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Strange Holiday Specials

LET'S RANK

It’s time for the December edition of Let’s Rank! To commemorate the holiday season, we’ll be looking back at some of the strangest holiday specials made for this time of the year. After all, what’s the holidays without something to watch, right? This list will include those that are more well-known (Star Wars Holiday Special, anyone?) to the obscure. Have you seen any of these?

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The logo/titlecard of the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, with text that reads: "Marvel Studios - The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special".

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

The newest entry on this list, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is notable for several reasons. For one, it’s the first holiday special of its kind in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) AND it’s canon at that. Two, writer and director James Gunn has outright stated that this was inspired in some part by the Star Wars Holiday Special. And three, well, Kevin Bacon. They somehow convinced him to take part, and frankly, that alone is good (and weird) enough for this list.

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The protagonist Autobots from Transformers Animated, all seemingly transformed into human forms. From left to right: Bulkhead, Bumblebee, Prowl, Optimus Prime, and Ratchet.

Transformers Animated: Human Error, Part I & Part II

When it comes to Christmas, what’s the first thing on your mind? Robots turning into humans? A finale involving a rock-off for no reason at all? In that case, then you’ll want to watch Human Error, Parts I & II, from Transformers Animated. These episodes feature what ANY Transformers fan truly wants; their favourite bots turned into humans. I mean, the humans ARE the best part of all the Transformers movies and shows, right? Sarcasm aside, this really is a fun two-part special that you ought to check out, made all the better by the strange fact that it’s a holiday special that was released in APRIL.

Oh, and if you haven’t, you really need to read the articles on tfwiki.net that cover these episodes. Scratch that, you need to read the ENTIRE wiki.

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The protagonist of Aggretsuko, Retsuko, in a still from the episode. In it, she smiles at the viewer, all while holding a wrapped-up present and wearing a Santa costume.

Aggretsuko: We Wish You A Metal Christmas

Now, we’re not calling Aggretsuko weird. It’s a fun show, one that we’d recommend as a fun watch on Netflix. Rather, this special is “strange” in that, truthfully, it’s just a reason for the producers of the show to combine metal music with a holiday theme. The result? A special that is as fun as any other episode of Aggretsuko, all capped off by some wonderful music, like the very festive “We Wish You a Metal Christmas”.

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A still from the Christmas Comes to Pac-Land special. Here, Santa Claus speaks to Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man.

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land

There’s been a ton of Christmas specials featuring video game characters over the years. Between Mario, Sonic, and other iconic characters, there’s a whole lot of specials between them. But an argument can be made that out of all of them, Pac-Man’s is the weirdest. Why did anyone think that Pac-Man needed a holiday special? A character known not for being generous or festive, but rather, a being that only knows to eat dots and (mostly) avoid ghosts. Rant aside, this TV special features Pac-Man and friends rescuing Santa Claus from the clutches of the ghosts, all before coming together with the spirit of Christmas. All in all, it's just a very, very cliché holiday special. If you do decide to watch it, listen closely; you might just hear the voice actors behind Megatron and Optimus Prime from the 1980's Transformers show.

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Some of the "stars" of the Star Wars Holiday Special, posing together in a shot. From left to right: R2-D2, C3-PO, Chewbacca, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

Star Wars Holiday Special

Believe it or not, we don’t think that the Star Wars Holiday Special is the strangest special on this list. That honour goes to the next entry. But it is truly strange, especially given that it is so very much out of place with the rest of the Star Wars universe. It introduces so many weird (but non-canon) elements, like “Life Day”, the fact that Chewbacca has a WHOLE FAMILY, and several bizarre in-universe works of entertainment (including a cooking show). While it has something of a cult following now, this special was absolutely hated on its release, to the point to where you can’t even watch it officially on Disney+. Thankfully, the more recent Star Wars holiday specials have been better, even if they’re just non-canonical LEGO shorts.

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A shot from Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa. Here, the character Nicole (Paige O'Hara) smiles at the Christmas presents at her family's Christmas tree. In the background, her parents look on.

Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa

This is the crème de la crème of strange holiday specials. If you haven’t heard of this, then you’re truly missing out on the spectacle that is Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa. Make no mistake, this is frankly one of the worst things ever released for TV, all in spite of the absolutely top-tier voice acting talent that they signed on for it. Some of the names attached to this include Mark Hamill, Paige O’Hara, Grey Griffin, and Jodi Benson. You may think to yourself that this thing can’t be that bad if those are the people doing the voices, but don’t get your hopes up. The animation alone is so horrible that we’d specifically encourage you to search it up on YouTube to see it for yourself. Get ready to laugh (or cry).