About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Christmas in July 2018: Andrew Gillman

from 1977's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

Christmas in July 2018: Andrew Gillman (www.sparklyprettybriiiight.com)

1) Name your favorite Henson's Muppet Christmas program and why.

This is a close call for me. I absolutely adore The Muppet Christmas Carol which retains the haunting otherworldliness, morality, hopefulness and serious intent of Dicken's original tale with a healthy dose of whimsy, silliness and sheer joyful quirkiness. It warms the spirit and tickles the funny bone. My favourite now though, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is a recent discovery and was suggested to me by an American friend on Twitter who made it a mandatory part of her festive viewing. On her say-so, I ordered the DVD and fell instantly in love with this gentle, musically-enriched tale of family, selflessness and togetherness at Christmas. It has all the much-loved hallmarks of a Jim Henson production, reminding me every time I watch it how it's the people around us that really make Christmas special (and the TV programs we watch too, of course!).

2) Which decade produced the bulk of your favorite Christmas entertainment?

I am a child of the '60s and '70s and many of the programs produced then have a very fond place in my heart including the Peanuts special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Hanna-Barbera Christmas classics like The Town Santa Forgot and A Christmas Story and the Rankin-Bass specials; but I've kept watching and acquiring programs ever since and I have favourites from every decade including Scrooged, Miranda's "The Perfect Christmas", National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (my dad's favourite which, now he's passed, is even more special to me), The Nightmare Before Christmas, Vicar of Dibley's "The Christmas Lunch Incident" and Arthur Christmas.

1996's episode "The Christmas Lunch Incident" from the Vicar of Dibley
3) Imagine the entertainment behind your ideal Christmas Eve dinner. Name the appetizer, entré, and dessert.

Appetizer: Merry Christmas Mr Bean - Rowan Atkinson's creation is selfish, venal and childish but if you can't laugh when a giant turkey is stuck on his head, when multiple crackers almost ignite his apartment or he backs a semi and sends a dinosaur into Harrod's Christmas manger scene then you're not fully alive!
Entré: It has to be the Vicar of Dibley's Christmas episode "The Christmas Lunch Incident" - it's all about food, lots of food, but also about duty, friendship, family and the consumption of more brussels sprouts than is really good for anyone! It makes me feel good about life, about belonging and look forward to eating all the advent calendar chocolate at once!
Dessert: Robbie the Reindeer: The Whole Herd - goody, funny stop motion animation reindeer, over the top adventures and lots of meaning and goofiness - what's not to love?

4) What Christmas episode, special or movie doesn't exist--that you wish did? Feel free to get creative.

I want a Fringe Christmas episode, particularly focusing on the alternate versions of each character having to choose presents based on what they think they'd like - only their counterpart is exactly them, parallel universes being what they are! Watching the soulless emotional Observers being confronted, and no doubt rendered non-plussed by the riotous fun chaos of Christmas would als

from 1945's Christmas in Connecticut
5) If one Christmas movie, special or episode was to be selected for a time capsule to opened in 1,000 years, which title do you think should be included?

Hmmm tough one. Either Christmas in Connecticut, White Christmas or The Muppet Christmas Carol, all of which have charm, meaning, and emotional resonance to burn.


  1. Oh, to see Emmett Otter again for the first time! Although I was surprised at how many people still don't know or remember it. I think it was on HBO in the 80s, though, so that was when cable still wasn't as "universal" as it is now. But I love it so much. And I never knew about that Vicar episode, even though I thought I'd seen most of them. Time to go search...

  2. >Appetizer: Merry Christmas Mr Bean
    Oooh, good appetizer! It's a staple at our house every year too. My youngest daughter recreates the department store scene by playing with our nativity set: "Moooo..." "Shhhhhh!!!"

  3. I feel like we're missing the end of your thought on #4. Go ahead and add it here in the comment section Andrew, if you feel so inclined. Great responses overall :)