dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The Not-so-special Christmas Specials.

It's recently come to our attention that someone out there did a review of the two specials that Lynn had commissioned and, well, didn't much like what he saw. Not, of course, that one can blame him. The first one, called "The Bestest Present", was filmed in the mid eighties and focused on Lizzie; what had happened is that while shopping at Philpotts', she'd lost the toy rabbit she used to carry with her non-stop. After two comic scenes in which John missed finding it by inches and Mike wrote the most ineptly conceived classified ad ever, a crusty old nightwatchmutant latched onto the thing all the while grumbling that since kids were so spoiled as to lose things like this, he should keep it just to show her to be grateful. Just as it looks as if the family heirloom toy is going to be lost forever, a miracle occurs when the thing appears because John used his influence with the manager of the store to prise it loose from the old gent. One "Oh, Daddy! This is the Bestest Present ever!" and we have a Snowflake Day to remember.

A decade or so later, they came up with "The Christmas Angel"; we started off with Poor, Put-upon Elly whining about how she had no help and no time to herself over the Holidays and riding Liz's ass about watching over April while she was busy nailing herself to her cross instead of trimming the tree. One ornament shattered by Aypo due to no one coming in to help Liz later and we've pretty much set the tone for the thing: Liz does something innocuous only to have John or Elly blather about how she's trying to ruin Christmas for everyone. After about a first act of this, she goes off toboganning only to be told off for being excess mass and says "Fine! I don't need this! I'll find a new toboggan hill!!", careens through the underbrush and eventually winds up in a log cabin owned by an old lady who teaches her a bad song that has as its premise that despite being treated like sewage because she's a middle child, she's still loved by the people that are there for her. The two of them walk to the Pattermanse, Liz turns to thank her and, hey, presto, we learn that neither the old lady or her cabin are where she found them. Liz takes this to mean that her rescuer's the Christmas Angel of the title. Add in a rather unsettling-in-hindsight scene wherein the family had thought that she'd fallen through some ice and we end cute.

As for the reviewer, what most bothered him about "The Bestest Present" was the moment when Farley sniffa-snuffa-snurffa-sniffed the box containing Lizzie's toy bunny; that's because he correctly identified it as the sort of blatant foreshadowing that marred the strip in the last few years. What he underplays is something that condemns it for me: Mike's request to eat junk food. Just as she would later have Françoise ask for "sugar cereal", Lynn is using a broadly generic term to remind us of her belief that offsprings everywhere want to torment their pooooooooooooooor, put-upon mothers by eating foods they know are bad for them because they're all evil and hate to see their pooooooor, long-suffering mothers happy.

The second special is even more annoying owing to something else that immediately caught the man's attention: Elly's negligence, default negativity, buck-passing and need to scream abuse at a relatively blameless Liz because she's an evil teenager who has an attitude that needs adjusting. In short, Elly and John treat Liz like garbage because she doesn't stand there praising them for punishing her for not doing their jobs for them. Liz continues to get treated like crap by everyone save for the titular angel who teaches her that while being a middle child is, at best, a crap sandwich, her family of entitled troglodytes loves her anyway.

The interesting thing about combining the two most irritating elements of the specials is that it leads directly to the death of Farley. As we know, his demise was blatantly foreshadowed and it was the result of lazy, entitled, buck-passing blowhard Elly's pea-brained negligence.
Tags: foobs on film

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