#LessonLearned from #AChristmasCarol: Earn that Redemption.

Few stories tell the redemption arc quite like Charles’ Dickens A Christmas Carol. In the midst of Grinches and White Christmases and Peanuts and 34th Streets and Bishops Wives, my family always pulled out four different versions of A Christmas Carol to watch every Christmas: one with Mickey Mouse, one with Mister Magoo, one with the  Muppets, and one with George C. Scott. In more recent years, Bo introduced me to the Blackadder Christmas Carol as well as Scrooged starring Bill Murray.

This year, as Michael Caine follows the Ghost of Christmas Present once more to one of my favorite scenes–

(If you ever wondered what my sons are like at home, those bellboys at the song’s beginning sum it up pretty well.)

–a thought occurred to me, one that has pricked the back of my mind every year I see this:

Why is Scrooge dancing with the Ghost?

I mean, you can see it at the song’s end: Scrooge is all happy and cheery and dancing like a giant Muppet himself.

Doesn’t he still have another Ghost to talk to? If he’s already all happy and stuff, why’s he need to see another ghost? He’s already reformed. If you’re going to make a character go through three different stages towards redemption, then don’t you the storyteller need the different stages actually necessary? What’s the point of having these different stages if an internal switch simply flitches the protagonist’s changed with little effort?

This year, that niggling thought led to a talk with Bo, and the idea to watch a few more adaptations of this story and discuss whether they transform Scrooge, or merely flip his switch.

Here’s what we’ve found. Thanks for listening!



48 thoughts on “#LessonLearned from #AChristmasCarol: Earn that Redemption.

  1. I love the idea. I’ll listen to the discussion when I have some time:). That was what I liked so much about the Muppets Christmas Carol, they actually stuck very closely to the narrative of the original, despite the addition of the rat…

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  2. Time for bed here, so the recording will have to wait a few days. I’ve listened to the first two minutes and it’s very special to hear your voices. Glad you’ve been introduced to Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. It’s a classic in its own right.

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      • Ha ha.. I once acted in Dickens under duress. It was a fancy Christmas Dickens where one or two o us including me stood up bravely as we were nearly trampled to death by 200 schoolchildren and I had a black eye on Christmas Day after the stage slap from ‘Bill Sykes’ went wrong… My affinity with Dickens is boundless.

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      • Bwa! A Fancy Dickens Christmas: now why isn’t THAT a stage play? Not this “Man Who Invented Christmas” Nonsense. “Fancy Dickens: The Musical!”
        As for the 200 schoolchildren, that IS brave. I barely handle the 50 in my daughter’s school, but my sons’ school has, like, 200 4-8yr olds, and you couldn’t pay me enough to help in any of THEIR events, nooooo thank you.

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      • Yeah well, the fancy idea was to take Dickens into primary schools. AND even better let selected children in that school take part by playing characters in the scenes which required a child actor. The even fancier idea was at the start, of the show, three of the cast would sail into the hall with our lanterns and our holly boughs singing ‘ Here We Come A ‘Wassailing’- a song I have never been able to listen to again, let alone sing, incidentally without suffering ,major PTSD symptoms –while the rest of the cast were already strategically placed elsewhere. Then the doors would open and the children would run in and sit on the floor. But this bit? This bit was never actually rehearsed although you may be assured it was pulled from all successive performances.

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      • Yeah…..lessons learned from Dickens… I still have memories of the three of us linking arms and standing keeping each other upright. The conversation was like… ‘You good? you ok? you sill there? Where the hell is Beatrice?’

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  3. I shall listen to the video a little later when the day calms a tad, yet must tell you of a coincidence. This very day in the bank, extracting vastly more cash than I wanted to extract,the teller called me ‘The Ghost of Christmas Past’ . All I said to the chap was that I had far too many grandchildren and the bloody crippling sum of money was to be shared among them!

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  4. I do love the Muppet’s version, but your consideration of the ‘quick switch’ is interesting- maybe they felt it necessary since it’s a ‘kid’s movie’?
    I don’t recall seeing the 30s or 50s versions- but I DO know Mickey and another older one- I don’t remember who Scrooge was, but the Ghost of Christmas Present was a bit creepy… (Ok, just looked up images- it was the George C. Scott. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I remember- the wide-open robe look isn’t so much my thing…)
    Sigh, JEAN, I didn’t have time to read on wordpress today… But it’s still always a pleasure to hear you and Bo. 🙂

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    • There are sooooooo many versions out there. Rankin/Bass did one called The Stingiest Man in Town, Disney recently did another animated one with Jim Carrey as Scrooge, there was one with Albert Finney in the 70s, Patrick Stewart in the 90s…it goes on.
      Yes, this is not the time of year for leisurely reading, is it? Not with finals and other business breathing down my neck…. But it’s still always a pleasure to hear from you, Friend! xxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the Muppet Christmas Carols because the show doesn’t make me feel guilty 🙂 A couple of years ago I went to the movies to watch the Robert Zemeckis’ film. 5-7 years old cried and had to be removed from the theater soon after the movie began. I didn’t cry, but the bottomless grave scared me so much that I left the theater deep in thoughts and doubled my regular prayers 🙂 Seriously, I was very impressed and concerned about my eternal life 🙂 I wonder if it was the plan, but indeed, it worked.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: #lessonslearned from #AgathaChristie: #Write #ChristmasTraditions with a #Sinister Flair for some Wickedly Fun #Seasonal #Storytelling | Jean Lee's World

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