The Wonderful Life scenario is one I’ve talked about recently. It’s certainly nothing new in the world of Christmas specials. But what if you found out everyone would be a lot better off if you didn’t exist? How would you react? Today’s special explores that story, but in a very comedic fashion. This is You’re a Dirty Rotten Bastard, the Nostalgia Critic Christmas special.
The Nostalgia Critic is having a rotten Christmas after having to review A Charlie Brown Kwanza. Roger, his guardian angel, comes down to try to cheer him up. He wants to show the Critic how big of an impact he’s made on the world. However, the Critic soon learns that his friends are actually a lot better off without him.
I chose this particular Christmas special for 2 reasons. 1) It’s short and I didn’t have a lot of time to waste today watching a movie. 2) The Nostalgia Critic is near and dear to me. I can honestly say that the Nostalgia Critic, since I found him 7 years ago, has changed my life. As such, I wanted to take a look at this particular special and see if it holds up not only as a Nostalgia Critic video but as a video anybody would be able to watch and enjoy. And, honestly, the answer to both is… no.
If you don’t already know the Nostalgia Critic himself, this particular video isn’t going to do much to introduce you to the character. He’s loud, obnoxious, and angry in this special and… that’s about it. Even his story arch in the episode just goes on to show how egotistical he is. The rest of the cast of characters aren’t explained all that well either. If you don’t know who the Cinema Snob, Linkara, or Spoony are, you definitely won’t understand why their cameos are so funny. So, as an introduction to Channel Awesome, this fails.
As a Christmas special itself, the message is obviously skewed for comedic effect. So I have to judge it purely on its humor. And, for the most part, the humor falls flat. It all sort of depends on you seeing a character you may or may not know being over the top successful (seriously, one guy owns Marvel AND DC and another is inexplicably the President). The joke gets really old really fast.
The best part of the entire special is Roger, played by Orlando Belisle Jr. Roger is a hilarious character and gets some of the funniest lines and slapstick gags of the whole video. Granted, Orlando’s acting is a bit off at times, but he makes up for it with facial expressions and joke deliveries you can’t help but laugh at.
One good character aside, I can’t in good conscience recommend this video to either old fans of the Critic or newcomers. Old fans will have already seen it and I can tell you it’s not really worth a repeat viewing. Newcomers will just get lost in all the references that will go way over your head. There are better and funnier Wonderful Life stories out there for you to enjoy. Maybe the Critic would have been a lot better off without this special.