Tag Archives: Christmas

Episode 128- SCROOGED

Merry Christmas everybody! Whether you’re giving small children a forty or fifty dollar piece of milk-fed veal, or debating the visibility of a showgirl’s nipples, have a safe and Happy Holiday.

Episode 128- SCROOGED

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 127- CHRISTMAS IN 1987

1987

With only one week left until Christmas, we’ve devoted this week’s show to three classic holiday specials, all from 1987: the appropriately-titled A Garfield Christmas Special, Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration, and A Muppet Family Christmas. They were thrilling back in ’87, but how do these specials fare today? To find out, download the link below, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes! And be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Episode 127- CHRISTMAS IN 1987

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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7 Follow-Ups to Classic Christmas Movies That Ruin the Original

by J.M. McNab

While we may have accepted that Indiana Jones met some aliens, or that Francis Ford Coppola cast his daughter in the third Godfather movie, we demand more from our Christmas movies and specials. Unfortunately, many classic Christmas movie characters nevertheless returned for follow-ups that denigrate the original, thus ruining Christmas. If this was a TV movie, Rob Lowe would save it somehow… maybe Dean Cain.

7. Clarence the Angel Gets a Sexy ’90s Makeover

“It’s It’s a Wonderful Life, but sexier, and for the nineties!” is probably how the 1990 TV movie Clarence was pitched by a coked-up, ponytailed screenwriter, to a soulless, shoulder-pad-wearing television executive.

Clarence finds the beloved guardian angel character from Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film (which we discussed on this week’s show) transformed into a younger, handsomer, guardian angel played by Robert Carradine… because, Christmas magic, I guess?

Clarence became a cocky jerk ever since he got his wings.

Apparently Clarence has used his powers (the kind normally reserved for convincing people not to commit suicide) to make himself more attractive and youthful-looking. Isn’t vanity supposed to be a sin? Try watching the original knowing that the benevolent angel you know and love becomes a superficial douchebag.

Also, for some reason, Clarence doesn’t like saving people anymore, and agrees to back to Earth in this movie only because a fellow angel’s widow is contemplating suicide. So basically, he won’t tell people not to kill themselves unless it’s a favor for a buddy. Merry Christmas everybody.

6. Frosty the Snowman is Actually Depressed and Lonely

Everybody loves Frosty the Snowman (except for that evil magician), so one would naturally assume that his sequel would recapture the magic of the original. Well, it turns out it doesn’t. To start with, remember how Frosty sang “I’ll be back on Christmas day” in the original? Turns out that was a big fucking lie. The sequel, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland takes place several years later, for some reason.

Guess what else isn’t fun about Frosty 2? Frosty is depressed and starts crying.

That’s right, it’s bad enough that you have to deal with your family members’ soul-crushing sadness on Christmas, now even beloved cartoon characters can’t keep their shit together during the holidays.

Turns out Frosty has… needs… So the kids build him a snow-woman for a wife– the only problem is she doesn’t have a magic hat to bring her to life, which is, again, depressing. It’s like trying to set your best friend up with a mannequin or a corpse.

Watching this sequel makes you wish those kids in the original had never meddled in dark arts, playing god and creating a whole new lifeform. In light of this sequel, the original Frosty becomes a maddening prelude to a host of unanticipated ethical dilemmas.

5. The Grinch Just Went Back to Being a Dick After Christmas

Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas was such a successful TV special, it would be insane for its creators not to produce a new special about the second-most popular holiday and find a way to awkwardly shoehorn The Grinch into it.

That being said, the 1977 follow-up, Halloween is Grinch Night, finds The Grinch once again terrorizing the town of Whoville– which doesn’t totally gel with the ending of the original.

“I did WHAT at Christmas? I must have been hammered that day.”

What happened to The Grinch carving the roast beast? Or his heart growing an, albeit medically-worrisome, three sizes that day? Having a sequel where The Grinch acts like a deranged stalker undoes all of the character development from the original, and accidentally reinforces that most famous of Christmas morals: “Nobody ever changes… pass the wine.”

4. Charlie Brown and Linus Forget the True Meaning of Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the most beloved half-hours of family entertainment. Setting it apart from other Holiday programming is the special’s frank examination of the over-commercialization of Christmas, Yuletide malaise, and the holiday’s disengagement from its spiritual origins.

Originally airing in 1965, it wasn’t until 1991 that the show was released on home video (apparently the stupid 1960s didn’t have VHS). Fittingly, Charlie Brown appeared in a television commercial promoting the release of this seminal work. The ad begins with Charlie Brown and Linus, trudging through the snow, carrying their skates. It almost feels like a proper sequel to the classic special.

Charlie Brown: I’m worried, Linus. Christmas is coming, and I don’t know what to get anyone.

Linus: Charlie Brown, what you need is a gift everyone will like–

Okay, here it comes, another one of Linus’ big speeches! In the original he quoted the Bible, assuring everyone that the true meaning of Christmas didn’t involve material goods–

Linus: That’s it! A Charlie Brown Christmas videotape!

Okay… Well, that makes sense, they have to sell their videotape somehow. It’s not like the only way to purchase the tape would be by buying something else from some kind of billion-dollar corporation trying to lure you into consuming their product using your childhood nostalgia as bait.

Charlie Brown: But where do I get them Linus?

Voice: Participating Shell stations are now offering A Charlie Brown Christmas while supplies last. Only $3.99 with an eight gallon fill-up!

Oh.

The True Meaning of Christmas is big oil.

So the only way to buy A Charlie Brown Christmas, an animated treatise on the non-corporatization of Christmas, is by going to a Shell station and filling up your tank. That’s like if the DVD of Gandhi was only available through Burger King. The worst part is, this betrayal of the characters’ values is enacted by the characters themselves! It’s so out of character, one wonders if Shell was holding Lucy, or Peppermint Patty hostage in exchange for these classic characters abandoning their core beliefs.

3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is Still Treated Like Shit

While it seemed that the original 1964 special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had a neat and tidy ending, there have nevertheless been several sequels. One of which, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys from 2001 strangely replaces the quaint, timeless stop-motion animation of the original with hollow, soulless, cheap-looking CGI.

In this movie, Rudolph has to escape from the Nintendo 64 he’s trapped inside.

The most troubling part of the sequel though, is how it undercuts the message of the original. Remember how the ostracized Rudolph was finally accepted at the end? Turns out that wasn’t such a happy ending after all…

As we see in the beginning of this sequel, everyone at the North Pole still treats Rudolph like a freak, like some kind of yuletide Elephant Man, Rudolph is constantly being hounded to perform his nose “trick.” Rudolph leaves the North Pole in despair muttering “Guess I’m just a novelty act around here.”

2. Scrooge Continues to Hate Christmas but Learns to Love ‘80s Rock

The 1983 special Scrooge’s Rock ‘n Roll Christmas produced to, presumably, cure the public of their enjoyment of both Christmas and music, finds Ebeneezer Scrooge working on Christmas day, grumbling about how Bob Cratchit took the day off.

So, seemingly this is both a sequel to Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol (and its many cinematic adaptations) but also a reimagining of it– what would happen if Scrooge wasn’t visited by the ghosts on Christmas Eve? The short answer: he’d still be a dick. The longer answer: he’d be a dick who learns to love bad ‘80s rock.

Through some kind of rip in the space-time continuum, a visitor from the future (ie 1983) enters Scrooge’s office believing it to be a record store. Since Scrooge is all Bah Humbugy, the girl from the future teaches him about contemporary music using a magic snowglobe, which is a thing people totally carried with them in 1983.

Seen here: Scrooge discovers sexual tension.

After witnessing performances by stars such as Three Dog Night, The Association and even meeting The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, who he recognizes for some reason, Scrooge learns to love Christmas…Well, not really, but it does seem like he’s really grooving to those tunes. It’s a disturbing revisionist sequel to one of the great Christmas stories.

Seen here: The Ghost of Christmas Past-Facial Hair

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1. Kevin McCallister’s Parents Really Are the Worst

When Home Alone hit screens in 1990, audiences somehow accepted that Kate and Peter McCallister could accidentally go on vacation without their son, Kevin. In their defense, they did befall a series of unfortunate coincidences, and were firm believers in the controversial parenting tactic of banishing your small child to the attic.

When it happened again in the sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, it was less believable. Nevertheless, the filmmakers made a concerted effort to show that Kate and Peter still loved their son and didn’t, say, want him to be murdered on the streets of New York– Which, let’s face it, is what would have happened almost immediately if it were real life.

In the 2002 straight-to-video Home Alone 4 (Home Alone 3 has nothing to do with the McCallisters, who happened to not abandon their child that Christmas) Kevin, who now has a different hair color and looks younger for some reason, is spending Christmas with his recently divorced dad at his dad’s new girlfriend’s mansion.

It’s like looking in a mirror. A mirror owned by a terrible Casting Director.

Because there are really only about three or four active criminals in the United States, the mansion is targeted by a familiar face– Marv of the Wet Bandits… and by familiar face, I mean not familiar at all. Home Alone 4 recasts Daniel Stern’s part with French Stewart, and partners him with some strange lady instead of Harry, the character played by Joe Pesci… which is weird for a number of reasons, mainly because since they made literally no effort to make French Stewart look like Daniel Stern, so they could have realistically cast anyone at all and just called them ”Harry” for the sake of retaining a bare minimum of consistency.

The same woman was later cast in a re-make of Raging Bull.

The most upsetting part of Home Alone 4 is the fact that Kevin is never actually left home alone, instead he’s just ignored by his dad, a negligent parent who is enjoying boning his new girlfriend more than listening to his son’s cries for help.

Kevin is actually attacked by Marv in this movie, and when he tells his dad, Mr. McCallister earns the the Jack Torrence Award for worst father of the year by not believing him. This isn’t just bad writing, it’s irresponsible writing; kids need to know that they can confide in their parents if something bad or dangerous happens to them.

Of course the original walked that line of rooting for the McCallister parents and calling Child Services on them, but somehow they made it work. This movie, however, ruins all of that goodwill. How can you enjoy the first two movies when you know that Kate will allow her son to stay with Peter who has become an irresponsible sociopath? Kevin would be better off being adopted by the Wet Bandits, or that crazy old man who turned out not to be a murderer, but was still really, really creepy.

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Episode 126- IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Wondeful

Our month of Christmas-themed episodes continues with a discussion of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a perennial holiday favorite, but is it rewatchable? Is George Bailey kind of just a big jerk? Who would win in a fight between Mary and alternate-universe Mary? Is it just us, or does Pottersville look way more fun than Bedford Falls? And what the hell kind of name is Zuzu? To hear us answer these, and more, important questions, download the link below, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes! And be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Episode 126- ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE

Joining us this week is guest Anne T. Donahue, who you can follow on Twitter.

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 125- ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

All

It’s December, and that means it’s time to kick off our month of Holiday programming. First off, 1991’s All I Want For Christmas, a charming tale about a little girl (Thora Birch) who asks Santa (played by Leslie Nielsen) to meddle in their parents’ private affairs. Will Santa force her recently divorced parents back into a loveless relationship in time for Jesus’ birthday? To find out, download the link below, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes! And be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Episode 125- ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 69- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

rudolph

This week on Rewatchability we tackle Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the classic 1964 Rankin-Bass stop-motion TV special that adapts a folksy Christmas song into a nightmarish adventure story featuring a giant man-eating monster and a winged lion who lives in a castle. Sure it was made for kids, but does it hold up for us semi-adults? Why is everyone at the North Pole a dick? Why isn’t Moonracer, the winged lion, mentioned in the song? To hear us answer these questions and more, download the link below, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes! And be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Episode 69- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised– ie this podcast isn’t for kids.

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Top 5 Underrated Santa Clauses

With Christmas just around the corner, and our episode devoted to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer coming this Thursday (look for it on iTunes), we’ve decided to salute our Top 5 Underrated Santa Clauses. Sure Miracle on 34th Street was great, but stop hogging the spotlight Edmund Gwenn, give some other Santas a chance!

5. Douglas Seale & Oliver Clark in Ernest Saves Christmas

ernest

Like a parasite which must find a new host once it has sucked the old one dry, so too must the spirit of Santa Claus bury itself within new flesh to renew the magic of Christmas. In 1988’s Ernest Saves Christmas, Jim Varney’s titular nitwit and a random runaway named Harmony must help an aged and doddering Santa (Douglas Seale) find somebody to take his powers before it’s too late. If they don’t then Christmas will be lost forever.

Santa has his eye on Joe Carruthers, a good-hearted former children’s television host (Oliver Clark) for the gig– but when St. Nick’s pick hesitates, Ernest must take up the reins of Santa’s sleigh in the interim and deliver all the weird glowing orbs to the good girls and boys. In the end, Carruthers comes around, putting on the suit to bring the world joy as Santa Claus for years to come (or at least until he falls from Tim Allen’s roof).

4. John Goodman in Futurama

robot

Who doesn’t love John Goodman? Nobody. Maybe some sort of Grinch-type character living in a mountain somewhere, but why do you care what he thinks? From Roseanne to The Big Lebowski to this year’s Argo, Goodman is one of the mostly reliably delightful actors of our time. In Futurama‘s “X-Mas Story” he voices a homicidal robot Santa in the year 3000! What’s more awesome than that?

Goodman would later reprise the role of Santa in a live-action remake of the Rankin-Bass special The Year Without a Santa Claus co-starring Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus (insert Delta Burke joke here).

3. Leslie Nielsen in All I Want For Christmas

nielsen

Clausin’ ain’t easy. There’s little glamour or glory for mall Santas, who spend the entire holiday season holding court across from the Old Navy, racing to get though each child’s list before the urine filled time-bomb on their lap goes off without warning. Then you get some precocious kid with the misguided, yet adorable, wish for her divorced parents to get back together. And that’s it, your entire weekend has gone to hell. This is why Santa drinks. Luckily for Thora Birch her local mall Santa happens to be both Leslie Nielsen and the real Santa Claus, who provides the requisite Christmas miracle to get her folks back together in All I Want for Christmas.

But how many kids from divorced families saw this movie and were given false hope they could pull off the same trick with their parents? And even if Santa did get them back together, we all know the moment the fat guy (Santa, not your dad) is up the chimney, they’d both be at each other’s throats again. Maybe you should have asked Santa for the Cabbage Patch doll after all. Nielsen once again donned the white beard for 2000’s Santa Who? in which old Saint Nick gets amnesia, and ends up wandering the streets of New York without any clue who he is or why he’s jonesing for gingerbread.

2. Ed Asner in Elf & Charles Durning in Elmo Saves Christmas

ed

We couldn’t choose between these two cranky character actors, so it’s a tie! First up there’s Ed Asner in Elf— casting the gruff former Lou Grant star as Jolly Old St. Nick may seem like an odd choice, but it pays off big time. Asner is both endearing and intimidating, just like the real Santa, I assume. Also Leon Redbone plays a Burl Ives-esque snowman which is pretty great.

Then there’s Charles Durning in Elmo Saves Christmas, a TV special from a time when Elmo made headlines for doing wholesome things like saving Christmas… unlike today… *cough*  Durning would go on to play Santa three more times, in Mrs. Santa Claus with Angela Lansbury, A Boyfriend for Christmas, and Mr. St. Nick starring Kelsey Grammer, presumably as Frasier Crane.

1. Art Carney in The Twilight Zone

art

The Twilight Zone’s Christmas episode “Night of the Meek” is a touching story about a drunken department store Santa who actually gets to be Santa for a night! That’s right, he got to be Santa without killing him, Tim Allen! Anyways, Carney’s performance is chock-full of Yuletide pathos, enough to warrant his inclusion in the pantheon of great Santa Clauses.

Carney played Kris Kringle again in 1970’s The Great Santa Claus Switch (with The Muppets) and 1984’s The Night They Saved Christmas, which is about a ruthless oil company that threatens Santa by drilling in the North Pole! And, and, he was, of course, Chewbacca’s creepy family friend in The Star Wars Holiday Special— which makes Art Carney Christmas royalty in my book.

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Episode 68- The Ref

ref

Our month of Christmas movies continues with a less widely-acknowledged staple of the genre: Ted Demme’s 1994 comedy The Ref starring Dennis Leary, Kevin Spacey, and Judy Davis. How has this movie aged in the past 18 years? Better or worse than The Santa Clause (the other big Christmas movie that came out that year)? Also, why the hell was this movie released in March of 1994, when it is clearly very Christmasy? And why am I yelling?!

To hear us talk about The Ref, and find out how Blain’s trip to New York was, download the link below, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes! And be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Episode 68- The Ref

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 67- DIE HARD 2

dh2!

Christmas is the time of year when we all celebrate the birth of John McClane, so what better way to kick off a month of seasonally-themed podcasts than to discuss Die Hard 2 (sometimes subtitled Die Harder). The second installment of what used to be a trilogy (now it’s more of a long-winded Rocky-style franchise), Die Hard 2 finds McClane battling an evil Colonel gone rogue (Willam Sadler) and a surly Scrooge of an airport cop (Dennis Franz) while his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is stuck on an airplane that might crash at any moment with that guy who hates Bill Murray.

We loved it as kids, but does it hold up now? Is that John Leguizamo playing a henchman? Does William Sadler have a nice singing voice? What was it like at Nakatomi Corporation after the events of Die Hard? To hear us answer these questions and more, download the link below, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes! And be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Episode 67- DIE HARD 2

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 19- DIE HARD

Happy DIE HARD day! Or, in other words, Merry Christmas! A lot of people don’t consider DIE HARD to be a Christmas movie, but we here at Rewatchabilty believe it deserves its place among classics such as Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life. What makes John McTiernan’s 1988 blockbuster a Christmas film, not merely a film set at Christmas, is the redemptive story of John McClane– McClane’s Christmas Eve transformation, from selfish lout to courageous hero, is reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ immortal story The Muppet Christmas Carol… I mean, A Christmas Carol.

There’s no doubt about it, DIE HARD is as Christmasy as Egg Nog, Rudolph, and Bing Crosby making awkward small-talk with David Bowie. It’s one of the best movies ever, and anyone who thinks otherwise should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart! Yippie-Kay-Yay, and Merry Christmas!

Episode 19- DIE HARD

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 18- Top 5 Christmas Episodes

TaleWe count down our top 5 Christmas-themed TV episodes! If you’ve been nice and not naughty, reward yourself with this extra long, extra long-winded episode! Our full lists are below, with links whenever available. Don’t forget to check back on Christmas Day, for a very special Christmas episode.

Episode 18- Top 5 Christmas Episodes

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

J.M.

5- Batman: The Animated Series- “Christmas with the Joker”

4- Fraiser- “Perspectives on Christmas”

3- Tiny Toon Adventures- “It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special”/Beverly Hills 90210- “It’s a Totally Happening Life”

2- Who’s the Boss- “Christmas Card”

1- The Twilight Zone- “Night of the Meek”

Blain

5. Night Court- “Santa Goes Downtown”

4- Space Above and Beyond- “The River of Stars”

3- The X-Files- “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”

2- Pushing Daisies- “Corpsicle”

1- Six Feet Under- “Pilot”

Rob

5- The Real Ghostbusters- “X-Mas Marks the Spot”

4- Xena: Warrior Princess- “A Solstice Carol”

3- The X-Files- “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”

2- Beavis and Butthead- “Beavis and Butthead do Christmas”

1-Arrested Development- “In God We Trust”

Stein

5- The Office- “Classy Christmas”

4- Tales from the Crypt- “All Through the House”

3- The Simpsons- “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”

2- Six feet under- “Pilot”

1 West Wing- “In Excelsis Deo”

Honorable Mentions

South Park- “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics”

Community- “Regional Holiday Music”

Lost- “The Constant”

Quantum Leap- “A Little Miracle”

Veronica Mars- “An Echolls Family Christmas”

Malcolm in the Middle- “Christmas Trees”

Seinfeld- “The Strike”

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Episode 17- The Santa Clause

Nothing brings a father and son closer together than manslaughter. I think that’s the moral of The Santa Clause, the 1994 Disney picture in which Tim Allen kills jolly old St. Nick, becomes cursed by some kind of ancient elfin black magic, and earns the respect of his son. Did I mention he KILLS SANTA CLAUS?!! IN A DISNEY MOVIE?!! There’s also some stuff with Judge Reinhold, an animatronic reindeer, and a squadron of elves with jet-packs… for some reason.

Is The Santa Clause a Christmas classic, or a cautionary tale against writing screenplays based on an amusing pun? Listen to the podcast to find out!

Episode 17- The Santa Clause

We have two Holiday podcasts left, check back with us next week for our Top 5 Christmas TV Episodes, followed by a rewatch of one of our favourite Christmas films of all time.

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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Episode 16- Star Wars Holiday Special

For the first of our holiday-themed episodes we discuss Star Wars… not the classic film, but the poorly conceived, badly-executed 1978 Christmas special. And by Christmas, I mean Life Day– the annual Wookie celebration of, well, Life I guess. It’s at least notable as being the only Star Wars story co-written by Bruce Vilanch… And for those of you who care so much about whether Han or Greedo shot first, it doesn’t matter, because Greedo’s alive! And he’s hanging out with Bea Arthur!

The Star Wars Holiday Special is clearly terrible, but is it still funny? It used to be the wacky black sheep of George Lucas’ franchise, but after three epically crappy prequels and new needlessly “special” editions of the originals, the Star Wars universe has sadly become a flock of black sheep . Is it better or worse than Episode 1? Is Jefferson Starship the Achilles heel of The Empire? Is Chewbacca a deadbeat dad? Why does animated Han look like Neil Gaiman? We attempt to answer these questions and more!

Episode 16- Star Wars Holiday Special

Next week,Thurs. Dec. 15,  we’ll be back with another festive blast of Yuletide nostalgia, whether you like it or not.

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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