About Christmas TV History

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Christmas in July 2022: Mulaney (2014)


Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #7 in the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. As announced before, each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies with a IT'S A WONDERFUL SUMMER attitude. Yes--this month I'm sharing brief essays about TV adaptations of the 1946 movie "It's a Wonderful Life" along with TV programs with significant references to the movie. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition being released soon).  

Today's discussion is on the complicated but highly entertaining episode "It's a Wonderful Home Alone" from the short-lived sitcom Mulaney--also known as The John Mulaney Show. In this first season episode, Mulaney is asked to produce Lou Cannon’s Christmas TV special with guest star Macaulay Culkin. John confesses that he can’t produce the show since he’s spent his entire life angry and envious about losing out on his audition in 1990 to Culkin to star in the movie Home Alone. Making matters worse, TV star Jesse Tyler Muños is also hosting a Christmas TV special and he’s trying to steal ideas from Cannon’s production. 



Mulaney’s friends Jane and Motif try to help John by gaslighting him into experiencing what his life would be like if he had starred in Home Alone. Yes--Jane and Motif are inspired by the movie It’s a Wonderful Life to help their friend re-think his life’s worth. But John has a change of heart after being given a VHS copy of his original audition for Home Alone showing him how he never stood a chance getting the role he feels he missed out on. Returning to the set to help Lou with his Christmas TV special, John finds that Culkin didn’t even show up. So John is asked to be Culkin’s stand-in, a role he can’t pass up. 

Jesse Tyler Muños booby traps the sound stage to try to stop John from producing Cannon’s special. John ends up trapped in cellophane, covered in feathers, and hit in the head by a swinging paint can, just like the Wet Bandits in the original Home Alone.

The cast includes John Mulaney as John Mulaney, Nick Kroll as Jesse Tyler Muños, Nasim Pedrad as Jane, Seaton Smith as Motif, Elliott Gould as Oscar, and Martin Short is Lou Cannon. Actor Macaulay Culkin does not appear in this episode


Apparently, the bones of this episode are based on a true story.


I'm endlessly surprised and entertained by the ingenious ways TV writers and creatives reinvent holiday TV stories. Merry Christmas in July.

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. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. 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

1 comment:

  1. Mulaney is quite funny, but sadly his kind of humor didn't translate to this show. So many good ingredients but not a great meal.