Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Two-Sided Coin

I see it every year: people get themselves pumped up singing ‘Rudolph Red-Nose,’ feverishly swiping their credit cards, and anxiously waiting to unwrap presents. Then Christmas morning comes and goes, as does the evening dinner with noisy relatives. After that, nothing is the same.

People develop a definite sag. It’s called the Post-Christmas Blues. And I just don’t comprehend it.

Christmas to me is not just a single day of presents, but an ongoing celebration that peaks (sometimes) on the 25th. I see no problem singing carols right into the new year, or watching Christmas specials after the day has passed (those Christmas specials I accept at all, that is). Heck, this year I seem to be watching more Christmas stuff after than before.
Yesterday I watched Chip ‘n Dale wreak havoc on a duck-with-a-martyr-complex’s Holiday, and then saw that same water fowl battle it out with three unintelligible nephews.
That snowball fight between Donald and his relations—complete with ice-forts, ice-bombshells, and flaming arrows—has to rank as one of the reasons my childhood was filled with dreams of snow. (Another would be Bill Watterson’s illustrious illustrations of snow combat and snowmen.)

I also watched last night something suitably entitled “A Garfield Christmas Special” [1987].

Now, I have a great affinity for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” [1965], often held up as the quintessential Christmas special. For that seldom-defined quality described as ‘greatness,’ I think it is. Yes, as far as content is concerned I must say that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the GREATEST Christmas special yet made. (And in recent years new Christmas ‘specials’ have become less so.) The tone and spirit it creates for an animated Christmas are unsurpassed, and will probably remain so.

And yet… And yet Charlie Brown’s Christmas adventure is not my personal favorite. It’s second, it is most definitely second and no lower. But for personal preference, I tremendously enjoy “A Garfield Christmas Special.” It’s humor is not as subtle as Charlie’s, but it is still nearly as good. The representation of a family structure (entirely absent from the works of Charles Schultz) is solid in Garfield, and in the end the message of love is well-admired.
But on the way to that thesis (arrived at fairly reluctantly by the misanthropic cat) we get such gleeful philosophies as the opening theme-song: “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!”

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