Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
I’ve got a bunch of kids. And I’ve got a television. This is a recipe for disaster, especially around Christmas time. If my kids see an ad for a Christmas special they’re on their knees pleading
And I invariably say yes mainly because Christmas specials were a big deal for me as a kid. A really big deal. But I’ve noticed something while watching Christmas specials with my kids…they stink. Most of them stink really bad. Never mind the fact that most don’t even mention Jesus outside of that weird long eared donkey one. They’re just really really bad. But some are worse than others. So here’s my list of the worst Christmas specials I’ve ever seen.
7) A Very Brady Christmas. It’s the Bradys but older and a lot more depressing. This was so bad that they couldn’t even get the actress who played Cindy back or the dude who played Sam the butcher. If you can’t get Sam the Butcher back it’s time to put a little work into the script. Do you know how bad a script has to be to make Cindy and Sam the Butcher refuse to do it.
But in the Brady Christmas special there was some kind of building or a mine collapse and Mr. Brady is caught in it and the whole family stops their busy busy lives to sing Christmas Carols outside the collapse so Mike can find his way up. If you ask me, Mike could’ve used his perm as a battering ram to clear a hole but that’s just me.
6) The Elf on the Shelf Christmas Special. That was on for the first time the other night but this was a commercial. Pure and simple -a commercial. The kids were so excited about this even though I’d never heard about it before. Afterwards, they must have felt like Ralphie decoding little Orphan Annie’s secret message to him to be sure to drink your ovaltine. A crummy commercial.
5) Christmas Comes to Pac-Land. Yup. It was a Pac-man Christmas special in the 1980’s. ‘Nuff said? No it’s even worse than that. It seems that Pac-Man and his family are attacked by those ghostie thingies that exist just to attack the Pacs. Pac-Man scarfs those pellet thingies and then goes ballistic on the ghostie thingies, sending their eyes floating up towards the sky. (Doesn’t sound very Christmasy, does it?) But here’s the thing. The floating eyes scare the heck out of the reindeer and Santa crashes and the Pacs find Santa in a coma and have to get him back up in the sky. And from what I remember it gets worse from there.
Rumor has it that Sam the butcher would’ve been more willing to appear in this than the Brady special.
4) A Star Wars Christmas Special. Hardly anyone remembers this debacle. The show was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States in 1978 on CBS. Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day which is a lot like Christmas. There we meet Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy.And, of course, they’re pursued by the Empire. It aired once and then George Lucas hid it away and promised the world that he would make something even worse one day called The Phantom Menace starring Jar Jar Binks.
3) He-Man’s Christmas Special. He-Man and She-Ra had to join forces yet against to save Christmas from the evil forces of Skeletor and Hordak. He-Man sums up the motto at the end: “Though we celebrate it and get presents, Christmas is about caring, sharing and goodwill and its spirit is within all of us.” (George Lucas probably thinks this was a great idea.)
2) Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Now, what ticked me off is that this Christmas special actually changes the song. The song has grandma getting run over by Santa who hits and runs an old lady. The song has grandma dead. But the Christmas special thought it might be a little too Quentin Tarantino for kids to watch an old lady getting killed by Santa so they make it so that Grandma’s been living in sin with Santa up at the North Pole the entire special and she reappears near the end. What? Seriously, what?
1) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I know this one ranks among the best for many people but for me it’s terrible. I think the people who made “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” kinda’ forgot that Saint Nicholas was a saint.
Barring Donner, who is the worst father/reindeer ever, Santa was the biggest jerk in the North Pole. What were these animators thinking?
Santa’s jerkiness starts with the elves begging Santa to listen to a song they wrote for him and Santa’s like all bored and like ‘whatevs’ to these poor little elves who work night and day for cookies and all they want is for him just to listen to a little one minute song they wrote in praise of him. But then His Jerkiness harrumphs and says something like “needs work” and stomps off while Ms. Claus tries to pick up the pieces of their shattered little elf hearts and praises them a bit.
OK, you think maybe Santa was having a bad day? No. It gets worse. When Rudolph starts flying around all great, Santa hails Donner for his boy’s success but then when it turns out Rudy’s got a shiny beak, Santa turns on him and tells his good buddy Donner, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” What?
What’s with this guy? His weight is fluctuating wildly. He’s refusing to eat. He’s threatening to cancel Christmas throughout the entire show. He’s banishing any toy with any defect whatsoever to the island of misfit toys. It’s Santa’s gulag. Stalin would be like, “Dude.”
I mean, Santa tossed a ‘Charlie in the box’ onto the island of misfit toys because he had a wrong name. I mean come on. Relegating a sentient being to a life of loneliness because of a little nomenclature problem? How much red tape could there be in the North Pole to change the toy’s name? Santa just doesn’t care.
And whoever heard of a Santa afraid of driving in the snow? Well here’s an idea, if snow’s gonna’ be a problem old man, move out of the North Pole!
There are lots of other really bad Christmas specials and I hope you find some good ones this year. My hopes are not high.