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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Shrek The Halls

With only one week to go before Christmas, I still have a few topics left to discuss for the 2013 edition of “THE POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR”!

Hi, and welcome to Day #18 of the calendar. And, just so happens to be one of those Whatever Wednesday entries!

Yes, today is the day in which we pull out the Clue cards for another day, select a character card at random, and do a blog entry on whatever the card tells me to do.

So, shall we draw a character out of the bag? Who are we going to see today, and what will today's subject be all about?

Interesting. Today we've drawn the Mrs. Peacock card, which means that we're going to be talking about a television series. I know, it seems to be a bit of overkill, given that I talked about a holiday show yesterday, and plan on doing at least two more television based holiday features on Friday and Saturday this week, but the way I see it, how often do I get the opportunity to talk about Christmas themed television? Not a lot! I say we go with it!

Now, here's the kicker. What holiday special do I talk about this week? I've pretty much covered all of the good ones over the last two years. Hmmm...maybe if I go through my own personal collection of Christmas themed DVD's, I might be able to find something. Let's see here...

Okay, I've already done Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, so that's out. I've already done a feature on “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. “A Charlie Brown Christmas was one of the very first holiday themed blogs that I wrote on this blog. And as for “The Simpsons”, I just did a feature on them yesterday. What do I do?

Oh, wait. I don't think I've done this one yet.

Ah, yes. Now I remember. I have a funny story to tell in regards to this particular DVD. You see, it was actually kind of an impulse purchase that I made while I was at a store that...gasp...I don't work at! Now, normally, if there's something that I really want to buy, I will most likely purchase it at the retail outlet I work for. After all, the employee discount can be quite tempting. But it turns out that at the store that I was in, this particular DVD had more of a bonus. Sure, as far as the sticker price went, I was only saving a cent...and given that Canada has deep-sixed the penny, that's not really much of a deal. However, there was a coupon attached to the DVD that said that I could get a free bag of Orville Redenbacher flavoured popcorn with purchase. And, you know me...I never complain about getting free stuff!

By the way, a little off topic here, but try the white cheddar flavour of that popcorn. It tastes just like Smartfood, but at a much lower cost!

So, with popcorn in hand, I set up the DVD player, and inserted “Shrek the Halls” into the player...a television special that originally aired on television November 28, 2007.

And right off the bat, the one thing that I particularly appreciate about this Christmas special is that all of the voice actors from the Shrek movie series came back to voice their respective characters in "Shrek the Halls"!  Mike Myers returns as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Fiona, Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots, and, get the idea!  

And for what it's worth, it's a really nice Christmas special.  Probably one of the better Christmas specials to be released over the last ten years or least, in my opinion anyway.

So, anyway, "Shrek the Halls" apparently takes place between "Shrek the Third" and "Shrek Forever After", as Shrek and Fiona have settled into life as the parents of their toddler aged triplets.  The television special begins on a hot summer day in the middle of Shrek's swamp (as evidenced by Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze" playing in the background).  But what is strange about the scene is that as Shrek is giving his babies a bath, Donkey comes up to him singing Christmas carols!

Now, for the average person, listening to Christmas carols - let alone singing them - in the middle of summer would be the epitome of weirdness.  But then again, I suppose that in general, Donkey isn't exactly the very definition of normal regardless, so for him, it's normal.

It also seems to be normal for Donkey to annoy Shrek every chance he gets, and when Shrek asks Donkey what he's doing, Donkey proudly announces that it is only 159 days until the event known as Christmas comes, and of course, Shrek makes out that he has absolutely no idea what Donkey is talking about, so he shoos him away.  And over the course of the next 158 days, Donkey continues to annoy Shrek with Christmas songs, even as the leaves fall from the trees and snow blankets the ground.  

By the time Christmas Eve comes, the swamp has become a winter wonderland, and by this time, Fiona and the kids are very excited about the upcoming holiday.  Fiona in particular wants the Christmas season to be especially memorable as it will be the first one that she and Shrek would be spending with their new babies.  And, of course Shrek wants to be able to give Fiona and the kids the greatest Christmas ever.

But there's just one problem.  Shrek doesn't exactly know what makes a good Christmas.  In fact, Shrek is so clueless about how to celebrate Christmas that he actually drops by a bookstore in Far Far Away and buys a book on how to create the perfect holiday celebration!  I mean, how hard can it be?  You buy some food for the Christmas dinner, you decorate the place with some decorations, put up a Christmas tree, and maybe a few presents.  And then at the end of it all, you tell Christmas fables and sing Christmas songs.  What could go wrong?

Well, for starters, if Shrek intended for he and Fiona to have a quiet celebration with the kids at home this Christmas, the well-meaning Donkey would throw a monkey wrench into Shrek's plans.

You see, Donkey pretty much invited every single creature who ever crossed Shrek's path to spend the holidays with Shrek and Fiona!  The Three Little Pigs, The Big Bad Wolf, Pinocchio, Gingy, The Three Blind Mice, and Puss In Boots all drop by to spread Christmas cheer.  Even Donkey brings along his wife and kids!

(Keeping in mind that Donkey's wife is a dragon that is 1000 times Donkey's size!)

So, everybody is having a grand old time dancing to pop music, eating the large spread of food, and spreading the love of Christmas...

...everyone except Shrek that is.  He's extremely angry that Donkey hijacked his whole Christmas celebration and he is starting to see red.

But, hey, with Shrek's green skin, the red goes well with the colour scheme.

Shrek can't even get the chance to tell his Christmas story, as Donkey, Puss in Boots, and Gingy all tell their own stories.  Donkey talks about parade floats made of edible goodies, Puss in Boots gets distracted by Christmas ornaments, and Gingy tells more of a horror story as he explains how Santa ate his girlfriend!

And just when Shrek isn't annoyed enough by his friends, Donkey comes across Shrek's book on "Christmas for Village Idiots", which sets Shrek over the edge!  And as Shrek tries to grab the book from Donkey, a commotion causes the food to be spilled, the decorations to be smashed, and the Christmas tree to go up in flames like a Roman candle!

Which in turn causes Shrek to throw Donkey and crew outside in the cold snow!  Naturally, Donkey and his friends are very upset that Shrek would treat them this way on Christmas Eve, and the Three Little Pigs offer to take Donkey and the rest of the crew in.

But Shrek is saddened to learn that Fiona has packed up the kids, and announces that she will be spending Christmas with Donkey after she is absolutely appalled at how badly he treated their friends.  And, as Fiona and the kids set out to try and apologize on behalf of the family, a depressed Shrek is left alone in his shack, pondering what went wrong.  It's only until he spots a Christmas card sent to him by Donkey that he starts to have a change of heart and he realizes that he's been a real...well...ogre to everyone.

But there's a good reason behind it...well, as good a reason as one can have.  You see, ogres don't really have much to celebrate.  Prior to the release of Shrek's first movie in 2001, ogres were scary creatures whom everyone feared.  Why would ogres celebrate birthdays?  Why would they celebrate Christmas when they were doomed to spend every Christmas alone?

So, it's no wonder why Shrek was so clueless about Christmas.  He never experienced one.  But of course, no matter how well planned a Christmas celebration is, something always seems to go wrong.  And, that was fine, because it's not about having the biggest tree, or having the most expensive presents, or having the plumpest turkey on the table.  It's about who you spend the holidays with that matter.  And, while Shrek had to learn that lesson the hard way, I think he eventually got the message.

And so ends Day #18 of the advent calendar.  Tomorrow on Day #19, it's time for another video blog.  And in this video blog, I write a letter to the man in the big red suit!

No kidding!  I'm serious!  But, to be fair, I also talk about letters to Santa in general, so it's not QUITE as weird as I made it out to be.  

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