Not surprisingly, there are some latent — and blatant — Santa issues surfacing over on the Holiday Hell channel at Atom.com. So ol’ Saint Nick is not the jolly humanitarian his publicist would have us believe? Videos of Santa trolling the mean streets for ho ho ho’s or scoring some Christmas snow are hardly the height of innovation. Yet some filmmakers are still making merry with the cranky Kris Kringle angle, and drawing some new laughs from the same old schtick.
Amongst the most recent entries on Atom’s list, Modern Day Jesus: Santa vs. Jesus is a stand-out. It’s Christmas, and a girl brings her new boyfriend home to meet her family for the first time. With the new boyfriend being Jesus Christ Himself, you’d think the walking on water thing would make him an instant hit with the ‘rents. Alas, the family has never really stopped idealizing the ex-boyfriend (cue Santa, whose passive-aggressive competitive streak soon surfaces)…nor has her family stopped inviting him to family functions. Awwwwwkward – but hilarious in both concept and execution.
Then there is the inevitable, unauthorized, all-access excess you’d expect of Xtreme Biography: Santa, in which the ho’s and “snow” flow freely. It overreaches in parts, but still hits enough of the right notes, especially with the running commentary provided by the elves (and in particular the disgruntled female elf, who’s had it to here with the Big Guy’s “sit on my yule log” line). Whereas it’s hard to tell what to make of the video Merry Christmas – it might be funnier if it weren’t so…uh…Norwegian. (No, subtitles are not provided.)
If these newer entrants don’t sate your appetite for bah humbuggery, plenty of old favorites (from 2007 and prior) round out the list, including the cleverly rendered Snowy the Frostman series; a rather depressing animated commentary on global warming in The North Pole is Melting; and the sight of Kris Kringle getting pistol-whipped by a wiseguy in A Family X-mas.
Satirical Scrooge-toned videos and the holidays seem to go hand in hand like cookies and milk, but why? Perhaps because many of us have long suspected that in the end, all the Norman Rockwell window dressing of the season is just another means of selling J. Crew hat and scarf sets. After accumulating shocking amounts of debt to procure presents that will likely be returned anyway…and fighting combative drivers in mall parking lots to do so…and then withstanding crowded airports and/or a houseful of relatives, many of whom spurn both your gift choices and attempts at homemade stuffing, it’s hard to live up to the requisite grand-scale merriment of it all. Cue the scapegoat! (OK, so maybe it’s not Santa’s fault – it’s just easier to lampoon him than an entity as vague and intangible as the corporate retail sector.)
Even if most of these filmmakers find themselves on the Naughty List for their troubles, curling up with a cup of spiked nog and these clips might provide a little temporary relief from the pressure of buying into it all.
This review, along with more details about the show, can be found at NewTeeVee Station.