The holidays on TV means a parade of specials celebrating the season. In fact, a lot of them are the sole reason some people take a break from the baking and presents. Classics like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” appeal to audiences of all ages and are great things to watch when the family is all together.
However, occasionally networks miss the mark when they have an idea for a special, with variety specials in particular having a somewhat high failure rate. Check out some of the worst holiday specials of years past that prove just because a person can sing or is cute on a reality show doesn’t mean they should be given their own special.
1. ‘Nick and Jessica’s Family Christmas’ (2004)
Remember the days when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were the definition of a happy American couple? Well, during those days the two seized every opportunity to perform together as a modern-day Sonny and Cher. In ABC’s “Nick and Jessica’s Family Christmas,” the two sang, danced and poked fun at themselves in a zany and super cheesy holiday special. The best part — the whole special is able for viewing on Youtube.
2. ‘A Very Gaga Thanksgiving’ (2011)
In 2011, singer Lady Gaga showed off her talents in the first of two holiday specials for ABC. In the super self-indulgent “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving,” she discusses her personal life and inspirations behind her music in between acoustic performances. While the special might have been a treat for Gaga fans, it seemed like a weird fit for holiday programming.
3. ‘The Osbourne Family Christmas Special’ (2003)
Back when “The Osbournes” were taking over TV in 2003, the rock family decided to record a Christmas special for MTV at their Beverly Hills home. The combination of the family, along with Tracy Morgan playing Santa Claus and appearances by Britney Spears, Mike Myers and Mandy Moore was ridiculous enough. Then to top it all off, the clan had 20 tons of fake snow around to make sure the environment felt festive enough. Also randomly on hand: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, again. Check out a clip of Jessica singing with Ozzy above.
4. ‘Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special’ (2009)
“American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood’s first holiday extravaganza had all the makings of bad special greatness. Random cameos by the likes of Christina Applegate and Kristin Chenoweth intermixed with songs by Underwood, legend Dolly Parton and friends combined with holiday-themed animation filled the night out. However, it took the show a while to get to the point. The first holiday song, “Oh, Holy Night” isn’t even featured until the last 15 minutes — yikes!
5. ‘Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular’ (2013)
What combination says the holidays more than Lady Gaga and the Muppets, right? For the singer’s second holiday special, she upped the ante with singing puppets and appearances by Elton John, RuPaul and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. To say the skits combined with lots of Gaga’s modern music to celebrate Thanksgiving is weird and somewhat creepy is an understatement.