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Showing posts from July 10, 2016

Ben 10: Merry Christmas (2006)

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This is the first episode of Ben 10 Lindsay and I have seen, though I was mostly familiar with the premise going in. A kid has the power to transform into ten different aliens, so he uses his abilities to fight various threats.

I hadn't realized the series took place during a cross-country vacation in his grandfather's RV. I'm fairly certain that's intended as a nod to the 70's Shazam series. Ben Tennyson is more than a little reminiscent of Billy Batson, who could likewise call upon otherworldly powers and transform. This series is more or less an update.

This episode begins on a hot summer day while Ben, his grandfather, and his cousin, Gwen (also a series regular - apparently, she uses magic in some other episodes) are driving through Death Valley. After a failed attempt to improve the air conditioner, the RV breaks down. They find a strange door in the desert with cool wind blowing through the cracks. When they go through, they find a wintery town decorated fo…

Your Family or Mine: Christmas in July (2015)

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This is the kind of show that reminds me why I have never wanted cable. We watch a lot of repellent things in the name of Christmas, but this was a special level of awful.

It’s a sitcom, distinguishable from other sitcoms only by its exceptionable levels of imbecility.

Kate and Oliver are married. Apparently the ‘humor’ of this show comes from them dealing in succession with one or the other of their families. Like every other ‘family’ sitcom.

This episode follows them and their extras, I mean daughters, on a visit to Oliver’s parents. Oliver’s mom insists on getting the family together in the summer to take the annual Christmas card photo, because “people are fat in the winter.” There’s some clever comedy coming here, folks.

In the beginning of the episode (before I stopped thinking to prevent my neurons from shutting down in pain) I was confused. Is Kate not the mother of those two (seven-year-old-ish) girls? If she is, why does she seem flummoxed and confused by things that Oliv…

The Red Green Show: Xmas in July (2001)

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You’re not mistaken, we’ve already done the actual Christmas episodes of this show.

As I said then, The Red Green Show is a hybrid sketch comedy/sitcom/mockumentary/parody of both local access and home improvement shows. And probably a few other things besides.

The main Christmas elements of this episode were in the “plot” portions. Each episode has a “plot” that opens the show and resolves at the end, with additional short scenes interspersed between the other skits.

This episode’s plot concerned Harold’s ill-fated attempt to bring a Christmas in July celebration to the lodge as a tourist attraction. He is not exactly met with kindness and goodwill toward men. Harold tries again, mounting a parade, but he unwisely lets Red drive.

Eventually they give up on Christmas in July. We enjoyed that this showed some of the potential downsides of trying to force unseasonable holiday cheer: holiday costumes are too hot to wear, impatience and otherwise uncharitable behavior that wouldn’t fly…

Workaholics: The Strike (2011)

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I believe this is the second episode of Workaholics I've ever seen, and - while I found aspects humorous - I don't see any reason I need to watch a third. To be fair, "The Strike" was part of the series's first season, so it's entirely possible it improves substantially over time. Feel free to chime in with a comment if that's the case.

The show revolves around three idiotic roommates - Blake, Adam, and Anders - who work together at a call center. Based on what I've seen, I'd describe it as having aggressively low production values. My sense is that this is intentional, that it's designed for the audience to laugh at the show as much as they're laughing with it. Imagine a version of Office Space without a POV character, lower everyone's IQ to Beavis and Butthead levels, and you'll have a good idea of what you're in for.

This episode opens in the middle of summer with the trio getting ready for "Half-Christmas," which…

Garfield and Friends: Sludge Monster/Fortune Kooky/Heatwave Holiday (1989)

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Raise your hand if you liked Garfield as a kid. It’s okay, don’t feel too bad, we’re right there with you. I used to watch this show, but Erin remembered this exact episode, in that spooky way where every line comes into your brain right before it’s spoken.

If you missed this series, it’s made up of super-short bits that are more-or-less animated versions of actual Garfield strips and short cartoons with slim plots. Some of the pieces are Garfield, and the others are “U.S. Acres,” a property which, until this moment, I assumed only existed on this show. No, apparently this was a second comic strip by Jim Davis, and it was limping to the end of its not-critically-acclaimed run around this time.

Of the three six-minute shorts that make up this episode, the last one was the best. Briefly, the first one is about Garfield and Odie being scared of a monster story, and the second is a U.S. Acres bit about playing pranks to make unlikely predictions come true. Both of these stories are bare…

Christmas vs. Fourth of July (Book, 1908)

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I wish I were about to tell you about an obscure mystic war between the forces of winter and summer, but instead this is a little message book about injured children and giving to the poor.

The intended message from author Asenath Carver Coolidge seems to be that both holidays should be less about buying things, but that the Fourth of July especially shouldn’t be about buying fireworks.

This book appears to be a Christmas tie-in for the author’s pet issue: preventing injuries from fireworks and firearms. She wrote multiple books on the subject.

While the Fourth of July is still a common time for injuries today, regulation has brought the numbers down from the time that Coolidge was writing. Time Magazine reports that at the height, according to the book Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags: The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols, “Over the course of five consecutive Fourths, from 1903 to 1907, 1,153 people were killed and 21,520 more were injured.”

But let’s run through the book.

We open o…

Hallmark 2016 Keepsake Ornaments

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We like to pretend what we do here at Mainlining Christmas matters, that we're creating something that will last. But deep down, we know better. In the distant, post-apocalyptic Christmases of the future, the cockroaches hyper-evolved by radiation from World Wars 7 through 14 won't be reading this blog. They will, however, decorate the festive spinal columns using Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments.

Because - and this part's important - these things will be around for-freaking-ever.

No one knows why exactly. Perhaps their CEO made a blood pact with a fiend of hell. Or maybe it's branding - whatever the reason, Hallmark ornaments are here to stay.

And this weekend, they unveiled another year's additions to the collection. That's right, you slackers at K-Mart who wait until September to kick off the holiday shopping season, Hallmark understands the true meaning of Christmas in July.


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking these aren't worth it. You'…