'black-ish' Discovers The True Meaning Of Christmas (Again) Thanks To Pops

Dre and Bow often struggle with the boundary between giving their kids better opportunities than they had and spoiling them. It's popped up many times over the show's 30-odd episodes, and Season 2's Christmas episode of black-ish takes the exact same tactic as last season. Prompted by Pops' demands, the Johnsons celebrate "old-school Christmas," where the bratty Johnson babies are limited to a single gift after they are so flagrantly ungrateful that even their usually permissive parents want to see what they'd do with the minimum wage holiday that Dre grew up with, where a jar of pickles was the most exciting possible gift, and the dream of getting a pair of roller skates was always dashed because money was needed to make rent.

And while Pops' "old-school" Christmas might appeal to the parents at first since they want better behaved kids, after it starts to bleed into the rest of the holiday, Dre decides that he doesn't want to have cold Church's Chicken for Christmas Eve dinner and instead would rather open presents with Zoey, Jr., Jack, and Diane (who's the most consumerist of them all). But when the kids remain just as horrible as they were before only getting one present, Dre is frustrated: maybe there's no way to successfully make Christmas a positive holiday. But, of course, that's not the end of the story.

It gets a little complicated after that, especially once the loosely-connected B-plot, of Wanda Sykes' Daphne (filling in where Charlie would have clearly been) invited over for Christmas dinner, only to abandon them when the awkwardness ensues. But the episode rightfully ends with Pops and Dre confronting why Christmas is so fraught between them — with such an emphasis on buying physical items, it makes both men feel like their version of the holiday is inadequate.

Only a handful of sitcoms have managed to make a total spin on the sappy holiday. And the final scene, where the kids apologize and Dre finally gets the childhood Christmas of his dreams may be corny, but it provides the warm, fuzzy feeling that the holiday should provide. black-ish will be off until Jan. 6, but the feels should last at least through New Year's Eve.

Image: Isabella Vosmikova/ABC; Giphy