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It’s a Wonderful Red Green Christmas (1998)

by on 2012/12/24

It's a Wonderful Red Green Christmas (1998)

“I know sometimes it’s hard to believe in a chubby guy with a beard, but you’ll get used to it.”

* * *

Now this is more like it . . . not entirely competent, but comfortable all the same. Standing in sharp contrast to the disappointing Duct Tape Forever, this Red Green Christmas special fits right in to business as usual.

Typical in its variety of clips, it’s packed with skits, occasional bursts of bad poetry, songs, and transitional animation. Nearly-bawdy, good-natured cheese, everyone’s having fun, perhaps the performers even more than the audience.

The gang’s all here, and in force: clan leader Red Green (Steve Smith), naive eccentric Harold Green (Patrick McKenna), unprofessional criminal Mike Hamar (Cube’s Wayne Robson), compulsive liar Hap Shaughnessy (Away from Her’s Gordon Pinsent), opinionated cheap skate Dalton Humphrey (Men with Brooms’ Bob Bainborough), desperate dimwit Ranger Gord (Sunshine Sketches’ Peter Keleghan), deaf demolitionist Edgar Montrose (Gunless’ Graham Greene), septic enthusiast Winston Rothschild (Odd Job Jack’s Jeff Lumby), and monochromatic spastic Bill (Frantic Rick Green).

If you’ve already seen the show, you know exactly what’s to come. Despite its comprehensiveness and focus on the holiday season, it shares the pros and cons of its TV brethren. The viewers are addressed directly through a grab-bag of recurring segments: profoundly silly verse is recited over picturesque outdoor footage, supposed viewer mail is answered with utter ignorance, characters offer monologues and life-threatening DIY projects.

I was most impressed by the exterior shots, on location in Yellowknife, though they suffered somewhat with the overlaid Muzak and jarring transitional applause. Still, nobody’s watching Red Green hoping for The Nature of Things. This is the coarsest Canadiana, short of nudity, swearing, and violence.

Actually, on second thought, scratch that violence thing.

A provincial, male-driven affair, expect the lowest common denominator in crotch-impact humour, drunkenness, electrocution, explosions, flatulence, insults about the in-laws, silly noises, and wives-vs-husbands politics . . . minus the wives.

It’s a goofy way to spend Christmas, as if with a gaggle of crazy acquaintances. And let’s not pretend it’s at all intellectual. But let’s also not pretend it isn’t amusing.

Check the edited TV version (embedded) for a taste of this Yuletide treat.

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60 minutes (DVD version)

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