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The Librarians Liveblog: Christmas Episode

December 21, 2014

The teaser for this week promised two things that will make tonight’s episode of The Librarians even more fun: A Christmas-themed episode, and Bruce Campbell.

I have adjourned to my parents’ house for the holidays. Presents are wrapped. (Give books, they’re nice tidy rectangles!) We’ll trim the tree tomorrow. I’m feeling festive and ready to appreciate whatever adventure The Librarians have in store. My parents will be joining me, and probably adding their commentary. (Snark runs in the family.) Mom and Dad, meet @cincylibrary and the rest of the Tweeps who make #TheLibrarians hashtag such a delight.

Some Christmasy library trivia to get things started.

The Dewey Decimal number most often used for The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore is 811.2 (American poetry–1776-1829).

While I did look up Christmas in the Library of Congress Subject Headings manual and explored hierarchies in Classification Web, I suspect the subject hierarchy of Christmas is possibly only interesting to someone who’s just taken Cataloging (and then, only barely.) If you’re desperately curious about the subject headings for holidays in general, and Christmas in particular, leave me a comment.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Bruce Campbell.

First commercial break, there’s been Cockney rhyming slang that I wish I could rewind and get and I have shrieked with laughter at least four times.

Update: There is a Cockney rhyming slang dictionary. The NYPL’s ones are for in library-use only. Cincy Library, quick on the Twitter, found a book on British accents and Cockney slang. Whoever’s running their social media is my public services librarian role model.

Dad, a huge Eureka fan, didn’t recognize Matt Frewer, who’d played Taggart on Eureka. Feeling a bit superior at the moment.

About halfway through the episode… Dad has muttered that the entire thing makes no sense. I, attempting to recap it… may be forced to agree.

Santa’s been kidnapped and then rescued, the Serpent Brotherhood is an excellent campy collection of ongoing big bads. Santa’s hat causes outbreaks of Holiday Spirit.  There’s peril, there’s high speed chases, there’s no bar fight.

Various good lines:

“Somebody jacked Santa’s ride!”

“Oh my shiny balls, yes!” (John Larroquette having too much fun as Grumpy Librarian.)

“Kill Santa? That’s one way to end up on the naughty list!”

“I don’t get out the katana to murder just anybody, cowboy”

Spoilers and liveblog behind cut.

So… Santa has been kidnapped (mistletoe is poisonous, nice nod to Norse myth there) and Team Librarian is tasked with Saving Christmas. Showing how each of the characters react to Christmas makes an excellent set of character sketches. Ezekiel, the selfish thief gets whammied with the Christmas Spirit Hat of Goodwill and phases amusingly between baking cookies manically and mouthing “kill me now!” horrified at himself for throwing money around recklessly, against his thief instincts. Cassandra’s almost cartoonish in her delight over Santa.

Note re Cassandra: I don’t altogether like how they’ve cast her as bubbly, perky, almost childlike girl against her brilliance and the brain tumor. Strong, unpalatable shades of Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. Ugh. Can we have more balanced female characters, please? I know that there’s at least one Leverage alum running the show… please refer to your Sophie and Parker playbooks to get things a little more leveled out.

Country boy savant (whose name is definitely not Eliot) Jake Stone is gruff with a heart of gold (give or take a fondness for Christmas bar fights.) Each of the characters feels well suited in their approach to Christmas.

Eve has Christmas issues with a capital “DON’T say Ho Ho Ho!” Twitter speculation wondering whether her given name might be Christmas. Aaand… yes. FYI, Twitter called that about 45 minutes before it happened. Go #TheLibrarians hashtag.

Santa’s hat and sleigh are his objects of power- his various incarnations across times and cultures are invoked (giving Bruce Campbell entirely too much fun to have with the hour, which is always a delight). The Serpent Brotherhood steals hat and sleigh, as target Magic Objects. (Three episodes in, we’re still not sure what they’re planning to do with all  Eve, the Scroogiest of the Librarians spends the most time with Santa, which gets a little bit of the way through her tough exterior, in a way that mostly works for me.

There’s peril in various forms, a good mix of macguffins (the magic hat, Santa’s ability to fly objects) and human nature of Santa’s incarnations and the actual people involved. I was definitely along for the ride… but trying to recap the plot… I come up a little bit dry. I think I lost a few threads, even though I was up for the episode as a whole. (Good line: “Somebody jacked Santa’s ride!”)

I really do like the mistletoe/Norse themes, as well as the glimpses of various Santa/Christmas traditions. And I love how much fun the Serpent Brotherhood are having being campy Bad Guys.

I was with this episode for all the tangled mytho-logic until the last few moments where Christmas needed the final bit of saving. Santa’s down for the count, Eve has to step up (no surprise, since she’s been built up as the Scrooge) but the way they did it? The montage? Ugh! I grumbled at the TV a lot. It was like a Very Special Afterschool Special Montage of Red Cross Heartstrings Jerking. Way too heavy-handed! Bah Humbug.

Yes, I’m protesting the lack of subtlety of a show that has Serpent Brotherhoods, “Still not calling him Santa!””Oh, shiny balls, yes!” and Bruce Campbell as Santa Claus. Just go with it.

Call me hard to please.

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