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Friday, December 12, 2008

A Merry Mongo Christmas: My favorite Holiday Shows

T’was the month before Christmas and all through the net
Bloggers were picking their favorite shows for the fete.

The big names in media all published their lists
while the we were all left just waving our fists.

“Well, they forgot such and such. That show is the best.
How could they rate this crap over the rest?”

We cried and we bitched and we all wrote in our blogs
ranking our own favorite shows that go great with egg nog.

When what to our wondering feeds did appear
but another list from St. Mongo and his angry reindeer.

The cranky old blogger, his wit lively and quick
compiled his favorites for us to nitpick.

“It’ll go on forever, “ Everyone cried, “he lists every show."
"Before it ends you’ll be in hell and be able to find snow.”

Still, we did look and his favorites they came
and he gave his thoughts freely next to each and name.

“Now! Itchy, now! Lumpy, now! Malla…” Wait, who are they?
“They’re Wookies from the Star Wars Holiday Special I bought on eBay.”

“Fine, just get on with it, you’re wasting my time."
"Just give us the list instead of this stupid rhyme.”

“Ok,” he said, and gave us his list.
“There’s a lot of oddballs there, but you’ll get the gist.”

We read and we pondered as he drove out of sight,
and couldn’t believe he included, Silent Night Deadly Night.

Now without wasting any more days of Christmas, I give you my favorite Christmas Shows.

1: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
I thought for a change of pace, I’d start at the top. And what better show to be at number 1. In my little fragile world, Christmas doesn’t start until I’ve watched CBC. The malls can be decorated in November, George Bailey could have found Zuzu’s petals, it doesn’t matter. I don’t get into the holiday season until I see Linus walk out on stage and say, “Lights please.” It’s as relevant today as it was 40+ years ago. Commercialization of Christmas. Christmas vs. Holiday ideals. In fact, Schulz had to fight a battle with network execs over the aforementioned speech by Linus’ because they felt that viewers would not want to sit through bible passages. “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” Quite simply, whether you subscribe to any one religion or none at all, everyone can agree that CBC is what Christmas is all about.

2: A Christmas Story (1983)
I manage to catch this one every year. Not all at once, but when it's aired for 24 hours, I can catch all of it over the course of the day. A Christmas Story is probably one of the most quotable Christmas movies I know, yet there aren't a lot of uses for phrases like, "We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice." But, it's still a great line. Jean Shepherd's storytelling is phenomenal and I can see a lot of my childhood escapades through the eyes of Ralphie.

3: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Considered a flop at the box office, It’s a Wonderful Life is perennial classic. This is nothing new or Earth shattering. But look at It’s a Wonderful Life this year and see the relevancy and you’ll know why it’s such a permanent fixture in our lives. Compare today’s financial woes with that of the film. The run on the bank, the privilege to own a home, financial institutions on the brink of collapse. All of these elements are a part of today’s culture. In fact, when the mortgage crisis began and people first started shouting recession, I remembered George’s speech to the mob on his wedding day.
You're thinking of this place all wrong…Why, you're lending them the money to build, and then, they're going to pay it back to you as best they can. Now what are you going to do? Foreclose on them?...Now listen to me. I beg of you not to do this thing. If Potter gets hold of this Building and Loan there'll never be another decent house built in this town…Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren't going so well, and you couldn't make your payments? You didn't lose your house, did you? Do you think Potter would have let you keep it? Can't you understand what's happening here? Don't you see what's happening? Potter isn't selling. Potter's buying! And why? Because we're panicky and he's not. That's why. He's picking up some bargains. Now, we can get through this thing all right. We've got to stick together, though. We've got to have faith in each other.
I get a lump in my throat every year watching this. It never gets old to me. I identify with George Bailey's life of missed opportunities in the name of helping others that lead to a more rich and wonderful life overall. In fact, he is one half of the inspiration for my daughter’s first name.

4: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
“You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch. Yet, I’ll watch you every year.” I prefer the original television special as opposed to the Jim Carrey movie, not because I disliked it, but because I’m a traditionalist when it comes to these types of things. With that said, the television special follows the original book closely even keeping nearly all the narrations provided by Boris Karloff. And who could not be a fan of Tony the Tiger singing the Grinch song.

5: Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard II (1990)
Oh, come on. Don’t look at me like that. How can you not want to watch these two movies at Christmastime? Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and "Let it Snow", there are tons of references to Christmas. Granted, the movies were released in July of 88 and 90. So, what? Now, I was only 13 when Die Hard came out and I saw it in the theater. Apparently, they didn’t care to check IDs at my local theater. The same came for the sequel when I was only 15. I was a bit put out when the next two sequels weren’t set during Christmastime but I got over it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on some “Christmas in Hollis” and make fists with my toes. Ho. Ho. Ho.

On to Part 2. (6-15)
Skip to Part 3. (16-25+)

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