Lizzie McGuire

Season 2 Episode 20

Xtreme Xmas

0
Aired Unknown Dec 06, 2002 on Disney Channel
8.3
out of 10
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Episode Summary

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Lizzie and Gordo are at a Christmas charity drive where they bring presents to an unlikely-looking Santa Claus. Lizzie fervently hopes to win the grand prize in the Christmas parade with her idea for a "Rock & Roll Christmas" float, but she'll have competition from Tudgeman, who is building a "Christmas Deathstar" float and also Kate and her cousin Amy, who have hired professionals to build theirs. The rest of the McGuire family are there, and they are charmed by an eccentric old man in an elf suit who calls himself Nobby Frostybump and seems to really believe he's one of Santa's elves! Lizzie is disappointed that her family is going off to dinner with Nobby instead of working on the float, but Gordo stays to help. Hours later, Lizzie comes home and is surprised by Nobby. His senior-citizens home is having plumbing problems and he will stay with the McGuires fro a few days.

The next day Lizzie and Gordo are busy working on the float. Nobby gets the bad news that the plumbing in his building won't be fixed until after Christmas. The McGuire family volunteers to help fix the plumbing themselves so the old man and his friends can spend Christmas at home. That is, all except Lizzie, who is now obsessed with working on her float. To her dismay, Gordo goes along with the others to help, leaving her to work alone. After many hours, an exhausted Lizzie falls asleep. She has a dream right out of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol in which various characters remind her what the true meaning of Christmas is. In the bargain she also realizes the solutions to the plumbing problems that her family has been unable to fix. Though it costs her a chance to enter a float in the parade, Lizzie is happy with the way things turn out. But as if by magic, her float does appear, ridden by a singing Santa Claus, who looks and sounds suspiciously like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith!moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This is a very special Lizzie McGuire holiday episode in which Lizzie learns the true meaning of Christmas.

    10
    Lizzie is working on a float for a Christmas parade. When she finds herself competing against Kate, Lizzie gets more obsessed with winning the Christmas contest. Lizzie wants Gordo to help her, but he decides to help Mr. and Mrs. McGuire at the retirement home fixing broken pipes. That's when Lizzie discovers the true meaning of Christmas: doing something good for others.



    Nobby the elf was such a jolly character for this special ep. The big surprise is that you see that Santa Claus is really Aerosmith's Steven Tyler singing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town". I would say "best Christmas special ever" really applies to Lizzie McGuire.moreless
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!

    10
    The next to last episode produced for the series. While filmed at such a late date, one does not see any ‘revelations’ in regards to *any* long term story threads in this one. Nor is it a growing episode. No, this is a typical ‘filler’ episode, which is not to say it is anything but good. I inevitably find that my favorite episodes of any given series are ‘filler’ episodes, AKA: *normal* episodes. There are a lot more ‘normal’ episodes in any given series than ‘growth’ or ‘story advancement’ episodes. In fact, it is the abundance of ‘normal’ episodes that make the ‘growth’ and ‘story advancement’ ones stand out. If the ‘growth’ and ‘story advancement’ episodes are the organs, then the ‘normal’ episodes are the blood.



    The first thing one notices is how one *doesn’t* notice Miranda’s being gone in this episode. In fact, her absence isn’t even explained. But then, when we are talking about one episode no explanation is needed. She could simply be out of town, or home sick. It’s interesting that they didn’t mention the reason, but ultimately it’s not necessary.



    An interesting feature here is that the subplot is not of the typical ‘Meanwhile with Matt’ variety that we usually see. The entire McGuire family (plus Gordo) is active in it. So the question comes up: Is Nobby supposed to be a delusional old guy who by some means knows Steven Tyler? Or is he actually supposed to be the chief elf of a Santa who happens to be able to turn into Steven Tyler? The episode seems to lean toward the latter. And Steven Tyler isn’t listed as ‘Himself’, but rather as ‘Santa’, so I guess that Nobby really *is* Santa’s chief elf. To quote Steven/Santa, “Righteous!”



    This episode is also chalk full of guest characters. We get to see Kate in a minor role (who looks better in this episode; no puffy face). We get to see the return of Kate’s cousin Amy, who while not really doing anything is still there. We also get a dose of Tudgeman. Plus Sam’s reoccurring softball buddies. All that *and* Steven Tyler and his kids! Then, to top it off, we get another look at Sam’s cousin ReRe and his friend Stucco! Man, talk about plenty of extra “Lizzie McGuire” members to spend the holidays with.



    It’s good to see that the fact that Gordo is Jewish is not forgotten. And he, like most other folks, gets tired of potato pancakes real fast. And it’s good to see that Gordo sees no dichotomy between Christmas and his own chosen religion.



    And while on that matter, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the series did not shy away from the religious origins/meaning of the Christmas holiday. We see Sam setting up a nativity scene, we see various Christmas decorations depicting the ‘Three Wise Men’ in the background of shots, and Matt as Linus even related the birth of Jesus Christ and evoked God. It’s good to see that Disney didn’t go the ‘PC’ route and not allude to the true meaning behind the holiday. It is what it is and shouldn’t hide that fact. Kudos.



    One also can’t turn around without being hit upside the head by a pop culture reference. Be it Christmas themed (like the entirety of Lizzie’s dream sequence) or otherwise (Tudgeman’s ‘A Death Star Christmas’). But I have to say that while the references are well meant, some come off looking bad. Though, Gordo as the I-want-to-be-a-dentist elf from the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” with the high squeaky voice *is* funny. The references are well placed, just badly acted out. It’s especially jarring with Matt’s turn as Linus from the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. His delivery of the ‘Christ Child’ speech is flat, with none of the simple profoundness of the original performance all those years ago. But the very *presence* of that bit makes its delivery marginal. It’s earnestly presented, if not well acted. And that’s all that matters. It’s not the wrapping, but the gift itself. A truly Christmas-like ideal.



    This is a good fun little episode. Lizzie must learn the ‘True Meaning of Christmas’, and in true “Lizzie McGuire” style she does. And it’s one of those rare episodes where the main plot and the subplot are intertwined. It works on all levels. We get a moral, we get a holiday special, and we get guest characters. We get it all.



    And really, who *can* cut through a fruitcake? Good bit of realism there. ;-)



    Overall, I’d say this is a great episode.moreless
Taj Tallarico

Taj Tallarico

Bystander #2

Guest Star

Chelsea Tallarico

Chelsea Tallarico

Bystander #1

Guest Star

Jackson Rogow

Jackson Rogow

Kid

Guest Star

Troy Rowland

Troy Rowland

Mr. Lang [scenes deleted?]

Recurring Role

Jeremy J. Bargiel

Jeremy J. Bargiel

Jeremy [as Jeremy Bargiel]

Recurring Role

David Alex Rosen

David Alex Rosen

David [as David A. Rosen]

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Steven Tyler is shown singing on the float, there are some quick-cut shots in which he goes from using a microphone on a stand to a hand-held one without sufficient time to make the switch.

    • After Mr. McGuire is introduced to Nobby, he says to him, "Hi, Notty."

    • When Lizzie comes home and unexpectedly finds Nobby in the house, he starts screaming before she does, even though he has his back to her!

    • The McGuires are helpless at fixing the plumbing in the retirement home-this despite Jo's being shown at being a fix-it wiz in "Movin' On Up".

    • Matt's head cloth changes configuration from one shot to the next in the dream sequence where he's describing the true meaning of Christmas.

    • When Sam tells Lizzie how the rest of the family is having trouble fixing the plumbing at the retirement home they show a quick clip of their haplessness, in which Gordo is shown 'helping'. Yet this is *before* Gordo decides to go and try to help.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Lizzie: The plumbing got fixed and Nobby and his friends have a place to stay. I'd say 'best Christmas ever' definitely applies!

    • Larry: Ho-ho-ho and a bottle of rum! Oh wait, that's pirates. But pirates have beards and so does Santa so I'm sticking with it!

    • Santa Claus: I heard what you did for Nobby. Righteous.
      Gordo: Santa just said 'righteous.'

    • 9 Year Old: Are you really Santa Claus?
      Santa Claus: Well, I ain't the Easter Bunny.
      Bystander #2: You're too skinny to be Santa.
      Santa Hey! I'm workin' on it.
      Bystander #1: Well, you may be too skinny but you sure look old enough.
      Santa: Hey!
      13 Year Old: If you're Santa, prove it!
      Kid: Yeah, prove it!
      Santa: Take a hike, you little...
      Nobby: Naah, Santa, Santa...
      Santa: All right, I'll prove it, but only because I like showin' off.

    • Amy: We dropped by the warehouse last night. Saw your float. Why is it out by the trash cans?
      Lizzie: Merry Christmas to you too, Amy.

    • Lizzie: That's my bedroom. Why are you showing me my bedroom?
      Jo: Because it's a mess. Would it kill you to clean it up once in a while?
      Toon Lizzie: Even when my mom is the Ghost of Christmas Past, she has to hassle me.

    • Gordo: Kate, you're paying carpenters to build your float?
      Kate: Get real! My dad's paying them.

    • Toon Lizzie: It'll be a lot of work, but...I can still grind everyone else into the dust...in the spirit of the holidays!

    • Gordo (to Tudge): ...nothing says Merry Christmas like a fiery spaceship crash.

  • NOTES (16)

    • This episode deals with religion (namely, Christianity and the Bible, though the passage taken from Luke 2:8-14 recited by Matt is abridged, not directly quoted), something rarely seen in children's programming. Matt even says "God" and "Lord". Probably the closest episode that comes to this in terms of explicit religion is "Gordo's Bar Mitzvah", but whereas Gordo's Jewish traditions are put clearly in a religious context, no such distinction is made in this episode, blurring the line between religion and life in a secular society.

    • A Christmas episode of Kim Possible, aired a year later, featured a TV program named "Xtreme Xmas."

    • This episode can be found in the paperback novelization book A Very Lizzie Christmas. It is also on Vol. 3 of the Lizzie McGuire DVD Collection entitled "Star Struck" released on Mar. 16, 2004.

    • Continuity: Matt mentions to Nobby how he wants his "own private island," something he wanted way back in "And The Winner Is," too.

    • The scene in which Matt wears a head cloth and talks about the meaning of Christmas, was inspired by a scene in the 1965 holiday classic television show A Charlie Brown Christmas, which features Charles Schulz' animated Peanuts cartoon characters. In it, Linus, with his "security blanket," delivers a similar soliloquy about the true meaning of Christmas.

    • Steven Tyler's performance of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" won "Best Song" in the viewer voting on the Disney Channels' broadcast of "A Raven New Year's Eve," December 31, 2002.

    • Matt and Nobby are seen playing a traditional Hanukkah game which uses a four sided spinning top called a dreidel, something Gordo mentions earlier that he has mastered making. This game is also seen in the Even Stevens episode "Heck of a Hanukkah".

    • There is no clapboard with a production date on it shown at the beginning of the blooper reel like there usually is. (One seen very briefly at the end is impossible to read.) Perhaps the makers of Lizzie didn't want to call attention to the fact this Christmas episode was shot in May 2002.

    • Palm trees are seen in the background lining the parade route, another indication that Lizzie McGuire might take place in California.

    • A "Gordo theme" is heard in this episode, the same Hebraic-sounding music that was used in "Gordo's Bar Mitzvah" and "Mom's Best Friend." It seems to be used mostly when his Jewish heritage is being mentioned.

    • Some stock footage is used (for the first time ever on the show?) for some of the parade scene.

    • Characters without lines: Sam's often-mentioned cousin Ree Ree and his pal Stucco, who are in the parade with the "float," throwing batteries into the crowd. This is the first time they've been seen in a live-action shot. Earlier some still photos of them were seen in "Facts of Life." The Announcer gives their names as Reginald Rehoven and Alistair Stukovitch.
      Mr. Lang, played by Troy Rowland, is listed in the credits but does not appear. Rowland, by the way, has been credited as the show's dialog coach during its second season.

    • Guest stars include, as noted above, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and also Shelley Berman, a comedian who won a Grammy award and three gold albums for his comedy recordings in the late 1950's-early '60's. (His trademark routine was the one-way phone conversation.) There's also a "family" element to the show as Haylie Duff, Hilary's big sis, returns in the role of Kate's cousin Amy. Also, two of Steven Tyler's children, 13-year-old daughter Chelsea and 10-year-old son Taj have small roles. They are listed in the credits by their real last name, Tallirico. And we don't know for sure, but we suspect Jason Rogow (playing "Kid") is related to Lizzie's executive producer, Stan Rogow. Plus Brad Grunberg returns to the Lizzie "family" for his third guest-starring role, each time as a different character. But unlike his previous two appearances, his character the Announcer isn't eating anything this time (although he does have a doughnut sitting right next to him!)

    • This is first episode broadcast in which Miranda (Lalaine) does not appear. Since it was shown out of production order, it wasn't the first episode filmed without Lalaine, so no explanation is given for Miranda's absence. Lalaine's name and pictures remained in the opening titles sequence, as always.

    • Steven Tyler, who is the lead singer for the longtime hard-rock group Aerosmith, performs "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."
      Also, Jake Thomas, Hallie Todd and Hilary Duff (Matt, Jo and Lizzie) sing a little bit of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," accompanied by Robert Carradine (Sam) on piano.

    • Hilary Duff was Steven Tyler's special guest at his unplugged concert, where she asked him if he would be Santa Clause in the "Xtreme Xmas" episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (12)

    • Lizzie: No wonder they make no plum progress at all, because the pipes that they're plumbing are two sizes to small.
      This is a play on the line "May have been that his heart was two sizes too small" from the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

    • Lizzie: I just close my eyes and click my heels three times.
      Lizzie gets mixed up with the book and movie The Wizard of Oz here! She says she's going to do this to transport herself to Nobby's building and help her family fix the plumbing, but Nobby responds by saying "Why would you do that?" and mentions that he has a car outside waiting.

    • Lizzie: You're the pepperoni pizza I ate for dinner.
      Lizzie's dream is based on Charles Dicken's famous short novel A Christmas Carol (1836), and so is this piece of dialog, in which Lizzie explains away the "spirit" she's seeing as a bad dream brought on by something she ate. In Dickens' book, Ebenezer Scrooge does the same thing when confronted by the first spirit he sees, that of his former business partner Jacob Marley. He tells Marley's ghost, "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

    • Toon Lizzie: "Hey, I don't care if you have the Dallas Cheerleaders living here."
      Actually, they're called the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and they are almost certainly the most famous cheerleaders in the world. Although professional football and the Dallas Cowboys have always had cheerleaders, it wasn't until 1972 that the Dallas organization developed a new concept of a cheerleading outfit that went beyond the traditional roles, becoming more of a dance team and also acting as good-will ambassadors for the club.

    • Matt: "She's a grinch."
      The Grinch is one of those weird creatures from the imagination of popular children's author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel 1904-1991). He was introduced in the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, published in 1957. In it, the Grinch is a miserable solitary creature who resents the Christmas celebrations in neighboring Whoville. One Christmas Eve, like Santa Claus in reverse, he sneaks into every house in town and steals all the presents, decorations--anything to do with Christmas. But later he is stunned to see that the residents of Whoville haven't lost the spirit of Christmas, and it changes him from a bad soul to a good one. The term "grinch" has become a synonym for a person who doesn't get into the prevailing Christmas spirit. An animated version of the story was made in 1966 with Boris Karloff providing the voice of both the narrator and the Grinch. It has been one of the most popular Christmas shows of all-time, animated or otherwise. In 2000, a live action movie was made starring Jim Carrey in the title role.

    • Nobby: "You wanted a Quickie-Bake Oven when you were ten."
      The name is changed here, but we're sure they're talking about an Easy-Bake Oven, a popular toy introduced in 1963 by Kenner (later bought by Hasbro). The small oven used an electric light bulb for a heat source and could actually cook a few simple foods.

    • Jo McGuire: ...in honor of Hanukkah, I made potato panckaes.
      Potato pancakes, or "latkes," are one of the traditional foods made during the observance of the Jewish religious holiday Hanukkah, which celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement in ancient times. In this story, though, it sounds like Gordo has had enough of 'em to last him for a while!

    • Nobby: If he loves animals so much he can de-worm Rudolph
      According to a Dutch tradition there were flying reindeer who pulled the sleigh of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) through the sky when he delivered presents on Christmas Day. They were named in the 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Vixen. But in 1939, Montgomery Ward department stores were looking for a promotional item to give away during Christmas time. They gave their copywriter Robert L. May the task of coming up with something, and he created an illustrated booklet about the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, who had a glowing red nose that the other reindeer made fun of, but who saved Christmas one year when the led the sleigh through thick fog by the light of his nose! The character became even more popular when a nine-minute cartoon was made about the Rudolph story in 1947. May's brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, put the story to music in 1949. Many artists passed on recording the song, not wanting to tamper with the Christmas legend, but cowboy movie star Gene Autry recorded it in 1949 and it became a huge hit, selling two million copies at a time when million-selling records were very rare. Today it is one of the best-known and most frequently-sung of all Christmas songs.

    • Larry: "...Death Star Christmas."
      Always the Star Wars freak, Larry plans to enter a Death Star float in the Christmas parade. In the Star Wars movies, the Death Star was a gigantic battle station, a huge, horrible weapon used by the evil Empire forces to control planets and make them bow to their wishes.

    • Larry Tudgeman: "Ho-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. Oh wait, that's pirates."
      Tudge gives a little bit of a Christmas twist to a much-quoted line from the 1881 classic novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. In the book, the fearsome Long John Silver sings an old sea song:

      Fifteen men on a dead man's chest

      Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum

      Drink and the devil had done for the rest

      Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum

    • Gordo: "...frankly, I've mastered making dreidels and lighting menorahs."
      A dreidel is a top-like toy that is used in a traditional Hanukkah game. A menorah is a candelabra used in Jewish worship services. The nine-branch kind usually holds Hanukkah candles while the seven-branch menorah is more often used in Temple services.

    • Lizzie: "The kids get a merry little Christmas and I get a silent night."
      Lizzie uses the name of two familiar Christmas songs here. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine, originally for the 1944 movie Meet Me in St. Louis starring Judy Garland and directed by Vincente Minelli. "Silent Night," is of course one of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time. It was originally a poem by Joseph Mohr which he took to his friend Franz X. Gruber who set it to music in 1818 in Austria. Its original German title: "Stille Nacht."

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