What’s On Yule Tube?

tvWhen I was a kid, Christmas TV specials were . . . well, special.

There was no “on demand” or even VCRs in my early youth to record shows to watch at leisure. So we anxiously awaited those December nights when Rankin/Bass Productions presented their semi-creepy puppet features.

It was a big deal—a family tradition.

We made popcorn and sprawled out in front of the tube on the orange and brown shag carpet as a family to watch the Winter Warlock put one foot in front of the other.

Sure, the plots were corny and the dialogue was cheesy, but we lived in a world of Bradys and Monkees so it’s all we knew. Now TV stations spew out Christmas corn and cheese by the truckload in the form of dim-witted holiday flicks in an era when we should be able to do sooo much better.

I don’t mind if a holiday show is a bit sappy or hokey. I mean, it’s Christmastime after all. A time when we toss all logic out the window and excitedly convince our children they better keep that room clean or a fat old omnipresent elf won’t swing by the house riding his flying reindeer to eat our cookies and leave store-packaged goods. But so many of the Christmas shows being produced en masse nowadays are downright dopey or seriously hack.

First, I’m appalled by production companies who are so unimaginative yet desperate to make a buck that they dare to tamper with Christmas classics.

Yes, I found A Christmas Story 2 DVD.

Poor Ralphie.

Did we learn nothing from the modern makeover Grinch fiasco?

Second, as I’ve read through the descriptions of some made-for-TV Christmas movies looking for something new and festive to watch during the holidays, I’ve sensed a suspicious familiarity to several plots. Synopses such as: “A hard-nosed executive who decides to eliminate Christmas bonuses for his employees to cut corporate costs, has a change of heart after three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve,” or “A Hollywood diva learns to look beyond herself when three ghosts take her on a Christmas journey of self-awareness,” or “A heartless playboy discovers the root of his commitment issues when a trio of super hot angels escort him through visitations to his past, present and future.”

Really?

Are we so tapped out of original ideas there are no Christmas tales to tell besides Scroogey spin-offs?

There are also lots of “Twelve Something-or-others of Christmas” themes.

Yawn.

That song is like the holiday edition of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” and there’s no reason to perpetuate it in film form.

I noticed another go-to holiday plot is that of “a kind stranger” (i.e. angel) who magically fixes a holiday conundrum of some kind for, say, a struggling child of divorce, a lonely single mother, a bitter bachelor, a forgotten widow, etc.

Some of these stories are sweet and I have found some modern Christmas keepers among them, but when I want to feel like a kid again all curled up next to velvet-covered speakers on a TV console, I need Bing and Rosemary, not “an original Christmas musical starring Tori Spelling!”

Yikes.

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