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November 24, 2006

A Delightful Holiday Reheat

As it's now officially the holiday season, God help us all, and as the piece no longer appears to be up at the National Lampoon Web site, allow me to re-present a holiday favorite here at the Whatever: The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time. Revel in Ayn Rand's "A Selfish Christmas," Star Trek's "A Most Illogical Holiday," "A Muppet Christmas with Zbigniew Brzezinski" and many more. You'll laugh! you'll cry! You'll experience severe intestinal distress! And isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Posted by john at November 24, 2006 09:08 AM

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Andrew Lambdin-Abraham | November 24, 2006 10:08 AM

I think I saw this last year, or somewhere previously. In any event, it's still damn funny, and I want to watch most of them anyway.

Dean | November 24, 2006 11:19 AM

As funny this year as last.

The Ayn Rand entry generates particular hilarity as I imagine the squinty-eyed fury that seizes devout Randroids when they read it. They are generally as lacking in humour as Baptists.

Martin Wagner | November 24, 2006 12:02 PM

Missed this the first time. Would you be pissed if I said it was funnier than TAD? (Well, maybe not really...)

John Scalzi | November 24, 2006 12:19 PM

Hey, as long as you liked it, I'm happy.

Mary | November 24, 2006 01:11 PM

Wasn't there a Star Wars Christmas special out in TVland somewhere and wasn't it on this list at sometime? Or am I remembering a gin soaked night a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?

John Scalzi | November 24, 2006 01:15 PM

Yes, there was a Star Wars special, and no, it was never on this list, because this list is fictional, and the Star Wars special, alas, was real.

Mary | November 24, 2006 01:24 PM

Damn. Thanks for the edification, Mr. Scalzi. As I've never seen it, I was hoping the Star Wars special was the bit of fiction. [sob] Poor Chewie.

mythago | November 24, 2006 03:14 PM

I'm sorry to say that somebody has already written the Ayn Rand Thanksgiving.

Todd Stull | November 24, 2006 03:22 PM

Egads man, that is one hot picture of Ayn Rand. Makes me want to go roll around nude in dollar bills while screaming "Who is John Scalzi? Who is John Scalzi!?" My apologies.

whump | November 24, 2006 04:03 PM

Another video gem to look for is "An Orthodox Christmas in Prauge." In 1969, Soviet State Television wanted to smooth over internal horror at the violent suppression of the Prague Spring uprising the previous year, so they commissioned a bright and chirpy musical about a young party member sent from Moscow (Mikhail Gorbachev in his only singing role) finding love and socialist brotherhood one snowy winter under the lights of the Castle.

The numbers are Ya Ya and Serge Gainsbourg with the serial numbers filed off, but you have to smile as Mikhail and his love interest (played by Aniki Peristrokianovalia-Cho) drape battle tanks in garlands and lights while singing "You Had It Coming, but We Do it Because We Love You In Brotherly, Socialist Way."

Unfortunately, the musical never aired (there was concern about decadent religious imagery with Gorbachev wearing a silver coverall, lit by spotlights from below, dancing on the wall of the Castle), and sat on 1/2" format tapes for many years.

I had the URL for a torrent, but my bookmark file was corrupted...

alienlove | November 24, 2006 04:22 PM

Ah Christmas, the day paranoid people make those god awful christmas specials about "you can't stop Christmas, even if you don't know why (or could care less)". Oh, good times, good times.

Martyn Taylor | November 24, 2006 05:42 PM

I am forcibly reminded of Bing Crosby and David Bowie duetting on Little Drummer Boy (round about the time the Thin White Duke moved to Berlin with Iggy and singlehandedly rescued the Bolivian economy as I recall) Heretofore nobody had known Ziggy really wanted to be an all round family entertainer (a term guaranteed to bring a shudder to anyone who can remember when the UK thought that Cliff Richard was a dangerous rocker, daddio)

However disturbing your fiction is, I dare to say that the sight of Der Bingle getting cosy with Aladdin Sane is one to make anyone's blood run cold.

The Osbornes on Ice? Especially if they lock the mortuary drawer afterwards.

John Scalzi | November 24, 2006 05:51 PM

Martyn Taylor:

You mean this? I think it's winsome, myself.

Chang, who gets nothing done without caffeine | November 24, 2006 08:41 PM

Yeah, that song and video just make me teary. Even though Dave was coked to infinity and Bing beat the kids.

Steve Buchheit | November 24, 2006 08:58 PM

I miss the "Christmas is the Season of Giving, from the CDC to You." Only saw it once on ABC.

Steve Brady | November 25, 2006 03:00 PM

That Bowie/Bing thing always creeped me out for some reason.

Not as much as that Rand picture, though less explicably.

DavidS | November 26, 2006 09:45 AM

I just discovered that Ayn Rand actually wrote a Christmas column one year, for the LA Times in 1962. I can't find the complete text online anywhere, but this should give you the sense of it:

The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says “Merry Christmas”—not “Weep and Repent.” And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends or by sending them cards in token of remembrance…. The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized.... [I]t stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only “commercial greed” could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.
Ayn Rand, The Secular Meaning of Christmas, reprinted in The Ayn Rand Column 111-12 (P. Schwartz ed. 1991).

wowgold | November 28, 2006 01:35 AM

I am not a game, I am not a world, I am WOWgame

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