In 1997, someone straight-up decided to just play A Christmas Story, a story of a loving but slightly-dysfunctional family with kids in about 1940, for 24 hours straight on TBS. The marathon started as a publicity stunt on TNT in 1988, a year after the movie came out. What the studio didn’t expect was for the movie became a cult household hit. A Christmas Story enshrined its place in history as a classic flick, and, in its 23rd year now, the marathon is now a capitalist Christmas tradition.
Which means every year, on Christmas morning, you can tune into this family comedy mindlessly and see where exactly on the Christmas Story roulette you land. It’s one of my favorite ways to kill time! After all, I’m already emotionally exhausted from not only dealing with family, but also powering through our annual tradition of watching the night before It’s A Wonderful Life. (RIP this year to our Pop-Pop, who started that particular tradition. It’s a great movie!)
So I lay on the family couch, pop on TBS* and see where in A Christmas Story I’ve landed this year! Or hour. Ingraining the script of an 80’s classic is sometimes better than trying to make small talk about writing video games to adults who don’t get it. So here are the most frequent winners of what I call the Christmas Story roulette.
(*I swear I’m NOT getting paid for this.)
Immovable Snow Gear
Randy was T-posing on the kids before it was cool to.
Obviously, not by choice — his snow outfit, forced on by his mom, is so tight, it nearly immobilizes him minus basic walking. But the mom cares! She’s being overprotective in a just-above-absurd manner! I think that perfect balance of absurdity and believability drives the perfection of this particular scene home.
So obviously it’s a genuine miracle that Randy ends up moving at all in this outfit. They really drive the point home by having him just… roll in the snow. And honestly, toppling over and getting stuck rolling in the snow? Big mood.
“I TRIPLE-DOG Dare You!”
We know nowadays that if you ever get your tongue, or any appendage, stuck on a frozen piece of something, you warm it up with your breath and wait until the ice melts (and pray you didn’t get frostbite in the process). But before the days of the Internet and kids throwing random facts at each other, because all suburban parents are slightly paranoid nowadays kid-raisers… well, we had this scene.
But more important to this scene’s humor is the tribalism involved. (Or maybe that’s just me, because I graduated with a sociology degree, and he explains it like a bad observation book.) The dare, double-dog dare and triple-dog dare are clear, bold rituals that force these children into dangerous, precarious situation with the worst social consequences — embarrassment and rumors.
Everything that unfolds as a result? The adults just don’t get it. (But the ones in my family do quote it.)
The Major Prize
If there’s any recognizable icon of A Christmas Story, something you can pick out at a store and go, “Oh, that’s from A Christmas Story!”, it’s going to be the prize lamp. It’s the 1940s equivalent of drunkenly ordering from Amazon and gathering your roommates for it. Except it’s, like, you get a giant wall of BDSM props.
From start to finish, the introduction of the lamp is a wild ride: the father claims he got “A Major Prize.” He reads the box as “Frah-JEE-lay.” (It’s “Fragile.”) Clueless as to what the leg is, when the father asks what the lamp is, he says it’s “A LEG!” (I mean, it is.) And then, they realize the leg isn’t just a leg — it’s a lamp!
And then the dad has a giant leg in the window proudly shining for the whole neighborhood to see. Like, honestly, I dunno if consent was a thing back there, but this is bad consent politics in any day and age. It’s at least friendly enough that I don’t have to freeze up when I watch this with the family.
More End-Of-Year Cheer:
- Toru Yano Is the Wrestler of the Decade
- The Grinch is Christmas Deadpool
- Danielle’s Top Ten Games of 2019
Bo Ling’s Christmas Dinner
Okay, I never said this list is full of entirely good scenes from A Christmas Story. This one just happens to be towards the end of the movie, so I see it a lot during the marathon.
And I’m not gonna lie: Part of it of it kinda sucks. You know, the part with the racism, where the Asian actors sing “Fa Ra-Ra Ra-Ra” and the host tries to correct them. It’s an extremely superfluous addition to the scene, more to stall for time. So it always kind of sucks that this scene frequently shows up for me, y’know, a Filipino woman.
But there are some genuinely good laughs here, especially once the entree comes out. (And that’s really it.) It’s always hilarious to watch people freak the hell out about foreign food. Plus the way it’s played out — the chef just slams into it.
Bonus: Anyone with a good eye caught that it used to be a bowling alley. But the “W” on the neon sign went out, hence — Bo Ling. That’s ingenuity.
Ralph Shooting His Eye Out
Yep. He mcfreakin’ does it. WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN?