As we're all well aware, Christmas is the second creepiest of all holidays. (The first is obviously Easter, which offers a troubling, uneasy mix of adorable bunnies, pagan birth rituals, and crucifixion snuff porn.) Now, I love Santa... don't get me wrong. But sneaking down chimneys—FOR WHATEVER REASON—is a clear violation of our privacy and civil rights. In fact, there are a ton of odd things about this holiday, which are gleefully put on display in annual holiday animated specials... many of which are on TV this week! For example...
• The Year Without a Santa Claus (ABC Family, Wed Dec 10, 6 pm). A classic of the Rankin/Bass "creepy wooden puppet" genre, The Year Without a Santa Claus is like deciphering the Middle East conflict. A quack doctor tells ailing Santa to take the holiday off because nobody cares about Christmas (??). To prove people give a crap, two elves travel to the American South, where hillbillies throw them in jail for being different. (That sounds about right.) The hillbilly mayor agrees to release them if they can make it snow (what a dick), forcing Mrs. Claus to broker a deal between battling brothers Heat Miser and Snow Miser (also dicks), who have no interest in helping (because... dicks). This overly complicated situation works out okay, but JESUS CHRIST! They should've called in Madeleine Albright! (I'd totally watch that, by the way.)
• Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (CBS, Sat Dec 13, 8 pm). The most beloved of Rankin/Bass creep-fests, Rudolph brilliantly features odd, adorable characters as thinly veiled metaphors for the rampant prejudices of 1964—and today, for that matter. Rudolph is shunned because of his nose (Hello, Jews!), Hermey the Elf because he wants to be a dentist (Hello, Gays!), as well as the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys (Hello, Every Minority in the World!). And Santa's a real dick in this one, too. Like I said... brilliant.
• Frosty the Snowman (CBS, Sat Dec 13, 9 pm). From the word "go," you know Frosty's going to die, right? That's a given. But just like his pal Jesus Christ, he promises his followers he'll "return one day." (The main difference is that Christ doesn't wear a fancy hat. He should, though! That's just smart marketing.)
• Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (ABC Family, Sat Dec 13, 10 pm). The most underrated of all Rankin/Bass Christmas creep shows! Kris Kringle tries to deliver toys to the depressed children of Sombertown and is thrown in jail by Burgermeister Meisterburger. (Has anyone started a hamburger chain with this name yet? If not, DIBS!) Luckily he's saved by failed monster the Winter Warlock, who sings, "Put One Foot in Front of the Other." This is the greatest holiday song ever written, and if anyone says differently I'll slap the Christmas out of his mouth.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas (ABC, Tues Dec 16, 8 pm). Ruthlessly mocked by his friends and dog, clinically depressed Charlie Brown searches for the meaning of Christmas. Linus quotes a bunch of random Bible verses, and just like life, the show ends without providing any answers. (Trust me when I say this: Lock up your liquor and gun cabinets.)
This Week on Television
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10
8:00 CW ARROW
Ra's al Ghul gives Oliver 48 hours to find a killer, or he'll start murdering people. That doesn't sound rational to me.
10:00 FX AMERICAN HORROR STORY
If you don't want to watch an episode titled "Tupperware Party Massacre"... I don't even know what to do with you.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11
9:00 CW REIGN
Catherine receives a "surprisingly erotic visit in her chambers." "Chambers" is old-timey talk for vagina, right?
9:00 FAM SCROOGED—Movie
(1988) The usually reliable Bill Murray unreliably stars in this questionable adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12
Midnight NETFLIX MARCO POLO
The complete season of Netflix's own "Chinese Game of Thrones" debuts!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13
11:30 NBC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Hosted by Sherlock's Martin Freeman, with musical guest Charli XCX (did this kid have a stroke when she came up with her name?).
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14
9:00 ABC 10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE
Barbara Walters presents her top 10 of the year—I assume I must've been number 11.
9:00 HBO THE NEWSROOM
Series finale! It's the final episode, so let's dance a little jig on the grave of Aaron Sorkin's worst show ever.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 15
9:00 SYFY ASCENSION
Debut! A secret mission in the '60s sends Mad Men-style astronauts deep into space! (Don't forget your cocktail shaker!)
9:00 FAM THE POLAR EXPRESS—Movie
(2004) The holiday's best example of the "uncanny valley."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16
4:30 FAM RUDOLPH & FROSTY'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY
Not only creepy, but fascinatingly baffling.
8:00 FOX MASTERCHEF: JUNIOR
Season finale! The winner is announced, which means Chef Ramsay gets to send the losers home in tears.