Perhaps I'm giving it too much credit, but to me, the release of Tim Allen's 1994 holiday blockbuster The Santa Clause marked a pivotal turn in the way that Hollywood treated Christmas fare—one that opened the floodgates for every schmaltzy, crass, cynical seasonal vehicle that overtakes theaters each Thanksgiving weekend. Jingle All the Way, Surviving Christmas, Deck the Halls, Fred Claus—they all owe a debt to The Santa Clause. Of course there were terrible Christmas movies before 1994, but it wasn't until Tim Allen slapped on the proto-fat suit that the unique combination of airbrushed sentiment, fart jokes, and indefensible laziness became the Christmas norm.
Of course, I'd never actually seen The Santa Clause... I mean, why would I? That all changed a few weeks ago, however, when I arbitrarily decided to watch every Christmas film Tim Allen has ever made (lest you forget Christmas with the Kranks): 400 whopping minutes with arguably my least favorite celebrity of all time. And just so you never have to experience what I went through, allow me to briefly condense my findings:
• The three(!) Santa Clause films hinge on the premise that Tim Allen has in fact killed Santa Claus, and subsequently taken over his life—a circumstance that no one seems particularly bothered by. While perhaps excusable for one self-contained film, the trilogy has created a strange, second-dimensional mythology, which seems to suggest to children that Tim Allen may, in fact, be the real Santa Claus.
• Perhaps by some misguided arrogation that he might have coined it, Tim Allen manages to drop the phrase "That's gonna leave a mark!" at least once into every chapter of The Santa Clause trilogy.
• Although I never thought I'd say this, I've learned that it's preferable to watch Tim Allen playing Tim Allen (Kranks) than sullying the name of a distinguished mythical being with cheap fart jokes (at an average of 2.6 per film). ZAC PENNINGTON