What’s the dirty little secret of someone who already watches all of the cheesiest TV ever? I love The Partridge Family. I once saw Danny Bonaduce in an Amtrak Cafe car and I geeked out about it (from a distance), which means I ran back to my seat and texted my dad because he was one of the only people I knew old enough to care. He responded that Danny Bonaduce was “pretty rough” and I had to agree. Anyway, I wish him all the best because the whole former child star thing really does seem to suck. But Danny seemed to be having a lively conversation with the cafe car guy, so I hope that’s a good sign.
So anyway, this Very Special Christmas episode is pretty trippy. It opens with Shirley Jones/David Cassidy singing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and it is so great. It’s also great because you know it’s really their voices and that can’t be said of anyone else in this entire cast.
Oh no! The bus breaks down on the way home from the Christmas concert! Even worse, they have broken down in a ghost town!
So while Keith and (father figure/manager) Reuben try to fix the bus, a nice old man tells the rest of the family a story about what the town was like before it was a ghost town. And all of the partridge family are the characters in the story. The entire town is pastel colored. Apparently, the town has a large silver bell so that Santa can find the children because that is how far out in the boonies they are. Also, they have latex balloons in a rainbow of colors and I know that shouldn’t bug me as an anachronism with everything els that is going on, but it does. Otherwise, things seem great until a newcomer comes to town and steals the bell for no reason other than that he is mean.
Then The Partridge family mom/saloon owner convinces her daughter/schoolmarm to try to “charm” the mean bell-stealer into returning the bell. That doesn’t work and her hair is all messed up when she returns, which I find concerning. She says he is mean and I hope he just decided to pull her hair like a schoolboy instead of something sketchy.
Then Danny Bonaduce almost saves the day as “Little the Kid,” who tries to win the bell back in a game of poker. But the mean man pulls a gun on him, and manages to keep Christmas from happening (so Grinch like). Except then Alvin and the Chipmunks start singing “We Wish You a Marry Christmas.” What? But it is not the chipmunks because Shirley Jones informs everyone that those are the sounds of eight tiny reindeer. Santa did not need the bell to find the town!
Also, it turns out that the mean man stole the bell because he was feeling left out of Christmas. Santa never visited him and that made him cranky. Then the town gives him the silver bell. But he’s so moved by the spirit of Christmas that he gives it back to them. Then they make friends.
By this time, Reuben and Keith have fixed the bus, so the family leaves but we stay in the ghost town with the old man. Then we have to witness his poor old man totally alone in a ghost town for Christmas and like it’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen on a sitcom. And just when you’re like the Partridges are the douchiest people ever, the dulcet tones of a fake family band caroling in a ghost town caress your ears.
They’re so obviously lip syncing but it’s heartwarming either way. Also, my favorite part of this fake family band is how there’s only one adult male and yet there’s always like three adult male voices in their “live” performances.
Very Special Lesson: Don’t leave the elderly alone on Christmas, especially not when they live in a ghost town and their only means of transportation is a donkey. That’s just horrible.