Politics linger through the holidays, more tangled than a 30-foot string of lights and meriting the same label: "Warning: Do not use for other than intended purpose. " So it is...

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Politics linger through the holidays, more tangled than a 30-foot string of lights and meriting the same label: “Warning: Do not use for other than intended purpose.”

So it is with the results of our 2004 “Twisted Christmas” contest.

We invited readers to take an oft-aired Yuletide show or movie and create a new TV listing for it — specifically, a plot description that burrows beneath the snowy gulag of sentiment to unearth an alternate meaning.

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But each embraced the “Twisted” spirit. If a special Northwest ale were brewed to toast the occasion, it would be dark, biting and like all great beers, very funny once the contents sink in.

Barring that, we salute with TV loot and thank the Museum of History & Industry for its special “Northwest Nostalgia” prize.

Winner: “Die Hard”

Inspiring story of lone policeman’s attempt to restore the meaning of Christmas to some Europeans caught up in holiday commercialism.
— Jeremy Surbrook, Bothell

Winner: “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Rudolph, a differently abled reindeer, shines an unforgiving light on prejudice in the harsh environs of a northern factory town.
— Bob McCormick, Seattle

Winner “A Christmas Carol”:

Struggling small-business owner fights four dead liberals seeking to redistribute his assets to welfare slackers.
— Brian McCullough, Sultan


Honorable mention

“White Christmas”:

Obsolete mating rituals are set to music for 120 agonizing minutes. — Joe Dolan, Seattle

And many thanks to …

“It’s a Wonderful Life”:

Corporate crook cooks the books at small-town S&L. Threatened with exposure by town’s whistle-blower, he abandons family and turns to alcohol. — Constance Logan, North Bend

“The Santa Clause”:

Middle-aged man assaults philanthropist, succumbs to delusions of grandeur and spends winter in group home for the gender confused. — David Brittin, Lynwood

“Miracle on 34th Street”:

Elderly con artist feigns senility to increase department-store profit and secure medical equipment for favorite charity. — Ann Christianson, Bothell

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”:

In an isolated utopian community, dissident citizens and defective children are exiled to barren snowy wastes inhabited by giant monsters. — Louise Owen, Seattle

“The Nutcracker”:

Highly skilled fairies dance around straight guy while he tries to rid house of undesirable elements to impress lady love. — Teresa Mosteller, Seattle

“Frosty the Snowman”:

Obese Yeti suffers sun-induced liquefaction but is brought back to life by children with aid of sorcery and possessed top hat. — Johanna Schaeffer

“A Christmas Carol”:

Shrewd businessman has goose cooked by slum-dwellers after a terror-filled night with poltergeists. — Scott Shoemaker, Auburn

“Miracle on 34th Street”:

Bilingual senior citizen teaches gum-addicted preadolescent to behave like primate and later is taken to insane asylum. — Jeff Swanson, Shoreline

“It’s a Wonderful Life”:

Paris-bound writer put on angelic suicide watch after he and local hotty make disastrous career choice. — Terry Meany, Seattle

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”:

Young reindeer ostracized for physical deformity endears himself to Santa Claus, forcing peers to accept him into their clique. — Alan Denke, Seattle

“The Santa Clause”:

Self-possessed divorcee bumps off Santa, adopts high-carb diet, develops severe weight problem. — Tom Robinson, Renton

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”:

Loser screws up Christmas play; strange dog does stuff on tree. — Johann Sorenson, Bellevue

“White Christmas”:

Veteran reunites Army buddies for final, desperate mission to combat effects of global warming with songfest. — Judd Lees, Seattle

“A Christmas Carol”

(reality-show version): Man is made over by three specialists from the Other Side, earning opportunity to participate in holiday celebration. — Julie Heintz, Seattle.

The “Alt”-ernates*

“The Sound of Music”:

Militaristic control freak seduces naïve virgin and forces her to flee the country in order to live together. — Tom Gilbery, Bothell

“CSI: Baker Street”:

Man loses and finds Christmas goose while consulting detective locates missing gem and meaning of Christmas. — Stu Shiffman, Seattle

“Et tu, Blitzen?”:
Rudolph launches coup d’état, Ides of March-style. Three stars. Rated: R — Michael O’Hara, Redmond

“It’s a Wonderful Life”:
Emotionally cannibalized by corporate greed and spiritually numb from life with saccharine Donna Reed, George jumps from bridge and is devoured by carnivorous duck. Guardian angel Howard assures duck safety as he slips into diabetic coma. — George W. Strine.

*Either slightly off the mark on Christmas-related content or straying way too far from an actual program, these entries nonetheless were too twisted to omit.

Kay McFadden: kmcfadden@seattletimes.com