Christmas with Carol Burnett

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Nov 5, 2013
Christmas with Carol Burnett

The holidays are upon us and so is all the great art, culture and literature that accompany them every year. After dining on "The Nutcracker" and "A Christmas Carol," and watching "It's a Wonderful Life," make sure to relax with some Christmas comfort food. "The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol" is a collection of seasonal sketches from Burnett's tenure at CBS.

Carol Burnett never did a full Christmas special, but she did do some holiday sketches on some of her shows. The song and dance numbers are extraordinary, and some of the comedy sketches are more clever than others.

I remembered her little Charwoman animation from the opening titles, but it seems this was a regular character for her, Burnett's version of The Little Tramp. This character shines with all the humor and charm of Charlie Chaplin in the "Charwoman: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" sketch. And I'm surprised that more people don't sing her holiday parody "The Twelve Days after Christmas."

The comedy sketch that was a precursor to the show "Mama's Family" called "The Family Christmas: Home for the Holidays" featuring Alan Alda is really quite smart, and of course, Alda's timing is brilliant. He seems to bring out the best qualities in Burnett's character development.

Other sketches like "Mrs. Wiggins Gets Bombed on Christmas" featuring Tim Conway is more bizarre and clownishly over-the-top. Again the great redhead matches her co-stars energy.

There is surprising heart in some of her question and answers sessions in the beginning of the episodes. For instance, a teenage girl is so overcome by the physical presence of Alan Alda next to her that she begins to cry - and Burnett plays it off amazingly. It's touching, funny and sincere, things you don't see often in television today.

There are great moments with comedy legends Sid Ceasar and Jonathan Winters, but show stopping moments come in Helen Reddy's magnetic musical numbers. (And in the way Ken Berry wiggles his hiney in his "Song and Dance Man" polyester hot pants. You won't want to miss his the sequined fringe on his red "cowboy" jumpsuit either.)

Running Time: 180 min. (Two full episode and bonus holiday sketches)
Genre: TV/Comedy
Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
DVD: $12.95


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