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Musgrave’s Christmas Special Delights

By Mina Moreland

An ornament adorns a Berkeley Christmas tree.

The Musgraves Christmas Show could be best described as an enjoyable and playful hour-long holiday music video. The Amazon Prime original lasts just under an hour, in which Musgraves hosts many celebrity guests including Fred Armisen, Troye Sivan, Lana Del Rey, James Corden and more. She hosts these guests in monochromatic rooms whilst her and her guests wear extravagant color coordinated — and often very sparkly — outfits. The sets resemble those of a holiday commercial, with Christmas decorations meticulously set up. The songs range from classics to songs from Musgraves’ 2016 Christmas album, along with a few new songs. There is a consistent retro theme throughout; the set is a large retro dollhouse, and we see cutaways to a 1950s type TV production room, as well as cuts to happy mid-century families who watch the special from their vintage box-shaped televisions.

Overall, there really isn’t much of a plot. Musgraves navigates holiday mishaps like losing her tree topper, forgetting to buy presents for her band, and getting things ready for her guests. It’s simple and comedic, similar to a family holiday movie or romantic comedy. The show starts with a rendition of “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” where late-night host James Corden joins Musgraves. Many scenes like this in the show are quite corny, but it seems intentional as it only added to its quirkiness. The scenes call upon the talents and abilities of each of the guest stars — Kendall Jenner, though, makes a wordless Love Actually inspired cameo poking fun at her family dynamic. Fred Armisen and Musgraves try to sing together, but are interrupted repeatedly in a very Saturday Night Live skit sort of way. Each set in the doll house also seems to match up with the aesthetic of the artist and the outfits. Camila Cabello joins Musgraves in a sparkly red and gold room where they dance around and sing the upbeat Christmas song, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Then Musgraves sings the ballad “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with Lana Del Rey in a mystical victorian-esque dark green room.

The show is narrated by Dan Levy, who created and stars in the show Schitt’s Creek. Levy makes appearances throughout the show, successfully delivering his sarcastic sense of humor and making transitions entertaining. It ends on a sentimental note when Musgraves is joined by her Grandma who finally delivers her missing tree topper. It was adorable and unapologetically corny. Overall, Musgraves’s Christmas show was a great way to deliver a visual version of her 2016 Christmas album.

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An ornament adorns a Berkeley Christmas tree.

Image by Jerome Paulos

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