Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ask the Experts

Most of the time Facebook is just a means for me to play Scrabble. But sometimes people post things that are true gems. Like this link to a Star Wars Holiday Special that aired only once in 1978, and that George Lucas apparently regrets so much that he wishes he could find and smash every original copy.

Let's face it, Holiday Specials sell, and if you can link something popular to one, then you have an instant audience of millions.

Which gets me thinking: Why hasn't anyone thought to capitalize on Shakespeare in this way?

Just think of the possibilities:

1) "The Jew Who Stole Christmas" : Shylock decides to dress up like Santa. He harnesses Launcelot Gobbo to a sleigh and puts fake antlers on him, and then drives into Venice to steal everyone's presents and trees. When he hears the sounds of reveling the next morning, his heart grows three sizes and he joins them all for a big pork feast.

2) "Merry Christmas, Bottom Brown!": Bottom, perpetual loser, gets picked to direct the school Christmas pageant. Nobody listens to him, and when bossy Puck tells him to go get a tree for the nativity scene, he picks the sickliest one possible from the forest outside Athens. But the Christmas Spirit saves the day: Robin Starveling overcomes his stage fright to deliver a poised speech about the true meaning of Christmas; Puck squeezes some magic juice on the sad tree and makes it big and strong; and everyone lets Bottom do his Pyramus speech as many times as he wants.

3) "It's a Wonderful Wife": Hermione, distraught over her husband Leontes' total mistrust of her, flees the courtroom where he's trying her for adultery and treason and starts wading into the ocean with her pockets full of rocks, moaning: "Everyone would be better off if I'd never been born!" Ariel, who's been trying to get his wings and escape from Prospero for decades, decides to grant her wish. (Yeah, it's a different play, but people will eat that kind of cross-reference stuff up--kind of like when there's a Grey's Anatomy/ Private Practice two-hour special.) Hermione is shown a scene where Leontes and Polixines, who have never had to separate because they never met their wives, are still frisking in the sun like twin lambs having the homoerotic time of their lives. Until Leontes' father Lionize hurls Polixines off the castle wall, leaving him paralyzed and mute, while Leontes is sent away to the University of Wittenburg. There, he meets Hamlet, who convinces him to join him in a double suicide jump off the campus bell-tower. Hermione now sees that Sicilia will not only never have an heir, but that Hamlet the play will never get to happen. She starts yelling, "I want to live again! I want to live again!" and Ariel brings her back. Now she knows that she really was a wonderful wife. It's Leontes who's the asshole.

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