Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Special

I think I’ve finally found the origins of all my depression issues. In the last week, purely by coincidence, I’ve had a chance to see a couple of much-loved, animated Christmas specials from my childhood: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” As a child, in the days before DVDs, or even VCRs, we carefully scheduled our evenings around the airing of the specials, so we wouldn’t miss a single second. Dinner was eaten, baths were taken, jammies were donned, all well in advance of the appointed time, so we could sit transfixed and unmoving, with our little mouths hanging open, watching Charlie Brown or the Grinch. Oh, and when we got the color TV, the whole experience was even more thrilling! Just imagine our delight at seeing the Grinch in his natural green fur.

Watching them as an adult, however, I’m mostly just appalled at the quantity of melancholy dished out by those two, short 30-minute shows aimed at small children. What were the creators thinking?

When I was a kid, I always felt really sad for Charlie Brown and the little Christmas tree he bought that nobody liked. Why did all the other kids have to be so mean about it? Yeah, yeah, I know they came around in the end. They decorated the tree and everybody sang and made up, but that was only about the last two minutes of the show. For the first 28 minutes of the show Charlie was all sad because nobody sent him any Christmas cards and nobody liked him and nobody liked his tree. Two minutes of group love just can’t make up for 28 minutes of gloom. And Charlie is clearly a classic depressive personality. Somebody get that kid some Prozac before he hangs himself.

And while we’re talking about sad things, why was the Grinch so mean to his little dog? His sweet, friendly little dog who only wanted to be loved?? Even today, as an adult, it caused me emotional distress when the Grinch got out the whip and made him pull that big, heavy sled. An old wound was ripped open, right there in the den. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.

(Sob). Somebody get ME some Prozac too.

OK, enough with the sad stuff. What’s up with Cindy Lou Who? I never noticed until today that she doesn’t look like any of the other Whos. All the others look like the normal Dr. Seuss characters, you know, a freaky cross between a Care Bear and a Troll doll. Cindy Lou looks like a normal, albeit animated, human child, complete with a head full of blond hair and big blue eyes. Oh, except for the ANTENNA she has growing out of the top of her head. If the Grinch didn’t predate Star Trek, I’d swear she was an Andorian rip-off. What are the antenna for? Why don’t all the Whos have antenna?? I’m glad I didn’t notice that as a kid, or I might really have some issues.

Isn’t it amazing how 25 little years of cynicism can completely alter the whole Christmas special experience?


Blogger Stucco said...

Cindy Lou Who was an android (note the not-so-disguised antenna) that was owned and operated by a consortium of big business concerns. Her purpose was to trigger cardio myopathy in the Grinch (and viewers) that could only be treated by large-scale consumption of consumer goods. Just as with the "Precious Moments" figurines, she is pure evil, and will rob you of your soul. Gaze upon her and know the emptiness that is Christmas, and succumb to the orgy of yuletide binge purchasing.

I myself have been holding out hope for one of those pedal powered trombone/tuba deals with optional rear-view mirror, flagpole, and cymbal stack. In red.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Jazz said...

I never saw the Grinch for some reason, but Charlie Brown? That special made me cry. It's evil. As for Cindy Lou Who - Stucco obviously knows all about her!

6:56 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

What pisses me off about the Charlie Brown Christmas Special is that once they decorate the tree...it's suddenly full and and tall and, well...just like EVERY other tree. So the message here is...different is bad...try to become like everyone else...then they'll like you and you'll be able to get laid. Damn you, Jim Schultz

3:53 PM  
Blogger Em said...

No doubt, those shows were supposed to make us feel good in the end. But you are right...we were all too depressed by the final two minutes to feel much joy. Same with poor Rudolph and the abusive reindeer clan. And the guy who tortured Frosty. What was it with the folks who made holiday specials?

7:20 PM  
Blogger CrimsonKing said...

Maybe androids are a Cindy Lou Who rip off. Ever think of that? Thought so.

8:12 PM  
Blogger cheesy said...

Gadz I have to switch to beta soon! I just saw the grinch movie with Jim Carrey... for the first time... eek! He WAS the grinch!

11:10 PM  
Blogger Stucco said...

Crimson- OH MY GAWD! :) Also- I love-ah Da Cheat-ah avatar.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

stucco, Gawd, don't even mention those abominable "Precious Moments" figurines. I HATE them. My mother-in-law has a whole display case of them and I have to restrain myself from physically assaulting them every time I'm in that house.

jazz, The grinch takes you on an emotional roller-coaster, just like Charlie Brown. Check it out sometime when you're feeling emotionally stable.

kara, I know exactly what you mean! Some tinsel and a few lights are not going to make a scraggly tree suddenly look perfect. They should have just accepted the tree as it was and loved it anyway. Gawd, I can feel myself maturing emotionally even as we speak.

em, Don't even get me started on Rudolph and that pitiful island of forgotten toys that nobody wanted. Thankfully, I haven't run into that one this year.

crimsonking, I'm sensing a serious lack of Star Trek background here. An Andorian is not an android. Andorians are the blue-skinned/white-haired people with blue antenna sticking out of their heads. Check out this page for more detail: http://www.70disco.com/andorian.htm.

cheesy, It was a little freaky how well Jim Carrey did the Grinch. I saw him do that face once without the costume and it was still amazingly Grinch-like.

9:03 AM  

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