As always, I slapped together an improvised Christmas special during the first hour or two of Christmas day. Desperate for inspiration after these many years of doing this, I decided to do the most obvious thing possible and exactly follow the format of every Rankin-Bass animated Christmas special. NO REFUNDS!
(FADE IN.) SCENE 1. INTERIOR SANTA'S WORKSHOP (Two ELVES and HUEY are working in a sweatshop, stapling safety warnings onto shoddy teddy bears.) FIRST ELF Hey, Huey! SECOND ELF Yeah, hey, Huey! HUEY Stop picking on me! You guys are meanies! FIRST ELF We'll stop picking on you if you just become a real elf. HUEY I'm not an elf, I'm a hobbit, and there's nothing wrong with that! SECOND ELF Why did you say there's nothing wrong with Shat? FIRST ELF Hey, look, Huey likes William Shatner! HUEY I do not! You misunderstood me! FIRST ELF Ha ha, it's Huey the misunderstood hobbit! SECOND ELF Huey, Huey, the misunderstood hobbit! HUEY It's not fair that I'm a hobbit and you're not! FIRST ELF Huey, the misunderstood hobbit! (There is an ominous rumble.) SECOND ELF What was that? FIRST ELF I don't know. It happened right when I pointed out that Huey, the misunderstood hobbit is Huey, the misunderstood hobbit. (There is a double rumble.) SECOND ELF Uh-oh! I think you said that too many times! It's becoming the title of his very own Christmas special! HUEY Yay! After everyone see this special, I will be misunderstood no more, and everyone will love the way I -- NARRATOR (rudely interrupting; voice-over) Tonight, and every Christmas from now on, it's "Huey, The Misunderstood Hobbit!" Another treasure from the vaults of Rankin-Bass! FIRST ELF Now look what you did! SECOND ELF It's all his fault! Get him! (The two ELVES beat HUEY to death.) NARRATOR "Huey, The Misunderstood Hobbit" is brought to you by -- wait, I've just been told that the sponsors have withdrawn because Huey's dead. Well, that sure ruins Christmas for everyone... except narrators! At last, I'm free! Free to narrate whatever else I want! I can achieve my lifelong goal of hosting "The New All-New New Twilight Zone"! It's new! (CUT TO:) SCENE 2. REDONE "TWILIGHT ZONE" TITLE SEQUENCE (Various elements of the original "Twilight Zone" title sequence are floating around, except that now it's all been updated to make it more awesome, so now when "E=Mc^2" goes flying past it's in a futuristic computer font like the one at the bottom of your checks. Also, it says "E=Mc^2000".) NARRATOR You're entering a dimension not of space and time but of color, flavor, texture, noise, gravity, wiggliness, wetness, dryness, moistness, semi-moistness, fluffiness, and odor. A dimension whose only boundaries are those of the mind and DNA and chaos theory and quantum mechanics and artificial intelligence and the exciting new iPhone from Apple. You are entering... "The New All-New New Twilight Zone". (MUSIC STING. DISSOLVE TO:) SCENE 3. EXTERIOR CITY STREET. (We see a twelve-foot length of sidewalk, because that's all the budget would allow us to build. ALBERT EINSTEIN is in the middle of it, walking in place while holding a bag of groceries with a stalk of celery sticking out the top. For some reason there is a string lying along the length of the sidewalk.) NARRATOR (voice-over) Submitted for your approval: One perfectly ordinary human being, named Albert Einstein. Little does he know he has just stumbled into the most horrifying situation ever -- a remake of a revival of a remake of a revival of "The Twilight Zone". (MUSIC STING.) (EINSTEIN continues walking in place.) EINSTEIN I am having a splendid day! Just me and my bag of groceries! (EINSTEIN keeps pretending to walk. Suddenly the string becomes taut and slowly drags a newspaper vending box into frame, to make it look like EINSTEIN is moving. It is dragged completely across the set and off the other edge of the screen.) EINSTEIN That reminds me! I forgot to read today's newspaper before I went shopping! I'd better go back. (EINSTEIN keeps walking in place, but now a long pole pushes the newsrack back into frame behind him as if he is backing up. The pole pushes it next to him and leaves it there.) EINSTEIN Now to read the headline! (He bends down.) (CLOSE-UP newspaper headline: "NUCLEAR WAR DESTROYED ALL LIFE ON EARTH YESTERDAY. YOU DIED.") EINSTEIN Oh no! Did you see that, groceries? Apparently the two of us are not only the only two survivors, but we're dead! I guess I'd better buy that newspaper! (He sets the bag of groceries on the newsrack and rummages through his pockets.) EINSTEIN I'm out of change! Oh well! (He picks up his groceries and cheerfully strolls out of frame, whistling. The newsrack just sits there.) NARRATOR When mankind's hubris becomes too great, even the greatest scientists must remember that newspapers aren't free. In other words, the eight morals of this story were -- GRUFF VOICE You're fired! NARRATOR What? GRUFF VOICE You heard me, you're fired. You were supposed to be narrating that stupid Rankin-Dumbass toddler cartoon and not making up crazy crap about some dumb old dead professor talking to celery. NARRATOR But you can't fire me, it's Christmas! GRUFF VOICE Then you're retroactively fired as of last month. Give back all the pay you received since then and go home. NARRATOR I don't have to take this abuse from you. I'll go somewhere that I'm wanted. GRUFF VOICE Fine, just get outta here so we can end this show, people at home been looking at a picture of a newspaper box for five minutes now. And while you're going, we'll have the Foley guy make the sound of a door hitting your ass on the way out. (Sound effect: An aluminum baseball bat smashing a coconut inside a 55-gallon drum.) (CUT TO:) SCENE 3. INTERIOR SANTA'S WORKSHOP (The two ELVES have finished cutting up HUEY's corpse, and are gift-wrapping the pieces.) FIRST ELF This leg should fill up a stocking nicely! SECOND ELF Just draw a Pokemon on it and kids will love it. NARRATOR (voice-over) Testing... testing... ahem... We now return to "Huey, The Misunderstood Hobbit!" FIRST ELF (rolling his eyes) Oh, great, he's back, that guy who never shuts up. SECOND ELF (whispering) Quiet, I think he can see us! NARRATOR That's right, I can see you! I see all! And we're going to make this the greatest Christmas special ever! It's "Huey, The Misunderstood Hobbit!" FIRST ELF He's still dead. NARRATOR And then a Christmas miracle happened! Huey came back to life! FIRST ELF (after a pause) How are we supposed to play that? SECOND ELF Yeah, who's writing this crap? I knew this was going to be a lousy Christmas what with all the real writers on strike. NARRATOR No, really, Huey came back to life! Look, you can see him moving! Kids, he's okay! FIRST ELF He's dead! NARRATOR He's dancing a happy dance! FIRST ELF and SECOND ELF (together) He's dead! NARRATOR Don't make me come down there! SECOND ELF Down from where? NARRATOR I'm God! I'm up here in Heaven and I'm gonna come down there and kick your butts if you don't make kids happy this Christmas! FIRST ELF You're not the real God. You're a scab God. The real one's on strike 'cause they didn't pay him royalties when they released "The Ten Commandments" on DVD. SECOND ELF Yeah, he wrote that film all by himself. I bet you ain't wrote nothing. NARRATOR Behold! The amazing wacky dancing antics of Huey, The Misunderstood Hobbit! FIRST ELF The only good thing I can say about this special is that Rankin and Bass are probably saving a fortune on the animation. SECOND ELF Yeah, look how I've been wrapping the same dismembered torso for ten minutes now. See? Three frames of my hands folding the paper around the bloody torso, and two frames of me putting the duct tape on it. Then repeat. This barely qualifies as animation. FIRST ELF It's like we're in a freakin' "Archies" episode or something. NARRATOR You are not! We're doing a heartwarming Christmas special! FIRST ELF Did he just say he has heartworms? SECOND ELF Yeah, let's misunderstand him to say "heartworms"! That makes him Narraty, The Misunderstood Narrator! NARRATOR Am not! SECOND ELF Listen, he just said he is! NARRATOR No I didn't! FIRST ELF And you know that newspaper in the stupid "Twilight Zone" scene? The headline said "NARRATOR DROWNS IN CREAMED CORN!" NARRATOR That's just plain -- glub! (drowning noises) SECOND ELF Whaddaya know, it worked! FIRST ELF Never underestimate the powers of "The Twilight Zone". It's more powerful than Santa and Rudolph combined. (CUT TO:) SCENE 4. INSERTS (Spinning newspaper. Headline: "NARRATOR DROWNS IN CREAMED CORN. CORPSE IDENTIFIED AS UNTALENTED.") (Another spinning newspaper. Headline: "WRITERS' STRIKE CONTINUES, ALL CHRISTMAS TV PROGRAMS REPLACED BY REALITY SHOWS.") (CUT TO:) SCENE 5. INTERIOR OPERATING ROOM (SANTA is strapped to a medical table. Trays of scalpels and forceps are all around.) REPLACEMENT NARRATOR Santa's on the table, the instruments have been sharpened, and we're about to release the raging chimp! It's "Monkey Makeover"! (A screaming CHIMP jumps onto the table, grabs a scalpel, and starts hacking away at random while SANTA screams. Fortunately, most of the blood is covered by the "MONKEY MAKEOVER" logo in the middle of the screen. It has a cute cartoon monkey.) REPLACEMENT NARRATOR And if you enjoyed this episode of "Monkey Makeover", tune in next week for our Christmas special! (EINSTEIN bursts in.) EINSTEIN Stop the operation! This is madness! (The CHIMP jabs the scalpel at EINSTEIN, and a big kung-fu battle ensues. Eventually EINSTEIN gets the CHIMP in a headlock.) EINSTEIN Wait, what's this string for? (He picks up a string that's lying on the floor and pulls on it. A newspaper vending box trundles into view. The headline wins "CHIMP WINS XMAS FIGHT WITH EINSTEIN." EINSTEIN No! It can't be! I'm not taking orders from some spurious old-media publication! (EINSTEIN flings the CHIMP out the window. He then starts unstrapping SANTA.) SANTA Thanks, Einstein! But I'm afraid I won't be delivering any presents this year! Tell the kids Christmas is cancelled because Santa's missing too many organs... (SANTA dies. We know this because a little animated ghost with a Santa hat rises out of his body.) EINSTEIN Looks like it's up to me to save Christmas! DISSOLVE TO: SCENE 6. EXTERIOR SANTA'S WORKSHOP (In front of the garage at the North Pole, EINSTEIN is hitching the nine REINDEER to the sleigh. RUDOLPH is in front.) RUDOLPH I wish I could remember how to make my nose light up! EINSTEIN No time for that now, Rudolph! We've got to deliver all the toys in the world, within the next three hours! RUDOLPH Aw, can't we do it in four? EINSTEIN No, three! Otherwise kids everywhere will be cranky and histrionic, unlike normal children! (EINSTEIN climbs into the sleigh.) EINSTEIN Now, mush! On Donner, on Cupid! On Dander and Vixen! On Sprinkles, on Montel, on Something and Something! RUDOLPH Don't forget me, the perkiest of all! I'm Rudolph! EINSTEIN Yeah, and on Rudolph! DONNER (quietly) That's what she said. EINSTEIN Hey, shut your face and fly! (The sleigh takes off. They soar through the air. RUDOLPH's nose begins to glow bright red.) RUDOLPH I'm flying! And hey, my nose is glowing! EINSTEIN No! Don't! That's deadly gamma radiation... piercing every cell in our bodies... (Blood starts trickling from EINSTEIN's ears as the sleigh spirals downwards like a flying brick.) SCENE 7. EXTERIOR DETROIT (In a freight yard, a train is idling. It has a flatbed car with an open tank on top, labelled "WORLD'S LARGEST VAT OF CREAMED CORN." Distantly, we hear screaming. It gets louder. The sleigh falls into frame and crashes on the ground in front of the vat. At the moment of impact, the ten screams stop. Then, after a moment, the vat bursts, deluging EINSTEIN and the REINDEER in creamed corn. The screaming resumes, then fades away. RONALD McDONALD enters.) RONALD McDONALD Remember, kids, never touch creamed corn, celery, or any other vegetables. NARRATOR You've been watching "The Horrifying Christmas That Wasn't", the greatest Christmas special ever to air during a writers' strike, starring -- GRUFF VOICE Hey, I fired you! Get lost already! REPLACEMENT NARRATOR Yeah, beat it, creep! RONALD McDONALD If I may interject a plea for sanity... GRUFF VOICE No, you're fired too, and your hamburgers taste like doggie beds! Everybody get outta here, I'm taking over! (FADE OUT.) SCENE 8. SOLID BLACK SCREEN GRUFF VOICE And that's how I, the man with the gruff voice, saved Christmas by cancelling this really terrible Christmas special before you were forced to watch the second half of it. Oh, also, that newspaper headline was true -- the world really did blow up yesterday and you've been dead all day. See you next year! (CUT TO:) SCENE 9. INTERIOR LIVING ROOM (A LITTLE GIRL and her parents are watching a solid black TV screen.) LITTLE GIRL Daddy, can he really see us? DADDY No, sweetheart. Now go help Mommy set the table for our Christmas dinner. We're having creamed corn. (MUSIC STING.)
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December 25, 2007
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