There's something about the holiday season that makes television get way more awesome.
Every year, soulless TV execs take our favorite pieces of pop culture, dress them in a Santa outfit, and feed them back to us in the form of a shit show called a "holiday special." Sometimes it's a wacky story about why the lead characters need to save Santa from some terrible situation at the North Pole, other times it's all about stepping in as the big man himself and delivering toys to kids. Long story short, holiday specials are usually a complete train wreck. And it rules.
This Thursday night, Bryant-Lake Bowl is screening what many consider to be the most awesomely-bad holiday special of all time: The Star Wars Holiday Special. Does it have a 3D performance by Jefferson Starship? It does. Does Bea Arthur make an appearance as an intergalactic bartender? Yup. Does Mark Hamill's hair look so soft that you just want to wrap yourself in it like a velour jump suit? Absolutely.
In celebration of the event, we went back and found a few more fantastically terrible holiday specials that helped bastardize some of the best TV shows and movies of the past few decades.
Christmas Comes to Pac-Land
Did you know that Pac-Man had arms? And legs? And knew how to drive a car? Well, he did. And so did those stupid ghosts.
Back in the early '80s, someone decided to take the single simplest concept in video game history and turn it into a holiday-themed battle between good and evil. The story revolves around the Pac-Posse (Mrs. Pac-Man and the kiddos are in on this action, too) who get run off the road during a high-speed chase with the ghosts, and need to chomp their way out of trouble. Then Santa shows up, and things get messy. Fortunately, Pac-Man saves Christmas and everyone takes turns trying to eat each other.
The moral of this story: Pac-Man sucks at driving in snow.
Alf's Special Christmas
What do suicide, cancer, and aliens all have in common? They're all family-friendly holiday TV fodder, of course!
In all seriousness, the Alf Christmas Special has to go down as the number one most depressing holiday special in history. Sure, it has a few hilarious moments (Alf delivers a baby in an elevator! But where did he get doctor's scrubs in his size?), but they also allude to killing-off a little girl. With cancer. On Christmas. They even go so far as to flash the "In memory of..." black screen with Tiffany's name on it (or someone who inspired the character and died, making this even sadder).
Can't Stop the Christmas Music -- On Ice!
So check it: Much like other holiday specials, the premise of this yuletide gem was that Santa is unable to deliver toys for Christmas, leaving it up to our heroes, The Village People, to save the day. Now, here's where things get awesome: The reason Santa isn't able to deliver presents this December 25 is that he has a hernia. Go ahead, read this sentence out loud: Santa Claus has a hernia, so The Village People need to save Christmas.
Still not sold on this being the greatest idea ever? How about the fact that it was on ICE? It's true, and the sexiness didn't stop there. The story climaxes (*rimshot*) when the crew decides to move Santa's workshop to their 'hood and enlists Bruce Jenner as the new Santa (who rocks a pair of fur-trimmed red briefs, no less).
Sadly, no footage of this special seems to be in existence anymore, likely because it spontaneously burst into flames due to the abundance of sexiness and holiday spirit.
IF YOU GO
The Star Wars Holiday Special
810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
Screenings are at 7 and 10 p.m.
Admission is free with a toy donation for Toys for Tots
Click here for more details