A Christmas Story Live! was originally broadcast by Fox on December 17, 2017. It was a live, televised musical remake of the beloved 1983 film, A Christmas Story. Let’s also mention, that it incorporated songs from the 2012 stage musical version, A Christmas Story: The Musical. The live broadcast starred Matthew Broderick, Andy Walken, Maya Rudolph, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Jane Krakowski. Here’s my review…
Most of us know the story of little Ralphie Parker and his dreams of acquiring a Red Ryder BB gun. In households across the country it’s a beloved Christmas Classic. So, when it was announced that FOX would be doing a LIVE! broadcast, in the same way that they did Peter Pan, or Grease, I just kind of thought, “What the fuck?”…
What the fuck indeed…
The first mistake FOX made was trying to remake this film, but a close second was failing to advertise it as a musical or musical adaptation. Yes, we all know that there was, A Christmas Story: The Musical at one point, but who gives a fiddler’s fart? This was clearly advertised as a remake of the classic movie.
I actually really enjoyed the production, until the first overly long song started, then things went downhill rapidly. I’m not going to criticize any single performance because these are professionals, seasoned pros even, who worked with what they had. Except Maya Rudolph, I continue to be amazed at the fact that she gets work. Her performance was so bad in this remake that I’m now convinced her parents are also siblings. I will say this, the sound mixer owes the cast a major apology because the volume and levels were all over the place.
While I appreciate the fact that cutting the comedy from the Chinese restaurant scene, and including a Hanukkah song for the little Jewish kids, were probably done for the sake of not triggering any special little snowflakes who may have been singing along at home, I think it was pointless and anyone who has seen the original knows about the “racist” restaurant scene, and had plenty of time to find their “Safe Space” before watching the broadcast. What’s next, a Sixteen Candles remake without Long Duck Dong? Also, why cut the parade scene, or the Ovaltine scene?
What was with that opening “false start”? The music was so out of place with the rest of the show. Someone also thought it would be incredibly clever to let Matthew Broderick be the narrator and play a variety of smaller roles, and it was just distracting and stupid. Perhaps even weirder was Raphie’s pseudo-sex dream about the teacher. Hollywood, can you please stop trying to convince us that Jane Krakowski is hot!
Aside from the needless smarm and excessive songs, “A Christmas Story Live!” was three tedious hours that included too many commercials, one of which was a live song-and-dance commercial for Fox’s new musical film “The Greatest Showman,” and it instantly reeked of box office desperation. This production had all the heart and warmth of winters in Siberia. Broderick is no Jean Shepherd. When it comes to narration, he’s basically skulking through the scenes with a plethora of pithy commentary and a bowtie. All of which makes him look like a date rapist, and not the beloved narrator we’re all familiar with. Sadly, the problems go far beyond that. The Parker house was large and comfortable, which takes away that “working class” feel of the film, and they all but distanced the entire story from the original 19-something setting. Now, maybe that was intentional, you know, because they didn’t want to give the “Make America Great Again” crowd any fuel. The problem is, the story is an interpretation of a singular point in time, Ralphie’s childhood. A lot of the omissions in the live broadcast caused a disconnect between the story and audience. Those special little touches, PC or not PC, are why audiences connected to the source material in the first place. Instead, you get a three hour dumpster fire that’s tonally dissonant and dull.
Long story short. Fire the mixer. Send the seasoned pros back to Broadway. Stop erasing the bad parts of history, get Maya Rudolph to take one of those 23 & Me ancestry DNA tests, and transfer all the kids to Sandy Hook. This was a travesty, and showed so much disrespect to Christmas that my Elf on a Shelf just hung himself by the chimney with care.
As a gift from me to you, here’s a little joke:
What’s the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa?
Santa was smart enough to stop at three hos.