Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Top Ten Angsty X-Mas Moments

For such a festive holiday, there are an awful amount of angsty and uncomfortable moments in pop-culture Christmas celebrations:

10. A Christmas Story Boy gets tongue stick on pole.
This scene was the "Saw" or "Hostel" of my eight-year-old life.
Left much to the imagination, none of it good.

9. A Christmas Carol There are so many morbid scenes in this story:
dead Marley in chains, Tiny Tim dies, Scrooge gets dragged into Hell.
The happy ending seems to be tacked-on after Victorian focus-groups complained.

8. The Snowman Spoiler alert: this classic cartoon (they always play it on public television) ends
with the "Frosty" stand-in melting away to nothing in front of the kid. The end.
Life's tough, little kid! And snow melts! Get used to it!

7. "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" 'Nuff said.

6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
That big white giant with the pointy teeth was really scary...
but not as scary as that train with square wheels. Very David Lynch.
And what was wrong with that girl doll, anyway? I never got that.

5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The evil Burgomeister declares war on Santa and kids everywhere.
Burns toys, declares death to every first born child. Too much drama.

4. It's A Wonderful Life Jimmy Stewart tries to commit suicide -- instant family holiday classic!

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas Charlie kills the tree. Blockhead.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Grinch steals Christmas, abuses dog.

1. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" A toe-tapper until you realize that it's about starving children. Then the guilt starts.

Bonus: No room at the inn.


  1. feliz navidad
    nirvana forever

  2. I love "It's A Wonderful Life". Yes, its corny, yes, it's heavy handed... but when it gets to that part that things look the bleakest and then you're reminded that people still care... that still gets to me.

  3. Oh, man..."Do They Know It's Christmas" is the best worst holiday song ever. I'm pretty much down with it, until the line, "Well, there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas..."

    I always imagine all these pampered, pale British pop stars sitting around the studio, gasping in horror that there is actually someplace in the world where THERE'S NO SNOW AT CHRISTMAS!

    It's like a lyric from Spinal Tap.

  4. Oh! And I almost forgot the best line! Bono screeching,

    "Well, tonight thank god it's them, instead of you..."

    Yes, Bono. Thank god there are dirty poor Africans starving instead of your girlfriend.


  5. A toe-tapper until you realize that it's about starving children. Then the guilt starts.

    No! No! No!


  6. Also: Brazil, Gremlins, Die Hard...

  7. Matt... the first line is allegory. The snow standing for what we expect from Christmas in an idealised form - including a saved bounteous harvest. The second is a harsh critical line targeted at the cosseted.

    There are levels of irony and sarcasm not usually associated with a charity single. The fact that the group is called Band Aid - with the added meaning that the appeal was just a bandaid and not any kind of solution - is a good indicator of this.

  8. "Clanging chimes of doom" however is indefensible. I do hope someone writes a Fantastic Four story with that title though.

  9. Left Luggage--That's an incredibly charitable reading of that song! I prefer to think of the singers and songwriters as the "cosseted" you claim they're decrying, but hey, it's Christmas so let's find something we can agree upon:

    "Fairytale of New York" is a far better song in every respect. :)

  10. Hmmm ... maybe it's what is under the dress that makes that girl doll a 'misfit'. Not that there is anything wrong with that ... no more than being a "Charlie in the Box".

    The King on the Island of Misfit Tos was pretty kick-ass - a bat-winged lion.

  11. I recently saw Baum's life & adventures of santa claus which was pretty awesome.

  12. i recently heard the actual reason the girl doll was on the island of misfit toys: She had suffered psychological trauma after being rejected by her little girl owner once she had grown up.

    True (and weird) story. Heard it on NPR, so, it must be true.

  13. I must have missed the "Scrooge gets dragged into Hell" part...

  14. Yes! No matter how many times they remake it, the Alistair Sim version of Christmas Carol will always be the best. No one wants to watch it any more, b/c it's in B&W...

    "It's a Wonderful Life" does get to me, but every time I watch it I get more and more annoyed that the bad guy gets away with stealing the money. I guess that's why I loved the SNL routine where they showed the "lost" final scene where everyone goes to his office and kicks his ass...

  15. don't forget john lennon's Happy Christmas (best done in a cynical goth/emo voice):

    "soooo it's christmas. and WHAT have you done??"

  16. If it helps any, My favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard. Nothing says Feliz Navidad like blowing up a building and having Bruce Willis save the day ;)

    (Well, I also like the corny All I want for Christmas... To be honest)

  17. What always bothered me about "It's a Wonderful Life" is the wife's horrible fate if he hadn't come into her life - she's a librarian. Just the way the angel says it, like it's the most horrible fate imaginable... it cracks me up and completely throws me out of the movie.

  18. Matt - Somehow I find it very hard to take the "Well, there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas" the way you read it because there usually isn't snow at Christmas in Britain either. White Christmases have been very rare exceptions there since, well, the mid-19th century, the only places where you see snow there at Christmas is in cinema, on TV, on postcards and in illustrated editions of "A Christmas Carol" (actually I've heard that even when that story was published there was usually no snow at Christmas, but Dickens was working off memories of his childhood in the last years of the "little ice age")...

  19. Gah. For a moment, I read the title as "Top Ten Angsty X-Men Moments" and thus found the contents a little confusing.

  20. And what was wrong with that girl doll, anyway? I never got that.

    She was filled with broken glass instead of fluff. Also, that spotted elephant was a bubonic plague carrier, apparently.

  21. [Long-time lurker, first-time poster]

    I remember something from the _Pop-Up Video_ show that used to run on the VH1 cable channel. The "Do They Know It's Christmas" song mentions "Well, there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas...". But since the continent has tall mountains, there is snow there all the time, including Christmas.