Storylines from classic holiday films that are actually pretty effed up
My favorite holiday tradition involves thirsting over a young Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music while wearing a face mask and clutching a popcorn tin filled to the brim. I know it’s not *technically* a Christmas movie, but they always seem to play it on repeat every damn December, so I associate it with the holidays.
Aside from eating mooncakes, my favorite part of the season is definitely the classic holiday films that air on TV. There’s nothing like revisiting the Peanuts gang in the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas or identifying with the Grinch’s anti-social mannerisms in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. However, there’s also nothing more jarring than re-watching your old favorites only to pick up on cues that went way over your head as a kid. The internet is filled with examinations of sexual innuendos in Disney films, after all.
So while you might think your favorite holiday movies are all snowflakes and tinsel, there are actually some storylines that are pretty f*cked up. Let’s examine them, shall we? Warning: You’ll never be the same.
Sexist agism in It’s a Wonderful Life:
I get that this a film from the ‘40s (a time of now-antiquated ideals) but I can’t help but laugh every time Mary is revealed to be a poor old maid in the “alternate reality” sequences that show if she had never married George Bailey. A spinster! Working at the local library! The horror!
A nostalgic ode to minstrel shows in White Christmas:
Bing Crosby and friends perform a dance number about the nostalgia of good ole’ minstrel shows. You’ll tap your toes, you’ll sway to the instrumentals, it’ll be a jolly good time — until you realize minstrel shows were a racist form of entertainment that belittled African Americans, and White actors often donned Blackface. You’ll then stop tapping your toes, stop swaying to the instrumentals, and recede into a corner.
A caricature-filled dinner at a Chinese restaurant in A Christmas Story:
Young Ralphie and his family enjoy a dinner at Chinese restaurant Chop Suey Palace, where his mother is in absolute hysterics over the staff’s rendition of “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.” Let’s not forget the fit over the roasted duck, because caricatures of Chinese dialect and Chinese food are pure comedy gold. No, thank you.
Total douchery between Andrew Lincoln and Hugh Grant in Love Actually:
Two things here: The romanticizing of Mark’s (Andrew Lincoln) declaration of love to his best friend’s fiancé, which possessed creepy attributes of Nice Guy syndrome, and the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) having his political staffer/crush Natalie “distributed elsewhere” after he witnesses the president making a pass at her. So Natalie’s job was disrupted due to the Prime Minister’s jealousy over an ugly situation that was by no means her fault.
Literally all of Bad Santa, OK?
Why is this a cult favorite? Can someone please explain? Lorelai Gilmore, is that you?
An uncomfortably creepy mall exchange in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:
Listen, if I wanted to witness creepy predatory behavior from middle-aged men during the holidays, I’d simply brush up on Donald Trump and the Hollywood sexual misconduct scandal. Until then, I’ll pass on this uncomfortable piece of cinema.
Perhaps a re-watch of The Sound of Music would be a nice palate cleanser right now. Hello, Christopher Plummer.