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Tag: Happy Holidays (21-30 of 344)

'Lady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular' react: Cross-promotional cheer for one and all

Let’s be real: the Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular is a cross-promotional commercial. Gaga gets to perform songs from her new album ARTPOP, and the Muppets remind us why we love them long enough to get excited for this spring’s big-screen Muppets Most Wanted. That doesn’t mean the special is boring — on the contrary, it’s delightful! Yet it’s still a commercial, making me feel the way I feel after watching a charming Black Friday ad: equal parts warm, fuzzy, cynical, and depressed by consumerism overtaking the so-called “holiday spirit.” But why fret? It’s Lady Gaga and the Muppets!

The “spectacular” kicks off with an introduction from Pepe the King Prawn, who thinks he’s starting his own special. Silly King Prawn, this isn’t your special — or even The Muppets Show that I desperately want back on TV — it’s a Gaga/Disney 90-minute promotional feature! In the real introduction, Gaga shares that the first time she fell in love was during the holidays. That’s sweet until she reveals that her first love was Kermit, which, sorry, is just weird. Sprinkled throughout the showcase are various sketches featuring the Muppets and special guests such as Kristen Bell and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But the spectacle of this spectacular comes from the musical performances. Here’s a run-down on the night’s extravagant productions:

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Ranking the insanity of Ion's original holiday movie plots

‘Tis the season for original Christmas-themed TV movies. We’ve already spotlighted the five Hallmark Channel offerings you’ll be watching this year, whether or not you’ll admit it. Now, let’s examine Ion Television’s slate, which offers more truly inspired casting and amazing synopses.

On a Scale of So Insane You Need to See It to Wait, That’s All You Got?:

Defending Santa (Sun., November 24, at 9 p.m. ET)
Cast: Dean Cain, Jud Tylor, Bill Lewis, Jamie McRae, Cooper Barnes, Jodie Sweetin, Seth Menachem, John Savage
Synopsis: Scott Hanson, a ski resort sheriff, inadvertently arrests a sleeping Santa in the snowy woods on suspicion of a crime he did not commit. With his sleigh ride now in doubt, Santa is put on trial. But, during the proceedings, Sheriff Hanson, also a dad and widower, begins to fall for Santa’s court-appointed defense attorney, Sarah.

Holiday Road Trip (Sun., Dec. 1, at 9 p.m. ET), pictured
Cast: Ashley Scott, Patrick Muldoon, Kip Pardue, George Hamilton, Shelley Long, Mo Gaffney, Essence Atkins, Jerry Lacy, Susan Olsen, Wink Martindale
Synopsis: Maya, a recently heartbroken pet supply employee, couldn’t have any less in common with her co-worker, Pat, who happens to be the company founder’s son. But, tasked with traveling across the country on a Christmastime social media tour for the company’s leading canine and most-prized possession, Scoots, fate finds a funny way to intervene. In their race against the clock, the two begin to fall for one another. Unbeknownst to Maya, though, her remorseful ex-boyfriend is in close pursuit, hoping he can win her back. READ FULL STORY

The five Hallmark Channel Christmas movies you're going to watch this year

The Hallmark Channel’s annual “Countdown to Christmas” programming extravaganza begins Nov. 2. Here are the abbreviated synopses for the five original movies you’ll tune in for (whether you’ll admit it or not):

1. Snow Bride (premieres Sunday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. ET): Katrina Law (Spartacus: War of the Damned) stars as “Greta, an L.A. tabloid reporter assigned to get the scoop on a senator’s son whom they hear is planning a Christmastime marriage proposal. If Greta gets it right, there’s a big promotion in it for her. But when she sets out for the political family’s snowy estate, a series of crazy mix-ups lands her in a wedding dress posing as a runaway bride to handsome son Ben (Jordan Belfi). After spending time with the family, including Ben’s mom, (Patricia Richardson), Greta must decide between her career, the truth — and her attraction to Ben.” Note: I obviously pitched my movie, Spoiler Alert: Love!, to the wrong network. Call me, Hallmark. I’ll add snow.
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Keep the holiday spirit going with YouTube's best gift reaction videos

Not ready to bid farewell to the holiday season just yet? Thanks to YouTube — and thousands of videos featuring delighted gift recipients — you don’t have to.

The latest viral “best gift ever!” video: This clip of diehard University of Alabama football fan Don Buckhannan, who was nearly moved to tears when his son Daniel surprised him with tickets to next month’s BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame. Daniel filmed his father being shocked speechless when he discovered the ticket inside another gift; the resulting video has already racked up nearly two million views on YouTube. It also got the Buckhannans a short spot on the Today show this morning:

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'Rudolph,' 'Charlie Brown,' and 'The Grinch': Will the great American trilogy of Christmas specials work on a newcomer?

In the pantheon of great Christmas specials — the yuletide-themed adventures trotted out by the networks each year, usually animated, typically with a theme song so iconic that children can sing the lyrics before they learn how to speak — three titles reign supreme. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas! all debuted close to a half-century ago — in 1964, 1965, and 1966, respectively — and they still air each year to respectable ratings, to say nothing of the massive cultural footprint they’ve all left behind. However, one EW staffer has managed to avoid ever seeing these holiday classics…until now. In Part One of our chat, Darren Franich — Holiday Special Superfan and ugly Christmas sweater aficionado — prepares newbie Hillary Busis for the festival of yuletide cheer that awaits.

Darren Franich: Hillary, I’ve been watching these Christmas specials since before I was able to formulate any conscious thoughts. I could probably quote them verbatim. Actually, my family kept a massive VHS collection of tape-recorded Christmas specials, so if pressed, I could probably even quote the commercials that played during the 1986 airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. (I definitely recall that Santa Claus really enjoyed Coca-Cola, which is why I’ve never liked Pepsi.) I remember these specials more vividly than most actual memories from my life — possibly because my life doesn’t have fun hyper-descriptive theme songs. So before we watch this trilogy of Yuletide cheer, I want to ask you: How much, exactly, do you know about them? Do you know why it’s important that Rudolph has a red nose? What kind of music do you think is on the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas? And what do you think is the plot of How The Grinch Stole Christmas? READ FULL STORY

Gingerbread Downton Abbey construction will mesmerize and amaze you -- VIDEO

Cookie artist Curtis Jensen just made your gingerbread house look like the servants’ quarters.

Every year, this marketing director from Utah creates an elaborate mini-building using just gingerbread, icing, candy and the occasional inedible structural support. In 2011, Jensen tackled Notre Dame; this winter, he set his sights on Downton Abbey, the formidable estate at the center of Julian Fellowes’s eponymous drama.

Whether you watch the show religiously or still think it’s called Downtown Abbey, you’ll be entranced by this video of Jensen’s methodical construction — a time-lapse clip hypnotically scored by an extended version of the Downton Abbey theme song.

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Cut 'SNL' bit skewers 'Elf on the Shelf' -- 'I'm a little friggin' narc!' VIDEO

Ever been creeped out by the lyrics to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”? (You know who else sees you when you’re sleeping? Murderers.) If so, you may enjoy this cut SNL bit — in which a shrunken Bobby Moynihan plays an Elf on the Shelf, the seasonal sprite who exists solely to tattle on kids so that they won’t get any Christmas presents. In the elf’s words: “I’m a little snitch, Seth, and I love it!”

The segment may not have been strong enough to make it past Saturday’s dress rehearsal — but the video is totally worth watching, if only for Moynihan’s joyous flailing and infectious “weeeee!!”s. Plus, he’ll probably get a cut of gummi worms for every view — and you wouldn’t want to deprive the guy of candy, would you?

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Attention: You may want to watch 'Chicago Fire' this week

I consider this a PSA to people, like me, who really wanted to like NBC’s Chicago Fire but found the premiere lacking heat. Things definitely get hot in this week’s Christmas episode (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET) between Severide (Taylor Kinney, pictured) and Renee (Sarah Shahi), the woman he saved last week when a live electrical wire had her trapped in her car. The tease in the promo below is steamy enough that I’m already hoping Shahi sticks around for a while. (Presumably the promo is referring to the fire when it says the hour’s final two minutes will “take your breath away,” and not this.)

Another reason to tune back in if you dropped off: Casey (Jesse Spencer) is now single and almost kissed Dawson (Monica Raymund) last week when he came over to her place to replace a window. (They got interrupted because Casey had to go save another firefighter who’d just gone on longterm disability from committing suicide.) This week, Casey escorts Dawson to her cousin’s fancy holiday party, and they have another opportunity… READ FULL STORY

Martin Short hosts tonight's 'Saturday Night Live': Talk about it here!

When SNL alumni return to play host, one of two things tends to happen: The show is either a season highlight that skillfully mixes old and new (see Maya Rudolph or Jimmy Fallon‘s shows from last year; seriously, see them), or it’s an unfortunately stagnant walk down memory lane (sorry, Dana Carvey). So which of these fates will befall Martin Short tonight?

If there’s any justice, it’ll be Option #1. Sure, it’s a given that Short will bring back a few of the characters he played during his brief time on SNL in the ’80s — but because he’s such a spry, dynamic performer, it seems unlikely that he’d be content to break out his Jerry Lewis impression and call it a day. I truly think that having Short around will inspire Saturday Night Live‘s current team to push themselves. His presence also means that cameos from his famous friends and former cast mates — Billy Crystal? Christopher Guest? Tom Hanks? Steve Martin?! — are as inevitable as Ed Grimley’s cowlick.

It also doesn’t hurt that this is SNL‘s last show of 2012 (and, if the Mayans are to be believed, SNL’s last show ever); generally speaking, the cast and writers like to go out with a bang. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned musical guest Paul McCartney yet.

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'The Big Bang Theory' react: The gang plays Christmas-themed Dungeons & Dragons

BIG-BANG-THEORY_510x317

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

On the twelfth day before Christmas, the universe sent to me a Rajtastic episode of The Big Bang Theory.

After a string of storylines centered around the BBT lovebirds in which Raj was reduced to the role of cast jester, our favorite astrophysicist returned with a bang tonight. While the boys played up the geek stereotype while simultaneously playing Dungeons & Dragons, Koothrappali joined the gals, who were reaffirming some stereotypes of their own by sporting scant apparel, for a girls night out. Southern California — where women can dress down all four seasons of the year. This Christmas-themed episode was no “Bath Item Gift Hypothesis,” but it was hilarious and heartfelt, nonetheless. READ FULL STORY

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