Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Top 10 Least Favorite Christmas specials

    In the past I’ve listed my favorite Christmas specials of all time, but there’s a Ying to every Yang, so why not look at some of the Christmas specials that I personally can’t stand. Now I’m not saying this is a list of the absolute worst Christmas specials of all time, I can’t do that properly sense I’ve never seen “Santa Clause Conquers the Martians”, or “The Nutcracker 3D”, and I’m sure there are a lot of other really bad ones out there that I just haven’t seen. I’ve never even watched a Christmas horror movie once in my life (nor do I want to), so don’t expect “Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2” to be on this countdown. I’m not even saying that everyone should hate these specials that I’ve selected, not at all, these are just the ones that I personally can’t stand. Some of the select specials on my list are commonly enjoyed, even loved by many viewers, and anyone is in their right to like them. These are just the ones that I do my best to avoid during the holiday season, the ones that I just can’t stomach, and here they are, my personal top 10 least favorite Christmas specials I’ve ever seen.

#10 The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) 

       Kicking of my list of the worst Christmas specials I’ve personally ever seen is that classic entry in the “Star Wars” cannon that even Gorge Lucas is ashamed of. This special got such a pore reception after it aired back in 1978 that it’s never once re-aired on TV, and never even got a home video release of any form, it’s that bad. With a premise that revolves around Chewbacca’s loud, irritating and incredibly boring Wookiee family (who by the way never speak English or even have sub-titles provided), it makes this one of the dullest and hardest things to sit through. Throw in the fact that neither Christmas nor the films made up holiday are barley even focused on, which makes the whole project feel all the more pointless. There’s also no clear direction for this special as it jumps from one random thing like a Jefferson Starship music video to some painfully bad comedy with the late great Harvey Korman. To be fair, there are still some note-worthy highlights including a reunion of the original “Star Wars” cast, and the introduction to the fan favorite Bounty Hunter Boba Fett ... who is awesome by the way. Obviously, that’s still not enough to save this mess of a Christmas special, which already has nothing to do with the holiday season itself.       

#9 Pokémon: Holiday Hi-Jynx (1998) 

    Yeah, even Pokémon had a Christmas special, one so bad that it was actually banned from being aired on TV. Okay let me explain, it was actually banned do to the controversy surrounding the questionable design of one of the main creatures featured in the episode. That unfortunately didn’t stop this episode from being released on home video with a collection of winter themed episodes. Even without the controversy, this is just a plain silly episode, and yes, Pokémon is already a silly (if somewhat passable) children’s program. However, this one turned me off even when I was a little kid, and in the height of my child hood Pokémon craze. What can you expect from an episode revolving around the shows silly villains invading the North Pole to kidnap Santa and steel every child’s Christmas present. There’s also a sub-plot about how Santa Claus already can’t deliver the toys on Christmas night because he’s missing one of his boots ... which is pretty pathetic. No message, no holiday magic, it’s a just a dumb episode that’s packed with all the announces that honestly ... were already present in the show.   


#8 Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (2000) 

        The semi-popular Christmas song by Elmo Shropshire always seemed to fall into that category of “so bad, it’s great”, at least for me. The cartoon movie based on that song fell into that category of “so bad, it’s bad”, like really bad. I remember when this special first premiered on TV, and I was actually very excited to see it. What I got was one of the most boring, lifeless, and lazy holiday specials I’ve ever seen. They don’t even try to make this a funny tie in with the song, and the whole thing just feels like its on auto pilot. From the dull animation, to the uninspired characters, to the less then stealer script, to the annoyingly spontaneous song numbers ... there’s simply nothing worthwhile about this film. You know you’re watching a quality Christmas movie when it dedicates an entire three minuet song number to “fruit cake”.  

#7 Fred Claus (2007) 

      There’s admittedly a lot of talented people involved in this project, especially from Paul Giamatti who’s actually very respectable in the role of Santa Clause. Unfortunately, all their talents are wasted on this un-funny, contrived, downbeat, and shockingly over sentimental Christmas film. A story revolving around Santa’s human brother may have had some potential, but the film itself just comes off like an unfocused cluster of bad slapstick comedy mixed with syrupy melodrama.      

#6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: We Wish you a Turtle Christmas (1994) 

       It’s bad enough that the Power Rangers had direct to video Christmas specials, and yes they were awful too, but they at least had the right look and music. This live action direct to video Ninja Turtle Christmas outing somehow sunk even lower, and despite only being 20 minutes long, it feels like hours have been wasted while viewing it. The special is in the style of a musical, and it’s chalk full of terrible songs, annoying puns, stupid jokes, scary animatronics that look like there falling apart, and if you have any nostalgia the Ninja Turtles at all, be sure to skip this one entirely, and just stick with the first live action movie from 1990.     

#5 Scrooged (1988) 

       I know a lot of people like this film, and consider it a funny dark comedy with the always talented Bill Murray, but don’t count me among those people. For those of you not familiar with this film, it’s basically the strait forward story of “A Christmas Carol”, except its set in modern times, and with a nasty business man who already knows the story of Scrooge. Yeah ... it’s kind of hard to get invested in a character who already knows both the story, and what the life changing message is at the end. I also wasn’t too pleased with the films darkly comedic overtone, and boy can this film get annoying, especially in regards to the ghost of Christmas Presence. Personally, I’d recommend skipping this film and instead just stick to any one of the other excellent film adaption’s of the Charles Dickens classic.  

#4 A Christmas Story 2 (2012) 

     An uninspired direct to video sequel to one of the greatest Christmas movies ever made, what’s not to hate? Seriously, “A Christmas Story” is my favorite holiday movie of all time and watch every year. This sequel on the other hand (which no one even asked for) is better skipped and forgotten. Aside from shamefully recreating every joke from the original, making this a G rated teen comedy that’s noticeably laugh free, and lacking all the magic and charm of its predecessor ... no that’s enough reason to call this one of the most shameful Christmas movies ever made.   

#3 Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) 

    This special was part of the British comedy series called “Blackadder”. Now if someone is already a fan of this show, and enjoy dark comedy, chances are you’ll love this holiday special. Personally, I’m not of fan of the series, and this particular Christmas special just left a really bad taste in my mouth. Once again it’s a parody of “A Christmas Carol”, and to be fair the set up is a great idea ... at least on paper. Watching the darn thing is another story. This special is the story of Scrooge told in reverse, this time it’s the nicest guy in England who upon getting visited by the ghost of Christmas suddenly becomes the world’s biggest jerk that loves making people miserable. It’s cynical, it’s cruel, and most of all boring and down beat. It’s mostly a long clip show of scenes from other episodes, and like I said, if you’re already a fan of this series, and love its style of dark British comedy, you’ll probably get your times worth out of this. I for one would be much happier if I’d never even heard of it.   

#2 Bad Santa (2003) 

      Oh ... ear poisoning, that’s the best way to describe this film, it’s just ear poisoning, brain rotting, and relentlessly cynical garbage that has absolutely nothing of value and waists the beautiful gift of life to all who see it. And Yes, I know that’s the whole joke of the film, to be as offensive, rude, distasteful, and fowl mouthed as it could get, just to contrast with its holiday setting. I know there are a lot of people who find this films overly cynical nature and dark approach to be really funny, but it’s certainly not for me. I don’t think it’s funny, I can’t stand the characters, or the sexually offensive remarks, or the lack of Christmas spirit, or the ... well, I don’t need to list everything. If your one of the many Grinch’s that enjoy this film, you can have it ... just keep it away from me.    

Before I reveal my #1 least favorite, here are some Dishonorable Mentions ...

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Night of the Living T-Shirt

The Christmas Tree” (1991) 

Jingle all the Way” (1996) 

The Nutcracker (1993)”

Shrek the Halls

#1 South Park‍ '​s "Woodland Critter Christmas" (2004) 

    Much like “Blackadder”, this is a special from a dark comedy series, and if your already a fan of its dark and controversial style of comedy, you’ll probably adore how morbid and off beat their holiday specials can get. I’m well aware that South Park is a beloved comedy series, and this particular episode is a big fan favorite. In fact, I’ve heard many people, even close friends of mine regarded it as one of the greatest Christmas specials they’ve ever seen. For me personally, when I think of a Christmas special that I hated with a passion, and stood out as one of the most unpleasant things I’ve ever viewed, I immediately think of South Park‍ '​s "Woodland Critter Christmas". Just like with “Bad Santa”, I understand that the whole joke is just how off beat and dark it can get in contrast to what we normally see in a Christmas special, and once again, it’s just not for me. However, this is much worse, and personally I think it just goes way too far with how sick, negative, insulting and unpleasant it’s comedy gets. There’s one particular joke revolving around abortion that really pushed my hot button. Things only get more distasteful from there as the special highlights the devil, orgy, cult sacrifices, mother killings, Satanism, and a violent gun wilding Santa. Like I said, I’m not a fan of South Park, or its comedy, but it’s not fare for me to call this the worst holiday special of all time, especially sense I already despise the show, and I know it has a large fan base. I can only speak for myself when I say that South Park‍ '​s "Woodland Critter Christmas" is the worst Christmas special that I personally have ever seen.    

           The End


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