Opinion

The Christmas Letters: CBC's Rejected 2014 Holiday Specials

Leaked emails disclose what you won't see this year.

By Steve Burgess 24 Dec 2014 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

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The Tyee is not at liberty to divulge how these emails came into our possession. Illustration by Nora B. Kelly

Steve Burgess recently received a trove of leaked holiday emails. The Tyee feels it must publish them as a public service.

The following email came from an anonymous CBC executive. Addressed to Heather Conway, head of English programming, it contains a list of 2014 holiday specials that have been rejected by the public broadcaster:

Dear Heather,

None of these made the cut. As crappy a year as we've had, these dogs would have made it worse. Here's a rundown with my notes:

A Kinder Morgan Khristmas

Stars Kinder the Happy Elf who says, ''It's a Kinder Morgan Khristmas, so put on a happy face! No, we mean it. We don't like the way you're looking at us, pal. Put on a happy face -- now. Or deal with our lawyers.''

Might frighten the kids.

Miracle on 34th Street (2014 Edition)

A homeowner on West 34th Ave. near Granville decides to put her house on the market at a reasonable price. Panicked real estate agents fear the Vancouver housing bubble has finally burst. Her lawyer attempts to have her declared insane, but the homeowner is put on trial for instigating a riot. Bags and bags of offers are brought into the courtroom. The judge puts her in the Big House. Her stately residence is divided into 25 condo units, each of 100 square feet, all that sell for exorbitant sums. Santa Claus is declared legally dead. The End.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2014

Simple. He convinced the Whos to put all their money in oil stocks.

Timely, but a bummer.

Stephen Harper's Christmas Warning

Possibly the shortest Christmas special ever -- 30 seconds long, starring a Justin Trudeau look-alike sashaying down a runway while slowly stripping off a Santa suit. ''Untested leadership could make this a very unhappy new year,'' a voice intones. Contains the classic holiday tune: ''Long, Ominous Cello Note.'' Might still go with this one if the money's good.

It's a Wonderful Life in Toronto

After John Tory is elected mayor of Toronto, a depressed journalist is about to jump off a bridge. He's visited by an old typesetter who proves to him that the Ford Era never existed -- it was all just an illusion created to demonstrate how batshit crazy the world would be if journalists were allowed to decide who got elected. The depressed journalist jumps. The old typesetter smiles because the sound of the splash means that somewhere, another unemployed reporter has been retrained in software development. Maybe a little too downbeat.

JJ Abrams' Star Wars Christmas Special

The real reason JJ Abrams wanted to take over the Star Wars franchise: So he could remake the show that has been called the most bizarre and misbegotten hour of holiday programming ever to appear on a broadcast network. Airing on CTV in 1978 (and CBS in the U.S.), the original Star Wars Holiday Special dealt with the Wookie holiday called ''Life Day'' and included a sequence in which a young Wookie becomes sexually excited while watching Diahann Carroll. There were long stretches of un-subtitled Wookie dialogue. Jefferson Starship appeared as holograms. Carrie Fisher says she plays the Star Wars Holiday Special at parties when she wants her guests to leave. George Lucas apparently attempted find and destroy every existing copy. I suppose now we'll never know what Abrams might have done with it. Or what a sexually excited Wookie sounds like.

Rainman

Turns out it's not really a Christmas theme. An honest mistake -- this pitch came from the Vancouver office.

Please note our comment threads will be closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 to give our moderators a well-deserved break. Happy holidays, readers.  [Tyee]

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