Photo credit: Paramount.
The holidays this year look a lot different than most years, so it's understandable that many of us are feeling nostalgic for the days when life felt easier. If that sounds like you, we've got the perfect way for you to look back on the simpler times that the entire family can enjoy for free.
Yes, this holiday opportunity doesn't require a subscription to watch some classic television episodes now through New Year's Day. The free streaming service Pluto TV will be showcasing blocks of back-to-back marathons of holiday episodes of beloved sitcoms like "Family Ties," "Happy Days," "Sister, Sister," "Laverne & Shirley" and more on Pluto TV Christmas — Channel 250. In between the marathons, they will also be showing your favorite Christmas movies like "A Christmas Cruise," "St. Nick" and "A Prince for Christmas."
To make the holidays even more festive, Pluto TV has compiled classic holiday recipes from some of your favorite sitcom characters, including Joe Hackett’s Holiday Cookies, Richie Cunning-HAM Holiday Melt, and yes, Mork’s Pork from Ork. We thought it would be fun to dive into some of these classic episodes and to share these hilarious recipes to create during your holiday adventures. In the spirit of giving, Pluto TV has also donated $50,000 this year to World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés.
Let's take a look at some of our favorite episodes that will be airing this holiday season, along with the sweet and savory treats to enhance your viewing enjoyment.
"The Love Boat" — "Lonely at the Top / Silent Night / Divorce Me, Please" (Season 1)
This episode of "The Love Boat" first aired on Dec. 10, 1977, and the Princess Cruises crew is missing their families during the Christmas season, but Captain Stubing (Gavin MacLeod) isn't interested in boosting their spirits. Shecky Greene and Florence Henderson guest star as a couple, who can't stand each other and are on the verge of divorce — remember, this is "The Love Boat," so a reconciliation is ahead, plus Dick Sargent plays a minister bringing six orphans back to the orphanage in Mexico.
To celebrate "The Love Boat," try this recipe from everyone's favorite bartender, Isaac Washington (Ted Lange). OK, it's not a drink, but it's a delicious holiday menu classic, Candied Yams. Who knew Isaac was just as good in the kitchen as he is behind the bar? We had no idea, but Isaac always gave great advice — and good food recommendations.
"Wings" — “A Terminal Christmas” (Season 2)
The Christmas episode of "Wings" first aired on Dec. 21, 1990, where everyone's plans for the holidays go awry. That allows the entire gang to cheer up Fay (Rebecca Schull), who is coping with her first Christmas without her husband — and don't forget Fay has been widowed three times and all of her husbands' names were George. Yes, it's a curse!
To get in a festive mood with this "Wings" episode, try Joe Hackett's Holiday Cookies. Come on, you know you want to sample a recipe from the handsome Tim Daly. We don't know if he can really cook, but he's definitely heating up the kitchen with his desserts this Christmas.
"Happy Days" — “Guess Who's Coming to Christmas” (Season 2)
If you were a "Happy Days" fan as a kid, then you are very familiar with this popular episode. “Guess Who's Coming to Christmas” first aired on Dec. 17, 1974, and it was so well-received that it returned in season 4 with an additional scene added to the beginning of the show. This episode has so much heart because Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) invites Fonzie (Henry Winkler) to spend Christmas with his family instead of spending the holiday alone. The best part is watching the Fonz relish in every moment with his adopted family.
Longtime viewers will also remember that this was the last episode that the Cunningham's oldest son, Chuck (Randolph Roberts), appeared on the series. He was long forgotten in subsequent seasons because... well, they adopted the Fonz. Sorry, Chuck!
To watch this episode, you need a comfort-food recipe and that's exactly what Richie Cunning-HAM's Holiday Melt delivers. Take your leftover Christmas ham, smother it in Swiss cheese until it's all gooey, and smash it between a Brioche bun — we are already salivating over this delicious menu idea for a cold winter day.
"Mork & Mindy" — "Mork's First Christmas" (Season 1)
It's hard to believe that in "Mork & Mindy's" four-season run, the show only did one Christmas episode in the first season. "Mork's First Christmas" aired on Dec.14, 1978, and the story focused on the meaning of Christmas since Mork (Robin Williams) didn't celebrate the holiday on the planet Ork. The usual sitcom trope comes into play here as Mork invites Mindy's (Pam Dawber) stuck-up high school friend Susan Taylor (Morgan Fairchild) to spend Christmas with them so she's not home alone on the big day.
This is also a reminder that "Mork & Mindy" was a spin-off from "Happy Days" because creator Garry Marshall wanted to do his own take on the 1960s show "My Favorite Martian" and capitalize on the popularity of the movie "Star Wars." It was a crazy idea, but a successful one that also introduced the world to the comedic talents of Robin Williams.
To wrap up the holiday festivities with a recipe from our favorite alien, sample Mork’s Pork from Ork. It's a delicious meal that's savory and sweet, thanks to the tasty ingredients of bacon and apples. We can't think of a better way to finish off the holiday season with a dose of laughter from Williams and a warm, delicious meal straight from another planet.
Pluto TV Christmas is available now through Dec. 31, along with over 100,000 hours of premium content available on the platform. Pluto TV is available across all major mobile, connected TV and web-based devices and has a global footprint spanning three continents across 24 countries.