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A Muppet Christmas with Zbigniew Brzezinski (1978)
December 4, 2004 1:23 PM   Subscribe

The Ten Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time. From An Algonquin Round Table Christmas to Noam Chomsky: Deconstructing Christmas, these are the worst Christmas specials ever. I'd pay good money to see the Ayn Rand one for real.
posted by apathy0o0 (44 comments total)

 
Don't forget the Stars Wars Christmas special!
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:28 PM on December 4, 2004


the spectacle of children trudging across the bitterly cold, dark tundra to offer Santa cash for his services

Amazing what radio technology could do in the 50s.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:36 PM on December 4, 2004


Canadians and moose are comedy gold.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:44 PM on December 4, 2004


*rimshot*

This makes me miss Brunching Shuttlecocks.
posted by Arch Stanton at 1:50 PM on December 4, 2004


I like very much!
[/borat]
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:59 PM on December 4, 2004


"Rumor suggests Harlan Ellison may have written the original script; asked about the episode at 1978's IgunaCon II science fiction convention, however, Ellison described the episode as 'a quiescently glistening cherem of pus.'"

I am still cackling over that quote. This was brilliant! Thanks apathy0o0.
posted by Darkman at 2:01 PM on December 4, 2004


Wow, the Village People Christmas must be overwhelming.
posted by asbates2 at 2:02 PM on December 4, 2004


I'm a little slow today, so I'm not sure what rattled me more: that I didn't immediately realize that these were fake, or that the Star Wars link that elwoodwiles gave us isn't. Funny stuff.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2004


The Star Wars Christmas special is probably the worst real Christmas special ever aired on television. From a Salon article:
"Was Lucas high when he authorized this? Although technically only 120 minutes long, the "Holiday Special" has the futuristic ability to slow time, and one emerges from its vortex some six days later bearded, weeping, defeated and sporting a limp. It's the kind of experience that makes you want to go lie down in the road."
I have a copy of it somewhere -- I'll try and find it and 'torrent it up for any masochists in the Blue.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:44 PM on December 4, 2004


Whoops, that link should be: The SW Christmas Special Salon article.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:45 PM on December 4, 2004


cherem: Excommunication from the Synagogue.
posted by kenko at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2004


Happy Life Day ...
posted by feelinglistless at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2004


Oh, please do post it, Civil_Disobedient. I've never managed to see it, but I really am a masochist, and would like to.

On topic, this was pretty funny. I liked the Canadian one, which is par for the course.
posted by livii at 2:58 PM on December 4, 2004


I have really really got to see Noam discuss Christmas. It's got to be enlightening as hell.
posted by NoamChomskyStoleMyFace at 2:58 PM on December 4, 2004


I peed myself at both the "anti-life" and "Muppet Afghan mujaheedin" bits. I want a funny transfusion from this guy.
posted by logovisual at 3:04 PM on December 4, 2004


That's "our" John Scalzi, internet icon/idol/iconoclast/institution.

We can all say we knew him before he became known as a One of the Greatest Science Fiction Writers of All Time.

Yep, I wanna be just like him when/if I grow up.
posted by wendell at 3:17 PM on December 4, 2004


An Algonquin Round Table Christmas

Oh MAN! That shit is FUNNY!

Ayn Rand's A Selfish Christmas

BWAHAHAHAH!

Oh, I am DYING. And I'm only 3 in!
posted by scarabic at 3:27 PM on December 4, 2004


Here's a RealVideo version of the entire Star Wars Christmas Special. It's a pretty crappy, reduced-bitrate version, but it's the entire thing. (~18 Megs). Enjoy.

Ha. Enjoy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:42 PM on December 4, 2004


Civil, e-mail me if/when you torrent that. I have a deep desire to have 90 more minutes of my life stolen by that horrible bastard.
posted by graventy at 3:44 PM on December 4, 2004


very funny, thanks
posted by muckster at 3:45 PM on December 4, 2004


On preview: nevermind. :)
posted by graventy at 3:46 PM on December 4, 2004


Despite a rave review by Z magazine

heh.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2004


how the heck did Civil_Disobedient link the "posted by" text?
posted by juv3nal at 4:05 PM on December 4, 2004


.kobayashi., I sympathize!

"... Santa's Workshop had been overrun in a blitzkrieg by Finnish proxies of the Nazi German government ..."
posted by runkelfinker at 4:13 PM on December 4, 2004


Whoops, looks like I added an extra quotation mark in my HTML. Let's try that again.

And on preview: juv3nal - What do you mean?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:14 PM on December 4, 2004


Mutual Broadcast System executives raised objections to the radio play, noting that 56 minutes of the hour-long broadcast went to a philosophical manifesto by the elf

hehe... "If Atlas Shrugged was made into a Holiday Special".

Incidentally why does everyone try to read "Atlas Shrugged" first? It's obtuse, overly long, and not a terribly good novel. "The Fountainhead" is a much better read...
posted by clevershark at 4:49 PM on December 4, 2004


civil:maybe it's just IE acting wonky, but when I view source, I see the text "Here's a RealVideo version of the entire Star Wars Christmas Special. It's a pretty crappy, reduced-bitrate version, but it's the entire thing. (~18 Megs). Enjoy.", but in the browser it just renders "posted by Civil Disobeient at 3:42 PM PST on December 4" with the "posted by" bit linked to the file.
posted by juv3nal at 5:29 PM on December 4, 2004


Hmm. That's... different. Well, for posterity's sake (because it's so important that this never happen again), here's the softlink: http://www.shadowfuture.net/bh/misc/holidayspecial.rm
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:13 PM on December 4, 2004


.kobayashi.: "I'm a little slow today, so I'm not sure what rattled me more: that I didn't immediately realize that these were fake, or that the Star Wars link that elwoodwiles gave us isn't."

Reading the various comments sprinked about the InterWeb about the piece, it's pretty clear a small but significant percentage of people get through the whole thing without figuring out they're completely fake (people who dislike Ayn Rand seem particularly susceptible to believing it's real). So don't feel too bad -- you did figure it out, after all.

Nevertheless, it remains true that none of these can top the non-fictional Star Wars Christmas Special. Reality is always stranger than fiction.
posted by jscalzi at 6:23 PM on December 4, 2004


Heh. I have a bootleg SW XMAS video, (complete w/ a lot of 1978 commercials, which are really the only good part of the tape) and every year I loan it to some unsuspecting Star Wars fan, with warnings about the sheer depth of its badness. And every year they bring it back, admitting they couldn't make it through. Wimps.

It may be that a lot of them are too young to have remembered the sheer evil that was 70s variety shows/holiday specials (which is what this was, basically). But if you grew up with exposure to all kinds of Shields and Yarnell-flavored crap, it's not as startling. Still magnificantly horrible, but in a familiar sort of way. I really think it rivals anything Ed Wood could have conjured up. And that all of the CBS writers were doing some serious drugs.
posted by emjaybee at 6:39 PM on December 4, 2004


Noam should be singing with RATM instead of Chris Cornell, they could be called Rage Against Discourse.
posted by Ark_Light at 6:57 PM on December 4, 2004


People should read "We the Living" first. Then stop, because the other ones aren't literary.
posted by u.n. owen at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2004


jscalzi: I had to go to IMDB to figure it out, because googling led to so very many links -- all of which eventually lead back to your post, and most of which seemed to take it very very seriously.

I'm a little embarassed about this, but here it is: Until I IMDB'd "Zbigniew Brzezinski" and didn't see the muppets, I was completely fooled. Even now, I half-believe in the Chomsky/WGBH one. Well done!
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:54 PM on December 4, 2004


Nice work, jscalzi!

MetaFilter: until I IMDB'd "Zbigniew Brzezinski"...
posted by Vidiot at 9:12 PM on December 4, 2004


for any other insomniacs out there, you can download the star wars special here (C_D's link is dead).
posted by andrew cooke at 9:32 PM on December 4, 2004


but really, it's not worth it.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:39 PM on December 4, 2004


Funny stuff, apathy0o0.

It does seem to go steadily downhill after the Harlan Ellison quote, but it starts off so flat-out hysterical that there's a looooooooooong way to slide before it gets tedious.
posted by soyjoy at 10:21 PM on December 4, 2004


I would want to see the Village People one if it existed. Yes, I have odd taste. ; )
posted by SisterHavana at 11:01 PM on December 4, 2004



People should read "We the Living" first. Then stop, because the other ones aren't literary.


Oh, I dunno. I liked "Anthem." We read that in the 6th grade and I remember being utterly fascinated that you could have a character named Equality 7-2521.

And I didn't get these were fake immediately. I felt really, really gullible and stupid, but this is what happens when you read MeFi from an airport early in the morning.
posted by TeamBilly at 5:41 AM on December 5, 2004


I keep wanting to say that they left out "KISS Saves Santa" that appears in "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas."

But then I stop and think, and realize that more than anything else I feel angry and cheated that "KISS Saves Santa" doesn't actually exist, wedged somewhere between one of the Burl Ives specials and this 70s jobbie about "Commerce Day" in the future that may only have aired on AFN/AFRTS (even though it didn't feature Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper from the PSAs).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:04 AM on December 5, 2004


This was brilliant. If it hadn't been for the Muppet and Star Trek specials, which I'm certain I would have heard about, I might have been fooled, too. The Village People one has a particular ring of truth.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:01 AM on December 5, 2004


Heh. I have a bootleg SW XMAS video, (complete w/ a lot of 1978 commercials, which are really the only good part of the tape) and every year I loan it to some unsuspecting Star Wars fan, with warnings about the sheer depth of its badness. And every year they bring it back, admitting they couldn't make it through. Wimps.

Some friends of mine run a game at conventions called the "Cherry Hill Experiment", which basically involves playing horrible movies and tv specials. Players get point for making it all the way through shows, and for particularly clever MST3K-type remarks. The Star Wars Xmas Special is one of the gems of their collection. They actually got a letter from Lucasfilms asking for the copy back...
posted by Karmakaze at 10:32 AM on December 5, 2004


Every single one of these sounded better than the Star Wars special. When people hear about that and want to see it, I usually try to warn them off by comparing it to heroin addiction. It's hard to describe it without making it sound kind of cool, but when you try it out, you realize just how deeply not cool it really is.
posted by rusty at 11:14 AM on December 5, 2004


Wasn't there also a Batman and Robin Christmas special at one point? I vaguely remember a skit involving Batman going to a used car dealer to buy a new Batmobile (this is the 60s-era TV Batman we're talking about) -- I searched google, but astoundingly couldn't find anything.

Perhaps it's just my mind starting to go...
posted by davejay at 2:18 PM on December 6, 2004


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