Sunday, January 23, 2011

Holiday Reviews

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

So, while I watched various holiday specials in 2010, I jotted down some commentary, much like I do in the weekly television reviews. This year I only did this for annual events and specials that I was seeing for the first time, with one exception (which I explain below). Since we're nearly a month after Christmas, I wanted to get this out.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special:
It opened like a bit of a movie review. The first half is really boring. Then the panda asks the other warriors to help him with dinner. In the end, Panda skips out on dinner to help his dad instead. That weird rabbit was kinda annoying.

Macy's Day Parade 2010: 84th! This is my favorite. omg I LOVED Meredith's jacket!! The parade starts more than 2 miles uptown of where they are now. Central Park West and 77th is where Al Roker is. Yay clowns. Yay dancing to start it off. Where did the lassos come from? Memphis musical, yay! Cheers to GreenDay! Flashback to middle school, LoL! Caterpillar balloon was different. Interesting take on "Beautiful Day." I was excited to see a number from Elf, the new Broadway show. Man, do I wish I was back in PA!! The Rockettes were gorgeous as always. Cool, Purdue. LOVED the Ocean Spray/Mayflower float! Kermit looked a little different. haha, there's a Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon. Cute baton-girl outfits from Wisconsin. Jimmy Fallon has a band? A Mount Rushmore float? for real? Mannheim Steamroller!! They looked like they were having just the best time!! "Come On, Get Happy" was nice to hear - it's been a while. Yay, CruiseShip Mickey! I actually had resolution issues on the cheerleaders, which I thought was strange. Yay, kids from Seminole, Florida!! Cow Chip Bingo fundraiser... go figure!! The pirate ship was very cartoony. Juanes wasn't mic'd right or something... he was too quiet to hear sometimes... so my translation was awful, LoL. Weird-looking artist clowns. Awww... bye bye, Shrek! Whoa, Power Rangers!! hehe, Kung Fu Panda balloon. This was the first I'd heard of the music group, Big Time Rush. Liked them. WHOA!!!!! There's still new Pokemon characters??!?!? Tapping rain boots... I like it! This was very step-y for tap. Horton is so cute!! Dora was cute. "Carol of the Bells" and other songs done by penguins. YES! Yay, Teddy Bears' Picnic! I loved the Stepper-Ettes uniforms. VERY synchronized! Impressive. 375 members in a baton-twirling organization??!?!? Wow, I didn't realize Smurfs had been translated into over 40 languages! 27 floats and 16 balloons later, we come across SANTA! The sled actually looks upgraded, LoL.

TV's Funniest Holiday Moments: A Paley Center for Media Special: I didn't care for the first few in the Top 30 countdown, but the first flashback was an I Love Lucy that was really cute. Five Santas to surprise Little Ricky was funny. The #24 Family Guy scene was okay. I love me some A Charlie Brown's Christmas, but I think I would have gone with a different scene, although this one was really the quintessential part, LoL. #22 is the Seinfeld Festivus! Yay! #21 is The Simpsons episode where they sing to "The Nutcracker" !!! I didn't know that the Simpsons had a dumpster next to their house tho, LoL. ooooh, #20 is "Slapsgiving" from How I Met Your Mother. :) $19 was Murphy Brown but not fabulous. #18's All in the Family was nothing to write home about, either. Tho Archie opening the door to a nun was amusing. Cute little flashback to Happy Days. #17 is the original The Simpsons episode. #16 was not the choicest episode of Roseanne. #13's Golden Girls was just weird. Silly Rose. #12 was some Scrooge-y Family Ties, which I don't think I've seen before. Strange interview with the dad... how big of a gauge does he have in his left ear?? Flashback to the Grinch cartoon. The famous food fight from Cheers made #10. But they cut it before Norm's wife walked in! #9 went to Two and a Half Men, which was another episode I hadn't seen. #8 gets the Seinfeld Nipple Christmas Card. #7 goes to Frasier!! Yay!! But I would've went with the one where they are pretending they're Jewish... it's MUCH funnier, LoL. #6 for Everybody Loves Raymond, but not the Christmas where Ray is trying to go golfing... instead it's the one where they're trying to eat low-fat. I've never seen The Honeymooners, but the flashback was cute. #5 for some Home Improvement... sweet. But there were so many other good episodes... this wasn't the funniest clip. #4 is the Holiday Armadillo episode of Friends. #3 is Big Bang Theory. #2 is my favorite of the Cosby Show Thanksgiving episodes!!! Yay!!! And the clips were pretty good, too. goes to the Friends episode of Thanksgiving when the turkey is stuck on Joey's head. Apparently they used a real turkey.
Overall, I don't know that the "classic" moments were the best-fitting... maybe they should have done shorter jokes instead, since this was overall a comedy special, LoL.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown: I've seen the original Charlie Brown Christmas special a ton of times, but this is the first year I've caught this one. I honestly didn't known that Rerun was a verbal character before this. It had a really cute commercial for Walmart with an original Christmas song (as far as I know). hehe, Rerun has Linus' intelligence. haha, you can tell it's newer because of things like "harassment" for asking a girl to go to Paris, LoL. Rerun crying was sad. Apparently Mrs. VanPelt isn't very good at riding a bicycle, LoL. Schroeder was wonderful, as usual. That basketball was gigantic compared to Rerun. Rerun and Snoopy were cute playing together. haha, flipping a coin on whether to bark at someone, LoL. Rerun and Charlie Brown talking definitions was amusing. Oooh, I also got to see the yearly Christmas Coca-Cola commercial. :) "You're as thin as a promise" haha, Lucy about Spike.

Little Drummer Boy Book II: I've seen the first one a number of times, but I think I only even found out that there was a second last year. So, this year I made a point to watch it. The Drummer Boy (Aaron) wants to minstrel to the tax collectors in exchange for coins or wheat or animals. Brutus (the leader) wants to melt the bells, but there's no dry wood to start a fire. He steals the drum and the drumsticks to make the fire. The animals take the bells while the mean guys are preoccupied. The Roman soldiers realize they're gone, and Aaron hides the bells in the sand, to look like a dune. The Wiseman tried to console Aaron about the drum. They go to hear the bells rung. They play "Do You Hear what I Hear?" The bell-maker made him a new drum. The bells went on to ring every Christmas Day.

Frosty's Winter Wonderland: Now, I've seen the original Frosty and the Frosty Returns specials many times, but I had never seen this one, so I caught it on DVR this year. We start with the kids missing Frosty and Frosty at the North Pole. He reads a paper about it snowing, so he wrote a letter to the kids about coming. Apparently this is the story of Frosty taking a wife. Jack Frost shows up and is jealous that the kids don't love him like they love Frosty. Jack Frost tries to steal Frosty's hat, but he gets the wrong one. Frosty gets lonely when the kids go in at night, so they tell him to get a wife, but he doesn't know what that means. The kids build him a wife, and they talk about names, before settling on Crystal. But they don't know how to make her real. Eventually we find out that "Frost Flowers" make Crystal real. Apparently she was conscious while un-alive, but she's excited about getting married immediately. Jack Frost steals Frosty's hat, but Crystal gives Frosty a flower and he's back to life. Parson Brown won't marry snowpeople, but he'll help build a snow-parson. To make him "all living," he gets a Bible and comes to life. Jack Frost shows up to screw things, but they ask him to be the Best Man, and he accepts. It gets to April and starts getting warmer, but Jack Frost keeps it winter. Parson Brown talks to the snowfolk about it, and they agree that the trees and flowers deserve a season, too. Overall, there were some new additions to the verses in the Frosty the Snowman song that I'd like to learn and incorporate, LoL.

The Christmas Toy: This is one that I've known about for years and years, but it's never come on when I could see it, or never on a channel that I subscribed to. This year, however, I got lucky and was able to see it (that HUB network is SO awesome). It's live-action with toys and real kids. The voices are all from regular Muppets Puppeteers (as far as I could tell). There's a rule that you can move around when there's no people around, but if you're caught out of place, you'll never come to life again. It's Christmas Eve and the toys have mixed feelings about new toys coming. Rugby the Tiger was a Christmas Toy, and he thinks Christmas is all about him. Balthazar the Teddy Bear gives a speech about accepting the new toys. Rugby is out of the room at the time, thinking he needs to go get in a box for Christmas. The mom comes in, and a toy is no longer alive, "frozen forever." The toy had gone to save Rugby, who is still out there. A Cat Toy tries to help Rugby. More toys go in search of Rugby. Rugby makes it to the tree but the presents are wrapped and he can't figure out how to get inside the box. They get the new present out, and she's high-tech, LoL. The dad comes to see what's going on, but the cat toy meows to make him go away before he sees anything. The new toy doesn't want to go back in the box. They get her to go into the box and they're going back to the playroom, but the cat toy is frozen in fear from being seen, and is then seen and frozen for real. The mom moves him downstairs and Rugby goes after him, to apologize. Apparently Rugby's love brought the little cat toy back to life. We hear the "Old Friends, Dear Friends" song that is just like "Old Friends, New Friends" from A Muppet Family Christmas. And the clown toy comes back to life, too!! Super-cute. The cat gets another toy so now there are two cat-nip mice. Rugby watches the little girl love the new doll, and hears her say "just like I love all my toys."

Yes, Virginia: I didn't know quite what to expect in this one. The opening was quite captivating... going through town and all. Virginia has a really neat pop-up book that she's been making. I liked that the idea of a subway system being ridiculous, haha. 9 1/2 and using the words "circumnavigate" and "infantile" haha. Charlotte messing with Virginia's book made me sad. The Believe Meter was odd. The argument over whether or not to answer Virginia's letter was amusing. Charlotte randomly seeing Virginia's letter was waaaaay too coincidental. It was very sweet of Virginia to give a coat to the street Santa. And, in turn, kind of the street Santa to try to get Virginia's letter answered. I got goosebumps when the editor of the paper cleared his desk to answer Virginia's letter. The Believe Meter as a pocketwatch was a cute ending. I had a difficult time recognizing Neil Patrick Harris' voice, which was odd.

Leprechaun's Christmas Gold: This one is from 1981, but this is only the first or second year I've ever heard of it. It opens with a sea captain telling a cabin boy to dig up a tree from an island so they'll have a Christmas tree. But there are leprechauns on the island. Digging up the tree frees Magdag (sp?) who makes it storm. But, a rainbow appears which opens up the ground to reveal some gold treasures. There are two types of leprechauns - miners and shoemakers. Magdag the Banshee wants gold on Christmases (but he's not allowed to steal it), because otherwise they (Banshees) turn into saltwater. So they use fairy-powers to try and sneak it from people. Magdag had once turned all of the miners into shoemakers except one (the one who is telling this story), since shoemakers are more likely to gift gold. Lord Patrick asked Magdag how they turn to tears, and asks her to demonstrate before he is gifted Blarney's gold. When Magdag is melted, Blarney plants a pinecone with the liquid. Back in present day, Magdag puts a spell on the leprechaun, but the leprechaun grants the gold to the cabin boy instead. His ship left him behind at this point, and he finds a shipwrecked girl on the beach. He tells the girl the story, and she suggests he give the gold to her. Turns out, she's Magdag in disguise. Magdag puts the boy (Dinty?) to sleep. The husband and wife who got into a fight long ago make up, and Lord Patrick puts a rainbow in the sky, and the boy wakes up. Magdag goes for the gold, but it's Christmas morning already so she's out of time and she melts away. The rainbow then helps the boy find his ship, and he takes the gold and leprechauns with him, bound for Ireland.

The Christmas Blessing: I recorded this one purely for Neil Patrick Harris, haha. We see the red "Christmas shoes" get donated and picked up. I love NPH as a doctor, haha. The first patient of the day dies, and NPH takes it hard. He's burnt out, so he goes home for "vacation." His dad is pretty surprised. (NPH has kinda a hairy chest - we see when he's sleeping.) Turns out that NPH is the grown-up version of the kid who bought the Christmas shoes. He's helping out in his dad's shop, and is played by a girl who pretends she only speaks Spanish until after her car is fixed. Turns out that the guy who picked up the Christmas shoes plays the dad of Charlie, played by the kid who plays the kid on Two and a Half Men. His teacher is the woman who faked the Spanish. NPH is an afterschool volunteer now, and incorporates Charlie into some basketball with other kids. Charlie is pretty good. NPH's name is Nathan, and he runs into the teacher again. He doesn't mention that he's a doctor. Nathan and Charlie bond when they find out neither has a mother. Nathan helps him rake leaves. Looks like Charlie's dad is an alcoholic. He isn't thrilled about Nathan playing in the leaves with his kid. Nathan finds out that his own dad is looking to sell the family home and move. Charlie is doing homework in a back room of a bar, and questions whether his dad has been telling him the truth about his mother's whereabouts. He gives his kid the shoes so he'd believe she was a dancer. Next thing you know, Charlie collapses playing basketball, and Nathan makes sure he's taken to the hospital where he worked. Charlie has a heart problem, but he's not a candidate for transplant, so it's not looking wonderful. This whole thing also shows the teacher that Nathan is really a doctor (he had been pretending to be a mechanic). Charlie shows Nathan the Christmas shoes, and it shocks him. It looks like Nathan's dad is selling his garage, too. Nathan and the teacher are dancing when she collapses, and he brings her to the hospital. She has hepatitis B, and her liver is very badly damaged. Charlie finishes his report (on his mother) and the teacher gives it a great grade. But Charlie isn't feeling well, either, and gives Nathan the shoes to give to the teacher. Charlie's dad gives him a photo of his mother, and he says that he just saw her... it's really looking like he's going to die, and maybe he knows that his mom's dead (a fact that the dad hasn't told him). The dad was going to go work, but Charlie asks him to stay, just this once. Charlie dies, and the teacher gets his liver. It turns out that the mean guy who is going to help fund the daycare house was the guy who helped young Nathan buy the shoes for his mom all those years ago. Sidenote, it amuses me how often they give NPH a black BFF, haha. And, this movie had me crying my eyes out, so it's certainly one of the sadder Christmas movies out there.

Rudolph's Shiny New Year: I will admit it outright: I love Rudolph. He's like my personal Christmas icon, LoL. I've seen the original probably close to fifty times at this point. I've seen Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July a bunch of times. I rushed out to get Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys a couple of years back (even though that was a disappointment). So I was excited to see this one, about how Rudolph saved the New Year. Happy, the Baby New Year, is missing, and since it's storming, only Rudolph can go searching. Father Time is telling the story. He sends Quarter Past Five, a camel, to help Rudolph, and Rudolph rides him across the Sands of Time desert. We find out that there's a condor who wants the Baby New Year to stop the next year from starting, because an eon will have passed at that point, and he'd die. The baby ran away because he was made fun of, since he has large ears. Rudolph goes to the Sea of Auld Lang Syne, so he can get to the Archipelago of Pasty Years, to search for the baby. haha, Rudolph as a calendar month for a sail. Big Ben, a whale, helps Rudolph out by giving him a ride. Rudolph starts out at One Million BC Island, and meets OM, who goes by that instead of One Million, LoL. The baby was there, but moved on after people laughed at his ears. OM calls along to help out, and they get nowhere for a while. They go to 1023, where a knight greets them. Humpty Dumpty lives there, and so do the seven dwarfs. Rumpelstiltskin saw him, too. The baby showed up at the bears' house that Goldilocks once visited. 1776 rescues the baby, and he looks like Ben Franklin. But the condor gets him. Everyone makes it to the Island of No-Name to get the baby back, and it's 11:30 on New Year's Eve. Rudolph tries to calm the baby by sharing his own tale, and the trees sing the song, LoL. I was surprised that even Rudolph laughed at the baby's ears, claiming he "couldn't help himself." Santa comes in and flies uber-fast ("faster than joy") to get the baby to the gate of Father Time's castle during the 12 "bongs" of midnight. It's 19wonderful, hahaha.

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!: This one I've seen before, but never with the counterpart, She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown! So I watched both parts... New Year starts out with Charlie Brown and his class receiving the assignment to read War and Peace and write a report over the break, which anyone will tell you is ridiculously thick for youngins. Linus' informative facts about how Leo Tolstoy wrote it were interesting, and so characteristic! Peppermint Patty and Marcie are throwing a New Year's party. It's boy-girl, and everyone has their hopes, hehe. Lucy decides that everyone needs dance lessons. Charlie Brown looks for other versions of War and Peace, like a comic book, a tape or cassette, a record, a computer game, and film strips. Charlie Brown goes to watch the kids learn to foxtrot, but he brings along his book. I've always adored the scene where Linus and Lucy are blowing up balloons, but Rerun blows square (or rectangular) balloons every time he tries. It might have been the first time I was introduced to Rerun, really. Lucy and Sally are hoping that Schroeder and Linus will respectively ask them to the party, but neither plans on it. Patty wants Charlie Brown to ask her, but he wants to ask the Little Red-Haired Girl. Charlie Brown's worst nightmare happens, and his hand gets caught in the mail slot in the door, and it opens, LoL. He cries out to Heather (I apparently forgot that the Little Red-Haired Girl had a name...). I liked Snoopy in a tux. CHarlie Brown goes to the party, brings his book, excites Patty, admits that he was hoping to see the Little Red-Haired Girl, and then everyone plays musical chairs. I liked how they played a song that gave the rules to musical chairs, LoL. It comes down to Patty and Charlie Brown, and as one would expect, Patty takes the win. Everyone is going to toast with root beer, LoL. Lucy pouring her root beer into a dish and using binoculars to look for "dog germs" was funny. I always laugh at Charlie Brown's "rules" for the next year, LoL. Sally and Linus toast. Heather shows up, but Charlie Brown is asleep on the porch, and nobody knows that. Patty is upset that he left her hanging. Linus danced with Heather instead of Sally, so she's mad, too. Charlie Brown missed Heather completely. Marcie kisses Charlie Brown on the cheek. Back at school, Charlie Brown gets a D- on his report. Crime and Punishment is the next novel for the kids.
Good Skate begins with Patty skating on the lake to classical music, Snoopy coaching her, preparing for a competition. Snoopy growls a lot. Some boys come out to play hockey, but Patty and Snoopy push them around and they're good to go again. Patty tells Marcie to make her a skating dress, and Marcie does... to the best of her ability. It's floor-length and it doesn't have sleeves, LoL. Snoopy gets to work and soon the dress is great. Now Patty is upset about her hair. Snoopy also drives the Zamboni, LoL. Charlie Brown talks of 3 things people like to stare at: "a flowing stream, a crackling fire, and a Zamboni clearing the ice." Snoopy also runs the sound booth at the competition, LoL. Three or so girls go before Patty, and she begins to shake in fear when her tape is damaged. Luckily, Woodstock whistles her music instead. Patty wins.

The 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade: Paula Deen is the Grand Marshal, LoL. "Building Dreams, Friendships, and Memories" ... okay. 23 equestrian units, 23 bands, and 47 floats. The Living Rose was mildly amusing. A flyover for a parade... that's different! It would be useful for you to know that I'm not a big fan of flowers, so as a whole this parade never thrills me. I liked how Medieval Times had a little group of knights and such riding. I liked the Cal Poly float that won the Fantasy Trophy. I liked the University of Wisconsin marching band... the mascot did some cool things (like a headstand), and the marching style was refreshing. The hula dancers were cool. The didn't really showcase the poi. TCU's mascot was funny in the parade. The pool with the dogs and the board-paddling was cool. Lasso-ing for 5 miles is intense!! I actually learned lasso-ing last summer, and let me tell ya, it's HARD!! Overall, I'm not thrilled that everyone is using random themes, LoL. Kinda strange. wooden saddles... whaaaat?!?! Shaun Robinson is not the best parade anchor... shw doesn't seem to know what's going on, she looks down a lot, and she picks up the paper just a bit to read, LoL. Some cool cowgirls. I liked the teddy bear float a LOT! That was super cute!! A float actually broke down!! The "Best Depiction of Life in California" winner (Sierra Madre Rose Float Association) was really pretty. Nice butterflies, some Spanish Mission architecture. The City of South Pasadena's pirate treehouse was cool, too. hehe, the Animation Trophy goes to Trader Joe's. The Judges' Special Trophy for Outstanding Showmanship and Dramatic Impact goes to Namco Bandai Games America, Inc. for their AWESOME Pacman float. Pacman is 30... wow. The dragon by the City of Torrance was also nice. All of the stats on the saddles and their weights and building materials was kinda interesting. I would have preferred to see it all in a chart form, tho, LoL. I liked the building theme for La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association's float. Some really cute things, and I love the movement. 800 volunteers on that one! 16,000 yellow carnations on this one! I'd like to end with pointing out that I had no idea there were so many horses in this parade!! Did you know that??
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