Posts Tagged ‘tv


How We Met The Mother

Spoiler Warning: I’m about to talk extensively about the season 8 finale of How I Met Your Mother, so if you haven’t seen it yet and want to remain-spoiler free, don’t read the rest of this post. Also avoid Facebook, Reddit, Imgur, IMDB, McClaren’s Bar, and Shoney’s. That last one has nothing to do with HIMYM, I just don’t like Shoney’s.

In the season 8 finale, after literally years of buildup, we’ve reached an apex of sorts. We end the episode 56 hours before the wedding of Barney Stintson and Robin Sherbatsky, and all of our heroes are at something of a crossroads. Barney and Robin, of course, are about to get married. Lily is preparing to leave New York City for a year to take a job in Rome. She doesn’t know, though, that her husband Marshall has been accepted for the judge’s position he applied for long before the Rome gig was even in the picture, nor does she know that (if the “your honor” Marshall’s brother tossed at him at the end is any indication) he’s accepting the job. And the “I” in How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby, is at the cusp of the biggest decision of his life. Still hung up on Robin but unwilling to disrupt the marriage of his best friend and the girl of his dreams, Ted is planning to move to Chicago after the wedding is over, something nobody knows except for Lily.

And as this all takes place, in the last seconds of the episode, we saw a new face — a pretty girl with a bass guitar and a yellow umbrella — walk up to a clerk in a train station and request a ticket to scenic Farhampton, location of Barney and Robin’s wedding.

First of all, let’s debunk some of the folks I hear trying to argue that maybe this actress, Cristin Milioti, is just another red herring, that she’s not the mother at all. Frankly, if that was true it would be the cruelest tease this already tease-heavy show had ever pulled. She fits every single bit of evidence about the mother that we’ve been given so far: that she and Ted will meet at the wedding, that she will be the bass player in the wedding band, that she carries a yellow umbrella, and most importantly, that the show’s creators confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she is, in fact, the friggin’ mother.

That said, many of the fans have had reactions on rather different sides of the spectrum. On the one hand, there’s the “that’s it?” crowd, the ones who expected to see her face and have the clouds open up and light shine down from the Heavens and everything suddenly become clear and perfect and music to play and the Israeli and Palestinians to lay down their arms and DirecTV and AMC to finally come to an arrangement that would allow them to show Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and for everyone in the world to suddenly find room in their hearts to tolerate lactose and me to find the button I lost off that shirt last week. On the other side, we have the fans who are screaming, “We know who the mother is!” and running around having pillow fights and popping champagne corks and writing their acceptance speeches for “best internet meme ever” and poking each other in the bellies and giggling like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

And to those people who belong to either of these categories, my message is the same:

For the love of God, you people are still completely missing the point.

For those of you who were expecting a life-changing revelation, why? As I pointed out months ago, the revelation of the mother isn’t actually what this series is about. The story, from day one, has been about the events in Ted Mosby’s life that led to him –both physically and emotionally — being in a place where he could find his true soulmate. I must admit, I’ve been slightly annoyed with the last several episodes as they seemed to be backsliding — yet again — to the Ted/Robin connection that we’ve known since the first episode of the series would never pan out. It felt far too much like we were retreading familiar ground and not really progressing the characters emotionally. The season finale changed my mind about that, though. At this point, the impression I get is that we’ve finally brought Ted to rock-bottom. He’s fallen as far as he possibly can — he’s about to unravel his entire life just to get away from the situation that’s caused him so much pain. And strictly from a narrative standpoint, you need to get the character to that low point if you really want the climb back into the light to be satisfying. I hope that’s what we’ll see in season 9. But more about that in a minute.

For the people shouting with joy because — and I quote — “we know who the mother is,” I’ve got something to point out to you. No. You don’t. You don’t know squat about the mother, at least nothing you didn’t already know about her prior to last night’s episode — she’s Cindy’s ex-roommate, she plays bass in a band, she carries a yellow umbrella. The only thing you know about Mom that you didn’t know before the season finale is what she looks like, and frankly, that’s the least important thing about her. No disrespect intended to Cristin Milioti, she seems cute as a button, but what she looks like isn’t nearly as important as what kind of person she is, what her hopes and goals are, what eventually led to her playing the wedding… hell, what her name is. That moment where we finally got to see her face was a satisfying moment, but not because it was revelatory (as the people in Group A expected), but because it’s a symbolic promise of a final season that will draw this story to a close.

And as for that final season, let’s talk about that for a moment. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, the show’s creators, have made it clear that the narrative structure of the final season is going to be different from the previous eight. They declined, of course, to explain just how it would be different, but I think they gave us the clue in the final moments of the finale. As the episode drew to a close, before a montage of where each of our characters was and the flash of Mom at the train station, we got a title card that read “56 hours before the wedding.” I think it’s possible — maybe even likely — that the final season of this series may actually go for an almost realtime structure, using the whole season to tell the story of Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend. (It won’t be exactly realtime, that would require 112 episodes as opposed to the standard 22, and that would be insane, but it may be close enough.)

Could there possibly be enough in those 56 hours to encompass 11 hours of television, give or take time for commercials or any double-length episodes they decide to drop in the mix? Maybe. There’s an awful lot going on with each of our five stars, and it certainly seems like Milioti is going to be at least a semi-regular character in the ninth season, not somebody we’ve gotten a glimpse of now only for her to fall away until the final episode. What’s more, this series has never shied away from non-linear storytelling. Flashbacks and flash-forwards in the story have been common from the beginning, and may be even more so in this final run. It would be too much, I think, for Ted and Mom’s fateful encounter at the train station following the wedding to actually wait until the final episode… that is, unless the rest of the season includes glimpses of them together in the future. That’s what we need at this point — we need to see Ted with his wife, we need to believe that their love can wipe out all of the pain and frustration Ted’s gone through in the past eight seasons. We need to recognize in this girl somebody who can make Ted Mosby forget about Robin Sherbatsky once and for all, yet still remain a part of her and Barney’s life (his kids call them “Aunt Robin” and “Uncle Barney,” hardly likely if these were friends who he walked away from before they were even born).

This, I think, is what we need. This, I think, is where the last season of How I Met Your Mother needs to take us.

If there’s anything else we can count on, I think it’s this: in the last episode, when Ted finally finishes telling the story to his kids, when we as the audience have finally reached the final emotional satisfaction of nearly a decade of storytelling, we’ll see Luke and Leia calmly get up off the couch and wander off, unimpressed by Dad’s long story, because that reaction out of a pair of teenagers would be the most emotionally honest ending of them all.

UPDATE: Looks like Bays and Thomas aren’t done giving interviews, and this one seems to indicate some of my thoughts about the season nine format are pretty much on the money…



An open letter to Disney and Muppet Studios

To the powers that be at the Walt Disney Company and Muppet Studios:

I’d like to tell you about my niece, Maggie. Maggie is 19 months old and completely in love with the Muppets. She can recognize Kermit on the spine of a DVD from a wall of over 500 cases. She carries her Walter doll everywhere she goes. She is not yet speaking in complete sentences, but she will sing along with “Mahna Mahna.” Her current record for watching The Muppets is four times in one day, and it would have been higher had her parents not carefully snuck in some of the other DVDs when she wasn’t paying attention.

Although the most recent film, The Muppets, is her favorite, Maggie has gleefully consumed every Muppet movie and television special currently available on DVD, as well as the first three seasons of The Muppet Show. When she sees me, her Uncle Blake, working on my computer, she gives me pleading eyes until I hoist her onto my lap and start finding clips of Kermit, Gonzo and the others on YouTube. The number crunchers at Google probably find it rather unusual that a 34-year-old man can spend upwards of an hour watching the same clips over and over and over and over and over again.

We’re trying to branch out. We’ve started sneaking episodes of Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock into the rotation, and although Maggie enjoys these programs as well, her heart belongs to the Muppet Show Muppets.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful. I’m a Muppet fan from as far back as I can remember, and if Maggie is going to be obsessed with something, I’m glad it’s the Muppets instead of some of the truly insipid shows that are on the air for the preschool set right now. (I’m not going to name any names, but I’m sure you can think of a few.)

The thing is, we’re running out of stuff. Oh sure, Maggie is perfectly happy watching the same Muppet movie over and over (and over and over) again, time after time, but for myself, her grandparents, and especially her parents, we’re really starting to crave new material.

Which brings me to the point of this letter. Please. For the love of God. Get the next Muppet movie made as fast as you can.

And while we’re waiting, why not release the last two seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD to help tide us over? And for that matter, the 22 episodes of Muppets Tonight? (I’d ask for Muppet Babies too, but I understand the legal hurdles involved with clearing all of the short film clips that program included that make such a DVD highly improbable.) I would have happily purchased these DVDs to add to my personal collection even before Maggie was born. Now, they’re practically a necessity.

We need — desperately — more Muppet product. And you, my friends, are our only hope.

In closing, let me just introduce you to the little girl you’ll be disappointing if you don’t produce these DVDs as quickly as possible:

Seriously. How can you say no to that face?


Gimme something new…

As I observed in this week’s Everything But Imaginary column, there haven’t been enough really original comic book characters in the last couple of decades. As I observed elsewhere at CX Pulp, one of the best outlets for new characters isn’t really viable anymore. But sadly, I often feel like there just aren’t enough new ideas anywhere, not just in the comic book pages.

Take a look, if you will, at the list of movies I saw that were released in 2010. There were 39 films on the list. Those that were totally original ideas? (By which I mean they weren’t remakes, sequels, “reimaginings” or based on a story from another medium like comics, books, video games, or TV shows…) No more than seven. (Inception, Hot Tub Time Machine, Easy A, Buried, Despicable Me, Due Date, Repo Men, and Splice. And it’s easy to argue that Easy A is loosely based on The Scarlet Letter and that Repo Men was a blatant ripoff of Repo: The Genetic Opera.)

This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with a great movie based on a novel, or a sequel to a film that was a lot of fun the first time around. But it seems like Hollywood is relying far too heavily on those tropes. And what about TV? The #1 new show of the season? Hawaii 5-O. NBC has just bought a pilot for a new Wonder Woman series for the 2011-2012 season. And TNT has announced they’re going to remake Dallas for a new generation.

Come on, guys.

Come up with some new ideas. Or at the very least, turn to some books or other properties that maybe haven’t been adapted before, instead of doing the 10,831st version of A Christmas Carol, or allowing Will Smith to remake Annie as a vehicle for his daughter (because The Karate Kid wasn’t enough of an assault of the memories of children of the 80s). Find something new.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 186: White Lanterns Have it Easy

This week Blake proves that, when it comes to bringing back the dead, White Lanterns have it easy. Blake manages to resurrect a dead podcast recording so that you can hear the guys talk about the last new Lost content ever (on the season 6 DVD), the upcoming TV season including developments for Smallville and The Walking Dead, the cancellation (and resurrection) of Daredevil, the White Lantern variant covers, the movie Green Lanterns and more! In the picks, Kenny goes with Action Comics #892, Mike digs Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1, and Blake pimps Science Dog Special #1! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

IMPORTANT NOTE: is undergoing a few technical difficulties, including a glitch to our e-mail. For now, you can e-mail me at, and if you’ve sent us an e-mail since August 24, you’ll need to re-send it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 186: White Lanterns Have it Easy

Inside This Episode:


Why doesn’t MY dad say these things?

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard of the world-famous Twitter account Sh*t My Dad Says. You may have heard of the book as well. You may even be aware of the fact that there’s a television series based on this Twitter account premiering on CBS this fall, starring William Shatner as the titular “Dad.” And I am utterly astonished.

People have been posting wacky stuff on the internet for some time now. Lots of them have even turned those wacky things into books. Many of these books are even entertaining. But I am in utter astonishment that this man’s Twitter account has been optioned and turned into a television show.

Now I don’t begrudge him this fact. Someone offered him good money for this, and he took it, and more power to him. I’m just stunned that American television is now turning to Twitter for its ideas, although I suppose that’s better than another dismal attempt at turning a British sitcom into an American one. Or even worse, 100 Questions.

I’m also a bit stunned at the property itself. The dad in question appears to be the sort of guy who has reached a certain age and has decided, “I’m old, I don’t give a damn what people think of me, I’m going to say whatever I want.” I have nothing against such a gentleman. I sincerely hope to be one of those men some day. But it also makes me wonder just what my dad says that could potentially net me a book and movie deal. Here are some examples:

“I don’t know how we didn’t kill ourselves.”

“Where’s that… that thing that changes the channel?”

“A guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office with a pelican on his head. The psychiatrist says, ‘Can I help you?’ The pelican says, ‘Yeah, get this guy out from under me’.”

Let’s try harder, Dad. We can do this together.


Changing how stories are told

A lot has been written about the final episode of Lost already, just 24 hours after it finished airing, and while I have a lot to say about it I’m not going to attempt to do so now. The Showcase boys and I are going to get together soon to record our thoughts as completely as possible (and if you’d like to share yours on the show, you can e-mail, but before then I want to talk a little bit about what I think Lost, ultimately, is going to mean. I’m not going to talk about the story of Lost, but about what I think it could mean for storytelling in general.

Genre fiction has always struggled on network television, but Lost ushered in a whole wave of science fiction and fantasy based television series on the major broadcast networks. Granted, it had to trick the viewers, first by disguising the fact that it was a science fiction show and then, in the last two seasons, disguising the fact that it was ultimately a very spiritual story. And granted, a great many of the shows that have followed in Lost’s wake have struggled – Invasion lasted on season, Flashforward’s cancellation was just announced, and although Heroes lasted all the way to season four, people have been claiming the death knell was sounding since season two. Sometimes these shows will falter because the writers try to copy the Lost formula too exactly – a story so layered that it collapses under its own weight. Sometimes they falter because they don’t pay enough attention to Lost and it becomes clear that the writers don’t know where they’re going.

Lost proved that telling a long-term story can walk if there’s a clear plan, but shows that don’t know how to map that out falter, and fans that don’t love the show as much as Lost fans love theirs grow impatient. (Let’s be honest, a lot of Lost fans got impatient too). And sometimes, the usual cycle of a TV season can wound a show. I believe that the lengthy mid-season hiatus contributed to Flashforward’s demise, and although V survived, it did so by the skin of its teeth.

Here’s what I’d like to see begin to happen, and I think it’s happening already. I want to see more networks that have the courage to give a long-term story a chance. Granted, it’s up to the writers of those shows to give the fans enough up front to sustain them through to the end, and to know how to shape the story along the way, but Lost has proven that it can work. Also, I think we’re going to see more and more shows done in uninterrupted form, the way Lost was in its last three years. Film enough episodes up front that you can show the entire season without a hiatus or lengthy chunks of reruns, and show the whole season at a stretch. Some shows will be fall series, some will be spring series, some (gasp!) may even find a home in the summertime. But I think for a show of this nature, this is probably the best way to do it. British television (Doctor Who, for example) usually follows this format already, and I think American genre shows will benefit by taking a page from that book.

But the most important thing that Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse showed was that if you have a plan, the courage to execute it, and a cast and crew of gargantuan talent, you can create something special. You can move mountains.

Hell, maybe you can even move islands.

Thoughts on the show itself will be coming this weekend.


The new commercial race

I was watching Chuck the other day. In and of itself, there’s nothing unusual about this. Chuck is a brilliant show, and every time you don’t watch it, NBC kills two puppies and rearranges its late-night schedule. But during the season premiere of this excellent show, a strange sort of cut scene began. The stars of this scene, however, were not the main characters of Chuck, Sarah, and Casey, but side-characters Ellie, Morgan, and Devon (a.k.a. Captain Awesome) taking a road trip. It soon became clear that this was not an actual part of the show, but instead, a commercial for the vehicle they were driving in. I think it was a Honda of some sort. And what’s more, these three characters from the show were on their way to the Vancouver Winter Olympics, which also (coincidentally) will be broadcast on NBC.

I don’t watch as many commercials as I used to, because like everyone else with access to DVR, I’m usually fast-forwarding through them. But I stopped for this commercial, because I didn’t realize at first that it was a commercial. But I like the characters, and the commercial was actually telling a bit of a story. So I watched it, and the last few weeks, I’ve actually looked for the new “installments” of this ad campaign.

This week, watching Community (another show you should be watching. NBC kills three puppies when you don’t watch Community) I noticed another such ad. This time we had two of the supporting actors from the show, but they were playing “themselves” instead of their characters, having a business dinner and plugging TurboTax. And again, it was actually funny.

Ever since DVR and “time-shifted” television viewing started to become a factor, advertisers have had a problem. Commercials, after all, are what pay for most of our television content. It’s the reason we don’t have to pay a monthly fee to watch NBC the way we do for HBO. But if nobody is watching the commercials, why would anybody buy a commercial? And if nobody is buying a commercial, who’s gonna pay for me to watch Chuck? When I saw these two ad campaigns, I realized I was seeing an attempt to respond to this issue. Sure, they’ve been using product placement during the show, and it’s not anything new. In “reality” shows the product placement has gotten so ridiculous that you’d think Simon Cowell is an indentured servant to the Coca-Cola Company. But now we’re seeing the actors for the show we’re watching shilling products in-character, something that (if my memory of my communications degree is correct) used to be against FCC regulations in the United States. I first realized this was changing when Direct TV started its ad campaign featuring actors re-creating their famous movie roles to convince me that cable just wasn’t good enough. Now it’s making its way to current TV. Heck, the Chuck spots actually promoted three things at once: Chuck itself, the Honda Whatchamacallit, and the Winter Olympics.

And here’s the amazing thing. Neither commercial bothered me, because I found them both entertaining. Some people have a knee-jerk reaction to commercials, they hate ’em outright. But advertising is filmmaking, in a sense, and there have been some really entertaining commercials over the years. I like the Coca-Cola Polar Bears. I like the animated M&Ms. I like that Minute Maid commercial where the guy in the mall thinks he’s the father of a nun’s child. I look forward to the “Funniest Commercials of the Year” specials TBS airs every December. Great commercials are the reason that, most years, I’m more interested in the ad spots than the actual game on Super Bowl Sunday. (Here’s hoping this year will prove the exception.)

Then I realized one more thing. I realized a heck of a lot of things this week. I realized that Madison Avenue wasn’t trying anything new. Far from it. What I’m seeing here is a return to old-school advertising. If you look in the early days of television and the Golden Age of Radio, the actors themselves did ads during the TV show. A lot of the time they would even integrate the spot into the script itself. I love old-time radio, and I’m always amazed when I hear something like an episode of Duffy’s Tavern where one of the characters interrupts a poker game to talk about how awesome some archaic brand of pomade was, or how Camel Cigarettes would talk about some brave American serviceman that they were sending a few thousand cigarettes each week on Abbott and Costello.

It was okay then, and honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it now, really. Remember the secret, guys. We’ll forgive being advertised to if you can entertain us at the same time.

And you people go watch Chuck before Fluffy gets it.


Thanks to everyone who has expressed concern for my wonderful girlfriend Erin. She unexpectedly had to be admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, had her gall bladder removed yesterday, and came home to recuperate today. She’s doing okay, but we did get a bit of a scare there. If you want to read a much more detailed (and entertaining) account of her ordeal over on her own blog in today’s post, The New and Improved Erin Patricia, Now With Fewer Internal Organs!


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 151: 2009-The Year in Review

Your good buddy Chase is back for the first of two very special episodes! This week, Chase and Blake announce the winners of the Best of 2009 as voted on by you, the Showcase listener! Then, as this extra-length episode continues, the guys delve into all the big comic book news of 2009. Disney buys Marvel! DC Entertainment! Archie marries Veronica… kinda! And Diamond‘s new rules change the game entirely. If it’s happening in the world of comics, the boys talk about it. In the picks this week, Chase loves The Complete Rocketeer, and Blake gives us The Tick New Series #1! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 151: 2009-The Year in Review
Inside This Episode:


The Office: Secret Santa

As I’ve mentioned on this blog once or twice before, NBC’s The Office is one of my favorite TV shows. Now in its sixth season, this is the fourth time we’ve been treated to a Christmas party with the staff of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton. (The first season didn’t begin until the spring, and season four was shortened due to the writer’s strike.) It’s been a rough year for our favorite paper company. Sure, Jim and Pam are married and expecting, and Jim has been promoted to Michael’s co-manager, but the promotion won’t meant much if the company’s financial difficulties aren’t resolved. But it’s not all bad. This year, Phyllis is finally living her dream — playing Santa Claus for the office party, and everyone is happy… except Michael. As he revolts against the cross-dressing Santa, he places a call to CEO David Wallace that may make the whole thing moot.

I re-watched the episode before I sat down to review it, and I was astonished when I realized just how much is going on in this one. Besides the Phyllis vs. Mike Santa Claus controversy and the ongoing Dunder-Mifflin financial crisis, there are a good half-dozen stories going on here, both continuing and one-shots. The “Secret Santa” gift exchange makes a surprisingly good backdrop for multiple stories. We’ve got Dwight, who is receiving a mysterious mechanical gift one part at a time. Andy is hoping to keep Erin from learning that he’s her Secret Santa, after some of his gifts… um… injured her. Pam decides she’s going to play matchmaker for Oscar, and Dwight even touches briefly upon his “diabolical scheme” to out Jim from his new position of authority.

But Michael is really the core of this episode. His childish attitude towards Phyllis leads him to a discovery that has a pretty profound effect that ultimately leads to some really tender moments. That’s the key to Michael’s character. He’s often selfish, thoughtless, and immature, but at his heart he’s a decent guy who genuinely cares for the people in his office, at least all the ones who aren’t named “Toby.” This episode allows us to see that.

I’m not sure when the next new episode of the show will be. In fact, even checking on, there doesn’t seem to be a schedule yet. I suspect we’re going to have one of those situations where, when we return from the hiatus, a lot of things will have changed. This episode certainly leaves one big ball up in the air for our characters. But taken on its own, this may be the best Christmas episode of The Office yet. If you missed it, pop on over to and check it out.

And speaking of checking out…

Don’t forget!

I’ve got some Christmas stories of my own out there waiting for you! If you’re a fan of the audio book/podcast format, check out Blake M. Petit’s Evercast, in which I serialize novels, present short stories, and give lots of other great content. This December, I’m presenting my Christmas-themed novella A Long November.

If you’d rather read your words than have them read to you, you can also get A Long November and eight other short stories in a totally free (until January) eBook edition, suitable for reading on the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Stanza Reader, PDA, any number of other devices, or even the very computer upon which you’re reading this blog! Check out the eBook at!

And finally, my friends, I’d just like to ask you to pass these links along to anyone you know who may like the stories. I’m not making a dime out of this, I’m doing it to spread the word and build an audience, and any help you could provide would be a huge help to me.

Thanks a lot, and have a Merry Christmas!


What I’m Watching: A Chipmunk Christmas

Back to the Christmas stuff… I’ve got a veritable mountain of seasonal DVDs on my shelf, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t room for more. Here’s one of the newest, A Chipmunk Christmas, which I got in the hopes of renewing the characters of my youth and blotting out the memory of the atrocity that was the Jason Lee movie. This DVD contains the original A Chipmunk Christmas TV special from 1981, plus two additional episodes of the 80s Alvin and the Chipmunks TV show that followed. It also comes complete with the CD soundtrack of A Chipmunk Christmas, which of course includes the legendary “Chipmunk Song” that launched the boys into stardom.

In A Chipmunk Christmas, a neighbor boy is suffering from some terrible undefined illness. Alvin, in a burst of generosity that will evidently be forgotten by the time the regular TV series begins, gives the boy his precious golden harmonica (itself a gift from Dave) in the hopes that it will make him feel better. What Alvin doesn’t know, though, is that Dave has booked the boys a concert in Carnegie Hall, with Alvin’s harmonica solo as the centerpiece. This is a surprisingly strong story, and an original one as well. While there’s a dash of the Gift of the Magi in there, it’s only a dash. The rest of the plot is all-new, which is pretty unique for a cartoon of this nature. Most of the time they just imitate Dickens, O. Henry, or Capra.

The second cartoon on the episode is more traditional, both for Alvin and for cartoon Christmas specials. In Merry Christmas, Mr. Carroll, Alvin’s greed is overtaking his Christmas spirit, causing him to neglect his schoolwork and his paper route, and leaving his mean-spirited neighbor Mr. Carroll out in the cold (so to speak — this is Christmas in Los Angeles, where it’s usually 72 degrees). The night before Christmas Eve, when Alvin’s paper is due, he’s visited by three spirits who show him what Christmas is all about. I know what you’re all thinking, I thought it too. What kind of school holds classes on Christmas Eve? Seriously, David Seville should have been on the phone to the school board about that one. This is more indicative of the true Alvin spirit, but it’s not quite as indicative as the Dickens (see what I did there?) that it lampoons. While Ebenezer Scrooge is pretty much redeemed after he realizes what’s going to happen to Tiny Tim — the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is really just there to seal the deal — Alvin’s redemption is more a reaction to the idea that if he doesn’t knock it off he’s going to wind up a tubbo than anything else. Not exactly the greatest adaptation.

The third episode, Dave’s Wonderful Life, isn’t actually a Christmas story, although it is a take on It’s a Wonderful Life. When Dave starts having money troubles, the boys wind up embarrassed of his car, and he’s forced to cancel their summer camp plans, he begins to wonder if the Chipmunks wouldn’t have been better off if he’d never existed. As you can probably guess, he winds up seeing apparitions of  how he helped shape Alvin, Simon, and Theodore into the kids they turned out to be. Incidentally, while the episode shows key events for each of the boys when they were “little,” it’s worth noting that they all look and sound virtually the same as they do when they’re older.

This is a good little DVD and fun to watch, both as an antidote to the Chipmunks we’re saddled with today and because it writing this review led me to a Wikipedia page containing the phrase “the Chipettes apparently lack the body fur of the Chipmunks, and also have more human-like hair on their heads, in what may be a case of sexual dimorphism in the species,” which I believe constitutes undeniable proof that certain Wikipedia editors have way the hell too much time on their hands.

Don’t forget!

I’ve got some Christmas stories of my own out there waiting for you! If you’re a fan of the audio book/podcast format, check out Blake M. Petit’s Evercast, in which I serialize novels, present short stories, and give lots of other great content. This December, I’m presenting my Christmas-themed novella A Long November.

If you’d rather read your words than have them read to you, you can also get A Long November and eight other short stories in a totally free (until January) eBook edition, suitable for reading on the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Stanza Reader, PDA, any number of other devices, or even the very computer upon which you’re reading this blog! Check out the eBook at!

And finally, my friends, I’d just like to ask you to pass these links along to anyone you know who may like the stories. I’m not making a dime out of this, I’m doing it to spread the word and build an audience, and any help you could provide would be a huge help to me.

Thanks a lot, and have a Merry Christmas!

May 2023

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