Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

     After Community's spectacularly awesome stop-motion animated Christmas special, I started thinking about all Christmas episodes, specials, and movies.  I briefly considered ranking them, but my ranking system is skewed to a degree that would not provide a fair assessment.  Community's episode is the best, followed by all the 30 Rock Christmas episodes, then the X-files Christmas episode with Lilly Tomlin and Ed Asner, and the Ellen episode for her short lived second sit-com, with Mary Tyler Moore and again, Ed Asner.  So, not really a full representation of Christmas episodes.  I'm sure folks more widely versed than me will provide a better, more complete, Christmas viewing ranking system.
     However, thinking about it did make me want to watch those episodes as a way to inject myself with some of the Christmas spirit.  The four Christmas movies I own are Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually, and Bad Santa.  Every year I forget that I don't own Christmas Vacation.  It's a classic, and I somehow end up watching it every year.  Which I guess is how I forget that I don't own it.  I should.  I also have Home Alone 2: Lost in New York because it's part of a multi-pack.  It was implied.
     I love Bad Santa, though admittedly it is both polarizing, and not a family friendly film.  I wouldn't sit down and watch it with my mother.  Of course, I don't watch most things with my mother, but that's another story.  I think if you find the opening soliloquy funny, you can get behind the movie.  If you find it distasteful, you should probably just go make some gingerbread cookies in the other room and skip this one all together.
     Love Actually is more of a modern day Christmas movie.  It happens around Christmas, so it ends up being about Christmas, but it's not purely about Christmas.  Well, it is I suppose.  A few of the stories seem to happen too quickly, but all in all, at the end of it, you're left feeling good about Christmas.
     Home Alone is a classic.  It replaced whatever crappy kid Christmas movie there was before it.  I don't even know what it was called, nor do I care.  I love this movie.  I watched it this weekend while putting up my own tree.  It has some great lines in it, like when Kevin was upset because he can't pack his own suitcase and the cousins are talking about it in front of him.  "What was I supposed to do, shake his hand and say 'Congratulations, you're an idiot.'?"  Brilliant.
     Just thinking about Elf puts a smile on my face.  I love every bit about it.  Often, I get turned off by the idea that Santa is real.  More so when TV shows plant some sort of supposed miracle and then we hear off camera the sound of bells and maybe a ho-ho-ho and we're all supposed to believe in the magic of Santa.  That's drivel, and I hate it.  However, creating a world where Santa just exists and sticking to it, and making it awesome, that I can get behind.  "I know him, I know him!"  And of course, making Ed Asner be Santa also helps.  I think this is the one with the most all out Christmas Spirit.
     I appreciate when TV shows do Christmas episodes, and sometimes it can be difficult because they are frequently on hiatus close to the holiday.  The first and second weeks of December are typically the time for Christmas themed episodes.  Then, the Christmas specials come rolling in.  One of my favorites is the inevitable SNL Christmas special.  It's usually the same holiday sketches from the past years, with a new host and one or two new things thrown in.  And I love it.  I'm quite over Rudolf and a Charlie Brown Christmas, though I understand why they're important to the shared conscious of the viewing public, and therefore I support their airing.  Various musical genres often put on holiday spectaculars, which I think are shadows of what they must be live.  And they're probably only mediocre live.  Every city has a tree lighting, and if your city is large enough (DC, or NYC) it'll be televised, and also supported by musical acts. I guess it's nice, in theory, but still, watching a tree light up on TV just can't be as good as watching it live.
     There's one Christmas episode I left out of that initial list: The Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Christmas episode.  That was great.  It just slipped my mind for a second, but I think Hulu plays it over the holidays.  It belongs in my list of top Christmas things to watch. 

1 comment:

  1. Can I mention West Wing always did great Christmas episodes. And how about that episode of Saved by the Bell when Zach saves the hot homeless girl or the Full House episode where they invite sad old Mickey Rooney over. Good times helping out sad people...