And it’s rather handy whilst writing this mini-blog that one of my all-time favourite episodes is the festive treat that is ‘The One with the Holiday Armadillo’ (Season 7, Episode 10), where Ross cannot get hold of a Santa outfit so close to Christmas to impress his young son and has to instead take the only costume left in the fancy dress store: a giant armadillo costume. Thus, the Holiday Armadillo is born.
“I’m Santa’s Representative for All The Southern States! Aaaand…Mexicoooo!”
Anyway, at the start of that episode Phoebe introduces us to one of her peculiar holiday traditions: the Christmas skull. Something her late mother would put out every year to remind her children that “even though it’s Christmas – people still die!”
Thanks, Phoebs. Way to bring the mood down. Humbug to you too…
Well, actually, I think there’s something quite poignant, quite British almost, about a little tragedy or melancholy when talking about Christmas. Helps us not to get too emotional, “like them damned Yanks”.
And I think that’s why The Snowman is such a British institution. I must admit, I wept like a child (well, I WAS a child, so no street cred lost there) the first time I watched it – this poor young lad’s only pal is a 6-foot sculpture of snow. And it melts at the end. It MELTS! And on top of all that he’s ginger…
(By the way, can I just point out at this juncture I love both Americans and gingers. The facetious tone is purely for comedic effect. Just in case that wasn’t clear. okthanksbye.)
But despite the tragic ending, there is so much to enjoy: the glorious pencil-sketch animation (see also Colgate TV ads round about the same time – it’s a lost art…); the stunning score that compliments the soft visuals so beautifully; and, of course, THAT song. The sadness at the end is beautifully juxtaposed with the joy and merriment that precedes it, with young James being whisked away to join in a Snowpeople’s forest shindig and not only meeting Father Christmas but receiving a special present from him too.
But if you seriously can’t handle the heart-breaking finish to this British classic you can just do what I did until I could stomach it (when I was 25) – just turn it off when James goes to bed after returning home. That way it’s just a joyous family romp, it’s even shorter than it’s 26 minute run time, and you can get back to stuffing your gob with turkey and Bucks Fizz.
Job’s a good’un.