For me the best part of the holiday season is what happens on television. But if you flip around the channels these days, it seems that Hollywood ran out of original Holiday Special ideas back in the late seventies. Americans deserve more!
You can have your gingerbread men and eggnog. I’ve no use for them. Go ahead and take away your sugarplums and tacky lights too. For me the best part of the holiday season is what happens on television. That’s right people, I’m talking HOLIDAY SPECIALS.
But if you flip around the channels these days, it seems that Hollywood ran out of original Holiday Special ideas back in the late seventies. The networks are running vintage animation on endless repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I could watch the Heat Miser all day long. But Americans deserve more.
Rather than complain into the empty vacuum of cyberspace, I fired off an email to the heads of the major networks with a list of sure-fire holiday special ideas. And I gave them away absolutely free. No strings attached. I figured the first network to produce the special owns the special. How’s THAT for unselfish holiday spirit?
Since most people are obsessively curious about how upper-level behind-the-scenes deals in Hollywood are actually carried out, I decided to reprint the ACTUAL email here.
(begin text of ACTUAL email)
Dear High-Ranking Television Executive,
I’m writing you today as a concerned television viewer, American citizen and generally tender-hearted human being. My name is unimportant.
I wish I was writing with good news, but I’m afraid that I’m going to disappoint you. In fact, what I’m about to say, may in fact SHOCK you. If you are chewing food or drinking a hot beverage, I recommend you finish before reading further.
You are totally SUCKY when it comes to making new holiday specials.
I’m sorry to be so blunt. Sometimes the truth can hurt worse than a punch in the mouth.
I don’t know why you are so SUCKY at holiday specials considering you make probably a million dollars a year and have meetings with famous, talented people every day. Maybe it’s just because you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid at Christmas, sitting wide-eyed in front of the television as deliciously adorable holiday entertainment bathes you in its warm, candy-colored sweetness.
The good news is that it’s never too late to fix what you have broken. And today is your lucky day. I have enclosed six near-genius concepts for future holiday specials, what folks in the industry refer to as “honest to goodness winners.” Take them and make them. Make them and take the credit. I require no compensation or recognition. My reward will be in heaven.
The Star Wars Holiday Special Prequel: Attack of the Snow Clones
It didn’t make sense in 1978 when Bea Arthur and the Jefferson Starship showed up on CBS to celebrate “Life Day” with the cast of “Star Wars.” And it doesn’t have to make sense when you propose to George Lucas that he produce a sequel starring Zac Efron as a crippled slave boy on the ice planet of Hoth who finds a magical space mitten that brings his army of Snow Clones to life just in time to make toys for his village on Christmas Eve. It doesn’t have to make sense… because it’s going to make a GAZILLION dollars!
It’s the Great Kwanzaa, Charlie Brown
You want to connect with that lucrative urban audience? This idea is so stupid fresh it will make hip-hop seem completely wickety wack. You schedule a crossover animated special where the kids from “The Boondocks” visit the Charlie Brown kids to explain the cultural significance of Kwanzaa. Controversial? You betcha. But you know who wants to hear a Ghostface Killah-Vince Guaraldi mashup of “Christmastime is Here”? Only EVERYBODY in the entire world.
Biggest Loser: North Pole
Instead of a long, drawn out weight loss reality series, you stage a 2-hour LIVE event in which a dozen overweight contestants dressed as Santa Claus compete to lose the most weight at a makeshift spa/toy workshop located at the North Pole. Contestants will stay in costume as they are put through a series of rigorous workouts, chemical purges and sweat lodge sessions. Instead of the regular trainers, you cast muscular dwarves (duh) and include immunity challenges like sliding across the ice on your naked belly and wrestling polar bears. Not only does it tell a compelling holiday story, but it provides excellent role models for obese albino children with beards. Oh, it’s fun alright… BIG FUN!
I Saw Mommy Kissing Mrs. Claus
If you think that the only thing Ellen DeGeneres can do is dance goofy in sneakers, then you don’t know Ellen. Here she’ll play a discontented wife and mother who gets romantically smitten with a female exotic dancer named Sandee Claus. What’s she doing hanging around in a topless nightclub? She’s spying on her no-goodnik husband (played by Tony Danza) whom she believes is spending the family’s Christmas money on lap dances. It TURNS OUT that he actually took a second job washing dishes at the club so he would be able to buy his wife a new riding lawnmower. It’s sort of a “Gift of the Magi” meets “The L Word” with Emmy written ALL OVER IT. The way I see it is that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who see this idea as the kind of unifying and inclusive entertainment that America desperately needs and those who just plain hate gay people. It’s your call.
The Night Before Christmas: A Very Special 24
Usually, the worst thing that can happen in a holiday special is that poor Santa Claus doesn’t get to deliver all his presents in time for Christmas. But what if you upped the stakes? What if the worst thing that could happen is that a group of terrorists rig old Santa’s sleigh so that during his trip around the world it distributes a deadly bio-toxin (nicknamed C.O.A.L. for “Completely Overwhelmingly Absolutely Lethal”) which has the power to liquefy the vital organs of children? That would be something worth watching! The best part? The only people who can save Christmas, and consequently, the world: Jack Bauer and Emmett Otter. That’s action with a capital CUTE!
A Very Jewish Brady Christmas
Here’s another one that has cultural goodwill coming out of its tuchus (that’s Jewish for rear-end). We catch up with the Brady clan as they are trying to come together during the holidays (I know that you’re probably thinking that the Brady Bunch has lost much of its wholesome luster on account of all the reality shows and saucy memoirs, but bear with me…we can USE that controversy). Basically the plot revolves around an intervention that the family stages for Marcia, who has become a heavy drug user with loose morals (see… we BLEND fantasy with reality). The bad news? Word of the intervention gets to Father O’Malley who kicks all the Bradys out of his congregation and banishes them from Christianity. The REALLY bad news? Mrs. Brady has already bought presents for everyone. That means the family only has 48 hours to find a new faith that permits the exchange of gifts during the month of December. Judaism to the rescue!
Happy Holidays Hollywood… now GET TO WORK!