The holidays really do bring people together! Mediaite and conservative media watchdog Newsbusters find themselves united today in one belief: CBS shouldn’t have messed around with Frosty. The two sites knocked the network for some mashup promos that intercut the perennial kids’ cartoon Frosty the Snowman with rather adult dialogue from How I Met Your Mother (above) and Two and a Half Men.
After the jump, the other video, and my thoughts on just what’s so creepy about this whole thing:
So the videos are the latest example of what’s become a mini holiday trend. (See, for instance, Scrubs’ take on A Charlie Brown Christmas. Here’s another. And another.) If the mashups had been made by an amateur at home, CBS’ lawyers may have been offended, but I doubt any organizations would have commented. What sets people off is the idea that CBS itself defiled Frosty with the creepy-old-man humor of Charlie Sheen:
OK, so first thing: I think the videos are funny, I’m sorry. (Well, I think the HIMYM video is funny, undoubtedly because I like that show better than Two and a Half Men. Also maybe because I watched it first and the joke only sustains for a minute or so.) I don’t share Newsbusters’ take that the video was “disgusting.” And I’m skeptical of Rachel Sklar’s argument at Mediaite that (while she thinks the videos are funny), the fact that CBS was responsible makes it more likely for kids to find it in a Google search. If a private citizen had made the mashup and it went viral, the search engines would take note: that ship has sailed.
But to be completely honest, knowing that CBS made the videos does change the way I view them. My problem is more an intangible gut thing. It doesn’t offend me. It just makes me sad. Sad in the way that it does when any comfortably staid institution tries to sex itself up (scroll down). It’s like watching grandpa get a fauxhawk and try to date college girls.
I realize it’s entirely logically indefensible to say that there should be boundaries of propriety as to who is and isn’t allowed to make sex jokes involving beloved children’s figures. But there should. Mashing up CBS cartoons for bawdy viral success—that’s someone else’s job, you know?
It’s hypocritical of me, yes. So be it. As much as it cracks me up to see someone render Frosty inappropriate, I somehow want to know that there are some places in the world where Frosty is treated with as much dignity as a snow-golem with a corncob pipe can be.
You’d think that place would be CBS. But that’s not the world we live in. Look at Frosty go.