CBS maintains its odd holiday tradition of pairing the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated musical “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (7 p.m.) with the ludicrous lingerie special “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” (9 p.m.). For years, I’ve never seen the connection. But I like to point it out.
While the television climate that created “Rudolph” may seem relatively chaste by contemporary standards, programs such as “Mad Men” like to teach us that things were not so simple then, either.
After World War II, advertising geniuses created a campaign for Maidenform bras that showed a woman, shirtless (or blouseless, as they may have said at the time), doing something fantastic. Every ad ended with the tagline: “I dreamed I (did something extraordinary) in my Maidenform bra.” One woman confessed that she dreamed of “going to the moon” in her brassiere.
Needless to say, the commercials made quite an impression. They were spoofed regularly in Mad magazine, an institution, like “Mad Men,” that took its name from Madison Avenue. It all goes to show that ogling women in their underwear has a storied tradition that, like “Rudolph,” predates “Victoria’s Secret” by several decades.
• Even “Shark Tank” (7 p.m., ABC) gets into the holiday spirit. One would-be entrepreneur describes the benefits of a “rent a live Christmas tree” service. It’s unclear how our relationship with live Christmas trees could get any less permanent, but I’m willing to listen to anybody’s pitch.
Tonight’s other highlights:
• Contestants face the music on “The Voice” (7 p.m., NBC).
• An author’s suicide seems suspicious on “Rizzoli & Isles” (8 p.m., TNT).
• Mindy strikes out on her own on “The Mindy Project” (8:30 p.m., Fox).
• Sarah’s efforts with Hank irk Mark on “Parenthood” (9 p.m., NBC).
• Triplet trouble on “Private Practice” (9 p.m., ABC).
• Jax strikes a new deal and unloads some old business on the season finale of “Sons of Anarchy” (9 p.m., FX).
• A business vanishes down the rabbit hole on “Leverage” (9 p.m., TNT).