A tradition unlike any other.

It’s the Christmas season, and you know what that means: It’s time for my annual It’s a Wonderful Life bashing. Only, this time, Time magazine is making my points for me.

In the holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) sees what life would have been like had he never been born. His brother would be dead, his wife a spinster, Bedford Falls a hellhole, albeit one with more interesting nightlife.

So Bedford Falls needs George Bailey. But the rest of us? Not so into him anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I like Wonderful Life–the dance contest, the romance, the seductive mystery of Violet Bick. But isn’t there something a little oppressive about it? To me, a former small-town kid, it’s a tragedy, about a man whose dreams are beaten down by his needy, parochial, busybody neighbors. I want to yell at the screen, “You go on that honeymoon, George Bailey! Tell that cabdriver to floor it and never look back!”

On Friday night, Mike watched It’s a Wonderful Life while I hid upstairs. I was, unfortunately, downstairs when George and Mary were getting married, and when she begged him not to stop at the Savings & Loan before their honeymoon. You guys, how am I supposed to root for George Bailey when his new wife is asking him to GO ON HIS HONEYMOON and he REFUSES BECAUSE OF . . . I don’t know why he refuses, actually. Does he like being a martyr? Does he like playing the hero? Or is he just that codependent? Oh, Mary. I can’t decide whether you should have known this would happen or whether you should have gotten an annulment. (As I say every year, I am a small-town kid, too, and I just want George to get out of there. Just once.)

Anyway, the Time article has statistics that show that, these days, the most popular Christmas movie among those 18-41 is A Christmas Story. But, actually, I don’t care for that one, either. I don’t dislike it strongly enough to write yearly diatribes on it, but . . . it makes me uncomfortable, and I don’t find it funny. It probably makes a difference that i never saw it until I was in college, that we all seem to gravitate to the movies that represent what Christmas was like for us as kids. The list of Christmas movies I have to watch is a pretty short one: the cartoon Grinch, Charlie Brown, A Muppet Christmas Carol. Is there anyone in my corner? Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about? hee hee hee.

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