Care for Christmas teevee, anyone? | Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 12/3/21

I was glancing at a Christmas TV supplement in another local paper with the usual jaundiced eye of a veteran newspaper TV critic. A few highlights/lowlights: (We won’t mention Hallmark, who …

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Care for Christmas teevee, anyone? | Mann Overboard


I was glancing at a Christmas TV supplement in another local paper with the usual jaundiced eye of a veteran newspaper TV critic. A few highlights/lowlights: (We won’t mention Hallmark, who starts airing Christmas-themed movies in April.) 

— “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” starts today on AMC, and runs daily until Xmas Day. Worth watching if only for Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) energizing 10,000 lights on his roof and blinding passing pilots.

— “A Boy Band Christmas” (ABC). Wouldn’t miss seeing the Backstreet Boys become the Wall Street Boys. 

— “It’s a Wonderful Life” (NBC, Saturday). It wasn’t so wonderful for cheapskate station owners who played this overrated chestnut repeatedly for free — until the copyright, which had mistakenly expired, was finally renewed in the ’80s. 

— “A Christmas Story” (TBS 24-hour marathon, Dec. 25). Hands down the best holiday film of all. No arguments out there. Thanks, Jean Shepherd, for this brilliant, whimsical classic. 

— “Bad Santa” (MTV, Dec. 24 et al). A sick movie, which I love. Billy Bob Thornton’s drunken, bitter Santa, Willie T. Stokes, and his vertically challenged elf sidekick are hilarious. 

At least we don’t have to see Melania’s creepy red Christmas trees again this year! 

— A non-TV promising entry: The Seattle Opera is staging “A Drunken Christmas Carol” on Dec. 10 and Dec. 12, starring (hic) Bob McPherson, aka “The Drunken Tenor.” 

— I normally read police calls for funny items. But I also found two in the Leader obits recently. One paragraph in one woman’s obit read only, “She hated snow.” Another women’s obit read, in part, “On one trip to India, her trusty Leika camera was stepped on by an elephant.” 

— Get ready, eh? A welcome sight in town will reappear this month: Canadian license plates. Canada’s government has dropped the expensive PCR COVID tests for returning Canadians who’ve been here for 72 hours or less. A few will take the Coho ferry to Port Angeles and head this way for a quick Victorian shopping trip. When this former Canadian resident worked at the PT Visitor Center and someone asked to use the washroom, I’d reply, “You’re Canadian.” They’d say, “How’d you know?” And I’d reply that Yanks don’t use that term, but instead bathroom or restroom. Please wish “Happy holidays” if you spot these civilized people from The Great White North.

— Speaking of which, Victoria’s festive Lighted Truck Parade is this Saturday. Is it worth the $175 Americans have to pay for PCR testing to get into Canada? Small price to see dump and cement trucks festooned with Christmas lights. 

— Speaking of Christmas lights, it’s worth the drive to the Sequim area for a visual jackpot: Seven Cedars Casino’s big display, always impressive. On the way, head down to Diamond Point to see the town’s annual Christmas-ornament display, a community project that stretches for several miles. Guaranteed fun for all. 

— Worthy of note: KIRO-FM’s (97.3) affable air personality and movie critic Tom Tangney is retiring this afternoon after 27 years at Seattle’s top-rated station. He’s a good guy, a progressive who’ll truly be missed from the show he does with the conservative but entertaining John Curley. The genial Tangney wants to spend more time in Paris. Don’t we all. 

— Doing a lot of Christmas baking, or regular baking? Check out, a splendid artisan baking site for nonpros. It’s been praised by such worthies as Saveur magazine, and has an international following. And it’s the product of one Floyd Mann, my Vancouver baker son. Can’t beat his sourdough. He and Pane D’Amore’s Ilon, of pane d’Ilon fame, became bread brothers here years ago. 

— A belated thanks I’m giving to YMCA head Wendy Bart, PT City Manager John Mauro, and Public Works Director Steve King for getting and keeping the Mountain View Pool up and running. It’ll make winter much better for hundreds of us exercise-needy local residents this winter.

— Finally, this seasonal note: Thornton’s dwarf “Bad Santa” cohort reminds me of Martin Mull’s follow-up to Randy Newman’s “Short People”: “You know what they say about short people,” joked Mull. “Last to know when it rains … but first to know when there’s a flood.”

(PT humorist Bill Mann is also known as 


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