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Monday, December 3, 2007

Happy holidays make for happy TV watching

So tonight I watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for the 7 millionth time in my life, and despite knowing every awkwardly delivered line of dialogue, the dang thing still gets to me. When Lucy complains "I never get what I really want -- real estate," I still crack up. When Snoopy busts his signature moves on Schroeder's toy piano, I still feel like dancing. When Linus tells us "what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown" ... well darn it, I still get a lump.

The 1965 holiday juggernaut -- which will keep airing even when you and everyone you know are dead, their bones are dust, and their dust fails to pay the cable bill -- earns its status as a classic. So much so, that this one other blog, Progressive Boink, has ranked the 100 Greatest Christmas Shows, and like placing a star on top a tree, has put "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at No. 1.

Needless to say, it's an exhaustively comprehensive list (consisting of both TV specials and feature films) that not only taps the true classics -- "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special," and South Park's "Mr Hankey, the Christmas Poo" -- but also obscure, where-did-they-find-that-one gems like "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey," "G.I. Joe: Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town," and something called "Hardrock, Coco and Joe," about three mischievous elves. They even include that maliciously heartwarming McDonald's commercial from the 80s, where Ronald turns into Brian Boitano and helps a little boy learn to ice skate.

And, but of course, there is a fitting tribute to the only thing George Lucas should be more ashamed of than "Phantom Menace": "The Star Wars Holiday Special," in which entire conversations are conducted in Wookie, and a clearly drunk-off-her-ass Carrie Fisher sings the "Star Wars" theme. (Who knew there were lyrics?)

This all got me thinking about the other great holiday TV specials I've loved throughout my life, many of which don't get the revered Charlie Brown treatment, and haven't aired for years. Like "Mickey's Christmas Carol." How do the networks sleep at night knowing they don't air "Mickey's Christmas Carol" every freaking year?! It's got everything: that gorgeous, old-school Disney animation, wonderful original songs, and Goofy as a clumsy, ha-yucking Marley's ghost. Lucky for us, the special can be seen in its entirety on YouTube, but gathering the family around the computer just doesn't have the same effect.

From now until the big day, there will be more holiday specials on the air than you can shake a yule log at. What are some of your favorites?

-- Adam Reinhard,



I can tell you what won't be one of my favorites this year - "Holiday in Handcuffs," a movie I just saw advertised starring Mario Lopez. And I thought A.C. Slater couldn't get any cheesier than that Christmas episode of Saved by the Bell where Zack has the hots for a homeless chick. I'm sure his role as Tiny Tim in the play they put on in the mall will far outshine his ABC Family Original Movie performance. I think I'll skip this one. But, I will remember to shop at Moody's store for men ...

By Anonymous mary, At December 4, 2007 at 7:04 PM  

Hey! I remember that episode. One minute Zack has the hots for the homeless girl, the next week he's back with Kelly.

Maybe Zack wasn't sure the homeless girl really liked him for anything but his money.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 4, 2007 at 10:04 PM  

I agree about Mickey's Christmas - it's probably that darned stingy Disney's fault! I get a lump from the Grinch (cartoon version only) but I can see what you mean about Charlie Brown, too. Hey, don't we all want real estate for Christmas!?

By Anonymous Micki, At December 7, 2007 at 11:41 AM  

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