Ho ho howdy folkses! Welcome to the Ninth Day of The Twelve Days of Shitmas celebration for 2021! Untapped potential was the hallmark of our previous special, with its plethora of offbeat, Tantalus-tempting quirks that never quite gelled into something worthy of a bite, let alone a good, hearty meal. Our choice today is bargain-basement effluvia of the sort that might turn us off our food completely, and makes us wonder, too if we maybe should have gone into real estate or corporate banking instead of running the entertainment website equivalent of a sewage and septic treatment plant. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here, for Day Nine may in fact be the feces-encrusted Ninth Circle of Shitmas Hell.

Deck the Halls with Bowels of Holly.

We're posting a brand-new review of a Christmas special every other day beginning December 3rd, culminating in what we consider the worst of the bunch on Christmas morning. Y'all know about this year's Secret Santa sneaky link, right? Don't even pretend you don't. Surely you also realize by now it's not the kind of sneaky link where you spend a lot of time playing MMO fantasy games in your Hoboken, New Jersey bedroom, with your noise-cancelling headset and your fancy deluxe game controller, while "exclusively dating" a lady gamer from Seattle who occasionally sends you naked selfies to help you get off. You'd been saving up your money to meet her in person, but the pandemic made it awkward to travel, and you spent the bulk of what you'd stowed away on a new liquid-cooled graphics card to make your battle simulators a bit more punchy and fluid, and now your little gamer balls are bluer than a blueberry on a blue plate under a blue light. There's this other lady gamer who lives in Jersey City with whom you used to have a thing, and much as you love your West Coast virtual girl you need a little real-world relief sometimes. Like maybe three or four times a week. Sadly, our secret link is just a link hidden in one of the screenshots leading to a deeply unpleasant depiction of Santa Claus we may or may not have discovered as an easter egg in an online virtual porn game called "Holiday Humpers" we were playing strictly for research purposes and plan to write off on our taxes this year as a business expense.

What can one say about Hard Hat Harry: Santa Claus Adventure that hasn't already been said about cholera, dysentery and food poisoning? It runs right through you and leaves you feeling hollowed-out, empty and exhausted. Symptoms may be severe, and you may require medical attention. It depleted me so completely, in fact, that I'm not entirely sure it didn't shave a few months off my life. Time will tell, if I have any left.

Hard Hat Harry was a single-season pseudo-educational series featuring a day-laborer genie who takes kids on magical journeys to explore construction sites, fire engines, police cars, heavy equipment and other things of a similar bent, most of which sounds like something children would actually enjoy.

When it came time for a Christmas special, however, Harry stepped out of his trucks 'n' trains comfort zone and tripped face-first into a piquant pile of vaporous yule logs, largely due to what are hands-down the absolute worst two juvenile performances I have ever seen...and believe me, people, working here at MMT you can't help but make a special study of that sort of thing. After watching these two in action...well, I'd say that I'll never complain about child actors ever again, but you probably wouldn't believe me and no matter how much I might mean it now, I'd surely make a liar of myself at some point in the future. There really is no bottom to bad acting, bad narratives and bad production values, and no matter how many times you think you've seen the worst thing you'll ever see there's always something that much worse waiting in the wings. Like maybe on Shitmas Day Twelve.

Santa Claus Adventure opens, as have so many Christmas specials before it, with a song. Need I even tell you after the intro you just read that it's a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad song? I think not. You know what to expect by now. The miserable ditty is accompanied by a montage of equally miserable images from the program we're about to see that constitute a sort of sinister road map of the tortures to come. Of particular interest to my minutiae-loving soul is that the lyrics specifically mention "Santa and his eight reindeer" just before showing us a piss-poor cutout animation of Santa flying in a sleigh pulled by only two.

Budget cuts are a bitch.

After this red flag-festooned opening we dissolve to Christmas Eve in a suburban house somewhere in Massachusetts, where a pair or red-headed moppets are fussing over boxes of holiday decorations in preparation for putting up their tree.

The older of the two is a girl named Sarah, who delivers her every line like she's announcing some dire emergency. Whether she's discussing which ornament she likes best, wondering aloud how Santa travels the whole world in a single night, or issuing a statement about the imminent collapse of western civilization due to alien invasion or global warming, she's all emphatic urgency all the time.

She probably works for FEMA now.

Her little brother Zach on the other hand can barely speak at all, fumbling and mumbling through his dialog like he's got a mouthful of CBD-laced oatmeal, squinting and thinking hard, and taxing his tiny brain to make sense of whatever the hell it is he thinks he's supposed to be conveying at any given moment, all to no avail whatsoever.

I'm not sure he knows where he is, let alone what he's saying.

An unseen female narrator speed-talks through an introductory statement that sounds like it was written by a primitive, under-programmed AI, telling us in explicit detail exactly what we're seeing happen in real time and concluding with the awkward line "this scene is quite festive and quite normal until something very unusual happens." Just standard-issue human being talk. Definitely not a message from Skynet.

At this point Sarah finds the tree stand and pulls from it a set of two keys attached to a big red tag that reads "Urgent! If found please return to Santa Claus, North Pole."

The children realize that these must be the keys Santa uses to gain entry to everybody's houses on Christmas Eve, and that he must have dropped them when delivering their presents the previous year. If you don't think you can remember that plot point don't worry. They'll tell us again in explicit detail every single time they meet anyone else in the entire special.

The children are perplexed. How can they possibly return the keys to Santa in time, when it's already Christmas Eve and there's only a few hours left before he departs on his journey?

Zach, in a rare moment of clarity, thinks he knows a way. He walks over to a television stand and grabs a Hard Hat Harry video from the shelf beneath it.

Meta before meta or shameless self-promotion? You decide.

Zach holds the videocassette proudly before his incredulous sister, whom I suspect frequently complains to her parents, teachers, friends and anyone else who might listen about just how unfair it is to be burdened with such an irredeemable moron for a little brother. This latest display certainly doesn't seem likely to alter her opinion of him, either.

Zach explains that all they need is Hard Hat Harry, because he can travel though space instantly and take them anywhere they need to go. If only they can rhyme a little rhymey incantation, they may be able to call him for help right now, because he "saw some kids do it on one of the videos."

Sarah, breathlessly desperate and desperately breathless as is her wont, is ready to try anything to avoid this holiday calamity or to at least get Zach to shut up, so the two hold hands while he mutters some barely-discernible gibberish to summon Harry. Sure enough the magic man himself appears in a flash, holding some skis, wearing a thermal jumpsuit and covered in snow.

That's definitely the face of a man who edits his own Wikipedia page.

Sarah makes the mistake of asking the scatter-brained construction genie why he's covered in snow and he careens off on a tangent that he's been trying to see if no two snowflakes really do look alike, and how he's now seen 3.4 gazillion snowflakes and hasn't found a repeat yet. Our high-strung, perpetually panicked young heroine, with all the poise and patience of an over-caffeinated mosquito, struggles to keep Harry focused on the matter at hand, but eventually she and her brother manage to explain the parlous nature of the Santa Claus keys situation to him.

To their delight, not only does Harry immediately agree to help them, but he also asserts that he knows Santa personally. Unfortunately, he doesn't know him all that well, at least not in the "has him on speed dial" way. It's more in the "I bump into him occasionally in a professional sense" way, specifically at an annual gathering of magical beings he attends. It's a distant familiarity, to be sure, but still, Harry waxes rhapsodic about the Jolly Old Fellow's penchant for hearty laughs and handing out lollipops, possibly sourced from the magical land of Tum Tum and made by dragons in a candy factory inside a cave.

The kids again manage to rein Harry in from his wild musings and back to the reality of their situation. He warns them Santa is a world-class magical being who can be anywhere at all or everywhere at once, depending on his whims, but he's nevertheless pretty sure he knows where to find him. He has the kids each grab a handful of snow then uses his magic to dress them all for frigid weather. He incants another rhyme to take them to the North Pole.

This is not the North Pole you're looking for.

This is that other North Pole, a Chrismas-themed tourist trap in Wilmington, NY featuring a toy workshop, reindeer stables and a variety of other Santa-centric exhibits. A predecessor of the earliest theme parks in the United States, North Pole, NY opened to the public in 1949. It still operates tours and events today, and is doing its annual Christmastime family thing even as I'm writing this very paragraph.

Mighty festive, no?

When Harry and the kids arrive it's eerily quiet and deserted save for a grand total of five people and a talking tree they'll meet during their parsimoniously-budgeted adventure. It's hardly the beaver-busy hive of holiday activity we see depicted in most Christmas specials but then again, most Christmas specials cost more than seven hundred twenty-six dollars and some deposit-return soda bottles

Harry and his pals wander the deserted streets until they come to a huge Christmas tree covered in lollipops, which I suppose are not from Tum Tum after all, but home grown. Sarah spots Santa's toy shop in the distance, and as she and Harry scurry off to see if Santa is there Zach can't help himself but to help himself to a couple of the tempting treats.

The thieving little copper-headed bastard.

Zach catches up with the others just as they enter the toy shop, only to find a smokin' hot, extremely busty Elf sighing and crying alone at a worktable, no doubt lamenting over her punishing work schedule and wondering what the hell happened to all her fellow elvin toymakers. She fears that all the toys she's worked and slaved to make won't get delivered to all the boys and girls this year because Santa has lost his magic keys, but Harry whips them out and shows them to her, explaining that the kids found them in their tree stand and how they've come to the North Pole to return them.

The Smokin' Hot Elf leaps to her feet, energetically jiggling her bodacious bosoms and exclaiming in her smokin' hot sexy elf-voice that Santa is in his house just across the street and they must hurry and catch him before he leaves.

I'm a dirty old shit but I have to admit, I'm into the elf with the

The three friends schlep on over to Santa's house and just walk right in like they own the place. They enter through the kitchen and find some gingerbread cookies. The kids want to eat 'em, but Harry says they don't have time for that, what with it being Christmas Eve already and all. They step into Santa's study and find a desk full of letters from kids all over the world, which nosy, shouty Sarah starts reading. She's confused by all the different names different children have addressed their epistles to, but Harry explains that Santa, like his anagrammatic cousin Satan, is known by many names.

As they're puttering around the place an old lady enters. Zach asks if she's Mrs. Claus. She acknowledges that she is, indeed, then inquires as to just who the hell they are and what the fuck they're doing in her house.

Again they tell the story of the keys and the tree stand and the North Pole trip. "Well bless my Jingle Bells!" she cries, "Santa has been looking all over for these!"

It seems her husband has been getting a bit doddery and absent minded of late, forgetting what he's doing, leaving things in odd places then complaining when he can't find them, stopping mid-sentence as he loses his train of thought, sundowning, shuffling his feet, leering menacingly, making inappropriately suggestive comments about the lady-elves' breasts, losing control of his bodily functions at inopportune moments and getting angry, sometimes even violent whenever anyone points out some trifling error he's just made.

"It's even worse when he's been drinking."

There's a telling moment while she's talking where the kid playing Zach gets bored and starts toying with the keys and shuffling his feet, and the actor playing Harry has to nudge him on the shoulder to get him to stop fidgeting. Santa Claus Adventure is full of moments like this, where the untrained, barely-aware cast trips, fumbles, stumbles, breaks character and flubs their lines at an astonishingly brisk clip. At one point the girl playing Sarah gets some fake snow stuck on her lip and tries repeatedly blow it off, and sometimes she completely forgets she's supposed to be acting and smiles directly into the camera. The boy playing Zach is even worse, a bottomless well of ridiculous gaffes. He can barely get through a single line without a pause or a mispronunciation, he frequently gets distracted and starts to wander off camera, and his facial expressions are a twitchy, clueless, chaotic mess.

Mrs. Claus doesn't know exactly where her husband might be at the moment, so she suggests the three travelers consult Old Tannenbaum, the wise and ancient Christmas tree who lives atop the second hill from the house.

Faster than you can sing "O tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, du kannst mir sehr gefallen" Harry has rhymed them straight up the hill to the base of the mighty, talking fir.

"Es ist nicht einfach, grun zu sein."

After a bit of crackling banter in which we hear yet again about how Sarah and Zach found the keys in their tree stand, and how they called Hard Hat Harry, and how they all schlepped up to the North Pole together, Tannenbaum explains that without the keys not only can Santa not get into peoples' homes, but his reindeer can't even fly, his sleigh can't circle the globe and Rudolph's nose can't light up the dark night to guide them to their destinations. Nevertheless, he says, Santa is determined to attempt his journey on the ground, a plan which the knotty old pine deems an impossible folly.

He tells them it may already be too late to stop the pertinacious old pensioner, as when he last saw him he was heading towards the reindeer shed to get 'em hitched up and along their way.

Another round of rhyme sends Harry, Sarah and Zack to the stable in the valley below, where they step up to another crying elf who identifies himself as Jonazar, Santa's cool-as-ice beatnik blacksmith, who at this moment is either utterly despondent or high as a kite on wacky tobaccy.

Maybe both.

Sarah hands Jonazar the keys and he does a groovy little beatnik dance with them, exclaiming that Christmas is now dead cert saved for all the hep cats and kittens.

Suddenly he stops mid-jig, though, remembering that Santa's real gone, baby, split the scene, taken the a-train to doomtown, daddy-o. Worse yet, the instant Santa reaches the magic North Pole border there will be no way to call him back, and it's surely too late to reach him now before he does!

All four are headed to crashville over the bum scene they've just glommed, but suddenly Harry remembers he can do the magic thing with the rhyme he's done like thirty times already today! He grabs a handy pic of Santa that Jonazar keeps around to masturbate to, gathers the kids and tells them to imagine how much they love the Jolly old fella, how much they want to help him, how they long for his round jelly belly, his dashing whiskers and his firm, red cheeks...

"Why is this thing so sticky?"

Soon they see a vision of Santa's whereabouts in the frame and realize he's just about to reach the magic border! Before you can say "Has anybody got a wet wipe?" Harry has zapped himself and the kids to the border crossing, where they spot the Jolly Old Elf and his sleigh speeding towards them.

They wave and jump and make a ruckus until the driver stops, then run up to show Santa the magic keys. He asks where they found them and we all get to hear the story about the tree stand for the thirtieth fucking time. Santa asks where they live, and when they give him the Massachusettes address he slaps his head and cries that oh right! That was the last house on his route last year so he should have known he'd left them there all along!

"To be fair I usually start hitting the schnapps somewhere over Austria, so I was pretty shit-faced by then"

He's a authentic-looking Santa Claus, I'll give them that. He was played by a gentleman named William Bublitz, who was the resident Santa at North Pole, NY when this special was made.

I plundered Bublitz' online obituary for personal information about him because I'm a shameless, Godless prick, and discovered that he lived an admirable life and deserves better than to be remembered just for this. He worked as an accountant for many years prior to his retirement and his Santa stint, and before that he put in a full 20 years of active duty in the United States Air Force. He served with honor in the Korean War and at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, and as part of this latter deployment he was present for the nuclear bomb tests at Eniwetok and the Bikini Atoll.

Radiation exposure might explain the memory loss.

Santa tells them all to hop into the sleigh so they can head back to the reindeer shed, and when they get there, he uses one of the two keys to open a big red trunk, which Harry assures them is protected by a magic so powerful that no one can open it without the key, and that even with the key it can only be opened by Santa himself and on Christmas Eve. Inside is a pouch, and inside the pouch is a magic powder that makes the reindeer fly.

"Some call it pixie dust, but to me it's just plain old cocaine!"

He hands the powder to Jonazar, who rubs a little on his gums before giving it to the reindeer, so now they all can fly, baby. Zach asks Santa what the second key is for, as if no one has ever even once during the entire course of this special broached the fucking subject of how it magically lets Santa into people's homes. Have I mentioned that Zach is a fucking idiot?

Santa, apparently unaware that it's just no use explaining anything to this kid, tells us all about the keys one more time, adding the additional detail that it's particularly helpful for homes and apartments that don't have chimneys for him to shimmy down. Just to make extra special certain that we don't forget, Hard Hat Harry immediately and enthusiastically repeats it all to Zach one more fucking time.

It's like talking to a turnip.

Now Sarah asks Santa in her inimitable disaster-declarative style just how exactly he gets to every house in the whole world in just one night. Santa, visibly annoyed at this point and anxious to hit the fucking pike, tells her that yeah it's a real good question and all, but the fact is some of his magic is just so super-secret and complicated even he can't explain it.

"That's some bullshit, there."

Santa, desperate to change the subject and move on to something less personal, tells Harry and the kids that it's high time for them all to go hop in the sleigh and get going, that since the they saved Christmas with their timely return of the keys he thought they might like to join him on his big journey to deliver the toys to all the boys and girls in the entire world.

Meanwhile, Zach is still trying to remember what he had for breakfast.

Santa immediately regrets his decision, because as soon as they've passed the magic border out of the North Pole all three of his guests begin bombarding him with increasingly daft and irritating questions. How old are you? How many children do you have? Can I have a flying sleigh for Christmas next year? If a train travelling 50 mph leaves a station in Newark, New Jersey at 12:15 PM, and a plane travelling at 300 mph takes off from LAX at 9:25 AM the same day, which one will run out of complimentary peanut packets first? Do you ever burn your ass when you're coming down the chimney? Do I have to put this special on my resume? Why is orange not blue? Should I try a different agent or just retire from acting altogether? How do you and Mrs. Claus keep things fresh in the bedroom? You look pale. When's the last time you had your prostate checked?

Santa realizes it's too late to turn back, so he takes a deep, meditative breath and resigns himself to enduring the longest fucking night of his long and otherwise fruitful life.

The End.

Normally in a situation like this I'd talk about how the parents at home would be worried sick about their missing children, frantically calling the police, initiating a dragnet search, etc., but in the case of Sarah and Zach I'll just assume they were glad to be rid of them.

Shitmas Bonus!
Sweet Elf Lovin'!

Sure, I found that busty young lady elf up there attractive. What of it? What sort of lusty, red-blooded American, mid-life crisis-suffering man wouldn't? Fantasy character fetishization is, after all, the solid foundation of the entire cosplay movement, and what fantasy being has helped more young people through their turbulent puberties than the humble Smokin' Hot Elf?

As a way to make some sense of my own slightly frightening, yet thrilling new feelings, I took a dive down the elf-hole into some online forums to see just how deep this vein of sweet elf lovin' runs through our entertainment zeitgeist, and what I found was enlightening, to say the least. Suffice to say I can hold my head up high, secure in the knowledge that I am far from alone in my amourous predilections. How to explain all this to my wife? Well, that's another problem altogether, but please enjoy this brief photo essay:

Smokin' Hot Elves and Where to Find Them

Legolas, Lord of the Rings Trilogy

As played by the delicately masculine Orlando Bloom, Legolas is perhaps the most beloved and desirable of all elf-daddies. Women love him, gay and bisexual men love and want to be him and even some straight men I encountered online found his blonde locks and perfect cheekbones nigh-on irresistible. He could certainly put an arrow or two into my quiver, I can tell you.

Arwen, Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The lady-elf counterpart to Legolas is probably Arwen, as played by Liv Tyler. Who could resist her dark eyes, her brooding stare, her pointy ears poking through that wavy black hair? And the way she handles that sword? Hubba hubba! I'd pay good money just to be her horse!

Tyrande Whisperwind, World of Warcraft

I'm not a gamer myself, but seeing this stunning beauty makes me wish I were! Look at those ears! They're like a set of handlebars on a tricked-out custom low-rider! From the look of those two submissive dudes in front of her though, I'd think if there were any low-riding to be done she'd be the one doing the steering--and that's A-OK by me!

Zelda and Link, The Legend of Zelda

Again, I'm no gamer, but if you ever need someone to be the cheese inside a Link and Zelda sandwich you can count me in!

Hermey, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Maybe this will be a controversial choice but hear me out. Hermey is a nerd and nerds are the new cool. Hermey is an individualist, boldly forging his own path when his goals and desires didn't synch up with the status quo. Hermey is a badass who once came face to face with the deadly abominable snow beast, and instead of running away he pulled out that motherfucker's teeth and made him his goddamn pet! Also, he's a dentist, so you know he's making decent money and could provide you with a comfortable life.

Smurfette, The Smurfs

Technically not an elf, and also only three apples high...but come on, people. You know you want a piece of that.

"Hey...eyes up here, buddy!"

Merry Christmas, folkses.

Next Installment: December 21st!

As always, Cheers and thanks for reading!

Written by Bradley Lyndon in December, 2021.

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