E: Okay, so that’s Christmas. In July. What in hell did we learn?
L: That way more people are obsessed with Christmas card photos than we ever imagined.
E: I know, right? Your Family or Mine, Rugrats, and… okay, just two, I guess. I could have sworn there were more, too. The Lizzie McGuire episode is basically the same idea, but with a music video instead of a portrait.
Okay, let’s talk best and worst. What did you like from this? Setting aside Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July for a minute - we’re both on the record digging that. Of the new stuff we saw, what surprised you most?
L: I liked Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, but that isn’t a surprise. It was a bit of a surprise that it was Christmas in July, technically. It was such a traditional Christmas mystery, just in Australia, so if they wanted a proper ‘people dying in the snow’ it had to be set in July.
E: That one grew on me. I started out a little bored by it, but as it moved along, they ratcheted up the tension. I mean, only to like a “3” on a scale of “10,” but that’s all it needed. The set dressing on that was gorgeous.
L: I wanted to bury my face in her hat.
E: I’ve got to go with Ben 10, and that IS a surprise. The episode had some serious flaws, but… damn. I loved the twisted holiday elements.
L: Next I was going to say Ben 10. There were some really neat aspects to that.
E: Yeah - you can only get so excited about a series whose premise is an homage to that 70’s live-action Captain Marvel show, but I loved the haunted holiday elements so much. Real “Christmas curse” stuff is hard to come by, especially if you omit Krampus.
L: The Red Green Show was pretty fun as well.
E: Okay, I’ve got some thoughts about tropes, but first what was the WORST thing you sat through? I think I know the answer.
L: Oh that’s hard. The proportion of crap was high this month. Baby Looney Tunes was terrible, so was Super Mario World…
E: Mario was awful, but it tapped into that “so bad it’s good” vein. Not as deeply as I’d have liked, but it wasn’t completely boring. Baby Looney Tunes, hands down, was the worst.
L: Mario was SO boring. The voice acting on both was bad, but that cave kid might be the most annoying thing of the whole month, and that includes the characters on Your Family or Mine and Workaholics, which also both sucked.
E: How about music. Okay, we both know where there is going, but I’m pushing the issue anyway. What’s the BEST Christmas in July song? (Spoiler: Lindsay is already wrong.)
L: Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)
Yup, I’m cheating. All the Christmas in July songs were just okay to decent.
E: The quintessential, perfect Christmas in July song is, was, and will always be S’Winter from Phineas and Ferb. And if you’re going to CHEAT with seasonal songs that can apply to any point in the year, you should at least pick Hazy Shade of Winter, by the Bangles.
L: Muppets (and Sesame Street) trump non-Muppets. It’s a holiday rule.
E: It’s a CHRISTMAS rule. Okay, I was picking a fight bringing up the music thing, I admit it.
I think I promised some trope talk.
L: I was surprised how little I was able to find about Santa on holiday.
E: There was a little. Part of the problem was we didn’t re-watch Father Christmas. Other than that, Punky Brewster, Rudolph and Frosty, and Phineas and Ferb: I, Brobot all touched on Santa kicking back in the off season.
L: And Camp Lazlo, as well. I just thought for sure there would be more stories about Santa in the summer, but other than a picture book I wasn’t able to get a copy of, I just couldn’t find much.
E: Good call on Lazlo - it skipped my mind. It was surprising there wasn’t more. Father Christmas remains the best of those I’ve ever seen.
L: That special is based on two of Raymond Briggs’ children’s books, FYI, one called Father Christmas, and one actually called Father Christmas Goes on Holiday.
E: Who published them? What years were they released? WHAT WAS THE STREET ADDRESS OF THE PUBLISHER, LINDSAY? (smart-ass).
L: 73 and 75, respectively. (According to Wikipedia.)
E: Since obviously, we’re covering trivia about that thing WE DIDN’T EVEN REWATCH. Seriously, though - it was fantastic.
L: On a similar note, we saw more than one example of winter taking over summer, although I think green/unseasonably warm Christmas is a more popular trope.
E: Yes, I seem to remember reading a brilliant essay on the subject of winter taking over. Really amazing work - I wish I could remember the author’s name.
Speaking of that trope, we also didn’t get around to rewatching Frozen, although I think we finally settled our longstanding Christmas/not-Christmas feud: Mainlining Christmas is now ready to categorically state that Frozen is a Christmas in July movie. Break out the damn champagne.
L: Eh, I guess. Oh, wait. I’m for it. I’d like to change my best song selection.
E: Every girl alive (aged 4 to 9) is with you on this.
L: I liked that occasionally Christmas in July was sort of an unexpected metaphor. Ben 10 is actually a good example of this. The fact that there was a snowbound holiday town in the summer, in the desert, was a symbol of a greater issue. Time is out of joint, so to speak, if you celebrate the winter holiday in the summer.
E: I don’t mind linking to my article again. But, yeah - definitely. The breaking of the compact of the seasons; the inversion of the solstice - I love it.
L: I mean, one of the songs I listened to used it as a metaphor for not having the timing right on a relationship. That’s less exciting, but still - metaphor.
E: The Sufjan Stevens song? I like it more than you, but that’s a good point. Ben 10 was kind of about misplaced nostalgia - the dark side of keeping Christmas in your heart year round.
L: Haven played with that, too.
E: If the ending had been better, Haven would have been my pick for best of season. The whole thing was awesome until the resolution.
L: That’s something else I wanted to mention: we didn’t address any “Christmas Every Day” stories this month. (You know, someone makes a wish or gets cursed and has to live a year of Christmas…)
E: No - I think we meant to and ran out of time. Now that this is an annual tradition, we can cover it next year.
KIDDING! JUST KIDDING!
L: I was actually going to say that I think those stories, since they generally start and end at Christmas, are proper Christmas stories, not Christmas in July.
E: Yes, though that’s true of almost every Christmas in July piece, exempting things where Christmas is either nominal or absent entirely (the 1940 Christmas in July movie, oddly, is an example of something that isn’t Christmas at all). Likewise, Phineas and Ferb Save Summer wouldn’t apply as Christmas and only connects to Christmas in July due to the aforementioned seasonal inversion tropes.
L: One more trope we saw more than once: Christmas at the wrong time of year for someone who won’t be around/with the same people by next Christmas. This is sort of connected to the Christmas in July “origin story” of kids celebrating at summer camp, but it also popped up in Tracy Beaker and Road to Avonlea.
E: Most of the things we saw that did this - hell, most of the Christmas in July episodes in general - were episodes made to be watched at Christmas that had to be set at a different time due to continuity. Road to Avonlea was an exception, though: I think the writers for that show were just doing cocaine or something.
L: You better hope my mom doesn’t read this article, if you’re going to smack talk Avonlea.
E: Tell it to the dying street urchins who never had a real Christmas.
There’s one thing we haven’t determined yet, and I think it’s the most important.
E: What is the true meaning of Christmas in July?
L: That if you put up Christmas decorations at any time of year, other people will too, because no one wants to be the person missing out.
E: That was awesome on Garfield, I’ll grant you. But I think Christmas in July is about more than that. Did you know that Jesus was actually born on July 14th? It’s true, and I dare you to try and prove otherwise.
L: July 14th, in Australia.
E: Obviously. The boomerang is a symbol for his resurrection.
L: Makes sense.
E: Remember, folks - anyone who looks at you funny for dragging your Nativity scene outside to slowly melt in the July heat is attacking your freedom of religion!
L: All that’s left to say is We Wish You a Merry Christmas in July.
E: The war on Christmas in July is REAL! Get on it, Fox News!
L: And a Happy School Year.