Xmas specials

by Henry Farrell on December 2, 2004

Via “About Last Night”:http://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/ , SF author John Scalzi presents us with the “ten worst Christmas specials ever”:http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/003030.html. Starting with Dorothy Parker and gang.

bq. An Algonquin Round Table Christmas (1927)

bq. Alexander Woolcott, Franklin Pierce Adams, George Kaufman, Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker were the stars of this 1927 NBC Red radio network special, one of the earliest Christmas specials ever performed. Unfortunately the principals, lured to the table for an unusual evening gathering by the promise of free drinks and pirogies, appeared unaware they were live and on the air, avoiding witty seasonal banter to concentrate on trashing absent Round Tabler Edna Ferber’s latest novel, Mother Knows Best, and complaining, in progressively drunken fashion, about their lack of sex lives. Seasonal material of a sort finally appears in the 23rd minute when Dorothy Parker, already on her fifth drink, can be heard to remark, “one more of these and I’ll be sliding down Santa’s chimney.” The feed was cut shortly thereafter. NBC Red’s 1928 holiday special “Christmas with the Fitzgeralds” was similarly unsuccessful.

Ayn Rand’s ‘A Selfish Christmas,’ the lost Star Trek special (‘A Most Illogical Holiday’) and the David Cronenberg Canadian Christmas special (‘The virus causes Santa to develop both a large, tooth-bearing orifice in his belly and a lustful hunger for human flesh, which he sates by graphically devouring Canadian celebrities Bryan Adams, Dan Ackroyd and Gordie Howe on national television’) also excel.

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12.08.05 at 11:36 am



Russell Arben Fox 12.02.04 at 5:31 pm

This is, bar none, the funniest Christmas-related text of any form I have ever read. “In later letters, Rand sneeringly described these executives as ‘anti-life'”–for this alone, John Scalzi deserves a Nobel. Absolute genius.


Simstim 12.02.04 at 5:40 pm

It reads a bit like TV Go Home (which works best if you’ve watched some British TV and you’ve ever read the Radio Times).


roger 12.02.04 at 6:08 pm

I object. Ayn Rand’s Selfish Christmas is my family’s favorite Christmas show! We especially like the scene where the Grinch sells the who’s down in whoville back their presents at a fair market value.

Slimy who welfare state worms!


lemuel pitkin 12.02.04 at 6:28 pm

I don’t suppose anyone reading this lived in Chicago in the early-mid 90s and recalls “Ayn Rand Gives Me a Boner” at the Annoyance Theater? John Scalzi is fine but that was beyond brilliant.


Kevin Carson 12.02.04 at 6:34 pm


OK, that’s just going too far.

BTW–after I read Walker’s *The Ayn Rand Cult*, I had a really bad dream where Rand was sitting in my living room, and I was trying to solicit her views on some opinion or other of Murray Rothbard’s without sending her into a frothing rage. During the whole exchange, I kept thinking to myself, “Please don’t let her find me sexually attractive. Please don’t let her find me sexually attractive…”


ogic 12.02.04 at 6:37 pm

If you’re in the market for more Rand satire, you could do a lot worse than Mary Gaitskill’s novel Two Girls Fat and Thin, featuring Anna Granite.


Keith M Ellis 12.02.04 at 7:34 pm

If you’re in the market for more Rand satire…

Who isn’t?


Silent E 12.02.04 at 9:24 pm

They can’t be as bad as this: “Star Wars Christmas Special”

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Nov. 17, 1978), CBS broadcast a two-hour holiday event called “The Star Wars Holiday Special.”

Never heard of it? That’s because after its ill-fated premiere, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas banished it forever from the realm of human existence. But something of this much weight has a way of reaching the masses.

“Special” is certainly one word for that show. Other words one might choose to apply include “distressing,” “appalling” and “bad.”


Kevin Carson 12.02.04 at 11:40 pm

Well, this isn’t bad for Ayn Rand parody:

The Benevolent Rape Scene


Jackmormon 12.03.04 at 4:46 am

I think I like the Canadian-Content-Cronenberg story the best.


Passing Fancy 12.03.04 at 8:42 am

OT: For more Ayn Rand mockery there’s always Making Fun of Objectivism. Especially Bob the Angry Flower, who considers what happens twenty-four hours after the end of Atlas Shrugged.

Tobias Wolff’s novel Old School also has a section in which the semi-autobiographical narrator becomes obsessed with Ayn Rand. If I remember rightly it includes a very funny parody of Rand’s stories written by an obsessive vegetarian and featuring space cows…


Jeremy Osner 12.03.04 at 7:31 pm

The benevolent rape scene is quite hilarious and I have not ever read the work of which it is making light; if I had it would probably be even funnier but I don’t think that is a favorable exchange for me.


Alan K. Henderson 12.06.04 at 9:13 am

Those transporters would make Santa’s job easier…

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