When holiday preparations are in full swing, people sometimes need a bit of background spirit to help those fun activities like wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, and eating your neighbor’s two year old fruit-cake (at least that’s how it looks, I don’t touch the stuff).
Most people would probably put on Bing Crosby’s Old Fashioned Christmas, Elvis Presley’s Xmas in Hawaii, or maybe Barbara Streisand’s I’m Doing It for the Money Xmas Album. I, on the other hand, don’t care for such albums. I only seem to enjoy the electronica version of “Carol of the Bells” and Christmas parody songs.
No, when it comes to Christmas spirit, I usually go to the DVD collection for my background noise. Some of these films are classics. Some are most definitely not (except in my own mind). Some of them stop me from wrapping presents and decorating so I can make some spiked hot chocolate and laugh my ass off. The one thing they all have in common is that they infect me with the Christmas spirit, for better or for worse.
It’s early December. That may not seem like an exciting time on the calendar.
That’s just the way I like it. Nothing to worry about after Thanksgiving, and even then, if you suck at cooking like I do and didn’t have any children to haul to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you may have to pick up some beer and wash some dishes. However, marketing geniuses in the retail world have caught on to this euphoric lull, and began a quest to start Christmas joy before Halloween. As if seeing Santa at the end of the Thanksgiving parade wasn’t bad enough.
So, when I heard It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia was releasing a Christmas Special DVD all those years ago, I was a little annoyed. Don’t get me wrong, I was just as annoyed at seeing Jim Carrey’s Christmas Carol in 3-D Disney Awesomeness in theaters beginning last Thursday. I don’t even do 12 days of Christmas, unless you count shopping days. A week before Christmas, I pop Bill Murray’s Scrooged into the DVD player, and don’t take it out except for a viewing of Gremlins, Bad Santa, Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Ref. There are others, but those are the main seasonal movies in my world.
So where, or when, does A Very Sunny Christmas fit into the holidays? Right now, actually, before you really want to get into the Christmas spirit, and would rather whine about it. Or maybe just the week after Thanksgiving.
The story is of the normal Sunny style. It’s Christmas-time at Paddy’s Pub, and the gang is getting into the Christmas spirit, or out of it. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson) are pissed at their “childhood father” Frank (Danny DeVito) because he has repetitively, and purposefully, screwed them over on presents every Christmas, and manages to one-up himself this year. Mac (Rob McElhenney) is pissed because he found out his family spent every Christmas robbing other families. Charlie (Charlie Day) is pissed because he found out multiple Santa Clauses banged his mom. Everyone is pissed at Charlie for wearing a ridiculous Christmas sweater. Wait, that was me.
Mac and Charlie go out into the city of Philly to rekindle their Christmas spirit. Meanwhile, Dennis and Dee resort to creating their own, extremely lackadaisical Christmas Carol story in order to get Frank to change his ways and buy them something, anything, for the holidays. Through these trials, the gang learns how to come together as a family, overcome trials of the world as well as the heart, and love one another, unconditionally.
Yeah, and Robert Goulet is going to spring out of my ass alive and well, singing “Silver Bells.”
The main thing about this DVD is that it is the Christmas you would have imagined these characters having. It’s funny, it’s dark, it makes you feel like a better human being for not being this way, and worse for laughing at it. This is what It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is all about. Some of the greatest moments are seeing Frank stumble around an office party naked, Charlie attacking a Santa Claus, and a claymation segment that will forever scar your enjoyment of claymation Christmas specials like Rudolph saving Christmas with help from Hermey, The Bumble, and the California Raisins.
The special features aren’t too bad. The Young Mac and Charlie deleted scenes are nothing great, showing why they were deleted. The Making Of featurette (a word which I hate with a passion) is funny to watch once or twice, as Fred Savage attempts to gain some time in front of the camera. The crown jewel of the extras is the Sing-A-Long. Play this Sing-A-Long on Christmas Eve, and you are guaranteed to be disowned by your family at the end of those 10 minutes.
The main question is, “Is it worth buying for $17?” I’d say yes, but if you have a chance to borrow it from a friend and forget to bring it back to him or her, do it. It must be watched in any way possible.
I give this Christmas Special 3-1/2 out of 5 days of the week. It would have been 4, but I had to take away something for the price of what equals two episodes and a tripped-out Sing-A-Long.