Thursday, January 8, 2009

As Seen on TV

Other than sweeps week, there is no other time of the year that I get totally jazzed about TV except at Christmas. (Yes, I'm still blogging about Christmas). Well, except for when a new season of Masterpiece Theater starts, but I don't talk about that much because it just cements my status as a huge nerd who loves period drama.

I love holiday TV viewing--kids' specials, classic holiday movies, holiday episodes of television series, new holiday classics--it doesn't matter. I love it all. ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas? I should probably be sedated.

Years ago I started collecting Christmas shows on VHS. But over time, when you watch those VHS tapes a million times, they start to not work so well. For several years running now, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has had serious issues. Never mind that most of these shows run on network television at some point during the holiday season, the timing doesn't always work for me. In Ohio, the kids' shows always started at 8pm, which is past the boys' bedtime. And if you think I'm letting them stay up late just because Charlie Brown is on, you've got another thing coming. Out here in Mountain Standard Time the shows start at 7pm, which is slightly more convenient, but I just like the flexibility of the DVD option--which we have now moved to.

So now we're about 50% converted to DVD. And can I just put a plug in here for the DVD versions? They usually come with bonus episodes (because you know, it's so important to have even more TV time) AND documentaries about the making of many of these shows. How can you live without that?

The Christmas Viewing Season has to be very carefully planned. I can't just randomly sit down and watch the shows willy nilly. Some shows can only be watched during the day. Some only at night or on weekends, or at night AND on weekends. It's very specific and very complicated. I'm contemplating mapping it all out on Excel for next year so I don't get caught missing something because I don't have the right combination of day/night/weekend or during a certain activity time slots left before Christmas actually gets here. Because as far as I'm concerned, when the clocks strikes midnight on December 26th, all bets are off and if I haven't viewed something by then, it won't happen this season. It's just depressing to watch Christmas shows after Christmas is officially over.

After the Cookie Snob post yesterday, you're getting a whole new picture of my whackiness, yes?

So I'm going to run through my Christmas show list and brief you on what I watch when.

Miracle on 34th Street--This can only be watched in the last week or so prior to or on Thanksgiving Eve for obvious reasons. And it can only be watched in black and white. That colorized version makes me nervous. Everyone is wearing green. I love Maureen O'Hara (note: I pronounce it "O'HAIRA" which makes Eamonn laugh. He says it's "O'HAHRA." But then again this is a man who says baNAHna and toMAHto and calls men named Lance, LAHnce.). But back to Maureen. Have you ever seen The Quiet Man? That's a spring movie. Only to be watched in the spring around St. Patrick's Day. Sometime I'll do a post about how I arrange movies throughout the whole year, not just the holidays. I can tell you're very anxious for that post already.

It's a Wonderful Life--Because my timing was off, I didn't get to see it this year. A whole year without It's a Wonderful Life. Shameful. This movie is a daytime/weekend movie and must be watched while baking Christmas cookies. Only in black and white. Remember all the hullaballoo when it was first colorized and colorization was all the rage? Thankfully colorzation went out of vogue.

Holiday Inn--Another black and whiter. Also a daytime movie. Also while baking Christmas cookies. Preferably on a Saturday. I did see part of this one this year, but because I was baking Christmas cookies all alone (breaks your heart, doesn't it?) my attention was diverted by how much I had to do and I couldn't really focus on viewing and laugh at the part where the peaches explode and wish I lived in that house.

White Christmas--This is it. The mother of all Christmas movies. White Christmas gets more leeway than any other movie or holiday special out there. Day or night. Weekday or weekend. Cookies or no cookies. I'll watch it whenever with out prejudice. And we don't have to worry about colorization because it was the first movie filmed in VistaVision. I usually watch it at least two, if not three, times per season, which is easy to do because again, I can watch it anytime.

Little House on the Prairie: Christmas on Plum Creek & The Christmas They Never Forgot--Seriously. Saturdays only. Daytime. During cookie baking. This year I did get to watch them, but only because I created a diversion for the boys (I think I let them play endless computer games). If I didn't create a diversion, I'd never get to watch anything Little House related. They hate it. I think Eamonn brainwashed them. Erin also like to watch that episode where Miss Beadle sends the children home early on the day before Christmas and huge blizzard comes to Walnut Grove and kills a bunch of people. What kind of person gets holiday cheer from that?

A Christmas Story--When Erin bought us this movie in the mid-90s, I was resistant to adding it into our Christmas repertoire. Once I saw it, I was hooked though. Requirements: Night (weeknight or weekend, I'm flexible here), fire in fireplace, blankets, kids, popcorn, tree must already be decorated.

Love Actually--One of our new Christmas favorites. At night. Fire. Popcorn. Blanket. Husband. Fortunately, this is one Eamonn likes. Favorite scene: when Colin Firth is writing out on the dock and the papers go into the water. That whole narration when he's speaking in English and she's saying the same thing, but in Portuguese is so funny.

Elf--Another new favorite I thought I wouldn't like. When Buddy tells the fake Santa he smells like beef and cheese, I can hardly contain myself. Or the angry elf part. Love it. Week or weekend night. Kids. Blankets. Popcorn. Fire.

Andy Williams Biography & Andy Williams Christmas Show retrospective. Yes, Virginia, I do own these. The biography episode can be watched any time after Thanksgiving. The Christmas Show DVD must be watched very, very close to Christmas, or even Christmas night and it's better if my Dad is here.

Bells of St. Mary's--This is another one with some leeway because the movie spans a greater length of time. But I do like to watch it between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually while working out. Go figure. However, I fequently can't fit it in, so spring is another acceptable time for watching it.

Christmas Vacation--Never got to this one in this year. I like watching this when my Dad is hear because it cracks him up. Definitely a weekend night one.

Kids Shows/Movies--should all be watched at night on a weekend UNLESS school is already out for Christmas break and then they can watch on a weeknight. Other exceptions as noted. Additional requirements: In front of the fire, with kids, under blankets, with popcorn.
Charlie Brown Christmas
Little Drummer Boy
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
The Year Without a Santa Claus

Home Alone 1 & 2--1 could be watched during the day. 2, only at night.
The Santa Clause, Santa Clause 2, Santa Clause 3
Mickey's Christmas Carol--weekday during break
A Disney Christmas--all sorts of old fashioned Disney Christmas episodes. Weekday during break.
Jingle All the Way--may be watching during the day
Caillou's Holiday Movie--preferably during the day
Bob's White Christmas--yes, even Bob the Builder has a holiday special. I actually like it. Week or weekend night.
Arthur's Christmas--day option permitted
Thomas' Snowy Surprise--weekday preferred

I don't even think I can count high enough to calculate how much TV we must watch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And this doesn't even include the required viewing of 24 Hours of A Christmas Story on TBS December 24th and 25th. It doesn't matter that we own the DVD.

Toffee Picture
In one final hurrah to Christmas, made a batch of toffee tonight to give away as a gift. It felt a little weird to be making it after Christmas, and frankly, it was a dangerous thing to do because I want to eat the whole thing. This is what it looks like:


Kristie said...

Love Actually, Elf, and A Christmas Story are definitely our favorites. In fact, the teacher let Brayden take a movie to school as a reward the last week of school before Christmas break and I suggested she take A Christmas Story. It was returned to me with a very kind note from the teacher that perhaps the language was not appropriate???? Huh. We watch it all the time and I never noticed! :)

We also love Scrooged with Bill Murray and let our kids watch it for the first time this year. Wow, maybe we make really inappropriate parenting decisions more than I realized.

Anonymous said...

Now you realize you post a picture of something like that without a recipe, right?

Mansfield, OH

Cynthia Satterthwaite said...

Love the specifics about the Christmas specials. I did like the Little House show when they get lost in the snow, but now it does seem quite depressing. Last year I made several batches of the toffee that were delicious. This year...not so much luck. One batch separated before it got hot enough and the other never did reach the right temp, but then all of the sudden burned. Maybe I have a candy thermometer problem. I had to rely on the container that your mom delivered to my mom! It was delicious!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post and it's nice to know that someone else is head over heels about Christmas movies, etc.!! Question: have you ever seen The Bishop's Wife with Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young? Given that most of your favorites are the same as mine, I think you'd love this Christmas film!!! :)