It's Christmas time everyone! You know what that always means. CHRISTMAS SPECIALS! As a child, I often got excited when Christmas specials started airing. Some are good, and some are horrible. But there are those that are timeless. Those that are so good that you actually sometimes have the urge to watch them out of season. Those are the ones I'll be focusing on today. These are my top five favorite Christmas specials
5. Mickey's Christmas Carol
With Scrooge McDuck in the role he was born to play...
Scrooge. Proving that typecasting is alive and well. This gets on the list because it's freakin' DISNEY! It was among the first versions of A Christmas Carol I saw as a child and remains to be a personal favorite. While a decent adaptation, it's not exactly a "to the letter" adaption. In fact, upon a recent viewing it almost feels like a parody. Or "A Christmas Carol: The Abridged special."
While most versions of A Christmas Carol depicts Scrooge as a miserable cheap Bastard, Disney depicts him more as if he enjoys being a cheap Bastard and comically over exaggerates Scrooge's stinginess.
But even with all this exaggerated silliness, they're not gonna let you off the hook too easily. It's Disney. Which means at some point, you will CRY!
As you probably know, Mickey Mouse plays the role of Bob Crachet. And unless you've been under a ROCK all your life, you know Bob's story and how his youngest son Tiny Tim is ill and will die if not helped soon. When Scrooge sees the future and what's happened to Bob Crachet, we see him at a tombstone with Tiny Tim's Crutch and while other versions get the sad moment out through a lot of talk, the moment grabs your heart and Mexican Hat dances on it with only once scene.
That's right. They make the freakin' mouse CRY!! Not even a full blown cry. It's just one tear. It's all he needed.
Oh, another reason this version rocks is because it gives Pete his one and only crowning moment of awesome! It comes near the end. Pete is the Ghost of Christmas Future who reveals Scrooge is basically gonna die alone and unloved. Pete has this one awesome line when Scrooge asks who's grave this is.
"Why yours Ebenezer. THE RICHEST MAN IN THE CEMETERY!"
followed by another thing Disney is not complete without. NIGHTMARE FUEL!!!
Not the most serious version of the classic story, but still good and worth the time.
4. Muppets Christmas Carol
Another adaptation of A Christmas Carol. This time instead of a talking mouse, we have a talking Frog!
But don't let that fool you. This ranked above Mickey's version because despite the talking frog, pig, ect. this is actually one of the most faithful adaptations of the story I have ever seen. This remembers a lot other versions don't and for the most part the dialog is quoted straight from the book.
Oh, and Scrooge is played by Michael Cain. Michael fucking Cain. 'Nuff said!
Try to find the uncut version if you can. For some versions have the "When love is gone" song number cut which fills me with rage!!!
3. Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer
We've all seen Rankin Bass's Christmas specials. I think we all have a favorite. Mine is Rudolph. Since childhood this was the stop motion Christmas special I enjoyed the most and spoke to me the best. This was the one I would watch even off the Christmas season. It in fact made Rudolph one of my favorite Christmas characters. Maybe 'cause being the victim of name calling and bullying myself, I feel very much for poor Rudoolph. I used to even draw him as a child. So, why did I rate it only number three? Growing up and watching it again I noticed something. Everyone in this special is a freakin' JERK!! Seriously. Everyone puts down Rudolph for being different. I know, i know, that's how the song went but when even SANTA CLAUS is being an asshole to poor Rudolph, you know something's wrong. Seriously. Of all the people you'd expect to be a bigot dumbass, it's certainly not Santa Claus!! When Santa turns and asks for his help, I wanted to see Rudolph say something like "Let's see some begging first, FAT MAN!" Ah well, he'll have his revenge. He'll have his revenge on them all!!
2. How the Grinch stole Christmas
I've got nothing against the live action movie. (Except for a few questionable jokes) but when I think the Grinch, I think Boris Karloff! As a big Dr. Seuss fan since childhood, it's not Christmas until I've seen the green guy trying to steal it!
Unfortunately, I don't have much to say on this one. Other than The Who's Christmas Song actually gets me inside.
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Oh come on. What else would it have been? As I think TV Tropes put it; "This isn't a Christmas special. This is THE Christmas special!"
And no truer words have been spoken. I defy you to find a single Christmas special in recent years that doesn't parody or pay tribute to this special some where in it.
the fact that radio stations play "Linus and Lucy" on Christmas time despite that the theme isn't really a Christmas song tells you how much of an impact this special has had on Christmas. In the fight for Christmas, it's between Mickey Mouse and Charlie Brown.
Seriously, not only is it one of the best yet simplest Christmas specials ever, but it's one of the few Charlie Brown specials out there that actually ENDS well for the poor kid.
It's also one of those few Christmas specials that grows up with you and never feels childish. As you grow, you understand Charlie Brown more and some of the cynical jokes tossed here and there. I particularly always liked Linus' comment as he bangs on a metal Christmas tree saying "This tree really brings Christmas close to a person." And his later comment when they find the little tree and says "Wow, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?" Which came to my mind went I went to a Walgreens and saw Charlie Brown's little tree being sold. It's ironic because you KNOW those certainly aren't "Wooden Christmas Trees."
Oh, and if Linus's little speech about the true meaning of Christmas doesn't make you tear up a little then consider yourself a SCROOGE!!! And not the fun Scottish Disney one either.
Timeless, thy name is Charlie Brown
So there they are. My top five favorite specials. Without these, it's just not Christmas.
With this I say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!