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Screen Gems: TV the week of December 20

It's a Wonderful Life (8 p.m. Thursday, NBC) -- Lionel Barrymore in a bravura performance as the heroic Wonderful banker Henry F. Potter, struggling against sloth, socialism and the demagogic populist George Bailey (James Stewart). OK, OK, put down that hatchet. I just thought, after seeing it 35 times, you might like to watch from a different perspective.

A Christmas Story (8 p.m. Thursday, TBS) -- This is a 24-hour marathon, so you can watch it right after It's a Wonderful Life. Hey, doncha think these days the child-welfare gestapo would come drag Ralphie's parents away in chains for giving him a firearm, possibly damaging his brain with soap poisoning, and exposing him to lamp porn? I'm just sayin'.

The Yule Log (8 a.m. Friday, WGN) -- The ultimate reality show: a log burning in a fireplace for three hours. NBC plans to make it into a series next fall.

Let me program your TiVo! Just click on my best bets for the week at www.tivo.com/guruguide.

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