What You Never Knew About Christmas Vacation
December 23, 2014
(The shortened opening. NC is in a completely excited state and speaking very fast)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. I'm sorry. I know I don't look my best, I'm not shaving or anything, but...we're so close to Christmas! I mean, we are so friggin' close, I just wanna get this video done with! (Calms down) Okay, okay. Without further ado, welcome to another rendition of...What You Never Knew. (beat) Oh, screw it! Let's just finish it up so we can celebrate Christmas!
(The logo of What You Never Knew is shown with two large eyes)
Voice: I never knew that!
NC: With all the famous Christmas specials out there, let's take a look at one of my favorites: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
(Clips from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation are shown)
NC (vo): Every family's gone through something similar to what this family had to go through...okay, well, maybe not exploding a flaming Santa and reindeer into the sky.
NC: (beat) Twice.
NC (vo): But everybody can find something to connect with. We've all seen this movie a million times, but nevertheless, there's still probably a few little touches you might've missed. They're not behind the scenes, they're just all the little details happening right in front of you that you probably never realized before. And we're gonna take a look at them here today.
NC: So let's make a classic even more classic. Let's take a closer look at National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
[The logo for What You Never Knew About National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is shown with a scene showing the flaming Santa and reindeer flying past the moon in the sky. This will serve as the background image as the numbers countdown. The number 19 is shown first]
NC (vo): We all notice Eddie putting a ton of groceries in Clark's basket, but have you ever noticed what he's destroying in the process? [Eddie is shown putting an even larger bag into a trolley filled with large bags] Smooth.
[The number 18 is shown]
NC (vo): Cameo time! Uh...kind of. Okay, these aren't gigantic names or anything, but they're still people you'll probably recognize.
[Various cameo appearances are shown]
NC (vo): For example, Clark's boss is Bill Murray's brother (Brian-Doyle Murray). The next door neighbor is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The director of the movie (Jeremiah Chechik) is on the cover of the magazine. The daughter is Juliette Lewis, and you might recognize the son (Johnny Galecki) from a little show called Big Bang Theory...or "Geek Black Face", as a lot of my fans like to call it. And how about the mother (Doris Roberts) from Everybody Loves Raymond? Speaking of mothers, Eddie's wife is the Tazmanian Devil's mother from the 90s show Taz-Mania, which is fitting, seeing how there's a Taz mug earlier. This is Newt's sister from Alien, Aunt Bethany is the voice of Betty Boop as well as Olive Oyl, and her husband is the scientist from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Man, this cast has been in everything.
Eddie: Clark, that's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.
[The number 17 is shown]
NC (vo): If you look closely, you can see that Eddie's turtle neck under his sweater is literally just the neck, as it seems he couldn't afford the rest of the outfit.
Clark: I just can't believe you're actually standing here in my living room, Eddie.
[The number 16 is shown]
NC (vo): But don't let that distract from the fact that the glass they're drinking out of are all Walley World glasses, a callback to the theme park in the first film.
Clark: You really think it matters, Eddie?
[The number 15 is shown]
NC (vo): The Griswold house is so falling apart, you'd swear it looked like the top of a set. [Beat, as an arrow is shown pointing at one of the house's ceilings] Wait a minute.
[The number 14 is shown]
NC (vo): Clark's gift to his boss is so unoriginal that it's literally the exact same size and shape as all the other gifts he's got. But maybe that's because he's deserving of as much time as he gives to everyone else.
[The number 13 is shown]
NC (vo): The turkey they're having is so bad that not only are the people having a hard time chewing it, but Ellen suddenly flings it off her fork, pretending to eat it. It goes by real fast. Blink and you miss it.
[The number 12 is shown]
NC (vo): Hey, I thought that sled was clear at the bottom.
[An arrow points to the clear shed]
Clark: Remember, don't try this at home, kids. I am a professional.
[The number 11 is shown]
NC (vo): A lot of people miss it, but after Ellen's mother says she has hemorrhoids, Ellen tries her best not to burst out laughing. I imagine that was done a lot in this movie.
Clark: Oh, that's all part of the experience, honey.
[The number 10 is shown]
NC (vo): A lot of stuff is happening when everybody freezes at the end, but probably the funniest is Eddie's wife trying to block him like a human shield, and Ellen protecting Clark's balls, like that's the most important part not to get shot off. Well, at least we know they have a healthy sex life. Sort of.
[The number 9 is shown]
NC (vo): The power company apparently so rarely uses their axillary power that it's actually spelled wrong. Good to know Clark finally got them down there to see it at least once.
Clark: I know the feeling.
[The number 8 is shown]
NC (vo): The shaky top of the railing is a homage to It's a Wonderful Life, with the railing that always fell off in Jimmy Stewart's home. The only exception is, where Stewart finds joy in the imperfection, Clark shows it up by making it even more imperfect.
Clark: Goddamn it!
[The number 7 is shown]
NC (vo): Eddie's son kind of predicts the next film, as the next one is gonna be set in Vegas, and that's where Eddie's family ends up living. [Eddie's son is shown wearing a Las Vegas shirt] I guess that'll make up for the fact that he has literally no lines in the movie.
[The number 6 is shown]
NC (vo): Every time the doorbell rings with the extended family on the other side, the doorbell gets slower, emphasizing the impending doom that's about to consume them. 'Tis the season to be merry.
Mary: Well, that's my name.
Clark: No shit.
[The number 5 is shown]
NC (vo): Clark's boss never gets his name right.
Boss: Don't forget that report, Bill.
Clark: Yes, sir.
NC (vo): What an asshole.
[The number 4 is shown]
NC (vo): Even though they say it's the family's first kidnapping, this is not only their second after the cop from the first movie...
[The number 3 is shown]
NC (vo): ...but it's also the second vacation where they killed a pet, had authorities called in, being held at gunpoint, and yet somehow, they're lucky enough not to have charges pressed against them. I guess this family has all the luck?
Clark: HALLELUJAH! Holy shit!
[The number 2 is shown]
NC (vo): The dog drinking the tree water could very well be the reason the tree explodes from the cigar. After all, it would have to be especially dry in order for that to happen, and the dog from Day 1 is caught doing that.
Clark: He drinks the water out of there, the tree's gonna dry up.
NC (vo): Food for thought, or rather, water for thought.
[The number 1 is shown]
NC (vo): And the Number 1 Thing You Never Knew About National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is...Clark's father-in-law is the first one to stand up and support him against his boss. This may seem like a small thing, but really think about it. This guy is easily the biggest complainer and critic of Clark's abilities. He bitches and makes fun of him throughout the entire film.
Art: You're goofy.
Clark: Don't piss me off, Art.
Art: The little lights are not twinkling.
Clark: I know, Art. Thanks for noticing.
NC (vo): So, him being the first one to stand up and be on his side is actually a big emotional moment that a lot of people miss. He didn't need any coaxing from anybody, he just stood up to show he acknowledges that Clark deserves more than what he's been given. It's actually a pretty powerful moment that a lot of people don't take notice of. It may be subtle, but once you see it, you could actually consider it one of the best scenes in the movie. But luckily, there's enough emotion, laughs, clever writing, great acting, and just all-around Christmas goodness to keep this classic an undying classic. It's definitely a Christmas tradition worth watching again and again.
NC: Are there any that we missed? Are there any other little touches worth mentioning? Well, bring them up in the comments below [Becomes excited again] and have a merry fucking goddamn Christmas! Go! Celebrate! Have fun! By God, it's the GREATEST TIME OF THE YEAR! I'm the Nostalgia Critic! I remember it BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMAS! Go! Go! Have fun! Have fun! [Gets up and leaves, then comes back] Open lots of gifts! Do all that stuff! [Leaves again, then comes back again] CHRISTMAS!!
[He finally leaves. The credits roll]