Without a doubt, one of my fondest childhood memories was watching this animated special every Christmastime. It wasn’t just an excited build-up to one of my favourite holidays. Will Vinton created something so incredibly unique that it gave me goose bumps even when I was all of five years old. It’s not a special that comes on anymore, which is a pity, considering how classic it is. However, I came across the entire special on YouTube, and everything was right again with the world.
I thought one of the best ways to spread some of that “Holiday Cheer” that everyone talks about (but has become more and more rare as time goes by) is to share some of my favourite moments from the special. There are so many vignettes to choose from, all of them special, having their own twist on classic Christmas tales, songs and even the Biblical inclinations of the story of Christmas itself.
Probably the most unique (read: ridiculous) aspect of the piece is its hosts. Two dinosaurs who are attempting to bring some joy and grandeur to the holiday. The hosts — Rex, the snobbish and self-proclaimed intellectual; and Herb, the somewhat slovenly yet incredibly lovable foodie — dissect the most classic Christmas carols, peeling back their meanings and histories and giving the audience more than just beautifully animated shorts, but also a surprisingly in-depth understanding of what each carol means and its origin.
What follows isn’t the entire special, rather it’s a look at my favourite segments and exactly what each did to my creative subconscious as a child.
Truth be told, when I got enmeshed in this whole Kpop craziness, I was pretty much wrapped in a foggy haze of DBSK. I didn’t notice anything else — no other bands, no other singers, nothing. Then I was told about a few dramas that I needed to check out, but wasn’t quite sure if I was game. I mean, I can’t stand American soap operas, I loathe telenovelas. So I was more or less arguing with myself as to whether or not I should take up this endeavor.
Then I discovered Miss Ripley.
Miss Ripley tells the story of Jang Mi-Ri, a young woman fleeing a crude existence of desolate circumstances. She escapes Japan and the clutches of the brothel lifestyle and follows her feet back to her birthplace, South Korea. She finds herself continuously turned away from every job opportunity and propositioned by lecherous men who see a beautiful face and young body and consider it theirs for the taking. She literally stumbles into hotel CEO Jang Myung-Hoon’s life — a man who’s been disrespected and jilted by his ex-wife. He looks into Jang Mi-Ri’s eyes and sees a dying light in her that he wants to save.
With Mi-Ri’s history, she doesn’t have the qualifications for anything more than menial labor; however, if she can’t manage to find steady income, she’ll be deported back to the hell that was her life in Japan. This leads her to continuously sew herself into tragically unsavory tapestries of deception, including seducing Myung-Hoon, capturing the heart of young heir to a hospitality conglomerate, Yutaka, and forging credentials and stealing her friend’s blueprint designs.
It’s not very often that I’ll find myself gushing over something that’s really abysmal, but I can’t help but love it anyway. Some might point to my adoration of the Spice Girls, in which case I’d say, “Fuck off! They’re one of the greatest girl groups of all time!” without batting an eyelash. But this particular “guilty pleasure” is a show that doesn’t exactly have any distinguishing merits except that it dared to expose the underground truth of Black queer life…whether that goal was accomplished with any kind of success is up for debate.
I’m talking, of course, about a little known two-season show on LOGO called Noah’s Arc. In it, we follow the lovesick, intrepid Noah on his quest for artistic freedom, sexual fulfilment, and everlasting romance. Along the way, we’re introduced to his close-knit circle of friends with their overtly cliché characteristics and flaws… so full of hubris Sophocles would have a heart attack.