Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics (American Recordings/Columbia)

Xmas Records

Record Reviews

Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics

(American Recordings/Columbia)

One of the best Trojan Horse maneuvers of 1999 was Matt Stone and Trey Parker getting millions of 25-year-olds (give and take a decade) to plop down $8 to see what was essentially a musical -- albeit one masquerading as a feature film cartoon. It was a natural for the duo to wed their adoration of Elton John to their insolent yet adorable small-town Colorado kids, but the South Park movie worked spectacularly because, save for one or two exceptions, the songs were not only integral to the story, they were also hysterically funny. That's not the case at all with Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics. In fact, it's generally unfunny. Yes, it's loaded with scatological jokes, sexual innuendo, and religious bigotry, and yes, it may be caricaturing people's narrow-minded intolerance, while simultaneously reveling in it in this post-ironic kind of way, but the larger sociological taboos the show delights in flouting aren't even what's objectionable here. Here's the problem: In "Merry Fucking Christmas" Mr. Garrison sings, "Hey there Mr. Muslim, Merry fucking Christmas/Put down that book The Koran, and hear some holiday wishes/In case you didn't notice, today is Christmas Day/So get off your heathen, Muslim ass, and fucking celebrate." Not very clever now, is it? Okay, Cartman's slightly slanderous verse in the bastardized "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" is chuckle-worthy, and if Kenny is indeed singing what it sounds like he might be singing on "The Most Offensive Song Ever," then credit is due to Parker and song co-writer Marc Shaiman for the sheer bravery in possibly living up to that monstrous claim. Those are two noticeable exceptions to this otherwise banal attempt at humor. Only Big Gay Al could have rescued this Christmas missive (emphasis on "miss"), and even then, only slightly.

**

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