Monday, December 14, 2009

All Rise, The Honorable Judge IMHO Presiding

Hallmark sentimentality is a hallmark of the season, but sometimes, these movies and specials cross from being harmless sugarplums to being something else. The following five films have been charged with injuring the Christmas spirit specifically mine.

Judge IMHO (In my humble opinion for those who don’t speak text) presides and shall issue rulings on each of the accused.

Nestor the Christmas Donkey: Rudolph had his red nose; so obviously, the Nativity must have done some outreach from an outcast that would be identifiable to kids! Those shepherds and kings are so boring. Solution: Create a stop motion donkey with excessively long ears. Have the other mules make fun of him. Have his mother die keeping him warm. Have him cry repeatedly on screen and a slow tin eared poetic cowboy narrator sing a mournful refrain to move the plot along. One plus: It’s not the little Drummer boy.

Judge IMHO’s Verdict: Guilty for hijacking the Christmas story with a plot line from Bambi and adding the donkey mommy’s soul encouraging Nestor on his journey in a Luke Trust your feelings or Lion King Remember me kind of way. It’s also unwatchable for really bad singing.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: In 2000, this goofy spoof of a song morphed into a 45 minute animated Scooby Do type mystery/trial of Santa. Who framed Saint Nick? Cousin Nell. (Oh No! I’ve spoiled the surprise!) A deejay got fired for playing this song 15 times, but his offense was truly light, as Time Warner sees fit to re-air this one joke fruitcake every year. There will be a reckoning.

Judge IMHO’s Verdict: Guilty! Being tacky and stupid isn’t supposed to a crime, but this time, it should be. There was a serious debate about whether forcing the creators of this toon to view Nestor could be considered cruel and unusual. Not if I make the Nestor guys watch Grandma . Ahhh parity of pain induced by bad earworm tunes.

Barbie Nutcracker: We own this one. Consequently, I ponied up to take my daughter to a real version of the ballet. It was a shock to her mind to discover the Sugar Plum Fairy was NOT the primary character and that the Rat King was not turning everyone to stone with his magic staff.

Judge IMHO’s Verdict: Probation. My daughter liked the real thing better, but she still watches it. She still loves it. It survives until the DVD gets scratched and I’m free forever. I’d write more but I’m still picking the pink residue dryer lint out of my brain from the last viewing.

The Arthur Christmas Special: Normally, I’m a big fan of Marc Brown and all of Arthur’s adventures. The subtle humor that sometimes sparkles through has made many an afternoon of folding laundry with my kiddos tolerable, especially as the alternative to Pok√©mon. But this cartoon’s ecumenical outreach program goes astray when the only proclaimed Christians are portrayed as buffoons. (The Crosswires bring the Frenskies a ham and of course, the Frenskies are Jewish). Every other tradition that happens to coincide with December including the agnostic single mom and son Baxter family gets portrayed as having meaning and depth.

Judge IMHO’s Verdict: Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Granted, it’s a cartoon, but is having people attend Church is so controversial that we can’t show that on public television? Never mind, forget I asked. I suppose showing devout Christians taking their holiday seriously like those of other faith is considered more mythological than Santa Claus.

Prosecutor’s Note: The Arthur special beat out Recess’s “Holiday” episode even though the later had two girls dress as druids to explain the Yuletide season because the former still runs on the air seasonally and is financed by tax dollars but it was a close call. I couldn’t send the later up because that one is so obscure. Trust me. Even now, I’m ever so close to wavering. 4th Grade Girl Druids! My brain hurts.

While resolutely refusing to acknowledge anything remotely religious about the existence of Christmas is itself nothing new, it does wear after a time so I take comfort in knowing, that ours is a powerful true God, or else the world would not be so fearful of acknowledging His story or even acknowledging someone acknowledging.

Hmmm. Maybe I should rescind on poor old Nestor. Donkey souls vs. soulless. I’ll have to think on that.

Tune in next time when Judge IMHO considers the radio during the weeks leading up to Christmas.


MightyMom said...

now, first you must know that Grandma is my FAVORite Christmas song.

that being said.....they made a friggn MOVIE from the song??? how ridiculous is THAT??

never seen or heard of any of these you mention. But you might wanna take a gander at Roly Poly Olie's holiday special. What gets me is that they use not only recognizable Christmas traditions but are also playing snippets of Christmas Carols (even religious ones) in the background. AND YET....nothing is EVER said about it being Christmas. really, it's carefully avoided. hubby's response to my observation was "it's Canadian..." which gives one pause for thought.

You can always stick to Veggie Tales. They tend to do okay most of the time.

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