TLC has something special in store for the viewers who have made reality series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo a massive ratings hit: A Honey Boo Boo Christmas special, which is perversely scheduled to air in January, when no one except hardcore fans and random masochists would want to watch the proudly redneck clan fete the season. But when it comes to unappealing Christmas specials, Honey Boo Boo is far from alone. Just one of these shameless, soulless, wildly unnecessary holiday specials from TV's history will turn even the cheeriest of celebrators into a Grinch:
1. Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular (2007)
Larry the Cable Guy adapts his uniquely awful brand of comedy for the holidays for a laugh-free special that includes special appearances by Carrot Top, Vicki Lawrence, and Lisa Lampanelli as Santa's "ho ho ho" of a wife. (His joke, not mine.) If you haven't turned it off by the time Kid Rock shows up to perform the song "Rock 'n Roll Jesus," you're made of stronger stuff than I am.
2. Shrek the Halls (2007)
This 30-minute ABC special was a stopgap in the surprisingly complicated Shrek timeline, airing after Shrek the Third but before Shrek Forever After. Shrek attempts to celebrate his first Christmas with Fiona, but things go awry when Donkey arrives and ruins everything, in a performance so irritating that the character actually apologizes for being so annoying by the special's end. "A smelly Christmas to all, and to all a gross night," says Shrek, a sentiment which will likely resonate with anyone subjected to this dreck.
3. The Christmas Shoes (2002)
How do you turn a nauseating, depressing ballad about a young mother dying on Christmas Eve into a feature-length TV movie? Add a subplot featuring Rob Lowe as a lawyer facing both the deterioration of his marriage and the death of his mother over the yuletide season. Merry Christmas, everybody!
4. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (2000)
Like The Christmas Shoes, the creative team behind Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer faced the challenge of turning a three-minute novelty song into a coherent story. But it's unlikely they could have produced anything worse than this execrable cartoon retelling, which reveals that the song's tragic events were part of a larger conspiracy orchestrated by gold-digging Cousin Mel and her lawyer, I.M. Slime.
5. He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)
1980s cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was essentially engineered to sell toys to children, but the series' agenda was rarely as blatant as in this unusually stupid Christmas special that is seemingly designed to make kids demand He-Man-themed Xmas gifts. Make sure to stick around for the bizarre ending in which He-Man adopts a particularly unconvincing Santa Claus disguise.
6. Christmas Comes to Pac-Land (1982)
How do Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man celebrate Christmas? Hanna-Barbera answers the question no one was asking with this oddity, in which Santa crash-lands in the Pac-Man universe when his reindeer are spooked by malevolent ghosts. What follows is a complicated exercise in "saving Christmas," in which Santa's dispirited reindeer restore their power levels by feeding in the Power Pellet Forest. Oy.
7. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
No list of unwatchable Christmas specials would be complete without The Star Wars Holiday Special, so legendarily awful that it was broadcast only once, in 1978, and never released on home video (though bootlegged copies circulate on the internet). The special combines an intergalactic narrative — centering on Chewbacca's family as they grunt and roar their way through "Life Day," a holiday on their planet — with variety show segments. Random "celebrities" such as Bea Arthur, Art Carney, and Jefferson Starship show up, plus many original Star Wars cast members. It is still more enjoyable than the Star Wars prequels.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- These 5 things will definitely happen after Obama moves on immigration
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- What could happen if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- On immigration, Obama is flirting with tyranny
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: November 20, 2014
- The psychology of bribery and corruption
- Hillary Clinton needs to win big in 2016. Here's how she can do it.
- Why are newspaper comics so terrible?
Subscribe to the Week