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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Toddencrantz And Margostern Are Dead

A John Hughes/Tom Stoppard production:

The plot of “Christmas Vacation” is paper-thin but satisfying. Clark wants to throw “an old-fashioned fun family Christmas” and invites his parents and in-laws to visit. Ellen’s cheerfully stupid cousin, Eddie, crashes the party along with his family. They give Clark someone to feel superior to as he struggles in his quest for holiday perfection under his in-laws’ withering judgment. At the center of his plans is the big reveal of the swimming pool he has secretly ordered, but the delay of his annual Christmas bonus check, which he needs to cover the pool deposit, is making him sweat.

On Christmas Day, one thing after another goes horribly wrong: A dinner is ruined, cat turns up dead and Clark’s perfect Christmas tree goes up in flames. When the bonus arrives, it’s actually a membership in the Jelly of the Month Club, which sends Clark over the edge.

Cousin Eddie kidnaps Clark’s boss and brings him to the Griswold home, which prompts a SWAT team invasion. The boss sees the error of his ways and the bonus, plus some, is reinstated. Clark learns that there’s no such thing as a perfect Christmas, but being able to buy his family an in-ground swimming pool is close enough. In the end they all sing Christmas carols, even the cops.

Now imagine how this story unfolds if you live next door. Your neighbor has found multiple reasons in one week to run a chain saw after dark. You’re repeatedly blinded by his obnoxious decorative light display, which shines directly into your bedroom at night. There’s a lot of yelling and swearing in the front yard at all hours. For the last several days, his houseguest’s rotting RV has been parked in front of your house, and yesterday you saw a man in a very short robe and little else emptying his portable toilet into the storm sewer.

Yet somehow you have found the patience to not call the cops. This neighbor broke your bedroom window and your very expensive stereo. You know he did, and not once has he apologized, let alone offered to replace them.
And then the neighbor chain saws down a tree that bashes in yet another of your windows, ruining Margarita Night. What the hell?

When you finally go over to tell him off, you’re attacked by wild animals. You and your husband get in a fight as a result. The icing on the cake? A SWAT team breaks down your door to stage a hostage rescue because of course the neighbor has kidnapped someone.

Haven’t you been saying for years you think there might be something wrong with the guy? For an encore, he blows up the storm sewer, which the city will not fix — and you know he won’t take care of it, will he? Good thing you’ve been billing for all those extra hours! Why did you move to the suburbs again? Is the resale value of this neighborhood really worth it? Who would buy your house once they get a load of this guy? Merry fucking Christmas!

Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?


November 26, 2016 | Permalink


Name one comic character you would want to spend more than ten minutes of real life with. (Half the humor is in the relief that you aren't Griswold's neighbor.)

These things that pass for analysis I just don't understand.

Posted by: Rmj | Nov 26, 2016 12:03:46 PM

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