I spend a lot of time on the sofa, watching TV, usually uplifting stories of life and love, like "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" and "Monsters Inside Me". Occasionally, though, VH1 is showing something icky like "Couples Therapy"*, so I flip through the Guide and see what else is on, which is how I happened to find out that the Hallmark Channel is evil and is putting on Christmas shows already. The one I watched** was a televised Trans-Siberian Orchestra "special" (from 1999) called The Ghosts of Christmas Eve that is so cheesy, I hiccuped through most of it. I hope they've gotten rid of their mullets by now, but my goodness, those were some fluffy, fluffy mullets they were sporting in the day.
I also dearly love that a "family oriented" special includes a million shots of the guys playing guitar like they were masturbating. Seriously - they all have their guitars slung at crotch level, and they work it. I think I was supposed to be moved, but it's hard when the mullets and the tuxes clash so damn badly. Why did I never see this Christmassy delight when it came out? I have missed 13 years of an annual viewing of Jewel singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing, but when she gets to the verse with the line that goes "offspring of a virgin's womb", she changes it to something like "saving us from certain doom", or something equally odd, yet offensively wholesome; 13 years of Ossie Davis clearly doing this one for the money because he's so good he can phone it in and still be the best damn thing in the show. It's pretty bad. Though Ossie does have a nice smile, and plays an awesome magical negro.***
Sadly, our tale of a runaway that breaks into an old theater on Christmas Eve and gets a concert from some highly contemporary "ghosts of Christmas" (and some adorable little angels chosen for their looks, who can barely keep still during the bits they're supposed to be lip-synching) did not lead to TV or movie stardom for our leading lady; a quick Google of Allie Sheridan shows that she has a MySpace page of bikini photos and possibly a Twitter account, but that could be another Allie Sheridan. Nice bikini shots, though, and good for her.
Paul O'Neill, our delightfully cheesy creator and lead of TSO, however, seems to be doing okay. We keep getting promos for this year's Xmas show, even though they're not playing anywhere near here. TSO falls into my "Mannheim Steamroller/Cheesy Rock versions of Christmas songs by artists who should know better (but I do like that Carly Simon song)" file, and he really lives up to that classification with the song he sings at the end of the show about somebody making-it-home-for-Christmas-and-aren't-w
I also find a rock beat placed behind anything written before 1890 to be slightly off-putting, probably as a result of being exposed to "Hooked on Classics" at too young an age (and it was my own fault; I chose the cassette). I tend to use the things I liked from my teenage years as a barometer for how tasteful something really is; the more my teenage self would have loved it, the less classy it probably was. Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey definitely fall under the "I'd have been all over that as a teenager" side of things.**** As a teenager, I'd have sobbed and snuffled the entire way through Ghosts of Christmas Eve, and loved it. Now, it makes me giggle, and I dislike being so blatantly manipulated over the idea of homeless kids and young adults on Christmas eve, because there are actually a lot of real ones out there, and not only is our government not giving them $500 and a Greyhound ticket home, it's still talking about cutting off any aid to them at all.
Yes, it's a cheesy program. But Hallmark is constantly doing this kind of cheese dressed up as nostalgia for "simpler" times (i.e., simpler for the white boys who grew up to become TV network producers; for the rest of us, history has mostly sucked), and I won't let them get me that easily. I'm grumpy. And too interested in the real world, albeit at the moment the one that has dwindled to me and a sofa most days. I think the stuff the Hallmark Channel spews is going to rot people's brains, but much more importantly, they're showing CHRISTMAS SPECIALS AND IT ISN'T EVEN FRICKING THANKSGIVING YET.
*Courtney Stodden scares me.
**No matter how desperate I am, I will still not watch anything with "Thomas Kinkaide" in the title.
***... and I just wasted half an hour on tvtropes.org.
****I'm not knocking any of this stuff, please understand. If you like it, good for you, you have something to enjoy. I kind of liked the show, too (Ghosts, not Twilight. I haven't seen the movies and have only read the books through the critiques of others, both positive and negative. I'm more into Zombies and Cthulhu, and my teenage brain is happy).