Saturday, December 12, 2009

Book Review: The Christmas TV Companion

Hey there, my darling readers. Welcome to the first day of...

Can I get a "ho ho"?

For this momentous occasion (the occasion being my first organized event as a blogger/unproductive teenager), I thought I'd start off with a fun little guide for your holiday viewings...

Title: The Christmas TV Companion

Author: Joanna Wilson

Pages: 146

Received From: publisher


From the back cover: Christmas on TV is wilder, weirder, and more wondrous than you think! The Christmas TV Companion is a funny, engaging look beyond the same Christmas specials that air every year to the cult TV rarities, over-the-top made-for-TV holiday specials, and bizarre, spacey shows that truly expand the notion of Christmas spirit. Loaded with pop culture references, this book is sure to please pop aficionados and TV junkies of all stripes. Its remarkable breadth of content covers the far-out gems of yesterday, as well as the irreverent and cutting edge Christmas material of today, from Arthur C. Clarke to South Park, and from Ed Sullivan to Squidbillies. This guide also contains practical examples for enhancing your own Christmas TV viewing.

I was reasonably hesitant when the publisher of The Companion contacted me about a review copy. I'm not big on nonfiction or "list books", not to mention my (very Jewish) mother goes into a hysteric frenzy at the mention of Christianity or any of it's branches ("fine, why don't you go spend the frikken holidays with your father then, you schmuck!"*). But Senor Publisher seemed pretty cool, even referencing my past reviewing patterns to sell me. And sell me he did.

It's really hard to like or dislike a book such as The Christmas TV Companion. It consists of general listing and prologue-ing for the Christmas TV season, seperated into sections--macabre, sci-fi, variety, animation, and dark--with subcategories such as "hidden gems" and "make your own marathon". It then goes on to name some scarcely known TV specials, with summaries and tidbits from the author. I think that's where all the entertainment lie--the interpretation Wilson spoons out that just kind of proves how dedicated she really is to the book she's writing. I mean, to fill an entire hundred+ page book with musings of odd Christmas shows? I could maybe do three, four pages. Tops.

Another thing YOu will notice--Wilson is, undeniably, passionate about these shows. It just kind of rises from the pages and screams at you. Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, I think everyone can enjoy reading a book by someone who enjoyed writing it.

The specials themselves where too much fun to handle. In fact, I found myself jotting down titles on my wall (otherwise known as the Universal Notepad) for future YouTubing. Did you know there was a movie about a crazy factory worker dressing up as Santa and killing people? And a Star Wars special in 1978 starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford? Or that the Boondocks paid homage to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" featuring a play entitled, "The Adventures of Black Jesus"? Well, I didn't. And you'd better believe this thing will be in my hands until New Years Day.

Rating: 9 out of 10--a must for anyone with time to kill and in-laws to ignore for the holiday season.

Also: Speaking of Black Jesus...

*paraphrased. She actually used some more colorful language that I think best to spare my readers from.


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