A Pop Culture Christmas

I know it is the Christmas season, not by the ever-growing forest of lights on the neighbours houses, or the fact that advertisers have been pushing holiday shopping since the first of November, but by the specials on TV. There are a few that I just have to see to make me feel the seasonal spirit.

Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics has become a recent favourite, with the profane denizens of South Park remaking various Christmas classics and creating some of their own along the way. It is often blasphemous and likely offensive to many, but somehow it still manages to be sweet at the core. It also speaks to the eight-year-old in me who thought singing fake lyrics to We Three Kings was the height of hilarity:
We three kings of Orient are,
Puffing on a rubber cigar.
It was loaded, it exploded
Now we’re on yonder star
So when Cartman sings O Holy Night, I know where he’s coming from:
And, O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
O holy night! The something something distant
It is the night with the Christmas trees and pie.
Jesus was born and so I get presents.
Thank you, Jesus for being born.

My favourite though has to be the lounge act duet of Jesus and Santa, singing carols and songs in the first person – a brilliant concept. Who hasn’t wondered what these two would be like singing at a piano bar?
Jesus: He he hoo, get away!The 2006 Weblog Awards
Santa: Go away?
Jesus: Get away.
Santa: Where away?
Jesus: Away in a manger, no crib for My bed
That's where cute little old Me lay down My sweet head.
The stars in the sky
Both: Looked down where I lay.
Jesus: Cute little eight-pound me (Santa: Oo-oo)
Both: asleep in (Santa: on) the hay.
Another modern-day classic (ok, ‘80s classic) is Scrooged, Bill Murray’s greed is good interpretation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Murray plays the Scrooge-lik Frank Cross, a driven and cynical TV exec who torments his employees and keeps the entire network working to produce a live show on Christmas Eve.

Much like Groundhog Day, I can watch this film over and over again even though I know exactly how it’s going to turn out. I just can’t get enough of that smarmy Murray charm – plus, Bobcat Goldthwait!

Clearly I like my holiday fare with some edge and A Christmas Story walks it quite nicely. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” is all Ralphie ever hears in his relentless quest to get "an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing', which tells time."

Ralphie is such a sweet little geek, I’ve always imagined he grew up to be Zach Braff’s Scrubs character Dr. J.D. Dorian – the only other person I could see dressed up in a pink bunny sleeper with feet. There are so many great childhood scenes that ring true as real kid moments and not what adults think kids act like. What kid hasn’t thought about sticking their tongue to cold metal? Or realizes that the way you deal with a bully is to run away? Forget the film? Than catch up with the 30 Second Bunnies.

But my ultimate Christmas fave, the one I cannot make it through the season without is Dr. Suess’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – the animated version, of course. It is such an amazing piece of work, whose sum is better than it’s already amazing parts: the tremendous wit and words of Dr. Suess; the stellar animation work by Chuck Jones (director of multiple classic Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons); and the dulcet tones of Boris Karloff as the narrator. It’s as good as it gets.


  1. I think How the Grinch Stole Christmas could well be my favourite holiday special of all time, although I also have a special place in my heart for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

  2. I don't think it gets any better than Ralphie in A Christmas Story - that will always be a classic although didn't you REALLY want him to have the rifle from the start? :D

  3. I want to see your version of Home Alone just once qelqoth... just once.

  4. I just saw How the Grinch Stole Christmas on TV and all of a sudden it's Christmas! I love YouTube, but you can't beat an actual broadcast.

    The Toronto Star's movie critic Geoff Pevere had a great article today on the the Grinch turning 40 that is filled with great tidbits. You can read it here: http://tinyurl.com/yxxkx3 as the Star's urls are stupidly long.

    ABC will be airing an hour-long version on Tusday that includes a documentary on the making of the cartoon, so I may have to watch it again. Poor me.

    I haven't managed to catch A Christmas Story yet, but maybe Ralphie will get his BB gun early this time...

  5. I actually caught the last few minutes of a "new" Davey and Goliath Christmas special the other night.


    Christmas Story is great. But I have a soft spot in my heart (obviously due to the soft spot on my head) for Christmas Vacation.

    And any claymation with Burl Ives as Santa.

  6. I've always found those claymation specials to be kinda creepy. Of course it could also have something to do with that Jeremy the Bear show that tortured me for oh-so-many years on the schoolyard.

  7. Now that show was terrible. And it didn't help that it was dubbed form French.

    "I'm the bear called Jeremy. I can do most anything..."

    How about a blog on cartoon music or theme music in general?

  8. What, do you think this is a request line, Aidan? ;)
    Of course if you have a guest rant coming on, you know where to find me.