Greetings from the edge!

Chug your eggnog and mainline some Christmas cheer, we’re in for a rough one, my merry miscreants. Our cinematic tragedy this week is the 1966 Italian/US joint venture, The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t. As I write this, I can hear God showing Texas exactly how strong his pimp hand is, but fear not, readers, it’ll take more than Mother Nature proving climate change deniers wrong once again to stop this critic!

Strange, I don’t remember a giant pink squirrel menacing Santa’s elves, but I think that it would have improved the movie. (Bambi Productions/Childhood Productions)

Our invention exchange this week has to be the weakest of the entire season. Jonah and the bots present the Re-Gifter, a box within a box that will fit the first box inside it, which you then pass on to the next victim… er recipient, so they can pass it on again… personally I’m not seeing the attraction. Less creative still is Kinga and Max’s offering: Humbug FM, a radio specifically designed to cover any Christmas music with a 300 decibel wail of howler Monkeys, sirens, and vuvuzelas. A product so aggressively, uselessly annoying that not even the Mads can stand it for more than 30 seconds.

Jonah and the crew lay down a scathing smack on Santa’s cultural insensitivity. (NETFLIX)

My favorite skit this episode features Jonah and the bots criticizing how sadly out of date Santa’s toy production choices are. Are wooden push-trains and tin soldier really the gifts a 21st century child wants to find under their LED-lit Christmas tree? In a world of bad gift options, your only choice is to be naughty. At least the coal is valuable in a world of increasingly scarce fossil fuels.

Allow me to make an odd observation about this episode. Early on, a running joke about infantilism is connected to Mr. Whipple the lawyer, played by Paul Tripp… and they just won’t let it drop. Maybe it could have been funny if done once or twice but, by the end of the episode, it seems like every other joke is, “I’m a wittle baby.” It even extends into this week’s special cameo by series creator Joel Hodgson and head writer Elliot Kalan. It became a tooth grinding chore to sit through this repetitive nonsense. Did someone lose a bet?

Ho Ho Ho little Suzy, don’t be afraid of Santa, just because he knows where you sleep and everything you do doesn’t mean he’s stalking you…probably. (NETFLIX)

The only member of the cast who seems to be having fun is Rossano Brazzi as Phineas T. Prune, our ersatz Scrooge. He chews the scenery with verve whenever he’s on-screen. With a positively unctuous manner and a Dastardly Whiplash style, he even has the moxie to cheat Santa out of his earnings after driving him to work in a department store disguised as a mall Santa. Only after attempting to use chemical warfare on Santa and an entire crowd of children, of course. I think he must hang out with the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Ferris Bueller’s principal at a bar downtown where they commiserate about their loathing of children.

You just know that Mr. Prune isn’t allowed within 200 feet of schools or any designated children’s play areas. (NETFLIX)

With a plot that mixes tenant’s rights, an off-brand Ebeneezer Scrooge, a kind-hearted lawyer who forgets to bill his clients, and a Santa Claus with social anxiety and a wife that feeds him snow, I don’t exactly envy the MST3K writers that had to punch up this yuletide trainwreck. There are some good laughs to be had in this episode, but I’m afraid it’s too little too late for this riffing fan. Save this one for the holiday season when the cheer is flowing and nobody is paying attention to the television anyway.

Favorite riff of the episode, Tom Servo: “What did they cut out of this movie if this is what they kept?”

Join me next week for the season finale with episode 14: At the Earth’s Core, with Peter Cushing out-Britishing everyone and the return of both Doug McClure and Caroline Munro, it looks like it’ll be the wrap-up this season deserves, and don’t forget the wedding of Kinga and Jonah! Will Max takes this lying dow,n or is he going to crash this shotgun wedding The Graduate style? Tune in next week, same edge time, same edge website!

And always remember, “Keep circulating the tapes!”

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By Justin T. Williams

Justin T. Williams hails from the Great state of Texas. His life has been a series of strange adventures that makes for intriguing writing but difficult laundry. Justin is known to his friends as a lifetime fan of comics, movies, and classic pulps. He lurks far from the sun, indulging in his favorite pastimes of writing and hoarding random bits of interesting but useless knowledge.