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Showing posts from July 17, 2016

QVC Christmas in July Sale

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I know that most television is supported by either advertising or subscription fees. That’s why, whether it’s CBS or HBO, when a channel allows its content to stream online, they want you to either watch ads or pay money for the privilege.

But what about television that is nothing but ads?

I did not know that QVC is constantly streaming two live channels on its website, but on reflection, I should have guessed.

QVC is big on Christmas in July, apparently because of the historic shipping lag in ordering products off the TV. They hold a big sale and release a lot of Christmas merchandise, with a special return policy that extends through January of the next year, I guess in case you buy a present which falls flat. Or maybe so you can buy for the people you think will still be your loved ones by the holidays, but you never know. I mean, what if they found out you shopped at QVC?

We watched some samples of the Christmas programming provided this year.

Holiday Decorating with Carolyn

I for…

Rugrats: Angelica Orders Out/Let It Snow (1997)

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I know that kids in most cartoon shows never age, but that convention seems especially creepy when you’re talking about infants never growing old enough to try to speak, even though they have experienced (at least once) both Christmas and summer.

This is technically a Christmas-in-August, but it counts for our purposes. Christmas in July tropes include an off-season photo opportunity and characters who believe it’s Christmas when it isn’t.

Incidentally, the first half of the episode isn’t Christmas, just an example of unfunny children’s television in which Angelica gets in trouble for pretending to be an adult on the phone.

In “Let It Snow,” the babies see Tommy’s Grandpa decorating a Christmas tree. Grandpa explains to the adults about taking a holiday photo in time to have cards done, and some obvious foreshadowing is laid around a bag of old toys intended for donation.

The babies think the presence of the tree must mean it’s Christmas, but there aren’t any presents. Some extreme…

Baby Looney Tunes: Christmas in July (2002)

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We all remember Muppet Babies. Even those of you who have never seen Muppet Babies seem to know it exists and remember it in some strange way. That's the magic of Muppet Babies. That's its power.

But no one remembers Baby Looney Tunes. And, having just seen an episode, I can unequivocally assert that it's better that way. Because this show is awful.

Not just awful; it's humorless, tedious, boring, and pointless. It drags on, offering no justification for existing nor even seeming to try. You feel as though every step of its creation was undertaken in a dimly lit room, that the people working on it had a scotch in one hand and a pencil in the other, and the words, "What have I done with my life?" must have been scribbled around the margins of every script, every character design.

It could have better, is what I'm saying.

The premise of the series is almost precisely the premise of Muppet Babies, to the degree that I can only assume they weren't sued s…

The Story of Tracy Beaker: Christmas (2003)

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Wow, we are running into some weird running themes within Christmas in July. This is the second children’s show to feature kid(s) in foster care (also see It’s Punky Brewster) and the second to feature animated internal narration from the main character (also see Lizzie McGuire).

The Story of Tracy Beaker is a BBC series - based on the book of the same name - that follows a bunch of kids in a group home. And for once, the premise of the series actually has something to do with the Christmas plot.

In this episode, two of the boys in the house (“Lol” and “Bouncer,” because the British love their nicknames) receive word that their aunt, who they normally see only over Christmas, is willing to take them permanently. Lol thinks this is great news, Bouncer isn’t so sure.

After a conversation about how Christmas is commonly celebrated in the group home (the kids call the place “The Dumping Ground,” but I cannot bring myself to repeat that), Tracy decides to enlist everyone’s help in throwi…

Lizzie McGuire: Here Comes Aaron Carter (2001)

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This is the second episode of Lizzie McGuire we've subjected ourselves to, though it predates XTreme XMas by a year. The one I'm reviewing today was only the show's seventh episode, airing in March of 2001.

The premise of the episode, as the title implies, revolves around the teen singer coming to Lizzie's town to record a music video. Although the episode is set in the spring, the music video was for the holidays, hence the Christmas in July connection. Well, okay, technically Christmas in March, but we're using a loose interpretation here.

Lizzie and her two friends want desperately to meet Carter, each for different reasons. Because the shoot is secret, they need to include her younger brother, who knows its location for some reason. They sneak out early, leaving her parents a note - ironic, as her dad was going to surprise her with passes a client gave him.

They show up at the film set and Lizzie tries using her school press pass to get in, only to have it tak…

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Murder Under the Mistletoe (2013)

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I’ve had this on my radar for a while, but this is actually a Christmas Murder Mystery in July! The series is filmed and set in Australia, and while Australia celebrates Christmas in December like the northern hemisphere, many people also celebrate in July, when it’s actually cold out.

This story is not directly based on the book series but was written for television.

Private detective Phryne Fisher is traveling to a fancy Christmas in July party with her Aunt Prudence. Also attending are Phryne’s maid/assistant/friend Dot and her lesbian doctor friend Mac.

They arrive to find that someone is already dead (killed by an unseen figure in the cold opening) and soon realize that one of the guests has murder on their mind. Aunt Prudence is partially there to sell a closed gold mine owned by her late husband, and the history around a Christmas cave-in from ten years earlier means that many of the guests have motive for murder. (One woman’s husband was killed there, along with another man…

Super Mario World: The Night Before Cave Christmas (1991)

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I remember the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, but I either forgot or never heard of its sequel, Super Mario World. Actually, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first sequel, and I either forgot about or never knew about that one, either.

But Super Mario World, the series intended to tie-in to the Super Nintendo, is the one with the Christmas-in-July (technically August, but let's not split hairs) episode, and by extension the one we need to talk about.

This is a half-episode, and it aired alongside Captain N, which sucked for entirely different reasons than Super Mario World. Sadly, Captain N never gave the world a Christmas episode, so we'll have to set it aside and get back to the crappy series at hand.

If you've never seen any of these series and are wondering how anyone would convert Super Mario Bros. into a television series, don't bother asking the writers of this episode, because clearly they never figured it out.

The premise is ostensibly based on th…