Televised Days of Christmas: Night of the Meek

[Is there a better way to celebrate the manger-birth of a superpowered messiah-baby than watching television? Hell no! Join Rendar Frankenstein as he navigates Spaceship OL through the Televised Days of Christmas!]

“Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Didja hear that? Didja?! I think it was Santa Claus giving us an early warning of the impending holiday! Make sure you rush out to the mall so that you can buy a Tamagotchi Angel for Cousin Jeffie and a Furby for Sister Lillian! Hurry! You don’t want to miss the sales! Go!

Actually, don’t.

Instead, why don’t you join the OL crew as we begin our trek through the finest Televised Days of Christmas? We’re going to peer into the vacuum-tubed past of yuletide greetings, the glowing memories of peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. Pour yourself a mugful of frothy eggnog, toss on your favorite ugly sweater, and plant your ass on the closest ottoman.

Tonight is not just any night – it’s The Night of the Meek.

Most discussions of Rod Serling‘s The Twilight Zone generally devolve into voyeur-boastings about the bizarre, the horrifying, and the unspeakable. And that stuff’s definitely found throughout the series. Hell, the case can even be made that the show helped redefine the very parameters of science fiction and horror. But what’s often lost in translation is the fact that The Twilight Zone‘s primary concern is not ghoulish adventures of spacemen, but the fostering of inspiration and imagination – the human heart’s exploration of infinity.

And The Night of the Meek may be the best example of The Twilight Zone‘s supreme range.

This episode, the forty-seventh installment in the series, chronicles the Christmas Eve adventures of Henry Corwin (Art Carney), a reprobate gainfully employed as a department store Santa Claus. A predilection for poundin’ booze gets in the way of Corwin’s annual holiday duties, and he is summarily dismissed by the cranky store manager. Corwin’s dismissal is a damn shame not just because he’s now an unemployed drunk yet again, but because his belief in the purity of holiday goodness is unmatched. Simply put, no one will inspire cheer with the same panache as Corwin.

Despite this enormous setback, Henry Corwin never wavers. He still knows in his heart of hearts that Christmas is the altruist’s season, the time in which we dig a little deeper into our own pockets so that others’ may also know the clang of change.

Go ahead – try to resist gettin’ goosebumps when Corwin breaks down the true meaning of Christmas:

From here, Corwin prepares to head back to his shitty apartment, ostensibly so to drink himself into a coma. Yeah, it’s right when life’s lookin’ its bleakest that the dude stumbles into a bottomless sack of presents. Oh shit! What’s a drunken dreamer decked out in full Santa-garb to do with an infinite supply of Christmas cheer?

Why, spread that shit!

Corwin is a harbinger of the miraculous, bringing smiles to the faces to the disenfranchised – the boozers at the mission house, the street urchins, and even the same cynical bastards that’ve wronged him. The man is an exemplar, a beacon of hope and a source of benevolence that’d we all be better for imitating.

It’s easy to be apathetic. Even easier to be a downright bastard. But to be good for its own sake, to help those in need – in whatever way we can – that is true beauty. And for reminding us of this, The Night of the Meek isn’t just a great episode of The Twilight Zone or a perfect holiday special – it’s a goddamn kick-start to the heart.

A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas, and there’s a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek.