For the better part of two decades, rousers of rabble have asserted that, actually, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is the villain of Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In a 2001 article for Salon, Gary Kayima argued that Bailey is a square for opposing the bacchanalian beauty of swingin’ Pottersville. In a 2008 edition of The New York Times, Wendell Jamieson insisted that Bailey was a financial criminal. Two years ago, Tom Mullen argued similarly.
Is this true? Since my mother would never forgive me if I uttered a negative word about the hero of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I prefer to remain neutral on the question of George Bailey’s moral fortitude. However, I am bold enough to heap fiery judgment upon a host of other yuletide-inspired figures.
Here are ten beloved characters from Christmas movies and specials who are actually terrible people.
10. Frosty, ‘Frosty the Snowman’
Despite being immortalized in this 1969 animated TV special, “Frosty the Snowman” is essentially the story of a self-absorbed nitwit who kidnaps an impressionable young girl and brings her to the deadliest terrain on earth.
9. Clark Griswold, ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’
Much like “Breaking Bad,” “Christmas Vacation” is a study in how repeated humiliation can drive a weak-willed narcissist into full-blown sociopathy.
8. Bob Cratchit, ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’
A proto-millennial, Bob Cratchet is a passive-aggressive moper who sulks about his job instead of working hard enough to prove that he deserves a better health-care plan and exemption from work on religious holidays. Grow up, snowflake.
7. Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, ‘White Christmas’
Sure, Bob and Phil (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) were just trying to rescue their new lady friends from a patriarchal shakedown when they put on bracelets and hair brooches and lip synched to “Sisters,” but that doesn’t excuse their highly problematic drag queen cultural appropriation.
6. Every Single Character in ‘Love Actually’
As a Christmas film, “Love Actually” is about as charming as a termite-infested yule log. As a cautionary tale about avoiding the seven deadly sins, however, it works perfectly.
Lust: Between adulterous Alan Rickman, fornicating Laura Linney, and Liam “I’m Going to Have Age-Inappropriate Sexual Conversations with My Stepson” Neeson, “Love Actually” provides the perfect recipe for the post-Christian Christmas cocktail: zero parts Jesus, 400 parts HPV.
Greed: Emma Thompson fawning over the necklace her husband actually bought for his mistress.
Sloth: Bill Nighy’s Billy Mack, who wants to get some of that sweet Christmas music money despite putting no effort into his record.
Wrath: Rickman again, who gets modestly frustrated as Roman Atkinson slowly giftwraps aforementioned adultery necklace. (Modestly frustrated is the 21st century British version of good old fashioned murderous wrath.)
Envy: That “Walking Dead” weasel who sulky-pines for his best friend’s wife before proclaiming his covetousness in a clandestine, cowardly, humiliating display of self-condemnation. Ladies, if you find that scene romantic, get thee to a nunnery.
Gluttony: Chunk from “Goonies” had a small role that was cut from the theatrical release. It’s true, I promise. Don’t Google it.
Pride: Back in 2003, we were all inspired to watch Hugh Grant’s prime minister character beam with self-satisfaction after putting President Totally Not George W. Bush in his place. But in the era of Trump, now we know that a head of state alienating his historical allies due to emotional instability is bad, actually.
5. Ralphie Parker, ‘A Christmas Story’
Ralphie Parker is a Chicagoland-based, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, brown-nosing, disrespectful, foul-mouthed, firearm-obsessed, sibling-agitating, violent, entitled little pagan who pesters Santa to solve his life problems instead of asking God for help.
4. Kevin McCallister, ‘Home Alone’
Kevin McCallister is a Chicagoland-based, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, brown-nosing, disrespectful, foul-mouthed, firearm-obsessed, sibling-agitating, violent, entitled little pagan who pesters Santa to solve his life problems instead of asking God for help.
Let the “Mind Blown: Ralphie Parker is Kevin McCallister’s real father” fan theories begin.
3. Santa Claus, ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’
How evil is Santa in this Claymation classic? Let’s take a look at his master plan:
Step 1. Corrupt the celebration of Christ’s birth by turning it into a celebration of mammon.
Step 2. Psychologically manipulate all the children of the world in a such a way that they will experience profound trauma if you fail to deliver the presents they are expecting.
Step 3. Have absolutely no plan for dealing with inclement weather despite basing your Christmas present corporation in the North Pole and scheduling product distribution for the coldest and darkest time of the year.
Step 4. When aforementioned inclement weather strikes, threaten worldwide childhood trauma and risk eternal damnation by claiming the authority to cancel Christmas.
2. Cindy Lou Who, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’
Mary Sue: A fictional female imbued with inexplicable talents and completely bereft of character flaws.
Cindy Lou: A one-dimensional, anti-feminist, naïve little angel trope.
The Grinch is a home intruder, girl. Instead of flashing doe-eyes at this goon and trying to change the bad boy, how about you summon your inner Kevin McCallister and impale him with one of those kitchen knives you Whos use to carve up that legendary roast beast?
1. John McClain, ‘Die Hard’
Sure, John McClain killed the bad guys, but the only reason he was in that plaza in the first place was to harass his estranged wife, ruin her corporate career, and force her back into the kitchen. Who’s the real terrorist? #NakatoMeToo #LeanInHollyGennero