I decided to suspend my regular weekly blog schedule this week in order to bring you a series I am calling:
UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!
(Yes, every time I say it in in my head, it's in an "Epic Rap Battles of History" voice)
I'm a major sucker for Christmas movies and I have 7 or 8 in regular rotation from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. Something I've noticed through this intensive yearly study is that the protagonists of said movies are often goobers, goofs, dorks, idiots, and occasionally jerks. There are usually one or two characters shining in the background, too. These characters are put-upon and exploited for laughs or for plot reasons. These are my UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!
Today I bring you two UNSUNG HE-- well you get the point -- from my favorite Christmas movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (if you haven't seen this movie, go away, we can't be friends. Just kidding, but don't come back until you've watched it. It's on like every channel right now. I hear Chip and Dale are going to be splitting the role of "Squirrel!" in a special Disney Channel adaptation).
Clark Griswold is technically the hero of this movie. Clark Griswold is a nincompoop. He's also kind of a jerk. He bullies his wife into hosting a big "fun old fashioned family Christmas" and then hides from the family and sticks her with the task of cooking for them and making sure they all have clean laundry and places to sleep. He lies to a salesgirl at the mall and tells her he's divorced so he can hit on her. He ignores the good advice of family and friends and dives headlong into disaster after disaster.
And he's a bad neighbor.
That's where my unsung heroes come in. Todd and Margo are the much-reviled yuppie neighbors of the Griswolds. You're supposed to hate them based on the fact that they wear ridiculous yuppie clothes and say ridiculous yuppie things, but I put it to you that this would be a very different story if told from Todd and Margo's point of view. To prove this point, here are the following excerpts from Todd's diary, a part of the original script that was cut and then lost over time (yep, I definitely didn't make this shit up...):
Today I had a very tough day at work. I had to lay off that lovely single mother with the heart condition. The boss is really coming down hard. I struggled all day to get my accounts in order and on the way to my car I was spit on by a homeless man. Dejected, I headed over to Margo's office to pick her up and take her out for a nice dinner to forget our troubles. She lost her secretary to some poacher from Frank Shirley's company this morning.
We headed home first to freshen up and I could barely pull into the driveway. Griswold had an enormous tree, roots and all, laying over part of our yard. I can't believe he's going to put that thing in his living room! Suddenly he appeared revving a chainsaw and wearing a hockey mask like a madman. It scared poor Margo half to death. Trying to make conversation, I asked him where he thought he would put a tree that big. You would not believe what he said to me, Diary! He actually insinuated he would like to stick the tree up Margo's...I can't even say it. I hope tomorrow is better.
Today was horrible. Remember that gorgeous stereo Margo saved up for and bought me as a surprise for my 30th birthday? It's ruined. Completely and utterly ruined.
Margo and I came home from work to discover the house was freezing. We soon found that the bedroom window had been broken somehow and my beautiful stereo was utterly smashed to pieces. Also, the carpet was mysteriously wet. I don't know how, but I think Griswold was involved. The window faces his house.
I'm just sick about it. I loved that stereo, and Margo worked so hard to buy it for me!
I'm writing this from the ER where I've been taken for observation. They think I have a concussion. It's a long story.
Margo and I had just returned from a refreshing jog in the crisp winter weather. She was looking particularly fetching this evening and I told her so in no uncertain terms. We showered and I planned a romantic evening for us. I brought out that bottle of Chablis I'd been saving since my graduation from business school. The stage was set. I gazed into her lovely eyes and leaned in to kiss her...
We were suddenly blinded by a blast of light from Griswold's house! We leaped from the bed to cover the window, but then the lights suddenly went out and we tripped over each other and knocked the tray of Spanish hor d'oeuvres I'd prepared over. That beautiful Chablis crashed to the ground as well. We had just had our carpet cleaned of the mold from the mysterious wet carpet incident the other night so I yelled to Margo to get a towel and clean the carpet. The lights flashed back on again and then just as I'd gathered the tray to take it downstairs and clean up, they went back off and I tripped on the top stair in the dark. I tumbled headlong down the steps and hit my head on the floor.
I'm still dizzy, my head is killing me, and we're looking at not only a prohibitive ER bill but also another carpet cleaning bill as Margo was unable to get the aioli out. This is shaping up to be a very stressful Christmas.
I woke early today and the weather was clear and lovely. I thought I would take a jog and got dressed and went outside only to discover a beastly, bulging sort of man in a short robe and an aviator's cap smoking a stinky cigar and drinking a beer and emptying some sort of foul brown substance into our sewer! I stared at him in horror and he said, "Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!"
Can you imagine! He was emptying the toilet from his RV into the sewer! I ran back inside to escape the horrific stench. I imagine he's a relative of Griswold's. They could at least let him in to use the toilet. It seems inhuman to make him stay in the driveway and relieve himself into a chemical toilet at this time of year.
Today is Christmas Eve and I am writing this from the lobby of the Holiday Inn. I can't find a room anywhere. Ironic, right? Perhaps there is an empty stable somewhere...
This was a terrible day. I had planned such a wonderful Christmas Eve for Margo and me. We were both very sad that we couldn't afford to fly home and see our families since we've had to pay to have the carpet cleaned twice, to replace the window and the stereo and for my ER bill for that concussion. I tried to put a happy face on things for Margo's sake and prepared a lovely cheese and fruit plate and a pitcher of her favorite margaritas.
We were beginning to enjoy ourselves when all of a sudden, a tree from our side yard fell and crashed through the dining room window! We were shocked and looked up to discover Griswold with a chainsaw. He was slowly dragging the tree out of our window without a word of apology! Can you imagine?
Margo had had it. The poor dear lost her favorite aunt last week, you know, and in addition to all her troubles at work and not being able to fly home for the holidays, well, it was just too much. She lost it and demanded that I go over and punch Griswold in the face. While I cannot deny that he deserved it, I am a peaceful man by nature and I chose to turn the other cheek even though I'm not sure how we'll pay to replace that window after all of the other unexpected expenses this holiday season.
Margo was too angry to listen to reason and marched over to Griswold's herself. I can't imagine what he did to her. She came back covered in mud with her clothes torn and scratches everywhere. I can't believe he would fight with a woman! She was so distraught that she punched me in the face and ordered me to get out.
And so, I sit here in this cold hotel lobby alone on Christmas Eve worrying about how I'll afford to replace that window, worrying about whether sweet Margo will take me back, worrying about whether Griswold will come back to finish the job he started on her while I'm gone. What a terrible, terrible Christmas.
So, this holiday season when you watch Christmas Vacation, think of poor Todd and Margo and their carpet, windows, stereo, and various medical ailments.
|UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!|