I love Chris Staron and I love Truce Podcast, so of course I had him back on the show this Christmas season to talk about one of his favorite Christmas flicks (and that’s after chatting one of his favorite musicals!). When he suggested we chat Ernest Saves Christmas, I jumped at the opportunity to revisit Jim Varney’s classic character. I don’t typically throw this term around much, but rewatching Ernest Saves Christmas was very wholesome, and reminded me of the comfort one can have watching holiday films.
As we get started, Chris and I dive deep into our general thoughts on Ernest as a character, slapstick as a bygone comedy format, and how nostalgia glasses are virtually required when rewatching films we liked as a child. Then, our trivia section borderline advocates string-theory as we ponder the consistent themes, tropes, and overlapping characteristics of many Christmas films featuring Santa Claus, and how there may be a secret Santa cinematic universe. Chris also shares some amazing history on how Jim Varney and John R Cherry III built “Ernest P. Worrell” into a dominating advertising icon and popular Disney character. And lastly, we have a candid discussion on how comedy and slapstick can often be at the expense of others, and how sometimes Christians are uncomfortable with that. So, we head to scripture for some literary parallels between the book of Esther and the book of 1st Samuel, and how one can be read with comedic intentions, and the other would be inappropriate to read for kicks.
Ernest Saves Christmas is Rated PG. Here’s a custom certificate: thematic elements and mild humor. It features Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Noelle Parker, Gailard Sartain, Bill Byrge, and Oliver Clark. Directed by John R. Cherry III. Ernest Saves Christmas is available on VUDU.
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Chris Staron is the founder of Truce, the award-winning Christian podcast that looks at history to deep dive into the Christian Church. Using interviews with experts, music, games, and recipes, Truce uncovers the things that glom onto the Christian church so that we can protect our witness to the world. It’s all about how we got here and how we can do better. Chris is also the writer/director of the films Bringing up Bobby and Between the Walls, and author of Cradle Robber.