Twice Upon A Time – Critical Review on Doctor Who‘s Christmas Special

twice upon a time

Christmas Day brings family and friends, large feasts, long-awaited presents, and Doctor Who. Entitled “Twice Upon A Time,” this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special provided fans with their last viewing of Actor Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. And, more importantly, the first viewing of the next Doctor.

What “Twice Upon A Time” Revealed About Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

twice upon a time
Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, so fierce and intense, and yet so gentle and humble in this picture by BBC America.

Talking to fellow Doctor Who fans made it clear how much many Americans disliked Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Learning this made me think these fans simple, somewhat soft in the head. For Capaldi represented the learned intelligence, the serious fastidiousness, and the passionate loyalty behind the universally renowned Doctor.

Peter Capaldi acted the above traits to their fullest extent in the Christmas Special “Twice Upon A Time.” His learned intelligence showed when the soldier first walked onto the screen, recognizing the man’s uniform from World War I. When the soldier expressed his confusion at the term, the Doctor merely blushed and said, “Spoilers.”

twice upon a time
Why must the Doctor always come across a Dalek so close to his regenerations?

The serious, almost morbid, fastidiousness disclosed itself as the Doctor quickly decided to save the soldier from inescapable death. For the Doctor, as seen beside Capaldi in his first televised form (i.e. an older gentlemen, named David Bradley, who looked quite close to the original), had made a decision. The decision, made hundreds of years ago, to save and protect earth’s humanity.

Finally, and most importantly, Peter Capaldi exemplified the Doctor’s passionate loyalty when he saw Bill Potts. For although he had refused to accept her as the genuine Bill Potts, come back to life, his initial reaction said something different. His initial reaction said he loved and missed his dear friend. And that is why we love the Doctor, his selfless love.

Spoilers Found in Doctor Who‘s “Twice Upon A Time”

twice upon a time
David Bradley, who played the first Doctor, appeared downright jovial compared to his character, old and grumpy.

Hold on a minute. The Doctor regenerated into a woman? How can this be! I shall never watch Doctor Who ever again! This reaction ran rampant throughout worldwide homes and residences, on Christmas Day or earlier. How many people have resented and been angered at this fact? I don’t know. But I do know Actor Jodie Whittaker made a fabulous show entrance.

Looking into the TARDIS’s mirror, the Doctor stared at her reflection. She grabbed at her hair, stuttered a bit, and implied without words her wonder at her new gender. Based on what the TARDIS did at that point, the ship was more than shocked at what she saw. The TARDIS acted downright outraged, opening its doors and rocketing the Doctor from the ship. Leaving the fans wondering how they would next see the Doctor.

Where Doctor Who‘s Producers Implemented Christmas into “Twice Upon A Time”

twice upon a time
Matt Lucas as Nardole and Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts appeared alongside Peter Capaldi for “Twice Upon A Time”

Amongst the multiple Doctor forms and impeding deaths and uncharacteristically kind enemies, there appeared very little Christmas. However! Other than the snow from the South Pole, Producer and Director Steven Moffat referred to a famous and marvelous Christmas Day. An event which had occurred one hundred years ago. One which I had learned only earlier that day.

During WWI on one particular Christmas Day, the British and the Germans paused in their fighting. And they began to sing Silent Night. Since they had started the song at midnight, they celebrated Christmas Day, the whole 24 hours, in peace and calm. No shots were fired. Though the fighting resumed the very next day, and many men died, God’s sovereignty had reigned for one day.

Idolatry and the Uncharacteristically Kind Enemies in “Twice Upon A Time”

Unfortunately, the screenwriters had written for the “kind enemies” to refer to the Doctor as the “bloke who walked around and fixed things” on the Earth. Wrong! No polite British refusal to accept a wrong answer here. The Doctor, as great as the character is, will never play God! Christmas celebrates the birth of a Savior, called Christ Jesus. And to Him is all glory given. Sorry, Peter Capaldi.

So, other than the clear idolatry incorporated into the beloved Doctor Who, the Christmas Special was exceptionally good. Capaldi played his last episode as the Doctor with triumph. We rejoiced to see Bill Potts, if only just one more time. And “Twice Upon A Time” showed us a little of what’s to come. So, bring it on Jodie Whittaker! Let’s see what you can bring to world-renowned Doctor Who.

Why Queen Elizabeth II Says “Happy Christmas”

happy christmas

Hearing “Happy Christmas” for the first time causes many American children to laugh and jeer at the speaker. They reply, “It’s not ‘Happy Christmas.’ It’s ‘Merry Christmas.'” Oh, the innocence and ignorance of know-it-all youths. Allow me to provide the reason behind “Happy Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas” Means Something Completely Different than “Happy Christmas”

Educated Britons understand the history behind the term “Merry.” We Americans, who grew up saying “Merry Christmas,” only learned the phrase “Happy Christmas” when we heard Queen Elizabeth II say it. Something she does every year during her Christmas broadcast.

Americans can view these broadcasts on BBC America, squeezed between Doctor Who marathon episodes on Christmas Day. Hearing the British Queen use the phrase piqued my interest.  So, I asked someone with a great vocabulary why she said “Happy” instead of “Merry.” And upon receiving an answer, I proceeded to do some research on it.

The short explanation is that “Merry” used to mean intoxication and social misbehavior. Whereas “Happy” expresses joyous feeling without any religious or social deviances. And as we know from Queen Elizabeth II and her council, they believe people ought to obey God and follow the Christian faith. At least, that’s what The Crown portrayed. And I agree with the message.

Why Some State It’s Better to Say “Merry Christmas” Instead of “Happy Christmas”

According to blogger Gene Veith, and to the man whom he referenced, “Merry Christmas” beats “Happy Christmas” on any given year. The term “Merry” appeared in the Bible to describe a joyful and drunken man. Someone so happy as to have little concern in how he appeared to others. These two bloggers believe we ought to experience merriness upon seeing Christ Jesus.

To me, this seems absurd. Though God doesn’t ban drinking alcohol, He does tell his believers to refrain from becoming intoxicated. For we must always be prepared to spread the gospel, to be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents. In other words, I can see the solid Christian foundation in why Queen Elizabeth II chooses to say “Happy Christmas.”

The online Oxford English Dictionary informally defined “Merry” as slightly and joyously drunk. So, if “Merry” is associated with drunkenness, then the answer seems simple. Since the Bible says to refrain from drunkenness, then say “Happy Christmas.” Keeping those with weak faith on the godly path by disassociating with anything regarding alcohol.

And a “Happy Christmas” to You!

If I come off as prudish, I’m sorry. But the little I have learned about Queen Elizabeth II has taught me to respect her, what she does, and what she says. And since God is the highest and most important authority, then saying “Happy Christmas” seems even better.

Please remember Christ Jesus as Christmas comes closer. And people can be just as happy sober as they are drunk! With the difference lying in  people’s ability to act more kindly and agreeably in the sobriety state. Happy Christmas, everyone, and I’ll be back again tonight!

The Muppet Christmas Carol – Brian Henson’s Beloved Rendition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

the muppet christmas carol

Love, cherish, and joy only begin to describe how I feel toward Brian Henson’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. This movie, created in 1992, is a staple for many millennials. Having watched this beloved rendition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol as children, we now pass it onto our children.

What makes Brian Henson’s version so great? How does it surpass every other movie rendition of A Christmas Carol? The answer is simple, and in no small part due to Charles Dickens’s writing.

Brilliant Actors Found in The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol
Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Michael Caine is a genius within his work field. His study on portraying the right emotions at the right times shows his competence in acting. Therefore, in acting as Ebenezer Scrooge, Caine was the best choice to portray Scrooge. Both as the cruel, uncaring businessman, and as the reformed, kind and loving man which Scrooge became.

Kermit the frog acted the part for the most amiable character in the story, Bob Cratchit. Steve Whitmire voiced for Kermit, still relatively new at the job with the Muppets team during the film’s making. Nonetheless, he managed to capture all the adult hearts who watched this fun rendition. Even I, who first watched the movie at age five or six, learned to love Kermit the frog as Bob Cratchit.

And, of course, we must make mention of the Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens. Dave Goelz voiced for the Great Gonzo. His character provided the main humor source, albeit a somewhat mean sense of humor. His role included traveling throughout the movie, watching the other muppets, and narrating the key points in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Messages Behind The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol
Scrooge’s dead business partners, Marley & Marley.

To support himself, Charles Dickens wrote novels during the English Victorian era. The more he wrote, the more he became involved in social movements. Mainly he wrote social critics to serve the changing social climate. However, several of his novels have passed down through time. Thus, still popular, and forever changing how England and other countries look at social status.

The Muppet Christmas Carol understood Charles Dickens’s original message. Fierce and rigid, Scrooge cared for nothing but his own pocketbook. Social events, where people gathered to laugh and play games, annoyed him. Allowing his employees to spend time with their families on the holidays struck him as unfair. His business was his life.

Thanks to the three visiting spirits, Scrooge woke up to see what truly mattered. His money could serve the benefit of mankind, encouraging the working the class and saving the destitute. People wanted to love him, he merely needed to let them and love them in return.

The messages in this movie, originating from the popular story, are like those found in Scripture. Though, unlike a mere century before, they related more to the commonly accepted beliefs and taught principles in that era. For, during this time period, many people like Charles Dickens didn’t specifically follow any religion.

What to Take Away from The Muppet Christmas Carol

The muppet christmas carol
Bob Cratchit and his son on a walk home from church service.

Personally, I will refrain from ignoring my God for social agendas based on Christian principles. For that seems a little silly to me. However, how Bob Cratchit behaved should stand as a guiding example for all people, believers and unbelievers alike.

Because Bob Cratchit practiced patience with the unreformed Scrooge. He loved his wife and daughters, despite their uncouth and disparaging tongues. And his wherewithal to carry on in the face of his son’s probable death testified to great strength and character. Everyone ought to aspire to such nobility of character.

Moreover, as Michael Caine showed with his great acting skills, to love each other requires very little effort. A smile and an encouraging word could significantly improve someone’s mood. Giving someone a simple gift, like a scarf, will make someone able to appreciate human kindness. And merely spending time with others will warm their hearts, especially if you have smiles and laughs to go around!

Everyone Should Watch The Muppet Christmas Carol

the muppet christmas carol
MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, Miss Piggy, Michael Caine, Fozzie Bear, Kermit, Gonzo, 1992

I haven’t even begun to describe the amazing soundtrack or the jolly, ole’ Spirit of Christmas Present! Such joy and cheer they bring to every family home. To teach young ones the importance of love and kindness, I recommend showing them the family-friendly The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The young children might be confused at why the Great Gonzo always calls Rizzo the Rat stupid. And, hopefully, they don’t follow suite and call all their friends stupid. But the overall message fits perfectly with what the Christmas season is all about. For believers and unbelievers alike can agree to share and spread the love during this special season.

Catholicism Remembered in “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song

"The 12 Days of Christmas" song

My careless attitude about “The 12 Days of Christmas” song now shames me. For I have researched the history and the meaning behind this old, traditional carol, and the generally believed truth is frightening. Even if the Catholic popes and priests took a modern Christmas carol and attributed their own meaning to the song’s gifts, the debateable meaning holds significance for all Christians.

What Catholics Claim the Gifts in “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song Represent

God, the Holy Father, represented the “true love” who sent the gifts to us, the beloved. And each gift equated to the 12 teachings in Catholicism. What each gift represented is listed below:

  1. A partridge in a pear tree = Jesus, the Son of God, who died on the cross
  2. Two turtle doves = Both the Old and New Testaments
  3. Three French hens = The Three Theological Virtues (a.k.a. Faith, Hope, and Charity)
  4. Four calling birds = The Four Gospels found in the New Testament
  5. Five golden rings =  The Pentateuch (a.k.a. the first five books in the Old Testament)
  6. Six geese a-laying = How God created the world in six days
  7. Seven swans a-swimming = The Seven Sacraments (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts)
  8. Eight maids a-milking = The Eight Beatitudes (a.k.a. how the blessed will be rewarded)
  9. Nine ladies dancing = The Nine Spiritual Fruits (i.e. love, joy, peace, and so on)
  10. Ten lords a-leaping = The Ten Commandments
  11. Eleven pipers piping = The 12 Disciples, minus Judas the Betrayer
  12. Twelve drummers drumming = The Apostle’s Creed’s 12 doctrinal points (i.e. belief in God, belief in the Son, and so on)

While all Christian denominations can recognize at least some teachings from above, all 12 are included within Catholicism. Making this song a great catechism for all Catholics.

The Reason Behind “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song

Many people scoff at the list above. They provide arguments about the greater complexity within Catholicism and say Christians within all denominations share these teachings. As a Christian, I would argue differently.

Yes, I know about the Old and New Testaments, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Spiritual Fruits, and so forth. However, to have learned the exact numbers for all these biblical books and spiritual gifts and fruits, I would have needed to obtain a pastoral license. Simply thinking about the spiritual fruits and practices makes me think more exist than what the song lists above.

Back on point: People have argued about the song dating back to the 16th Century when Queen Elizabeth I reigned. For, according to some accounts, Catholics needed to learn “The 12 Days of Christmas” catechism in secret for fear of being found out, brutally tortured, imprisoned and killed.

What to Remember About “The 12 Days of Christmas” Song

Please don’t argue about the meaning behind this Christmas carol. For that is exactly what it is, a Christmas song! Catholics, and all Christians in general, can learn about their faith in other ways. Memorizing Scripture is possible, especially with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Therefore, be joyful! Remember to sing those Christmas carols loudly. Smile when others badmouth the season. And meditate on the true significance to Christmas, Jesus Christ’s birth!