Clockwise from left: Karen Neal/ABC/Getty Images; Jordin Althaus/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank; Bruce Birmelin/ABC Family/Getty Images
Sweater SadnessAh, ugly Christmas sweaters. Whether it's regrettable reindeers, glitter-bearded Santas or fuzzy snowflakes, these images are just some of the horrors that may assault your eyes all the way through the new year. Since there’s no getting away from all the woven wonders this holiday season, why not embrace the unforgettable ugliness by looking at some of our favorite eye-watering knits worn by TV characters? Here are 10 of the most cringe-worthy sweaters ever seen on TV.
Modern FamilyEpisode: “Undeck the Halls” (Season 1, Episode 10)
In this first Christmas episode, the Dunphy clan celebrate the holiday in all their dysfunctional glory by partaking in the annual tradition of, you guessed it, wearing ugly sweaters. The family gathers for a video message to appease grandma that, unfortunately, leads Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) to discover a strange burn mark on the couch.
Bruce Birmelin/ABC Family/Getty Images
Baby DaddyEpisode: “It’s a Wonderful Emma” (Season 4, Ep 2)
Christmas specials are a time-honored tradition on sitcoms, even when it’s all about the Scrooge factor. When too much holiday cheer sends Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) over the edge, he ends up wishing away the entire holiday… and his child, Emma, in the process. Only by embracing the entire experience, ugly sweaters and all, does he make things right again.
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Ugly BettyEpisode: “Fake Plastic Snow” (Season 1, Episode 10)
Betty Suarez (America Ferrara) was known for her quirky, mismatched fashion sense (as Mode Magazine coworkers constantly reminded her). But she outdid herself when it came to more abominable holiday attire, like the tacky snowman sweater she wore to the office party. At least the shocking red matched her glasses…and the string of lights paired smashingly with her braces, but the happiness was short-lived when Betty decided to leave Mode, and potential crush Henry, behind.
Jordin Althaus/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
The Mindy ProjectEpisode: “Christmas Party Sex Trap” (Season 2, Episode 11)
Not even Morgan’s (Ike Barinholtz) ugly Christmas sweater can dampen the two great things that happen in this episode: a sultry rendition of “Santa Baby” by Maria Menounos (playing herself) and a hot dance to Aaliyah’s “Try Again" by Danny (Chris Messina) as part of Mindy's Secret Santa gift.
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The O.C.Episode: “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (Season 1, Episode 13)
Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) helped coin the term “Chrismukkah” and did us all a favor by rocking a truly fabulous blue holiday sweater to celebrate the mixed-heritage holiday that viewers have since come to enjoy. In Seth’s own words, here’s to “eight days of presents followed by one day of many presents!”
CommunityEpisode: “Regional Holiday Music” (Season 3, Episode 10)
The gang does a hilarious musical parody of another great show, Glee, when they fill in for a local glee club that’s gone off the rails. While everyone performs in holiday-themed attire, the full force of Christmas community doesn't happen until the friends gather for festivities with some fluffy sweater action.
It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaEpisode: “A Very Sunny Christmas” (Season 6, Ep 13)
Skip the eggnog at Paddy’s Pub and shoot down some bourbon to make things seem a whole lot, well, sunnier. When the gang tries to rediscover the joy of Christmas, Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie (Charlie Day) get into the holiday spirit by wearing the ugliest holiday tops possible. While Charlie opts for the requisite chunky sweater with a colorful cottage, Mac rips the sleeves off his "Noel" tee to give it a rock 'n' roll edge.
Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank
Fresh Prince of Bel AirEpisode: “Christmas Show” (Season 2, Episode 13)
Whether wearing sweaters folded over his shoulders or showcasing the full-on flavor of the week, Carlton seemed to have a closet full of hideous sweaters, as evidenced by the one he wore when the Banks family presents were stolen. Another highlight for the king of ugly sweaters? This ep saw the introduction of the “Carlton Dance.”
The Real Housewives of Orange CountyEpisode: “Pretty Ugly” (Season 9, Ep 4)
Leave it to a show that's all about keeping up pretty appearances to do ugly really, really well. When housewife Danielle Gregorio gets the idea to host an “ugly sweater” holiday party to benefit a local charity, all the housewives compete for attention with their horrid attire. You can be sure that ugly was not limited to the clothing.
ArrowEpisode: “Dark Waters” (Season 4, Episode 9)
Who says ugly sweaters have to be reserved for Christmas? Felicity’s kooky mom, Donna (Charlotte Ross), brought much-needed comic relief when she decorated for an ill-advised holiday party by sneaking in some Hanukkah love...like this blue-and-white ode to the menorah that’s truly "dreidel-ful."