Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Christmas Guilty Pleasure

Christmas has always been a time of tradition for me. I have always been with family at Christmas, and this year was no different. I always go to the Christmas Eve vigil mass, watch the Midnight Masses from Rome and St. Patrick's Cathedral on TV, open my gifts on Christmas morning (never on Christmas Eve), and watch parts of the Yule Log and "March of the Wooden Soldiers" on the day itself. And I always enjoy watching my nieces and nephews open their gifts.

As I wrote in a previous post, there are many wonderful Christmas specials on TV. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is my favorite, and "Frosty the Snowman" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" right behind. (I'll NEVER watch that Jim Carrey movie.) The "Married With Children" Christmas special with Sam Kinison as Al Bundy's guardian angel is simply a riot. ("How can you make my life any worse," Al asks him, "Give me two more wives, three more kids? Make me a White Sox fan?")

But as I was watching the wonderful conclusion of "March of the Wooden Soldiers" yesterday, as Silas Barnaby and the Boogeymen are driven out of Toyland, I discovered another Christmas special that I remembered was on TV, and it is absolutely the complete and utter train wreck of Christmas specials: "A Very Brady Christmas."

A quick synobsis of it: all the Bradys are getting back together for Christmas at the original house, and everyone of them is going through some personal crisis. (I think most are divorced or contemplating it, but that's not important.) I didn't watch most of the show yesterday. And like a train wreck, I should have looked away, but had to check out the final ten minutes.

It's simply the hokiest, cheesiest ending to a Christmas special in TV history. Mike Brady is called away from his Christmas dinner because of an accident on a construction site in a building he designed. He goes to it, rescues two trapped men, and gets trapped himself. The gang follows him to the site and keeps a vigil he'll be rescued. As all hope seems to be fading, Mrs. Brady then breaks into the wonderful Christmas standard, "O Come O Ye Faithful" and everyone else there at the site joins in with her. The song builds up and builds up and then Mr. Brady is shown trapped in the rubble and hears them singing. Moments later, he miraculously walks out of the site as the song comes to a finish.

Talk about a "Hollywood ending."

I'll never forget watching it back in 1988 when it first aired. My sisters were in total hysterics watching it, and just the mention of "A Very Brady Christmas" gets laughs from them. My sisters and I all grew up Brady Bunch fans, but that was beyond hokey. But I guess it's now part of TV history and Christmas special lore.

But don't you have to have cheese with wine at Christmas?

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