December 12th, 2006

amd: xmas amd

a grumpy old man review of NBC's remake of "The Year Without a Santa Claus"

So, my all-time favorite Christmas special (and I love a lot of them) is "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (Rankin/Bass). It's a great mix of pathos, absurdity, humor and heart. And the songs are damn engaging. Dick Shawn (Lorenzo St. DuBois from the original "Producers") steals the show as Snow Miser of course. But everybody involved does a hell of a job.

So, what am I to do last night when a live action remake comes on the TV? Especially with it starring John Goodman as Santa and Ethan Suplee (Randy from "My Name is Earl") as Jangle! Well, of course it was terrible. They managed to drain every last bit of charming out of the story and replace it with bland, annoying Chris Kattan sketches that even SNL would have turned down. The story had no focus. Mrs. Claus, who was crucial to the original story, is practically written out of it. And most bizarre of all was that it tried to blame (at least in part) goths and punk rockers for ruining Christmas for Santa Claus. Hoooooo kay...

The closest it came to being interesting was the casting of Michael McKean and Harvey Fierstein (both of whom recently played the Divine role in the Broadway revival of "Hairspray") as the Miser Brothers and Carol Kane as their mother. But it was not within their power to saving this travesty.