Christmas Specials from Franchises That Had No Business Having A Christmas Special
This weekend, a lot of Marvel fans will be going, “Nice, there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special!,” followed by, “Wait, why is there a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?” A franchise about alien outlaws shooting up space pirates isn’t exactly the most natural vehicle to spread Christmas cheer. That said, this isn’t even close to the most baffling holiday special ever to be released, at least not when you factor in the inexplicable existence of stuff like...
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Leaving aside the overall crappiness of this special and the evident disinterest of most of the cast — what the hell does this have to do with the holidays? In this or any galaxy? There’s a story about Chewie’s family celebrating some hippie festivity called “Life Day,” but even that is flimsy: Most of the special is taken up by furry creatures grunting while subjecting themselves to weird-ass holographic interpretative dance routines, bizarre cooking shows and uncomfortably sensual VR music videos. What kind of twisted holiday traditions are those? Those Wookies are freaks, man.
Even the well-regarded Boba Fett animated segment has no connection whatsoever to the name of the special — at no point does Obi-Wan’s Force ghost show up and spook the Emperor into paying his employees more. A massive disappointment for fans of Star Wars and holidays.
He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)
In this very special, very blasphemous TV movie, we find out that twin siblings He-Man and She-Ra were born around December 25th and the adornments for their birthday bash happen to look a lot like Christmas decorations. Does this mean that Eternia’s version of Jesus are a pair of scantily-clad, sword-bearing barbarians? Can He-Man transform water into wine just as easily as he transforms his pusillanimous pet tiger into a badass Battle Cat?
This special also features He-Man improbably disguising himself as Santa Claus and Orko “accidentally” kidnapping two regular Earth children. Later, the kids teach Skeletor about the meaning of Christmas and cause his supposedly non-existent heart to grow three sizes, turning him into a sentimental buffoon (whereas he’s usually so serious and terrifying). Like we said: Blasphemy.
A Flintstones Christmas (1977)
The Flintstones had not one, not two, but three Christmas specials, plus regular Christmas-themed episodes, and Fred himself says (and sings) that this is his favorite time of year. Just one problem: Whose birth are they celebrating? Jesus won’t be born for another, oh, 10,000 years. What do they think the word “Christ” in "Christmas” means? This show had Stone Age analogs for some 20th-century celebrities, like “Stony Curtis” or “Michael Jackstone” — did they also have a “Jesus Christone," or whatever caveman Jesus is supposed to be called? (Is it “He-Man”?)
We couldn’t bear living with this mystery, so we went straight to the source and asked one of the writers behind the original 1977 Christmas special, Duane Poole, if they ever stopped to consider how this was possible. He emphatically told us, “No!” and responded, “Why are there cars?” Touché, sir; we can’t argue with that logic.
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (2011)
No cars here, though. This one manages to be even more nonsensical than A Flintstones Christmas and even more blasphemous than He-Man & She-Ra by depicting a bunch of cute prehistoric animals from 20,000 B.C. inventing the concept of the Christmas tree. Turns out the ornament on top of the tree doesn’t symbolize the star of Bethlehem like your lying Sunday school teacher told you: It was specifically meant to represent a dim-witted prehistoric sloth called Sid. Millions of Christians have been worshiping the dumbest pagan figure possible every Christmas without knowing it.
Note that these animals invented the Christmas tree but not Christmas itself, which already existed by this point — as did Santa Claus, who appears in this movie. To think that Santa managed to live for hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions of years, before running into Tim Allen and being murdered within seconds.
The Hercules And Xena Christmas Crossover (1996)
These days, Kevin Sorbo is only notable for starring in hilariously terrible Christian propaganda movies and his ongoing quest to lower the public perception of religious people on social media. Back in the 1990s, though, he was best known for playing the title hero in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, including one episode that rewrites Jesus’ history pretty liberally. In “A Star to Guide Them,” a paranoid king tries to prevent a prophecy by rounding up all babies in the city of Bethle— sorry, “Bethos.” Hercules stops him and, while at it, helps three wise men follow a star that leads them to a mysterious glowing home where they’re supposed to witness the most important event in the history of humankind or something.
Meanwhile, on the same night, sister show Xena: Warrior Princess aired an episode titled “A Solstice Miracle,” in which Xena teams up with a badass, Clint Eastwood-quoting version of Santa Claus called “Senticles.” At the end of the episode, Xena and her life partner Gabrielle run into a humble couple with a newborn baby and give them a donkey as a “solstice gift.” At one point, the woman says, “May God smile on you always for your kindness,” and the baby starts glowing (which no one comments on).
In case you missed all the subtle clues, the implication here is that Hercules and Xena assisted in Jesus’ birth. The thing is, not only are these Christmas episodes rewriting the Bible so that the King of the Jews was born in the middle of Greece, but based on the Hercules-verse timeline, they’re also moving up his birthday by at least 500 years. In fact, one episode features David, of David and Goliath fame, who died in 970 B.C. and is supposed to be a distant ancestor of Jesus.
Oh, and then there’s the small fact that these shows feature a ton of other gods — although Xena does kill a whole bunch of them, so maybe Jesus’ dad is still technically the One True One by the time she’s done.
In short: Kevin Sorbo once starred in a show that was way more blasphemous than any satanic film or, heck, even Ice Age. May Sid have mercy on his soul.
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Thumbnail: Warner Bros. Animation