There was a time before you could stream your favorite shows on Hulu or Amazon. There was a time before DVR and TV on Demand. There was a time that if you wanted to watch a show you had to tape it on a VCR while you were watching or program it to tape when you were not. In December 2003, when this special episode aired that is what I had to do. This episode All Ye Faithful from the military procedural, JAG, is not on any streaming service, so I had to dig through my old tapes.
This tape had a Charlie Brown Christmas, an episode of Boomtown https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319960/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0, an Ebert and Roeper, a ET special on Star Trek Nemesis, an episode of the third season of 24, and a episode of One Life To Live. This episode of JAG had to be at the end of the tape. It was cool fast forwarding through the tape. It’s a trip seeing shows and ads from 17 years ago. VHS tapes are time capsules of entertainment.
This episode basically has three plots. Plot #1 starts with Commander Harman Rabb, Jr. stuck on an aircraft carrier for Christmas. He and his friend Admiral Boone switch places to fly back, with two pilots with a promise of them meeting Jennifer Lopez. What they don’t know is that Jennifer Lopez is the name of his dental hygienist. On the way back to land they have to give air assistance to a Tomcat due to a blizzard and bad visibility. Harm and Boone learn that the Tomcat is delivering presents for Toys For Tots and Harm becomes Rudolph.
Plot #2 involves a visit from three visiting Kuwaiti diplomats, who will be given a tour of how JAG operates. Corporal Joseph Tenney and his wife Mary are pregnant and were evicted from base housing due to a noise complaint involving drumming. He is a drummer for a Navy band and did not have the proper permits. They have to be kept at the JAG office until they can find housing. Mary gives birth in Admiral Chegwidden’s office. The Kuwaitis are lost somewhere in Virginia. They see a light on a radio tower which leads them to JAG.
The three wise men, I mean Kuwaiti diplomats, come upon the new mother and father and offer them gifts. The third offers them an apartment. “A birth of a child is a great omen, that peace on earth rests with those that rest peacefully.”
Plot #3 involves the Roberts trying to throw a big Christmas party. However they have no money due to an accounting error on the Navy’s part. Their son is playing with a rubber band and his father says, “you’ll shoot your eye out.” (A famous line from A Christmas Story.) They go to the accounting office to get their payment. The warrent officer is a bitter man who treats the Roberts awfully. He attacks them verbally, making Bud’s wife, Harriet, yell “Shut up!” And “I hope the ghost of Jacob Marley drops chains on your foot.” The warrant officer then does have a spooky encounter.
Harriet thinks she has food poisoning from eating bad Chinese food from earlier in the day and goes to the hospital. The doctor is dressed as Santa Claus. He checks the list twice, and tells them that they are pregnant.
Later that night, the warrant officer arrives at the Roberts’ home. He admits to having been a jerk because of his divorce and his son wanting to stay with his ex-wife for the holidays. He ends up catering the whole party and joining them for the festivities. Everyone is there, except Harm, and they sing “Oh Come All You Faithful.”
Before going to the Roberts’ dinner party, Harm and Admiral Boone go to The Vietnam War Memorial. Harm goes there every Christmas to honor his father who was shot down over Vietnam on Christmas Eve many years ago. They meet a young earnest navy pilot named Lt. Clarence, who just graduated, but had to leave before getting his wings because an old college friend is on suicide watch. Harm takes out his wings and Admiral Boone does the ceremony and gives Clarence his wings.
Commander Harm arrives right before the dinner is served. And Buddy Roberts ,whose leg was lost by a land mind earlier this year and is walking of crutches, ends the episode with this…..
Now this could be super corny. But it works. I love how they include as many Christmas story references as possible. This whole episode makes me smile. Loving the JAG/NCIS universe as I do, I love this episode. It is like a Christmas gift to the fans and 17 years later I still enjoy it. I am very glad that I still have the tape. If you want to see this episode try renting JAG season 8 DVD