What Does the Future Hold for Comedic Takes on `A Christmas Carol'?

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"A Christmas Carol" as created by Charles Dickens does manage to include moments of humor, but clearly was not intended as comedy. Nevertheless, many adaptations have attempted to view the story's theme of redemption delivered by ghostly apparitions through the perspective of comedy. A difficult undertaking, indeed, if one seeks satisfaction of that redemptive quality over chuckles and guffaws.

Bill Murray, Muppets, Mickey Mouse and Mr. Magoo have all lent the story of Ebenezer Scrooge's salvation a comedic gloss and, depending on your own particular sense of humor, some have succeeded more than others. I would place the Muppets version not only at the top of the comedic take on "A Christmas Carol" but at the cinematic peak of all adaptations.

Despite the various means by which screenwriters have attempted to transform what is essentially a tale every bit as appropriate for Halloween viewing as it is for Christmas viewing, however, there does remain significant room for more types and styles of humor to be introduced into the transformative drama of Bob Cratchit's employer.

One can certainly imagine Tyler Perry finding a way to turn Scrooge's story into one that takes advantage of his iconic character of Madea. What the heck, Perry has found ways to take advantage of his love of cross-dressing to place Madea into situations at least as unlikely as that of a ghost story about finding redemption at Christmas. That's the great thing about the underlying themes at work in "A Christmas Story." The deliverance of a pecunious mind from its narrow societal construct has proven to be a remarkably elastic narrative conceit.

The Scrooge archetype is every bit at home in the corridors of a small radio station in Cincinnati as it is in the pre-Christian world of Bedrock or the world of Victorian England. A comedic take on the story seems just as possible in the ethnic milieu of Tyler Perry's movies as it would be in a futuristic world of examining the economics of interstellar space travel. Hollywood seems to have mined just about everything it can from allowing "A Christmas Carol" to remain firmly grounded in the economics of the Industrial Revolution. The future of this Dickens tale as a comedic entity seems ripe for transplanting the plot into world of unexpected characters rather than placing unexpected characters into the Victorian setting of its plot.

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