $10, Taza will give you and your gal pal a hot coco and churro each. LITERALLY what more could you want?!

3) MODERN LOVE! Okay, this event is already sold out so I feel bad mentioning it here, but this event is going to be BANGING. Us COM people can appreciate New York Times “Modern Love” editor Daniel Jones orchestrating a night of laughs, storytelling and love right here in Boston. Give me a sec while I geek out.

4) Explore the MFA. Yeah yeah yeah, this one is totally obvious and you might have to endure loving couples interrupting you and your gal pals’ artistic ponderings, but it’s no secret that your BU I.D. gets you a free pass into this great place. Instead of falling in love with someone else, fall in love with the amazing art and history that this beautiful museum holds.

5) Check out some old schools flicks at the Brattle movie theater in Cambridge. Couples get to choose between classics like Casablanca and the Princess Bride to enjoy on the big screen.

6) This one make me so happy, yet also reminds me of my struggles in AP U.S. History junior year of high school. It’s actually a little bit on the pricey side, but for $60 a couple can go to a live read-aloud of all of John and Abigail Adams’ letters sent to each other during their 50 years of marriage. Both Abigail and John were known for their romantic prose, so this event set in their hometown is great for both the literature and history geek in all of us. Usually events put on by the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum cost around $40 a person, so comparatively this Valentine’s day deal is a steal!

7) Salem’s Anti-Valentine Tour is always a huge hit, and it’s also where you’ll be finding me and my gal pals this Valentine’s day. Take a train outside of Boston to enjoy a spooky retelling of all the love stories of Massachusetts gone wrongs. Hear about the horrific doings of murderous husbands, scorned wives and dark, dreadful relationships. Definitely a funky twist on this loving holiday.