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Seven of the worst TV Christmas specials - VIDEOS

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 22nd 2008 2:15PM
Where would we be without the hallowed television Christmas special? We would be engaged in enthralling conversations with relatives who like to give the backstory about the gall bladder operation pictures they still carry in their wallet. We would be playing defense against every breakable item in the house while the neighbor's kids get enough sugar in their systems to power the Space Shuttle. We would not only have to muster the courage to taste Grandma's homemade rum and Kahula fruitcake, but also to pretend that we like it without our stomach turning inside out, crawling up our esophagus and out of our mouth.

Even if those scenarios will be true for you on Dec. 25, I offer you my pity as my Christmas gift. Plus, you still would rather spend it listening to ol' Uncle Hernia Scar than watching one of these holiday hams.

1. Rich Little's Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens' holiday story has been done to death. There's a Muppet version, a Disney version, two Looney Tunes versions and even a western-themed version with Jack Palance. This HBO version starred the impressionist who recasts all the characters with the most oddball choices. It stars W.C. Fields as Scrooge, a nice choice since the real man would have made a good comic foil as Dickens' stingy holiday Nazi. Then it gets weird. There's a mediocre impression of Peter Falk's Columbo as the Ghost of Christmas Present, a bad impression of Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau as the Ghost of Christmas Future and an even more inaccurate Paul Lynde as Bob Crachitt. There's nothing wrong with Little's Lynde impression, except that he's married and has a brood of kids bigger than the Mormon compound the FBI broke up in Texas.

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2. Christmas Comes to Pac-Land - Sooner or later, every Saturday morning cartoon character has to save Christmas. Pac-Man's turn featured the same recycled plot with the sugary speech about Christmas being for the children. It's also got the added bonus of commercial irony since the show is based on something that kids at the time would have run over their own grandmothers to play for five minutes. The ghosts accidentally cause Santa to crash land in Pac-Land while he gets lost on Christmas Eve and it's up to Paccy and the gang to outwit the ghosts and help restore Santa's sleigh. He outwits the ghosts by appealing to their sense of decency and re-powers the sleigh by feeding the reindeer power pellets, which proves they are really just a crude from of HGH.

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3. The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special - It's amazing what the Christmas spirit can do. It can make parents let their children sit on a strange old man's lap in the middle of a crowded mall. It can turn grown men and women into carnivorous beasts who will vivisect each other over a hunk of colored overpriced plastic that can buy their children's love for about a day. It can also make Skeletor good. That's what happened when He-Man and She-Ra teamed up to celebrate the Christmas season by punching robots and brandishing broad swords that would look garish even by a flea market's standards.

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4. The Star Wars Holiday Special - Who knows what kind of mind-altering psychedelic drugs were used to come up with the concept behind the Star Wars universe? The ones that were used to come up with the Star Wars Holiday Special we probably don't have names for yet, but given how bad the special actually is, I think they should be called Chewies. The film's principal stars, including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, return for this two-hour special that will have you rooting for the Empire by the time the credits roll. It also features special appearances and musical numbers because the only thing that could make Star Wars better is a choreographer. George Lucas refuses to acknowledge its very existence; this from a man who crams everything with the Star Wars logo on it down our throats until we wish we could Vader force choke ourselves into a coma.

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5. A Very Brady Christmas - We get enough sugar at Christmas. This even-more saccharine Brady Bunch reunion could push you into a diabetic seizure. Just when you thought the networks couldn't milk the Bradys ever again, they suck it back in for this fruitcake of a Christmas special. Mike and Carol try to reunite the kids for a big Christmas get-together at the house, but each of the kids has their own problems. Marsha's husband Wally gets fired from his job. Jan is getting a divorce. Even Alice, the maid, got dumped by that bastard Sam the Butcher for another woman. Things get even worse when Mike is trapped beneath a collapsed building on a construction site and the only thing that can save him is the power of song as opposed to a large crane or even a lousy bulldozer that plays "Jingle Bells" when you honk the horn.

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6. A Special Sesame Street Christmas - Don't fret, all you fans of children's television over the age of 30, who creep me out and make me wonder if Chris Hanssen will catch you hanging out in a stranger's house someday. This is not the famous Christmas Eve on Sesame Street special where Ernie sells his rubber duckie to buy a present for Bert, Big Bird goes missing and everyone watching has to stab themselves in the thigh with a meat skewer to not cry. The same year that special aired, CBS commissioned their own Sesame Street Christmas special...but without all those annoying Muppets. Only Oscar, Big Bird and Barkley made appearances. The rest were shoved off to make room for big names like Michael Jackson, Ethel Merman and Anne Murray singing songs that make children and grown adults cry for all the wrong reasons.

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7. The Hanson Christmas Special - A flavor of the month band getting their own holiday special isn't unheard of, unlike Hanson's music, which is also unheard of or able to be. Their prepubescent rockabilly tones cluttered up the screen in this musical holiday special that aimed to turn back the clock to old fashioned holiday specials that had a homey musical twist. This special only made me wish I could turn back the clock to stop their parents from procreating.

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8 Comments

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Max

It's "Marcia" Brady, not "Marsha". But Jan would be happy you got her name wrong.

December 23 2008 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dean

This got me thinking about the Brady shows. I'm surprised the networks haven't come up with another Brady family show. How about one with the grandchildren? TV just can't have enough of Florence Henderson.

December 23 2008 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jane

actually i like A Special Sesame Street Christmas, and i agree The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special should be throw away.

more games for christmas:
http://www.flashbeach.com/hot/christmas-online-games.html

December 23 2008 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony

There's no words to describe how bad that He-Man/She-Ra special was. And to think this was one of my favorite shows growing up. Things sure are different back then.

December 22 2008 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rob

Aw man, I love a Pac-Man Christmas.

December 22 2008 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rob's comment
C.A.

Are you on Chewies?

December 22 2008 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ricky19

what about KISS saves christmas? i know pwter griffin liked it but i thought it was garbage.

*im on a roll 2day*

December 22 2008 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

I came here expecting you to trash Pee Wee's Christmas special and was very happy that did not happen. Because having Charo sing "Feliz Navidad" and unwrapping a present that is Grace Jones is pure Christmas win.

December 22 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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