My Week with More Christmas

Christmas 2005

 

Part One   ●   Part Two   ●   Part Three

 

   Every year, my pal Kynan Barker and I get together via the magic of the internet to watch Muppet Christmas specials. This is the fourth year running, and naturally the obvious question is: Aren't you guys running out of Christmas specials yet?

 

   The answer, at least for now, is no, not yet, so we're back for another annual dip into the apparently bottomless well of the Muppet Christmas. 

 

   This year, we'll be watching A Berry Bear Christmas and A Muppet Family Christmas, and we'll be having A Very Good Time. Why don't you pull up a TV and join us?

 

Joyeux Noel MacNeal

A Berry Bear Christmas, part 1

 

  

 

  

 

 

Danny

 

Well, it's another year, and there's more Christmas specials to watch. We're gonna run out of these eventually, unless there's a real Christmas miracle and we get a new one next year.

 

Kynan

 

You think? I'm all for more Muppets, but I think the world has exactly enough Christmas specials. One too many, if you count Mr. Willowby. I watch six Muppet Christmas specials every year. If they make any more, my holiday season will last through August. 

 

Danny

 

That's a ridiculous thing to say, but there's no time to fight about it -- there's all kinds of doings over at Bear's house. Man, when they get ready for Christmas, they really get ready, don't they? That house is decorated within an inch of its life.  

 

Kynan

 

One thing about Bear, they come out swinging. This opening number is action-packed, and it's got pretty much every character that's ever been on the show, right up front.

 

Danny

 

Plus, it's all speeding by at the rate of three cute things per second.

 

Kynan

 

So many Muppets! Can you imagine having this many guests for Christmas dinner? Plus you've gotta feed all the puppeteers, too.

 

 

      

 

 

Kynan

 

Bear says that we smell like pinecones, holiday cookies, wrapping paper and mistletoe, which is kind of a hard smell to pull off all at once. 

 

Danny

 

Oh, look at Pip and Pop, struggling under the weight of their wreath.  

 

 

 

Pip & Pop: "It's a reindeer wreath!"

Bear: "Oh! A wreath for a reindeer! What a great idea! But... what's with all the stuff?"

Pip & Pop: "Oh! It's the coool things reindeer like!"

Pip: "Like, some apples in case they get hungry..."

Pop: "And a tennis ball, in case they wanna play catch."

Pip: "Yeah, cause you never know."

Pop: "Yeah."

Pip: "Yeah."

 

Danny

 

Oh, I love Pip and Pop. They're my favorite anything.

 

Kynan

 

Yeah, but wouldn't they drive you crazy if they worked in the cubicle next to you?

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Bear: "Has this ever happened to you? There's so much to do at the holidays, and everybody wants to do everything?"

 

Danny

 

Actually, that hasn't been my experience, no. Usually, I want to sit on my ass and have somebody else decorate my house and bring me hot chocolate. 

 

 

Bear: "Um, excuse me? Remember me, the big furry guy, lives in the big blue house, 'Welcome to the Blue House'..."

 

Kynan

 

That's good stuff. Noel MacNeal should have won the Emmy just for that bit.

 

Danny

 

Bear tells the squabbling animals that they can all put what they want on the wreath, and do it together. You know, everyone acts like Bear is this big genius, but really, he just keeps coming up with the same solution every single time.

 

Kynan

 

The genius part is that Bear is patient enough not to clobber them all with one of those giant candy canes. 

 

 

Bear: "Since time began, people have been celebrating winter holidays..."

 

Danny

 

Except, y'know, in Africa, where human history actually began. I can't say that I've noticed a lot of winter holiday activity in those parts.

 

Kynan

 

By the way, what exactly is Bear holidaying from?

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

Bear: "Each creature underneath the sun... It's a holiday for everyone!"

 

Danny

 

Well, technically, it's a handful of holidays for everyone. There's Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and now the Winter Berry.  

 

Kynan

 

The Winter Berry? I was just getting used to the fake holidays that we already have, and now they've come up with a new one.

 

Danny

 

Oh, the harmonies are so pretty on this song. Bear does harmonies like they're going out of style, which I guess they kind of are.

 

Kynan

 

Treelo closing his eyes while he hums is such a lovely, subtle touch. Although I have no idea how they got the little fella to sit still long enough to learn his part.

 

 

Bear: "I'm so happy to be with all of you for the holidays. Oh, and with all of you out there, too!"

 

Kynan

 

I find it vaguely unsettling when the entire cast suddenly looks up and addresses the viewers. It's like, at some level, they're aware of our constant surveillance, but they choose not to acknowledge it -- until we least suspect it!

 

Danny

 

They see us when we're sleeping...

 

Kynan

 

I may be overthinking it. But can they see me picking my nose?

 

 

  

 

 

Danny

 

Yay, it's Santa Hogg! This is one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time. It's so jumpy and fun, and it breaks Christmas down to its essential elements: dance music, unbridled greed, and screeching puppets.

 

Kynan

 

Time to 'fess up: I've never actually seen this special until today. I play the soundtrack every year, and I've always liked Santa Hogg. But sweet baby James, I had no idea just how adorable he is in person. I wish my parents would get trampled by reindeer so he could come adopt me.

 

Danny

 

And speaking of reindeer, look at the present stuck in the reindeer's antlers! That's a great Bear moment -- the scene would be just fine without that, but it's such a lovely thing. Bear is a model show; they believe in value-added entertainment. 

 

Kynan

 

Plus, Bear is totally videotaping the whole scene! I'm glad we're secure enough to gush about cute stuff in public, cause this is awesome.

 

 

  

 

 

Danny

 

Aw man, but here comes Shadow to spoil the whole thing. Is it not in the holiday spirit to point out how much I hate this character?

 

Kynan

 

Nah, go ahead. 

 

Danny

 

As soon as she appears, I know that the next ninety seconds are going to bore me. Those are ninety seconds that I could be watching Pip and Pop, and I resent Shadow for that. 

 

Kynan

 

It's because she's not a real Muppet. Sure, somewhere in Fancy Tech Land, she's a 3-D puppet on Peter Linz's actual human arm, but as far as I'm concerned, watching her on my TV: Girl ain't got no face.

 

Danny

 

Yeah, I never thought of that.

 

Kynan

 

Cause she's all "La la la, I'm sweet and I'm Irish," but every time she shows up, I'm thinking: Girl ain't got no face.

 

Danny

 

Okay, I got it, thanks.

 

Kynan

 

Okay. Sorry. (Girl ain't got no face.)

 

 

  

 

 

Kynan

 

Hey, how did Bear give Shadow a silhouette of a scarf? Does he have a portrait of a real scarf in his attic somewhere?

 

 

Shadow: "I brought you a special story for Kwanzaa!"

Bear: "Wow! I'd like to see that!"

 

Danny

 

Well, that makes one of us. 

 

Kynan

 

Hey, look, it's Kwanzaa, the most made-up of all the made-up winter holidays.

 

"Kwanzaa -- a time for unity! For your friends, and for your family!"

 

Danny

 

Well, nothing says "unity" like blowing off everyone else's holiday and starting your own. 

 

Kynan

 

To me, Christmas never seemed like just an Anglo holiday. I've seen plenty of movies about Jesus, and as far as I can tell, Nazareth was teeming with black people. Of course, in those days, they were called "extras."

 

Bear: "Wow, there are so many great ways to celebrate the holidays!"

 

Danny

 

And that was the one minute for Kwanzaa, so apparently some ways are greater than others.

 

 

  

 

 

Danny

 

Hey, look at Treelo, taking a stand! He wants all the presents.

 

Tutter: "Bear, some of those presents are mine, and I want them back!"

Ojo: "Yeah, Treelo, it's just not fair." 

 

Danny

 

You have to respect Treelo right now. This is Bear's house. You have to know that this kind of activity is hopeless. But look at him, digging in his heels. He's like Butch and Sundance; he's going out guns blazing. 

 

Pip & Pop: "C'mon, everybody, let's go get our presents!"

 

Kynan

Wow, it's a Christmas riot! They're looters.

 

 

  

 

 

Danny

 

Now they find a homeless dog outside...

 

Kynan

 

...covered in delicious frosting. Yum! 

 

Danny

 

What's he doing in the yard? Are there no prisons, no workhouses, no animal shelters? 

 

Kynan

 

Hey, turns out the homeless dog is Dave Goelz! Let him in, for goodness sakes.

 

Jack: "I remember seeing a big blue house. It looked so warm and cozy..."

 

Kynan

 

No, it didn't, it was covered in Christmas bling. Be honest, Jack, it looked like a Wendy's on its way to a whores' convention.

 

 

Ojo: "Mr. Jack... Where do you live?"

Jack: "Oh! Heh heh. Well, I guess you could say I'm kind of... between homes right now. My last one didn't work out. Somethin' about digging up rosebushes, or some darn thing. So I'm kind of homeless, if you know what I mean." 

 

Danny

 

This is crazy. If he's homeless, where's his cardboard sign? 

 

 

 

Jack: "Well, I'd better be getting along now. You look like good folks, and I don't want to spoil your holidays."

 

Danny

 

Ohhh, he's that kind of homeless person. The kind who rejects hospitality and tries to get out of your way. It's funny how you don't see many of those around anymore.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Ojo: "What does he mean, homeless?"

 

Kynan

 

Well, Ojo, when a man and a woman love each other very much -- oh, wait, that's not homelessness. That's the other thing. 

 

Danny

 

Look at them, all upset that homeless people exist. Oh, this makes me nostalgic for the Clinton era. I feel like any second now Ojo's going to whip out a health care reform plan.

 

Kynan

 

This is so deep that Pip and Pop have to go to the pond to think about it. I guess that's their Camp David.

 

 

Bear: "You see, for one reason or another, people lose their homes."

 

Danny

 

And when you try to find it, it's always in the last place you look, isn't it?

 

Bear: "Those people are called homeless. But they're still the same as you and me."

 

Kynan

 

That's actually a really extraordinary thing for a kids' show to say. Bear's making all of the parents and grandparents and fanboys with websites confront the truth of homelessness from the innocent perspective of a child. This is fucking brilliant.

 

Danny

 

Way to curse on Christmas, dude.

 

 

  

 

 

Kynan

 

And now Tutter's imagining himself as a homeless mouse. This special's taken a turn for the poignant.

 

Bear: "Tutter, the Big Blue House isn't going anywhere." 

 

Danny

 

Yeah, not for another season or so, anyway.

 

Tutter: "But why do some people have no homes? It doesn't seem fair..."

Bear: "I know, Tutter. I wish we could bring their troubles to an end...

 

Danny

 

But, unfortunately, people keep voting for Bush.

 

 

  

 

 

Danny

 

Oh, Bear is so beautiful. You don't see Spongebob singing about homeless people.

 

Kynan

 

Sesame Street doesn't even do this. Bear is head and shoulders above any show I've ever seen when it comes to plain ol' basic humanism. And they confront this stuff directly -- it's not like they've found a stray dog, and that's a metaphor for homelessness. Jack's just flat-out homeless. 

 

Danny

 

Plus, it's a Christmas show. I bet Disney wasn't thrilled when Crazy Kriegman came to them with a feel-good holiday special about a magic berry and a homeless dog. 

 

Kynan

 

Of course, it's also possible that Spongebob doesn't sing about homeless people because, statistically speaking, there's relatively few homeless people under the sea.

 

Danny

 

Yeah, housing prices are pretty reasonable down there.

 

 

  

 

 

 

Jack: "Wellll, I think it's time for me to head off down the road..."

 

Danny

 

Man, no wonder he's homeless. He can't stay inside for two minutes. 

 

Kynan

 

And now they've asked Jack to stay for the holidays -- and he accepts! Which is great, until New Year's is over and they have to go leave him in a K-mart parking lot.

 

Bear: "Sleep well, old Jack."

 

Kynan

 

Oh, I just had a horrible thought: Are they going to keep confronting the issues in the second half? I couldn't handle it if Treelo woke up on Christmas morning and found a dead dog on the sofa.

 

Tutter: "Did you see the smile on old Jack's face? That was better than any present."

 

Danny

 

Well, it's not better than an Xbox 360. But those are all sold out anyway, so you might as well sit around and watch the dog smile.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Luna: "There's just something in the air on Christmas Eve."

 

Danny

 

Is that when this is? I didn't realize that. They should've let us know, I would have dressed up more. 

 

Kynan

And I wouldn't have picked my nose so much.

 

 

 

Luna and Bear:

"So let's smile upon each other,

Each and every day

Like sisters and brothers,

Just making our own way.

And we'll bring a little peace to the world...

If we just listen..."

 

Danny

 

Oh, how I miss 1997. They're going to start recycling any minute. 

 

Kynan

That's a very pretty song. So now we have to wait until tomorrow to watch the second half?

 

Danny

 

Yeah. You have any last words for now? 

 

Kynan

Girl ain't got no face.

 

Danny

 

True dat. 

 

 

 

Part One   ●   Part Two   ●   Part Three

 

Tomorrow:

More homeless jokes!

 

Danny@ToughPigs.com 

 

My Week Contents

My Week with the Muppet Christmas Carol

My Week with Another Christmas

My Week with Christmas Vacation