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General Query

10/10
Author: William A. Nericcio from San Diego, California
16 May 2006

I write about this little TV gem from the 90s in my University of Texas book, _Text-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America_. However, I am VERY interested in owning a copy of this video; if you can help me, do please contact me at my academic address via e-mail: BNERICCI AT SDSU DOT EDU Thanks!

here's a bit of my work on this film:

....A Very Retail Christmas chronicles a corporate struggle, a mercantile war, between Santa Claus, with his merry group of lookalike elves, and a rapacious Multinational Toy Corporation CEO, with his den of "suits," lackeys, and trolls (yes, trolls!). Producers Fusco and Brillstein should be commended for producing their Christmas parable, applauded for their adroit revision of Santa—the classic tale of Old Saint Nick re-imagined as an ironic parody of the mercenary go-go 1980s.

For this Christmas epic is more a tale of mergers and acquisitions than a chronicle of a cheery fat man's altruism, a Dickensian (Hard Times) allegory of "filthy lucre" set in the frosty North Pole. A portly, benevolent feudal despot (Santa Claus) squares off against the evil embodiment of Late Capital (the CEO). Ironically enough, even as we live, breathe, and are sustained by global Capital, it is expected that we viewers will nostalgically ally our sensibilities with the besieged, jolly, fat, feudal chieftain, and we thoughtlessly do so. I know I did.

The CEO is played with William Shatner-like restraint (that is, no restraint) by Ed O'Neil, who played the "funny" misogynist-cum-shoe-salesman named "Al Bundy" (one part Willy Loman, one part Norman Mailer, one part Larry Flynt) from the Fox Network's late, lamented, vulgar comedy Married With Children.

O'Neil is one of the few live actors on the program as the rest of the players are marionettes (as was "Alf"): intricately designed, Muppet-like beasts, made of felt, rubber, control- wires, and synthetic hair with a group of skilled puppeteers somewhere above and beneath the scenes moving them about....

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