Dr. Pimple Popper Christmas Special, Christmas on ‘Mom,’ ‘Carbonaro Effect’

Darren Michaels/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

A critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:

The 12 Pops of Christmas (9/8c, TLC): We kid you not, Dr. Pimple Popper (the nom-de-squeeze of California dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee) is TLC’s biggest freshman hit in five years, averaging 2.7 million viewers an episode to watch the good doc ease clients’ skin traumas with, yes, TLC. New episodes return in January, but as a special holiday treat, a 90-minute special focuses on patients who are looking for help before facing those holiday parties and family gatherings that can be so stressful as to make anyone break out.

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Whether the flick is new this year or one of their throwback classics, these festive rom-coms are all the same at their core.

Mom (9/8c, CBS): ’Tis the season for our favorite ladies in recovery, and when Christy (Anna Faris) goes looking for a Secret Santa gift for her AA buddy Wendy (Beth Hall), she learns that Adam (William Fichtner) is keeping his own secret from his fiancée, Christy’s mom, Bonnie (Allison Janney). In other news, Tammy (Kristen Johnston) goes job-hunting to avoid going back to jail. She’d better find one. She’s a hoot and would be much missed.

The Carbonaro Effect (10/9c, truTV): The hidden-camera comedy show returns with illusionist Michael Carbonaro making unwitting spectators gape at the DMV, a store’s return counter (with a “crumby” toaster) and at the beach. Followed by an Inside Carbonaro special (10:30/9:30c), in which Michael reveals unseen footage from past episodes and answers burning questions including what’s the largest number of people he’s tricked at once.

Inside Thursday TV: The CW’s Supernatural (8/7c) takes its holiday break with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) enlisting their pal Garth (DJ Qualls) to get inside scoop on what archangel Michael is planning… CBS’s Murphy Brown (9:30/8:30c) begins a two-part season finale, concluding next week, in which Murphy’s (Candice Bergen) journalist son Avery (the terrific Jake McDorman) ponders a potentially dangerous career change. Joe Regalbuto, who plays Frank, directs the episode… Kentucky bourbon plays a major role in the elimination challenge on Bravo’s Top Chef (10/9c), as the contestants visit the Makers Mark distillery. But first, a Quickfire tasks the chefs to feed the cravings of very pregnant judge Gail Simmons.