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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

The NC Double Scrooge: Storybook Division

Submitted by on December 16, 2010 – 9:17 AM110 Comments

And by "storybook," we don't really mean books; we mean non-song narratives generally. TV specials, disappointing and desperate reunions of sitcom casts that led to even more pathetic spin-offs, craven attempts to capitalize on kidly trends, antiquated stop-motion…some of it isn't that bad, some of it is beloved and yet still bad anyway, and some of it is just tired and needs a year off.

And then there's this piece of dreck.

Whoever you're over — Clarence, Tiny Tim, that guy who played Jackie Aprile Sr. — vote for them below. And cast your votes for everything else, too; the semis start tomorrow.

NC Double Scrooge, Storybook Division: Please Pick The Three (3) WORST

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey) (20%, 481 Votes)
  • A Christmas Carol (Tori Spelling) (9%, 214 Votes)
  • Polar Express (7%, 165 Votes)
  • Sandra Lee's special (7%, 164 Votes)
  • Star Wars/Wookiee Holiday Special (5%, 113 Votes)
  • It's a Wonderful Life (4%, 110 Votes)
  • A Very Brady Christmas (4%, 107 Votes)
  • Jack Frost (4%, 101 Votes)
  • Home Alone (4%, 97 Votes)
  • A Christmas Story (4%, 93 Votes)
  • The Santa Clause (4%, 93 Votes)
  • Pac-Man Christmas (Christmas Comes to Pac-Land) (4%, 87 Votes)
  • Frosty the Snowman (3%, 69 Votes)
  • Babes in Toyland (3%, 66 Votes)
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (3%, 64 Votes)
  • While You Were Sleeping (2%, 61 Votes)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (2%, 39 Votes)
  • Gift of the Magi (2%, 38 Votes)
  • Smurfs Christmas Special (2%, 37 Votes)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1%, 36 Votes)
  • Charlie Brown Christmas (1%, 32 Votes)
  • Scrooged (1%, 27 Votes)
  • The Year Without Santa Claus (1%, 24 Votes)
  • The Bishop's Wife (1%, 22 Votes)
  • Bob Hope Christmas Specials (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Holiday Inn (1%, 14 Votes)
  • The Holiday (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Christmas Comes to Walton Mountain (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Best Christmas Pageant Ever (0%, 10 Votes)
  • White Christmas (0%, 10 Votes)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (original) (0%, 8 Votes)
  • The Muppets: John Denver and the Muppets, A Muppet Christmas Carol, A Muppet Family Christmas (0%, 8 Votes)
  • A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott) (0%, 7 Votes)
  • A Christmas Carol (Jean Luc Picard) (0%, 6 Votes)
  • The House Without a Christmas Tree (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Pocketful of Miracles (0%, 5 Votes)
  • The Night Before Christmas (0%, 3 Votes)
  • The Christmas Toy (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Blackadder Christmas Carol (0%, 2 Votes)
  • A Christmas Memory (Capote) (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Scrooge (Alastair Sim) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 861

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  • Jenn says:

    The people who voted for While You Were Sleeping are OFF MY CHRISTMAS LIST. I freaking love that movie.

    When I was a kid, I watched The Best Christmas Pageant Ever so many times, I had lines memorized.

    My brothers and I have a Pavlov-like reaction to Miracle on 34th Street – it comes on, we leave the room. Childhood trauma.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Jenn: I love WYWS too. "Like you just saw your first Trans-Am." But I do know people who hate it. I don't LIKE those people, but I know them. Heh.

    I was *in* TBCPE as a child, so I can do without having to see it ever again, but I didn't vote for it.

  • cmcl says:

    I will never stop loving the John Denver Muppet Christmas. Fozzie forgetting his lines! Animal scoring the climactic Twelve Drummers Drumming! "FIVE GOOOOLD RIIIINGS! BA DUM BUM BUM!"

    On the other hand, constant, repetitive exposure to A Christmas Story has created in me a lifelong loathing of what was actually a cute little movie. Sadly, in my house, there was only one TV and you watched what dad wanted to watch, so, constant, repetitive exposure to anything that hearkened back to the 40s. (Which, naturally, included White Christmas, Holiday Inn, etc.)

    I can't imagine that anybody could hate anything Blackadder, though. The Christmas episode contained one of my favorite Blackadder lines of all time: "Baldrick, you wouldn't see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing 'Subtle Plans are Here Again.'"

  • alicat says:

    Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is the best thing ever. We had the sound-only version on LP when I was a kid and we used to listen to it while we decorate the tree.


  • avis says:

    I am so glad I'm not the only one who hates It's a Wonderful Life! It wasn't a wonderful life for him, was it? He may have made everyone else's life better but did he ever get to go to school or travel or have adventures? No. His life was a constant string of disappointments.

  • Kari says:

    I have been waiting patiently for this poll. Now I need to ask: Is there any way I can vote three times for It's a Wonderful Life? Because that is how much I hate it.

  • kategm says:

    Wow, I find myself not getting too worked up over this poll. I LOVE Muppet Christmas Carol and the Patrick Stewart A Christmas Carol (you should check out his narration of the Christmas Carol audiobook too! It's amazing!).

    I just watched Miracle on 34th Street with my mom and sister (the 1994 remake) and found myself puzzling over plot holes– why is Santa hanging around NYC the month before Christmas? Why is he shacking up at the old folks' home? Why did they cut out the scene where all the children's letters to Santa are entered as evidence? and so on. But I can't hate on it.

    Tori Spelling as Scrooge though? Hail no. That goes double for the Vanessa Williams "adaptation" of A Christmas Carol. Ick.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I hesitate to admit this, because the movie is not good and I don't really like Tim Allen in anything else (except Galaxy Quest), but…I like The Santa Clause. It didn't need a sequel, the kid can't act, I know, I know, but…Krumholtz as the head elf? Anyone?

    I'll let myself out.

  • Jas says:

    I can't vote on this one. There are a lot listed that I've never seen. But, the ones that I have seen I love too well (schmaltz, cheese, and all) to vote them down.
    (I also am striking from my Christmas list those who don't like While You Were Sleeping. That movie is nothing but good times.)

  • K. says:

    @Sars: my second grade class did "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," and I was … Grace? Is that her name, the mother who runs the pageant after the person who's supposed to do it breaks her leg? I haven't thought of it since, and that was 20 years ago – I didn't even know it had been televised.

    I haven't seen Tori Spelling's Christmas Carol but I voted for it on principle because she sucks. And I haven't see the Star Wars/Wookie Holiday Special, but I feel like that has to suck.

    I love Original Recipe Grinch beyond all reason. Ditto Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (I love all things Sesame Street) and all the Muppet Christmas incarnations.

  • JennKD says:

    What? No Smokey Mountain Christmas – pure bad awesomeness.

  • Laura says:

    I'd like to cast a write-in vote for the entire Hallmark Channel. My husband inexplicably loves the holiday dreck so he's been watching Hallmark Channel constantly for the last few days (unless there's a hockey game on). I, in turn, have discovered that all of those "movies" have the same plot: widow(ed)/embittered/career-minded person from the Big City goes to a Small Town days before Christmas for some necessary-but-temporary reason (tire blowout, work assignment); stay is extended (how conveeeeenient); Big City Hardcase is welcomed by lovable small-town eccentrics who happen to have an attractive, single son/daughter, forced to understand True Meaning of Christmas, have heart softened by Small-Town Values(TM), and of course fall in love with Small-Town Boy/Girl.

    Optional elements: Small-Town Boy/Girl's pre-existing but obviously unsuitable romantic partner; Big City Person's starved-for-love child(ren); setting reversal so that Small-Town Person goes to Big City (this one starred Anne Heche and involved a teenage runaway).

    Really, the word "formulaic" is inadequate here.

  • Kerry says:

    The Santa Clause was on TV Sunday and I found myself getting into it – it's totally cheesy and you can see the ending coming before the opening credits are over but I still enjoyed it again. (I actually decided that it was just because years ago when my Dad was having brain surgery my sister and I watched it as a diversion and I was just grateful to the film for that, especially since everything worked out and it weirdly reminds me of a time when my family all came together. So I have an excuse, unlike others!)

  • Melissa says:

    OH MY GOD! Who voted for While You Were Sleeping!! I love that movie. I mean, yes, it's terrible… but sooooo good.

  • cmcl says:

    I remember seeing "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" with Loretta Swit when it aired, and to this day I have a really visceral "UNCOMFORTABLE!" reaction whenever I see it mentioned. It was that one scene where the Bad Little Girl is threatening Good Little Girl with shoving a willow switch into her ear if she doesn't let her play Mary in the play. Even for early-80s schlock, that was disturbing, like Bad Seed disturbing, or so I thought at the time. shudder

  • attica says:

    I seriously cannot wait for the cross-category bloodshed to begin. It'll be a Christmas miracle!

  • TashiAnn says:

    I'm I reading the list wrong or is The Preacher's Wife missing from the list above? This would be the Denzel/Whitney remake of The Bishop's Wife.

  • Kari, I sympathize. But much as I also hate It's a Wonderful Life, if I could give all 3 votes to Sandra Lee, I would. The woman makes tiramisu out of Twinkies and puts half a cup of PORT in ice cream sauce for children. She must be stopped.

  • Suzanne says:

    Oh, and can I just say …

    A Christmas Carol (Jean Luc Picard)

    = hee!!

    Make it so!

  • Adriana says:

    I was expecting A Diva's Christmas Carol in the list, but took my wrath out on the Tori Spelling version which must be even worse. Including Sandra Lee's special – genius!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Wow, Polar Express hate. Who knew? (Well, Keckler apparently had an inkling.)

  • Jennifer M. says:

    The John Denver/Muppets Christmas album is my favorite Christmas album of all time, followed closely by the Snoopy Christmas album by the Royal Guardsman. I love how Snoopy and the Red Baron join the Christmas truce in the trenches!

  • Amie A says:

    I have never understood the appeal of A Christmas Story. And it gets its own revered marathon? Just… why?

  • Liz says:

    Aww, I love the Muppets, so I can't vote against them. But if there were a special category for that awful scene in The Muppet Christmas Carol where Scrooge's girlfriend/crush sings in that terrible dress, I would vote against it a thousand times. Every year my family watches the movie together and every year there is a big fight over whether we fast-forward through that scene or watch it so we can mock every part of it.

  • Grace says:

    I struggled with this list, as there were several choices on it that I adore – Muppets, A Christmas Story, the original Grinch cartoon. I'm baffled that The Bishop's Wife is on this list – I love the original version with David Niven and Cary Grant, and don't think of if as a "holiday" classic, just as a classic movie. (It pops up on TCM regularly throughout the year, not just in December.) I didn't spot the Polar Express when I made my selections, and I'm sorry I missed it – I loathe those creepy animatronic characters with their dead eyes.

    I've kind of gone full circle on loving It's a Wonderful Life, hating it, and now liking it again. When the movie fell into public domain, and was on constantly, I got sick of it. At least now it's only on a few times, and doesn't turn up on every channel around the clock.

  • Rinaldo says:

    I had no trouble with my top 3 (it'll never win, but seriously, Jack Frost? the father dies in a car accident? and then is reincarnated as a snowman? who tries to do for his family what he never managed to do when alive? if he doesn't melt first? who greenlit this??).

    But there's the potential for some confusion on the Christmas Carol front. The Alastair Sim version was, apparently, indeed titled Ebenezer Scroogeor Scrooge for its original UK release, though in the US I've seen it only as A Christmas Carol. The (again, in my experience) better-known-as-such Scrooge is the musical version with Albert Finney. And there's another musical version, cheesier than most of what's on the list: the one with Kelsey Grammer (and good musical folks like Jesse Martin and Jane Krakowski not showing up well).

    And the adaptation with Tori spelling (new to me) seems to be called "A Carol Christmas." Man, there are a lot versions of that book!

  • Anlyn says:

    Sars, I, too, like "The Santa Clause". Because of David Krumholtz, mostly, but I like Tim Allen in it as well. I also like the second one (Art LaFleur as the Tooth Fairy? Love!). But I've never seen the third one, and don't care to.

    "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" has a unfortunate childhood memory associated with it, for me. Our church put it on one year, and I wanted to play Imogen. And I think I would have done a pretty good job too (and the director liked my audition). But the church was mostly rich people (we weren't), and the rich people wanted all their precious little children to play the major parts, so all the rich people's precious little children got to play main lead and the Herdmans and I was put in the chorus. Mom tried to make me feel better by saying they knew I could sing, but I knew better. To this day I can't think of that book/movie without flashing back to that bitterness. I should probably get over it, but, well, I don't want to. :p

  • Ashley says:

    Holiday Inn definitely needs more votes, because hi, SURPRISE BLACKFACE. I have no idea how I got to be 34 before knowing that happened (um, perhaps because it has blackface in it?) but I was all snuggled in for old-timey AMC holiday fun a few years ago and OMG BLACKFACE.

  • Amy says:

    Why, oh why, is that insipid "The Christmas Shoes" made-for-TV movie with Rob Lowe (WTF? I normally kind of like you.) not on this list? My family lurves that film, and I bring a book for when they want to watch it, because even the crappiest of paperbacks is better than that drivel.

  • LisaD says:

    I love While You Were Sleeping! My favorite random scene is when the kid is delivering newspapers in the morning and totally wipes out on his bike on the ice. I know it's mean, but I can't help laughing every time that scene comes up!

  • MsC says:

    @Sarah: I… kinda like The Santa Claus also. You are not alone.

    I never actually saw 'Jingle All the Way' (the Arnold movie about giant men fighting to get their hands on Princess Unicorn Megaman toys or something) but it seems like maybe it should be on the list, perhaps.

    People hate A Charlie Brown Christmas? Yow.

  • mctwin says:

    How could the Muppets even make it on this list? I don't associate with people who don't like the Muppets. They are either have no sense of humor or are absolutely evil!!

    WYWS cracks up my whole family! LOVE that movie!!
    Sars? David Krumholtz kills me in The Santa Clause!!

    We went from too many choices in the music branch to too few choices in this one! Maybe because you can avoid TV Christmas easier than Radio Christmas.

    Thank you, Sars!!

  • adam807 says:

    If anyone votes that they don't like the Muppets they're dead to me. The John Denver, of course, but the latter day Muppet Christmas with Joan Cusack, featuring Scooter as a cage dancer and a "Moulin Rouge" parody with penguins and chickens? GENIUS.

    Are we talking the Michael Keaton "Jack Frost" or the AMAZING TERRIBLE horror movie of the same name about a killer, rapey snowman?

  • Pamela says:

    I will make out under the mistletoe with every single one of you who voted for the wretched remake of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," or as I like to call it, "The Abomination." The original is as close to sacred as it gets with me; I've watched it every year since it was first broadcast and each time, I cry tears of joy.

    "He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming –it came! Somehow or other, it came just the same."

    P.S. Jim Carrey and Ron Howard, you're still dead to me.

  • Liz R. says:

    Sandra Lee must be stopped. Haaaaaaate.

  • Elisa says:

    I've never seen "The Grinch". Would anyone tell me why it's so bad? Have never read the book, either. Hmmmm.

  • Isis Uptown says:

    I'm inordinately fond of "Diva's Christmas Carol." I watched it last year, and my husband asked if I was watching "Ugly Betty Scrooge."

  • Holly says:

    @Suzanne: man, I didn't even *notice*. My eye just went right over that and I thought "um-hmm, yes". Hee!

    I had a hard time with this one too, because most everything on the list is either Beloved To Me, or I successfully avoid it so it doesn't earn my hate.

    I'm not sure if it's quite in the spirit of things, but I cast my votes for things that I hate just because they exist, without my ever having actually seen them / suffered through them: Carrey's Grinch, Polar Express (Nonstop to the Uncanny Valley, here we come! I don't even like to see clips or commercials for it), and Spelling's Carol, because if you are going to remake A Christmas Carol you had better have a good reason, and I can think of NO good reason for "Tori Spelling" and "A Christmas Carol" to even be in the same sentence. (Never take the George C. Scott version away from meeeeee. It is my faaaaaavorite.)

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @adam: Either!

  • Andrea says:

    The Polar Express is my favorite Christmas BOOK. That being said, the movie almost destroyed my love of the book. Creepy homeless man stalking the poor boy through the train. *shudder*

  • Beth says:

    Um, there was a Pac Man Christmas special? There was a Pac Man cartoon? Where was I when this was all happening?

    (…directs her browser to YouTube…ho hum…)

  • adam807 says:

    Please do note that I said "amazing terrible," not "amazingLY terrible." The horror movie "Jack Frost" is a must-see! Especially for us Scrooges! It's like an anti-Christmas movie movie.

  • Tal says:

    You guys have given me the best Christmas present ever…I'm NOT the only person on the face of the earth who hates A Christmas Story. You'd think I was taking candy from Baby Jesus himself with the scorn I get from my family.

    We've worked out the perfect schedule, though…the rest of the fam watches Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation before I get to Dad's, and we watch Scrooge and IAWL after I get there.

  • Lori says:

    I probably would have voted for ‘Polar Express’ if I had ever seen it but I adamantly refuse to see it because it looks so very creepy. I’ll watch movies with humans and I’ll watch movies with cartoons, but an amalgamation of the two? Nu-uh.

    @TashiAnn, I would have voted for ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ too simply for the fact that you don’t remake a Cary Grant movie. I don’t care how charming Denzel Washington is—he’s not Cary Grant. That and the movie looks terrible.

  • X says:

    Thank you, @Amy! I was just about to add my own write-in for that horrible, horrible The Christmas Shoes. Possibly it hasn't been around long enough to have reached the ranks of reflex-gag nausea, but man is that thing bad.

    I like the The Muppet Christmas Carol, though. Those little melons on the wagon. "Help! We are being stolen!"

  • Katie says:

    Polar Express! I have a lifelong hate of this book. I would put my head down in protest when it was read to us in school. Leave the room when my parents read it. I was so offended by it. I was very sure that I was not missing out on anything by living in reality and not believing in magic and other nonsense. (I understand that I was an obnoxious child.)

    It is my mom's favorite Christmas story.

  • Krista says:

    Someone gave The Polar Express (the book) to my daughter when she was three…she climbed on my lap and I started to read it, and then I tripped all over my tongue when I discovered that, like, the fourth line in the story was "There is no Santa!" Thanks, Polar Express, for planting that seed of doubt so soon!

    Also hate the horrible clunky line when they disembark from the train: "At first we saw no elves."

    The movie version, of course, is dreadful.

  • Keckler says:

    Okay, T'Nation I have a question for you about a holiday special I remember as a kid but have no idea what it was.

    All I remember is that it was animated and in a different language — French, I think? — and everyone ice skated everywhere. This couple falls in love and I think it happens over dinner because while everyone else at the table is eating like savages, the chick asks for someone to please pass the butter and the dude does. And it was all romantical because they were eating with utensils and no one else was. I think they skate around the village together but then there's a thaw and the ice cracks and separates them from one another forever.

    What the hell was it?

  • Lynne says:

    I'm making the case against Gift of the Magi people. It's pissed me off for years. I mean, they're broke. They sell off cherished things (her hair? she has to resort to selling her hair?) only to find out their presents are now pointless. What exactly is the message here? Life blows but Merry Christmas? Thanks anyway O.Henry. I'll just be over here with my head in the oven. Jeez.

  • Sheila says:

    Every Christmas Eve, my dad's family will quote the entirety of It's a Wonderful Life, in bits and pieces, over the course of the evening. You go from room to room and get a bizarre, non-narrative Jimmy Stewart experience. I do not want to hear /another word/ about Zuzu's petals.
    On the other hand, I had no idea there was a movie version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! That was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. Admittedly, the ending is way schmaltzy, but: "HEY! Unto YOU a child is born!"

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