I love Burl Ives and Dr. Seuss, but the classic holiday cartoons need updating. With spiced eggnog and a red nose I went to work on my ticket to Hollywood.
Let's start with "A Charlie Brown Natividad."
With this retelling I'm introducing a new character, a troubled kid with anger issues named Billy O'Reilly. Standing at a bridge, Charlie Brown confesses to his friends Linus and Billy that he feels depressed because of the commercialization of Christmas. Billy asks Charlie if he is declaring war on Christmas and he asks Linus if he suspects that Peppermint Patty is a lesbian. Charlie Brown throws up his arms and cries "Argh!" This snappy dialogue definitely has an Aaron Sorkin "West Wing" kind of spark, right? Linus tells him, "Charlie Brown, you're no longer the No. 1 blockhead in this town."
It gets heavier. Is Charlie Brown clinically depressed or is it because Tucson lacks frozen lakes on which his dog, Snoopy, can skate? Lucy advises Charlie Brown to get involved by directing their school's "Natividad" play. After an ACLU suit, it is renamed a "Secular Spectacular" and Lucy is investigated for impersonating a psychiatrist. Ripped from the headlines!
Deciding the play could use a Christmas tree, Charlie Brown selects a cholla skeleton from behind the Tucson Boys Chorus Christmas tree lot. Everyone laughs at his choice and he wonders aloud what Christmas is all about. Billy O'Reilly raises his hand. I see spinoff potential with this deeply troubled character. Is he ostracized because of his height or because he's a schlemiel? Everyone ignores him.
Linus tells the story of Jesus' birth, which prompts the school district to alert the school board and hire attorneys.
Understanding the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown takes his tree out into the desert, decorates it with chile peppers and applies to the UA law school. His humbled friends gather around his tree singing "Feliz Navidad" while his Chihuahua, Snoopy, calls Tucson police to report the theft of his doghouse decorations by a "short, round-headed boy."
TPD responds to the call after New Year's. I'm thinking Broadway musical.
In my script for "The Scarlet Nosed Reindeer," a young buck named Rudolph is bullied by all of the other reindeer and runs away from home. The bullies are charged with hate crimes by an elf tribunal and end up as smoked venison under a Christmas tree in Tempe. I'm feeling a "Law and Order" vibe with this one.
Rudy meets a Canadian prospector named Yukon Cornelius who hunts for copper for Rosemont Copper. Together they stumble upon The Arroyo of Misfit Toys, which is ruled by King Moonracer, a winged toy lion. The United Nations issues a resolution condemning the king's dictatorship; international sanctions follow and Sen. John McCain calls for military action.
Rudolph flees home to find that his parents and his girlfriend, Clarice, have been kidnapped by a drug cartel led by the Abominable Snow Chupacabra, a beast who has been blowing off court-mandated anger management classes since Thanksgiving. Rudolph and Yukon encounter the monster at a Renaissance festival at Summerhaven. Yukon and the snow monster struggle and fall off Windy Point, an event that's caught on film by Clarice and posted on YouTube, where millions of viewers find the horrifying calamity hilarious. What a commentary on our times!
Rudolph and his family return home as Santa Claus, now residing in Sun City, prepares to deliver the toys on Christmas Day. A terrible haboob moves Santa to cancel Christmas and work on global warming issues. Hello! Producer Roland Emmerich, are you reading this?
Santa sees Rudolph's glowing nose and asks Rudy to guide his sleigh through the storm. First stop? The Arroyo of Misfit Toys! An elite Marine Corp's "Toys for Tots" Special Ops unit beats them there and picks up the toys. Get me Tom Cruise and Nic Cage on line one for that action thriller!
Despite being buzzed by A-10s, Santa - Bruce Willis? - delivers the goods, King Moonracer seeks asylum in Venezuela and Rudolph's glowing nose is linked to the Fukishima disaster. Just keeping it real, people.
"The Grinch Who Stole Christmas 2" is my caper movie. In this "Oceans 11" holiday romp, a green hermit cannot abide the townsfolks' enjoyment of Christmas and Thomas Kinkade paintings. Enlisting the aid of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Don Cheadle and his dog, Max, he descends on the town.
Diagnosed with a heart defect, our boy is untroubled by the diagnosis - but concerned about the cost of the heart-doubling procedure because he has not met his deductible this year. A story we all can relate to, right? He sells the stolen Christmas tchotchkes and art prints to cover his medical expenses, is stunned to discover everyone has a rocking Christmas in spite of his crime spree and realizes Christmas is more than just a materialistic frenzy. That kind of character development can only be handled by Daniel Day-Lewis. I left a message on his agent's voice mail. Message movie with a green beard.
HBO series, right? Three seasons at least. Tis' the season.
Email Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons: email@example.com