December, much like October, is one of those annual occasions when our viewing schedules become a little more rigorous and organized. Instead of just burning out on My Two Dads binge watching via Netlfix, we instead line up our own personal queues of holiday favorites which we simply must fucking watch if we expect Christmas to actually happen. After all, Santa won’t come unless you sit through yet another agonizing viewing of Jingle All the Way. Jesus wouldn’t allow him to.
We all have our merry movie marathons, because we all have seasonal favorites that embody everything we love about Christmas (A Charlie Brown Christmas) as well as hate about it (Bad Santa). These specials become yuletide staples, and they are certainly a more pleasant element to the season than having to see your own family.
However, somewhere down the road (probably in the 1980’s), big business saw an opportunity to not just suck Christmas dry like the withered tit of a retired Hooter’s waitress, but to also pump every last bit of rancid milk from the Christmas special’s raw and bloody udder. This lead to every cartoon character, sitcom mom, insurance spokesperson, cereal mascot, public emergency broadcaster, college radio personality, 976 operator, wetting doll, foot fetish porn star, weatherman, talking fruit, toilet-bowl-cleaning animated brush, Discovery Channel lions and zebras and shit, infomercial kung fu master, evangelist rapist, reality show dishwasher, hamster whisperer, and hockey referee getting their own Christmas special.
So now, each December, stretched across the dank whorehouse we call network TV, there is this cavalcade of colorful crap no one ever wants to see but is crammed down our throats like a practice dildo. Some are so bad they’ve been vaulted, while others play on endless loops until the New Year. Watchable ones are few and far between, but the truly loathsome and idiotic ones are what I’d like to give the one finger salute to here.
THE SHITTIEST CHRISTMAS SPECIALS THAT EVER GOT SHAT
- THE HE-MAN & SHE-RA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
I can already hear the protesting groans of every thirty-something nerd squirming in his Batman boxers while reading this on his iphone when he should be working. Yes, I know, my generation loves He-Man and, to a lesser extent, that girl He-Man, what’s-her-face. I too grew up watching these half-hour-long toy commercials, and I had this abomination of a Christmas special on tape. In fact, I now own the DVD of this tripe, just because it is so skull-shatteringly shitty that there was no way I could possibly live without it.
The plot is simple: BUY TOYS!
Also, some earth kids come to Eternia and teach everyone about Christmas even though they can’t remember the words to Jingle Bells. Orko makes a blunder that isn’t funny, He-Man manages to not be gay while wearing nothing but furry underpants and a dominatrix bandolier, and Skeletor learns the true meaning of Christmas for no apparent reason. Hordack, however, remains a dick.
I know I’m not the first to say this, but Mattel really dropped the ball with this one. They missed the chance to make a figure of Santor with gift-throwing action, or a transformable Rudolphen with garland covered missiles mounted on its sides. Such a shame.
Let’s just say it takes more than nostalgia to make this watchable. A hefty portion of eggnog shots will help. But it is still better than their Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float, which was also just one big toy commercial.
Seriously. They made the FLOAT into a toy!
- I WANT A DOG FOR CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN
We all love the original Charlie Brown Christmas for its heartfelt magic, nostalgia, and ability to be a great cartoon without being remotely funny. We tolerate the second attempt of It’s Christmas Time Again, Charlie Brown because the title alone tells you how uninspired they were, and that were in it for the cash only (Lucy needed bail money). However, with this I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown special, Peanuts fans are just thrown up on the pinball machine for a forced pounding by coked-up network executives.
This special barely has Charlie Brown in it. Instead it stars a newer character (nnnoooooo!!!!) named Rerun, Linus’ identical younger brother, as he pisses and moans about wanting a dog. “Christmas” is hardly even mentioned. Also those of you who thought that Snoopy was the “dog” referenced by the title can just walk into the woods with Daddy’s shotgun and never come back. Rerun wants his own dog and he’s going to have tantrums until he gets what he wants, which is how all little children get their Christmas wishes granted.
- CHRISTMAS COMES TO PAC-LAND
If I have to explain to you why the Christmas special of a cartoon based off a video game that made no sense at all is a terrible thing, then I’m just never going to convince you. You’re in too deep. Just stay in your Snuggie, eat your Cookie Crisp, and never get laid.
7. LARRY THE CABLE GUY’S STAR-STUDDED CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
If ever there were a sign that there were too many Christmas specials, it would have to be this one. Talk about the bottom of the barrel. Unfunny, tired redneck stereotype Larry The Cable Guy (a character created by otherwise failed comedian Daniel Lawrence Whitney) hosts a horrendous shindig every fucking year. He’s one of those “white trash” millionaires - you know, those rich and famous people that poor, underprivileged hicks can really identify with!
In this gag-inducing fist-fuck, Larry beer farts his way through what he has the unmitigated audacity to call humor while a bunch of has-beens and never-wases cartwheel around his plumber crack. Previous guests in his star-studded line up include Carrot Top. He got top billing. So, you know, there’s that.
6. RUDOPLH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (yes, the 1964 original)
Yeah, yeah, crucify me for my sacrilege. I don’t give a damn what anybody says, this shit is unwatchable. Keep your little bumble ornaments away from me, give me Glenn Danzig’s The Misfits and not the Land of Misfit Toys, and don’t you dare sing the Rudolph song or it’ll be your own nose that turns red … from me bashing it the fuck in.
Come on! Every time his nose lights up it sounds like Freddy Krueger’s nails on a chalkboard. This alone makes it torture. Plus, the stop motion animation is creepier than the owl in Clash of the Titans. But most importantly, there has never in history been a more annoying character than Hermey the wannabe dentist. He makes Jar-Jar Binks look like Brad Pitt and his songs are enough to make you want to weld your ears shut with a hot poker.
Despite the order of this list, I would watch any other Christmas Special before watching this. Even number 5…
5. SANTA WITH MUSCLES
Yeah, I know, this is a movie not a “special”. But you know what? This is my list so there is nothing you can do about it. Besides, calling this a movie is like calling a fortune cookie literature. I reviewed this Gatling gun of turds for a previous Shitmas (HERE)
But for those of you who hate reading, let me summarize.
Hulk Hogan plays a guy who gets knocked on the head and thinks he’s Santa. He doesn’t do any wrestling. There you go. Sound good to you? Of course it doesn’t, don’t be an asshole.
This movie created a legacy of failure for itself, being panned by critics worldwide to the point of now being infamously wretched. It is on IMDB’s list of bottom 100 films. Total Film ranked it as one of the top 50 worst children’s films ever made and it also made it onto both Atlantic City Weekly’s and Virgin Media’s lists of worst holiday movies of all time.
The problem it poses for us bad movie lovers is that Santa With Muscles breaks the good-bad movie rule by being a comedy. Bad action, horror, sci-fi, and just about any other genre can be enormously entertaining when it is poorly done because it becomes laughable. But bad comedy doesn’t become laughable - it just stays bad.
4. A TWISTED CHRISTMAS
I’m a big fan of 80’s metal; as big a fan as you can get without turning into Otto from The Simpsons. In addition, I can get into some Twisted Sister tracks (“The Beast” and “Burn in Hell” are my jams).
So, I’ll admit that when they took the Christmas Carol “O Come All Ye Faithful” and set it over their big hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, I was a very happy headbanger. I still enjoy this track on repeat every December. And even the video is a wacky joyride for lovers of hair metal and camp alike.
Problem is… they didn’t stop there.
One song was perfect. It worked and it was wanted. But instead of quitting while they were ahead, Twisted Sister got into their banged heads that a full album and tour was a good idea.
The Twisted Christmas Live DVD is entertaining for about ten minutes. After that you’re just enduring crunchier versions of Christmas songs you’re already sick of, being spat out by a drag queen that would make even Divine blush. Dee Snider Claus frolics around with giant candy canes while the rest of the band churns through one jingle after another, each sounding the same as the last one, and yet somehow worse.
3. PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
I love Pee Wee. I think he got a raw deal too. A grown man masturbates to regular porn and gets crucified for it just because he hosts a kid’s show. Umm, I would rather have a guy who likes regular porn around my kid, because I’d be less likely to think he wants to make porn with my kid. It’s the asexual guys who shudder at the sight of a boob you need to worry about. I mean really, who’d you feel more comfortable leaving your kids with? Hugh Hefner or Michael Jackson?
Chops my hide!
I’m sorry, what were we talking about? Christmas? Oh, right, that thing.
Pee Wee’s Playhouse was one of the greatest kids shows of all time, based off of the hit film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, a true treasure. It is only proper that Pee Wee got his own Christmas special, and to be fair, he is not the reason this lands on the list. He is as ADHD as ever and never runs out of tape for his nose. All the regulars of the playhouse bring the noise, as usual.
It is the tornado of terrible guest stars that turn the playhouse Christmas special into a Yule log birthed from Krampus’s black anus. I guess they just thought it wouldn’t be Christmas without Grace Jones, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Frankie Avalon and Dina Shore (all people that kids in the 80’s apparently adored). But the clusterfun doesn’t stop there! Little Richard pops by, making Pee Wee the straight man for once. K.D. Lang gives her worst performance ever as she belches out a bloodcurdling rendition of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, and some nobody named Oprah Winfrey pops in to spread cheer too. Not enough? There’s also Magic Johnson, Cher, Whoopie Goldberg, and a lot of other irrelevant people normally restricted to the Late Show couches.
This one is tolerable as long as you stay close to the mute button.
2. A CHRISTMAS DREAM (A.K.A. THE MR.T AND WEBSTER CHRISTMAS SPECIAL)
Have you ever wanted to see child-impersonator Emmanuel Lewis sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to a sidewalk Santa played by history’s greatest living human being, Mr. T? Well that prayer was answered in 1984, along with the added stocking stuffer of David Copperfield. Just save David and re-gift him next year. I only wish I could find footage of Mr. T’s humbling monologue about the true meaning of Jesus or whatever. Instead, here’s this clip of Webster putting Alvin and the Chipmunks to shame.
- THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
Behold, the alpha of shitty Christmas specials.
This piece of aborted rat fetus is the stuff of legend. It aired only once in 1978 and was slammed by critics and audiences alike. Starring all of the actors from the original Star Wars film (which I refuse to call A New Hope. It’s not A New Hope. It is fucking STAR WARS), and introducing us to Chewbacca’s sexy housewife and his other relatives, this hallucinogenic massacre has been permanently vaulted by an ashamed George Lucas, but unrelenting Star Wars nerds will forever bootleg and stream it. Funny though how he wishes he could erase this from history and yet he has no problem with The Phantom Menace.
Han and Chewbacca head back to Chewy’s home planet to celebrate “Life Day”, because that is all the writers could come up with as an alternative to Christmas. We get to meet the whole wookie family, which is a nice precursor to the puppetry cuteness that would befall the second half of Return of the Jedi. There are actually long scenes of just wookies honking at each other in their language that we can’t understand. Thrilling. Then they do a Skype chat with Luke and R2, cause they’re all so close, apparently.
Imperial hooligans tail them in pursuit of rebels, but Han promises to get Chewy home in time for Life Day so he can visit with a singing Bea Arthur at the cantina (yes, Bea Arthur) and trip out with Jefferson Starship. Ey, starship? See what they did there?
Carrie Fisher stumbles in, acrobats do some twirling and juggling, and three ghosts visit Vader. Well, okay, I made up that last part, but he is in it, and frankly a Darth Scrooge story would have been way better than what they actually slapped together in this drunken fever dream.
Either you know this maggot-infested diaper pile, or you haven’t even heard of it and you’re think I’m bullshitting you. I can’t blame you for thinking that, but dude, really, I’m not.
Here’s a 15-minute “best of” reel. See if you can Endore it!
Haha! I sleigh me! Ha! I did it again!
Ok, I’ll stop now.
Well there you have it, the top ten holiday specials you should probably pass on this year, unless of course your looking for the proper motivation to kill yourself, one of the holiday season’s most popular pastimes. I hope that y’all have a jolly one this year, and make sure to pay head to my mistletoe belt buckle.