It’s that time of year again. CHRISTMAS! I got a few special blogs coming in the next few weeks, starting with this special. What a cute idea…that sucked hard! Let’s talk a look at one of the worst things I have ever seen. I give you:

 

I was looking forward to this when it first came on. It sounded really good! Then I watched it. Let’s take a closer look:

 

 

Plot-Stiller the Elf narrates this story concerning Elmo. Stiller gives Oscar the job of counting down Christmas with the Christmas Countdowner. The Counter-Downer contains ten boxes (numbered  1-10) that help count down the last 10 days to Christmas. Without it, Christmas can’t happen.After Oscar the Grouch throws away the offical Christmas Countdowner, it’s up to Elmo to find all ten numbers and put it back together in time. Every time he finds a number it segues into another music number and/or sketch. In the end they find all ten, until Cookie Monster eats the Countdowner! Will Christmas be lost forever?

 

What I Liked-
The Premise-While badly executed, the basic premise was ok.
Elmo-I like Elmo, unlike some, and he was fine in this including the opening number with Sheryl Crow
Alicia Keys-I guess Rosie O’Donnall wasn’t available so the job of singing “Do You Hear What I Hear” with Elmo went to Alicia Keys. I always love this song and while this didn’t hold up to the version Elmo and Rosie O’Donnell sang it was very good, and unlike most of these it ties into the plot of the special. The one small problem is Alicia Keys can sing so she kinds of drowns Elmo out at parts. It still amazed me I have two CD’s of Rosie O’Donnell singing. God I hate her.
Jennifer Hudson-She sings Carol of the Bells, with some Muppet farm animals, and does a fantastic job
Brad Paisley-He sings Jingle Bells with Grover and some penguins. Nothing wrong with it.
Ann Hathaway-She sings “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” with Big Bird and it isn’t bad at all. Who knew that Ann Hathaway could sing? Oh, yeah….. All kidding aside this is a great little number I just wish Big Bird had more of a role in this.
Extreme Makeover-A parody of Extreme Makeover with Ty Pennington as himself while The Count since I Saw Three Ships. That’s not much of a Christmas song but it’s the Count so I will forgive. Not bad and the one number sung by a Muppet and not the guest celebrity.

 

What I Hated-
Stiller the Elf-Did Ben Stiller need a paycheck or something? He’s annoying! And it feels like he is trying to take over the special. And that talking snowball was aggravating! And why did he give the job of counting down to Christmas to Oscar of all people? It goes about as well as you’d expect. I did like the “I Hate Christmas” song they sing. But after that Stiller spends the special being negative and convinced that Christmas is doomed. He does nothing to solve the problem, and his neurotic whining is just annoying. Even Elmo looks at him at one point like he is thinking “Dude, what the hell?”
To Many Celebrities!-You may have noticed that I listed a bunch of celebrities in the other section. While they all did fine, it does bring up one question-WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CELEBRITIES! Why does more recent Sesame Street shows forget there are other characters beside Elmo and Oscar? Big Bird, Grover, Ernie and Bert, and Oscar get cameos with almost no involvement with the story at all. Oscar causes the problem and still hardly appears in the rest of the show!
The Bert and Ernie Christmas Special-Man did I hate this. Ok here is the deal, Bert and Ernie direct a special with two actors playing them acting out a classic Bert and Ernie bit. The two actors? Tony Sirico as Bert and Steve Schirripa as Ernie. This was stupid! The only part I like is that one of my favorite characters, Prairie Dawn, is the one who suggests they forget the nonsense. Hey The Sopranos was a fine series, but it doesn’t really blend in a Sesame Street show.
Jamie Fox-Sorry Jamie Fox, but this part sucked. It’s Jamie Fox rapping or whatever he is doing over the Nutcracker Suite while Elmo, dressed as the Nutcracker, dances. Ok, few things. A rap song doesn’t work over Ballet music, whatever Jamie Fox is singing doesn’t work, and the scene feels strangely out of place unlike the rest of the vignettes.
Santa Claus and that AWFUL finale-The ending SUCKED! OK, here’s how it ends. The Countdowner is repaired, only to have Cookie Monster eat it (I did like that moment). The whole special has built up the fact that if the Countdowner does not count down there will be no Christmas. So Elmo and Stiller tell the kids at home to believe in Christmas miracles. Then like a second later, Santa arrives. Just like that, and he says he was running late due to some trouble on the way. Umm….I THOUGHT CHRISTMAS WOULD CEASE TO EXIST WITHOUT THE COUNTDOWNER!! Now you’re saying Santa was doing just fine the whole time? Never mind the fact that Dec 25th isn’t going to stop coming, it’s the lesson learned in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Oh, but it gets better!
Santa Claus is played by Kevin James. Do I need to continue? This is what 100% ruined this special for me. This part was awful! OK, let me be fair. I like Kevin James, I really do, but why in the world was he cast as Santa here? And that song he sings is terrible! The song is “You Gotta Believe”, it’s meant to be a rock song…yeah that fits. It could work but the song is badly sung! Maybe if James could sing it but he (or whoever was actually singing) can’t. Of course, James is waaayyy to young to be Santa. The special quickly ends, and I for one am happy!

 

Final Thoughts-I was just disappointed with the way this turned out. Maybe it was meant for little kids and as an adult I couldn’t get into it. As vignettes it works but on the whole the special just does not come together. Heck, Elmo doesn’t even find all of the squares most are found by someone else. All Elmo really does is stand around hoping everything works out. At least in his other shows he is more proactive. The story is rushed (we find 2, 3, and 4 at the same time) as if the writers realized they only had an hour to do this. And why was this not filmed on the Sesame Street set? The backdrop looks like something out a school play. And in a way, that’s what this whole special feels like. A badly thrown together amateur production.

 

There is a Sesame Street Christmas products worst than this, and maybe if I get the chance I will discuss that direct to DVD abomination.

By richb

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