Instead of doom and gloom the ER Christmas episodes used to give us a sense of hope and cheer. More often than not there was a miracle involved – in the past Benton has given a blind man back his sight, and terminally ill patients have received much needed donor organs – or staff members got a much needed dose of Christmas spirit. Whatever happened, they’d definitely tug on your heart strings.
Here are my favourite five from all 15 festive episodes.
1) I’ll be home for Christmas (season 8 ) – This was Eriq La Salle’s (Dr Benton) final episode as a regular cast member. Benton’s custody battle for his son, Reese, had reached the final stages, and it wasn’t looking good. He was told he had to re-evaluate his work/life balance, and after presenting Dr Romano with an ultimatum about his overloaded schedule, he decided to leave the ER and take a less demanding job at a clinic in the suburbs, with his girlfriend Cleo Finch. While I was gutted to see Benton go, it was so cute watching him do the right thing for his adorable little boy. The blow was also softened by his final scene with Carter. Carter caught up with Benton during a jog to say a proper goodbye. After a slightly awkward hug, they shared an exchange which completely typifies their relationship.
Carter: “I’m a good doctor because of you”
Benton: “No you’re not… but keep trying.”
Take a look at their final scene (sorry, I couldn’t find one without random subtitles)
2) Let it snow (season 15) – The last ever ER Christmas episode was a delightful treat. Although the ER was busy treating Sam’s son Alex, this episode featured so highly on the list for one reason only – Drs Morris and Banfield being snowed in at an ER conference in Omaha. Dr Banfield was less than impressed to see Morris, and the situation was made worst by their cancelled flights and the lack of a hotel room. What did they do? Got drunk in the hotel bar of course and sung a spot of karaoke.
Later that night Banfield was feeling a tad worse for wear. Morris ended up taking her to the bathroom and rubbing her backs while she threw up in the toilet. Morris helpfully reminded her to bear in mind that scotch and red wine don’t go well together
3) How the Finch stole Christmas (season 6) – This one makes the list based on the fact that Carter was a bit like Santa and a different Santa threw up in Kerry’s face. After Carter treated a teenage gunshot wound victim, he started donating the ER’s secret Santa gifts in a guns-for-toys exchange. Meanwhile, Lucy treated a young woman in need of a heart transplant, which sees her banging on Romano’s door in the middle of the night to find the only doctor qualified to perform her patient’s surgery.
4) A miracle happens here (season 2) – The ER was struggling to muster any Christmas spirit, well, all except Carol. The recovery room staff came down to the ER to sing carols and, although the ER staff were suppose to go up later in the day and return the favour, they were put off by the professional performance and decided against it. The ever honourable Carol went upstairs by herself as no one else would go with her. During her rather flat rendition of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” the others joined her and they butcher the song together. Later that night Carol holds a Christmas party in her new house, where her then boyfriend Shep tells her he loves her.
5) The greatest of gifts (season 7) – This festive episode was split between County General’s maternity ward, where Carter was helping Chen have her baby, and New York, where Mark and Elizabeth were seeking expert advice about Mark’s brain tumour. Chen had second thoughts about giving her baby up for adoption, a decision which is complicated by the adoptive parents’ presence at the hospital, however Carter stayed up all night to be with his friend, only to find himself tempted by drugs (again) to get him through his next shift.
I hoped you liked these as much as I did – I’m going to watch them now as there’s nothing like a hospital drama to put you in a more festive mood. Have a lovely Christmas everyone.