Category Archives: tv
Call me one of them liberal, east-coast, Volvo-drivin’, latte-drinkin’, public radio givin’, Obama votin’, gay marryin’, baby abortin’, Trader Joes shoppin’, tofu eatin’, 30 Rock viewin’, Salon readin’, book ownin’, French lovin’ elitists, but if you want to watch a story about a snowman who magically comes to life due to the magic of Christmas that doesn’t suck ox nor ass…. then you need to get with this jive, right here.
It’s The Snowman. Maybe you saw it on PBS in the 1980s. Or maybe you’re British and you saw it on ITV. Anyway, it’s practically wordless, so I’m not going to say any more about it. It’s just freaking magical and beautiful and I love it, so there.
And that means that, if you want, you can watch “Walking In The Air” with the sound turned down, and play this song instead. But only if you absolutely must.
And: Merry Christmas. We’ll do this again next year.
As you are probably aware, based on my previous posts about A Muppet Family Christmas and The Christmas Toy, and my yearly exultations that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best and most faithful film adaptation of the original book A Christmas Carol despite being narrated by Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo the Great, the Muppets and Christmas occupy roughly the same spot in my brain. It’s that soft, gooey, marshmallow-like cluster nestled at the back of my hippocampus, near the base of my occipital lobe. If you were to poke it, I would involuntarily start waving my arms around like Kermit.
However, I have never actually seen John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together until today. Part of this may have to do with the fact that it has never been officially released on VHS, and part of this may have to do with the fact that it came out the year I was born and I was too busy spitting up strained squash and eating stuff I found on the carpet to notice. Either way, I found it on the Youtubes, and have decided to write about my experiences watching this holiday gem for the first damn time.
Aaaaaaand… push play.
Fade in on the late John Denver, sprightly and alive and in the middle of his “Oh, God” heyday. Because ‘tis the glorious season of Yuletide, he’s dressed like a Dickensian gent, resplendent with his purple top hat and all. At this point, things could really go either way – of all the M.O.R. artists ever to walk this Earth, John Denver is the M.O.Riest. For every heartfelt, aching ballad like “Leavin’ On A Jetplane,” there’s an “Annie’s Song.” For every “Rocky Mountain High”, there’s a Coors beer commercial where a bunch of people start singing “Rocky Mountain High.” And, of course, there’s that big old slice of bitter irony pie you have to mention when you’re a heartless bastard like me and someone brings up John Denver: “Leaving On A Jet Plane” was written by a man who died when his private plane crashed. Either the jokes make themselves or they really, really don’t. I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
And, either this is going to be the most goddamn heartwarming thing I’ve ever experienced, or it’s going to be 2 solid hours of molten Velveeta cheese. Things don’t look so good when ol’ John starts singing “The 12 Days Of Christmas”, a song that’s only tolerable when Muppets are involved.
Thank God there are Muppets involved. Fozzie screws up his lines, Miss Piggy adds some “ba-dump-bump-bumps” to her FIIIIIVE GOOOOOLD RIIIINGS line, and all is right with the world.
There’s more, after the break.
I’ll bet you’ve heard of Right Said Fred, everyone’s favorite gay one-hit wonder band from the early ’90s. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that they got their name from a novelty skiffle tune from the grand old days of 1960s Britain.
I’ll bet you’ve heard of Bernard Cribbins, a British actor who played Donna’s grandfather on Doctor Who. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that he used to sing novelty skiffle tunes, back in the grand old days of 1960s Britain.
You can see where we’re going with this.
Yep – Wilfred Mott is ultimately responsible for the “I’m Too Sexy” guy.
The song “Right Said Fred” will hit home for anyone who’s ever had to move a piano. This is a very early stop-motion music video for the tune, and I think you’ll like it.
It’s that time of year again, when we gather round the electronic hearth and listen to tales, both old and new, that remind us at once of the coming of the new year and the passage of time, as well as what is was to once be young. A TV christmas special, at its finest, is at once poignant and invigorating; funny and thoughtful, spectacular, but with the humblest of intentions. At their best, they define for their audience what Christmas truly means in the broadcast media age.
Alf’s Special Christmas… is not that.
Look, here’s the thing: I’ve gotten more random comments about my write-up of Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search For Santa Claus than I ever would have expected. I seem to have lit a fire in the minds of America’s 30-somethings, all now reminded of this truly bizarre combination of homespun warmth and Hollywood shamelessness. Now, everyone wants a copy of it, and it’s nowhere to be found. Call it Andy978 and the Grown-Ups Who Used To Sort Of Wish They Were NBC Kids Search For Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search For Santa Claus. On second thought, don’t call it that. That’s a crappy title.
So, when I found yet another obscure NBC Christmas special on Hulu last week, I thought the stars were aligning. I thought the Christmas Gods were smilin’ down on ol’ Andy. There it was – Alf’s Special Christmas – starring good old Alf. Always good for a laugh, that Alf. I’d never seen the thing myself, but maybe – just maybe – someone out there had fond memories of it. Even better, it was on Hulu. It was on the internet legally. Meaning: it wasn’t going to mysteriously disappear in a week after NBC/Universal discovered we were having fun with it.
“Hark!” I said. “Here is where our Christmas season truly begins! We shall watch this Alf’s Special Christmas, and yea verily, we shall make fun of it, and lo, our snark shalt bring us together in great joy.” And so, with pen in hand, ready to
take notes, I pushed play.
Lauryn, I believe the words you are looking for are: “This is so very wrong, and yet, so very right.”
This episode’s book was something called The Bionic Bunny Show, though the YouTuber here cut that part out in order to focus on the real meat of the day: ruining Andy’s childhood fantasies.
Ha ha, no, I’m just kidding, of course, I never thought Star Trek: The Next Generation was real, per say. Really, I didn’t. When I learned that the transporter was actually a camera trick mixed with a shot of glitter in a glass of water, I was fine. I was. Fine.
But, seriously, though: this was a pretty awesome thing to see as a kid. It was the making of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was how they put together a TV show, with full behind the scenes access provided by our friend Levar Burton, who just happened to be on both shows. Even non-Trekkies remember this one (at least the transporter glitter thing). For slightly nerdier children, it was nerdvana.
Here’s part two, where we learn that the crappy containment device from that crappy episode “Home Soil” was actually about two feet tall and made of stuff Rob Legato had left over after building his model planes. Also, the real Enterprise is like six feet long. Sorry about that.
Stay tuned for exclusive bloopers near the end. There is a TNG blooper reel, from the beginning of Season One, where you can actually hear Levar Burton saying the “S” word! You might like that as well, but you don’t have to take my word for it!