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The Year Without an Oprah Claus


I like it best at Christmas when rich people give lots of cash and gifts to not-rich people. They should do that, I think, because they just have all that money lying around anyway. So it annoys me when Oprah just decides not to do a "Favorite Things" episode. She's pulled this one before. And according to official sources, she's not having one again this year. I hate that. What am I supposed to look at while I'm folding laundry or vacuuming during my afternoon break from writing insightful culture commentary for this site? I tried C-SPAN and it was just a lot of jerks yelling "Objection!" at each other over and over. I need joy, not people in suits being assholes.

Anyway, it's December. I watch a lot of TV in December. You probably do too, or you wouldn't be reading a column about stuff on TV. And in spite of my disappointment over not being allowed to watch a studio full of women go out of their minds with greed, I've made myself a little Advent calendar of other entertainments to enjoy this month, some of my favorite movies and specials that wind up on TV at the holidays. A few of them are gay or gay-ish, but not many, because the only truly cool gay Christmas-themed movie out there is the early-'70s exploitation film Some of My Best Friends Are. It's about sad and lonely homosexuals in a bar on Christmas Eve and it's incredible. I bet that's not on TV this year either. It's probably Oprah's fault.

OK, here's my list, some of which you may have to catch in reruns. Print it out and you can be just like me:

12/1 - Martha Stewart making a croquembouche with Rachel Maddow on The Martha Stewart Show and Stephen Fry: HIV and Me -- It's World AIDS Day, and when that rolls around I like to see a gay talking about HIV, preferably a gay I like. And I like Stephen Fry a lot. He's funny but not annoying, the way you want a funny gay to be. I'll watch his Sundance Channel special first and then move on to Rachel M. swooning over Martha while Martha pretends not to be annoyed by Rachel's lack of kitchen skills.

12/2 - Whatever, Martha: I promise this is the last of the Martha recs for the month. She goes on her daughter's show to allow for some self-mockery on an episode titled "Spice-Rubbed Turkey." Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is on tonight too. This viewing calender is turning gayer than I expected, actually. Because that blond elf with dentistry dreams is kind of a fag.

12/3 - Ebbie: This is the Christmas Carol that stars Susan Lucci. I've never seen it. Some homosexual told me I should watch it. I don't much care about Susan Lucci but I do enjoy how the Ghost of Christmas Present is always some big bear-like dude. After that, the Travel Channel has a special on called Christmas to the Extreme about people who decorate their homes for Santa 365 days a year or something. People you want as neighbors, really, because they're going to make homemade gingerbread for you all year long.

12/4 - Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas: According to my research, it's not airing anywhere this month. But that could change. I'll check out the DVD though. It is the single most depressing Christmas special ever aimed at children. The saddest, poorest Muppets in the history of Muppets. Why I like it I'm not sure. The equally bummer-inducing British film from the 1960s, A Taste of Honey, is also on. That movie made Morrissey what he is today, if that gives you any idea. Has nothing to do with Christmas, but after Emmet Otter you might as well wallow in it.

12/5 - It's a Wonderful Life: A nice salve for your wounds.

12/6 - Battle of the Bods and Bully Beatdown: I just found these two shows. They've been on for a while. On Battle, people compete to see who's hottest. It's gross. It's even grosser today when some gay guys gang up on the female contestants to tell them what's wrong with their bodies. Then on Beatdown, some bullies get the shit kicked out of them. It's on MTV, where they used to have music. Oh, and yes, nothing to do with the holidays at all. Just a little breather.

12/7 - Santa's Slay: A 2005 TV movie starring the former pro wrestler Goldberg as a murderous demon who impersonates Santa and goes around destroying people. Ideally, it should have starred the "SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!" guy, but Goldberg is sexier.

12/8 - The Year Without a Santa Claus (pictured): Just for my annual visit with Heat Miser and Cold Miser. Those guys are the best.

12/9 - A Christmas Story: On TNT. I never get tired of watching this movie. I'm not a cultist about it. I didn't buy a leg lamp or anything. Neither should you. And I'm not especially happy about Couples Retreat, but once upon a time that kid didn't know he was going to grow up to make a crappy rom-com about how much fun bad marriages are.

12/10 - It Happened on Fifth Avenue: It's this 1947 movie about hobos who move into a rich guy's mansion while he's off on his Christmas vacation, and it's the most fascinatingly Communist holiday film you'll ever see. They even blacklisted the writer later.

12/11 - Performance on TCM: Another breather if you're not up for A Flintstone Christmas over on ABC Family. Both are somewhat psychedelic, but only one of them has Mick Jagger in it.

12/12 - Today I will watch videos on YouTube of Eastern European people being attacked by the Krampus. It's a hilarious tradition we'll never have in America because it's too violent, scary, and excellent. Wikipedia it if you don't know what a Krampus is. I'm not your history professor.

12/13 - ESPN Classic 1952 Heavyweight Title Bout: Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe: For many of us, the holidays have always been about fighting, which is why (I mean, I assume this is why) ESPN Classic is choosing to show a 57-year-old boxing match today. After that you can keep it going because a 1992 Christmas episode of Roseanne -- featuring Sandra Bernhard -- is also on.

12/14 - Whatever, Martha: I lied. Here's another one you should see. She's forcing children to help her make a complicated "Christmas Gingerbread House." You want to watch this. Trust me.

12/15 - La Buche/A Christmas Tale: IFC's been airing the latter recently, a 2008 French bummer starring Catherine Deneuve. It's about a family of people who dislike each other. The other one, La Buche, stars the incredible Charlotte Gainsbourg. It's also about a French family who dislike each other and dislike Christmas too. But it's a comedy.

12/16 - Larry the Cable Guy's Hula-Palooza Christmas Luau: It's got Tony Orlando. Look, did you see Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector? Did you? Don't tell me I'm wrong until you've seen that one. I will also enjoy Ernest Saves Christmas on this day. After all the fancy French film viewing, you'll need a little balance.

12/17 - The Christmas Shoes (pictured): Based on the mind-bogglingly awful pop song about a mommy dying at Christmas and her stupid kid trying to buy her some shoes for when she goes to "meet Jesus." They made a TV movie to go with it. Better yet, just go watch the YouTube clip of Patton Oswalt ripping it to hilarious shreds.

12/18 - Christmas Evil/Black Christmas: The former is about a disgruntled and maniacal toy factory employee who thinks he's Santa Claus. Then ... well, just watch it. The latter is the 1974 film from the director of A Christmas Story. No one gets a BB gun in this one. And all these years later it's still supercreepy and frightening.

12/19 - The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price: It's on Logo and it's about this gay who decorates. I know, shocker. But this episode is about how to wrap gifts so that they're not run-of-the-mill ugly, just gay-ugly.

12/20 - White Christmas: When Rosemary Clooney sings "Count Your Blessings," I get all weepy. Then when they get in those red outfits at the end my eyes burn and water because of the Technicolor scorching effect.

12/21 - A Charlie Brown Christmas: He just should have gotten the aluminum tree and nobody would have had a problem.

12/22 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (pictured): Remember when this was just a witty, awesomely animated cartoon and not a bloated Jim Carrey carcass of a crappy film? Here's the good version.

12/23 - Santa Claus: Quite possibly my favorite Christmas film. Sometimes it airs on Spanish-language channels because it was a 1959 Mexican kiddie film about Santa and Merlin the Magician teaming up to battle the devil for the soul of a shoplifting little girl. Features Santa dressed as a cocktail waiter in one key moment. A total must-see. I mean it.

12/24 - 3 Godfathers: With John Wayne and Pedro Armendariz. It's on TCM today and it's a classic John Ford western with a holiday theme. But who am I kidding? I'm going to watch The Dog Who Saved Christmas on ABC Family instead.

12/25 - Holiday Affair: Also on TCM, it's a weird Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum film about a woman who leaves her stable, kind, loving fiance to go off and be with homeless, jobless Robert Mitchum. Because he was Robert Mitchum, this makes perfect sense to me.

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