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From the Depths of the '80s, Here's the Greatest Christmas TV Special Ever Made

By Rebecca Pahle | Underappreciated Gems | December 16, 2014 |


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Holy fishsticks, Pajiba dorks, dorkettes, and non-gender binary dorkinators! This is my 100th post on Pajiba! To thank you guys for putting up with me into the triple digits, I’ve decided to pay it forward by making you aware of what is indisputably the greatest Christmas special to ever grace the airwaves. It’ll change your life. You’ll thank me. Three words: Singing claymation dinosaurs.

A Claymation Christmas Celebration aired originally on CBS and 1987 and was made available on DVD in 2003, which is a good thing, because I’m pretty sure I wore the family VHS out back when Full House was still on the air. Its producer, Will Vinton, also did the holiday-themed Claymation Easter (1992) and Claymation Comedy of Horrors Show (1991), but neither of those had dinosaurs, so I think you know where they rank on the totem pole of claymation TV specials.

Ushering us through the magical world of Christmas carols are Rex, a buttoned-up Brit possessed of a love of etymology and a stellar array of bitchfaces…

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…and Herb, who’s obsessed with junk food and being a little shit.

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The two halves of this odd couple somehow merged within my prepubescent brain and turned me into the woman I am today.

In between trying to figure out what the heck the “wassail” in “Here We Come A-wassailing” means—receiving assistance from some dog waffle vendors along the way, because why the fuck not?—the duo introduces a series of sketches where creepy Claymation characters sing popular Christmas songs.

Camels engage in a sing-off with the Three Wise Men:

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Quasimodo’s a conductor for some reason.

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There are frightening Claymation children, because of course.

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And some anthropomorphic baked goods, including a dancing family of gingerbread cookies, having what I can only assume is their last shindig before they all get eaten. I get the beret-wearing petit four, but why is the cupcake in groucho glasses? So much of Claymation Christmas inspired what I am today.

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And, of course, what would an ’80s Claymation TV special be without:

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Oh yeah. They’re here. Their Christmas Eve concert ran so late that they missed the last bus, so they harness some Christmas juju and turn into Santa and his reindeer, like you do. “You get a turd for Christmas, Timmy! You all get turds!”

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But by far the weirdest thing about Claymation Christmas—weirder than even the frog things hanging out in the back of this shot, what the hell?!

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…is the Horny Ice Dancing Walruses musical number.

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A pair of walruses get their skate on to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard On High,” as you can see here:

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It’s not that outside the pale for a Christmas special that includes this monstrosity:

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But the truly mindbending aspect isn’t something I realized until I’d seen this Christmas special probably somewhere in the double digits—I’d even go so far as to say the revelation coincided with puberty, which is “Holy shit, the lady walrus has tits.”

I mean, look at this. She is stacked:

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And it’s not just normal walrus blubber, because there is some definition of the chestal region that the male walrus doesn’t have. Someone else is going to have to Google “walrus breasts” for me, but I’m pretty sure they don’t look like that. I can’t decide whether I’m more horrified that some animator thought “You know what we need to do so people know this walrus is female? Booooooobs,” or whether it’s the best thing ever that they put human breasts on a walrus.

Regardless: Look at her get down with her large and in charge self.

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You let ‘em fly free, Dame Margo Pontoon. If male ice dancing walruses don’t have to wear tops, then neither do you.

If you want to enrich your life, here are some clips, starting with the most important:

And a judgmental camel for all you who don’t watch:

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