About Christmas TV History

Monday, October 29, 2018

At Home with Amy Sedaris Christmas (2017)

This series originally aired on TruTV but is now available on other platforms as well.

When I saw this holiday episode last year, I immediately knew I needed to highlight it here on the website. The surreal comedy At Home with Amy Sedaris is a quirky send-up of crafting and cooking shows--think: a goofy, crappy Martha Stewart show. Comedian/book author/actress Amy Sedaris is hilarious and quirky. Don't underestimate her! This 2017 first season episode entitled "Holidays" is proof.

What could go wrong?

Amy demonstrates how to make a snutty.

The holiday episode begins with a musical number with Amy singing and dancing with a snowman. It is both a parody of classic TV variety sketches, and a recreation of such. The tone is set--Amy is all-in celebrating Christmas on her crafting and cooking show. Sitting by the fireplace, she show how to make a festive holiday treat she calls a snutty--roasting a chestnut on a stick, then placing the nut atop a chocolate bar between two graham crackers. (This is a more disgusting version of a s'more!)

Amy's nutcracker gift for special guest Neil Patrick Harris. She calls the nutcracker Colonel Nutley.

Next, she prepares to demonstrate how best to wrap a gift box by getting out her Secret Santa gift for guest star Neil Patrick Harris. She shows off a nutcracker she says she purchased from an old curiosity shop located over an Indian burial ground. You're in on the joke already, aren't you? You know what's coming, right? Yup. Amy turns her back on the nutcracker doll and he disappears. Then, she notices that her razor sharp, snipping shears are missing--where could they be?

The blood thirsty Zuni fetish doll in the third segment of Trilogy of Terror.

TV fans recognize that hideous nutcracker right away--it resembles the killer Zuni fetish doll made famous in the 1975 ABC Movie of the Week Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black. Sure enough, Amy is attacked by the lethal nutcracker with the sharp scissors. The quick moving doll lunges at her and they wrestle and struggle on the floor while destroying the set's Christmas decorations and tree.

The fighting is so ferocious, Amy is unable to keep her dress down.

She manages to save herself but the nutcracker runs off set and attacks Neil Patrick Harris (conveniently, we never see him on-screen). Amy's mood turn dark and bitter. How can she explain this to the family of her guest star?

An injured, cynical Amy explains that she never wanted to do a Christmas special in the first place!

Recurring character Chassie Tucker is played by Cole Escola.

Amy chases away her friend by efficiently crafting a glue and glitter expression of her feelings.

Her friend Chassie Tucker drops by Amy's house prepared to sing their duet but Amy is inconsolable and drinking heavily. This isn't what she wanted for her holiday special and now everything is ruined. Amy decides to take to her bed, proclaiming "humbug" as she throws the covers over herself.

Maybe you didn't recognize the Trilogy of Terror reference but you picked up on the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol stuff, right?

Jacob Marley is played by Darrell Hammond.

Of course, Amy is immediately awakened by the ghost of Jacob Marley rattling his chains and issuing a warning! Nothing seems to be going Amy's way. She angrily discovers Marley was looking to haunt another address and he moves on. Looking to calm down, she decides to soak in a warm bathtub.

Guardian angel Clarence is played by David Costabile.

Yes, Amy now experiences her own version of the 1946 movie It's a Wonderful Life.

Are you familiar with Sedaris' one-of-a-kind, outlandish sense of humor?

Before she can get in, her guardian angel Clarence is appears in the bathtub, splashing around, claiming he has saved her from drowning! Frustrated by this nonsense, Amy regrets agreeing to do the holiday special and she wishes she never had a hit TV show. Storming from the bathroom to get more to drink, Amy finds herself on a bare soundstage. Clarence follows her and explains that he has granted her wish to see what life would be like if she never had a TV show!

Amy can't imagine life without her kitchen and its many appliances!

Making matters worse, Marley returns and he and Clarence bicker, annoying Amy to no end.

Amy wants to talk over her situation with her friend Patty Hogg but finds that Patty doesn't know Amy--she never married into wealth, doesn't know Amy, and she is cold because she never received a free fleece coat from Amy with the TV show's logo on it. What a mess! Amy finds that she now understands the true spirit of the season and is ready to host her holiday special.

Amy's transformation comes in the scene in which she throws open the window and asks the boy on the street to buy the largest canned ham he can find at the local store.

As a last minute effort, Amy is eager to handmake Christmas decorations and prepare a holiday feast from the items found in her kitchen. She uses a broom and dust pan to create her Christmas tree, and dishwashing gloves for her stockings to hang by the fireplace.

Amy's homemade rubber glove Christmas stockings.

Krakowski also starred in the musical A Christmas Story Live in 2017.

Lucky for her party guests, Amy finds a pre-baked delicious turkey sitting in the cupboard.

She welcomes special guest Jane Krakowski to join her for Crafting Corner (a recurring segment on the series) in which the two sing a song about different types of glue, and Amy discusses making a toilet paper roll reindeer decoration for the home. At Amy's Christmas party, she welcomes her neighbor Patty Hogg who has brought a holiday punch to share. ("The punch is made from pineapple rainbow sherbet and ginger ale. There's no alcohol--except for the bourbon!").

Patty Hogg (played by Sedaris) attends Amy's party wearing her At Home with Amy Sedaris fleece jacket. Hogg is another memorable recurring character on the series.

Nutmeg also attends Amy's party--another crazy recurring character on the series (and another played by Sedaris herself).

Amy entertains at her holiday party by performing a marionette puppet show! The puppet show is hilarious and must be seen to be believed. Have you ever watched a character in a movie play the piano with grand, sweeping gestures and arm movements that don't really correspond to the notes in the music? That's Amy's marionette show perfectly. It's impossible not to laugh.

Amy entertains for her guests at the Christmas party.

Hits and misses from her show.

As usual, Amy closes her show writing in her journal about the hits and misses of the show. She summarizes her misses with the realization that her cookies were a bit dry, she didn't have enough tinsel for the handmade decorations on the tree, and oh yeah, a celebrity was murdered!

Who doesn't love toilet paper roll reindeer decorations?

Amy Sedaris' funny send-up of a crafting and cooking show is a unique way for her to demonstrate her silly handmade items as well as a platform for her to showcase her comedic characters. I loved Season 1 and I'm eagerly awaiting Season 2, coming early 2019. This holiday episode feels like a modern take on the 1945 movie Christmas in Connecticut -- taken in an absurd direction, with references to A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life, and Trilogy of Terror on top of it! Let me know what you thought after you've seen it too.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

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