HOLIDAY SPECIALS – Terrible Writing Advice

HOLIDAY SPECIALS – Terrible Writing Advice

Once every year, it’s that mystical time. Because nearly every holiday special starts
in song or rhyme. Everything is blanketed in falling snow illuminated
by the lights’ soft glow. Holiday music sings in the air. The festive spirit beyond compare. This can only mean, with all this merry business,
that its time to renew my War on Christmas. How do I know there is a war on Christmas? Because I’m waging it! You see, years ago I was but an innocent retail
worker. Then everything changed when black Friday
attacked. The music. The endless horrible Christmas music. It still haunts me. The same 12 stupid songs over and over with
all the noise noise noise! I will have my revenge! And what savage tactic will I use to take
my recompense with this year? Why I plan to deal a significant blow to Christmas
by teaching every writer how to write a holiday special. And when every holiday is special, no one
will be. So, my holiday special will need the usual
trappings. Snow, holly leaves, Christmas lights, that
ever more gradating sound of bells in the background, way too much green and red. Let’s see. Oh. I also need to brutally murder a child tree
and then decorate its corpse. CONSPIRACY GUY: JP… JP… JP: A ghost! CONSPIRACY GUY: No. Again, I’m not a ghost. This is hologram. I swear, this is why you chumps are so easy
to manipulate. Then every time I break out the Ark of the
Covenant everyone is like “oh what’s the science behind it?” It’s a magic relic, how am I supposed know? It’s like you all jump to the dumbest conclusion
every time. JP: Um. Why are you here? The sponsor segment is not until the end of
the video. CONSPIRACY GUY: Oh. Actually I’m here to tell that you will
be visited by three ghosts tonight, just as planned! Now if you excuse me, I need to go plan out
how I’m going to spend my sponsorship money. MWA HA HA HA. JP: That was weird. Oh well. Back to writing my Christmas special. INNER CRITIC: JP… JP… JP: A hologram of my Inner Critic! INNER CRITIC: What! No. Did you forget that you killed me? JP: I did? Oh right! I did. I shot you dead in the Giving Criticism video. Wait. That was before the Rivals video? INNER CRITIC: Oh now you care about continuity? JP: I don’t understand. How did you come back to life for the rivals
video and why are you dead again? INNER CRITIC: Easy. I just use any of the convenient, massive
plot holes you leave lying around like Christmas candy. Speaking of which, through the power of plot
holes I am the ghost of Christmas Past. I am here to show you how Christmas Specials
used to be written and still are because holiday episodes are the nadir of most writers’
careers so they get little thought put into them. Christmas episodes are usually a cheap project
strangled by a December deadline and almost always designed to push commercial products
of some kind. Not that you would ever be so low, brand deal
Beaubien. JP: Of course not. I’m here to destroy Christmas. INNER CRITIC: Oh. I see you have the ‘curmudgeon who wishes
to stop Christmas for no good reason’ trope well in hand. JP: Yeah. But I’m different! INNER CRITIC: Sure you are. Let me guess, no reindeer games for you or
perhaps your heart is three sizes too small? Or is it that you don’t believe in Santa? JP: Well he is a fictional character in the
fantasy world I’m setting the holiday special in. INNER CRITIC: Really? I would like to see how Christianity made
the jump to this fantasy world and why it’s trappings are the same as our own. So what flimsy excuse are you using this time
to explain this cross world cultural exchange? JP: Well it just is. They are skeptical of Santa though in setting. Oh. And it has a cool magic system. INNER CRITIC: They use magic and they’ll
skeptical of the supernatural? Of course they are. I forget you are writing this. I’m sick of this drivel! Go haunt your own Christmas past. Oh look! It’s a Christmas miracle. I’ve been brought back to life so I can
get out of here. JP: Jerk! Anyway. Now I can get back to writing my holiday special. So what will be my story’s conflict? I know! The bad guy is going to cancel this celebrated
worldwide holiday. Wait. You can do that? I proclaim Christmas canceled! Did it work yet? EVIL EMPEROR: Attention, imperial subject,
I am haunting you! I command you to be afraid! JP:
Ugh. How many ghosts are left? This video is going to take forever if you
guys keep haunting me. EVIL EMPEROR: I am the ghost of Christmas
presents. JP: Don’t you mean Christmas present? EVIL EMPEROR: What? I thought I was suppose to give you a present. It is Christmas after all. JP: I didn’t think the evil empire would
celebrate Christmas? EVIL EMPEROR: Are you kidding! Christmas is great! Everyone is whipped up into a mindless consumer
frenzy. It’s bread and circuses combined with a
sorely needed economic boost. Plus my generals always get me new parts for
my model train set I’m working on. Now, I understand that you have a problem. I have a present that will solve any problem! JP: Is it the capacity to destroy an entire
planet? EVIL EMPEROR: How did you know? JP: I had a hunch. EVIL EMPEROR: Well then. My work is done! You now have everything you need to solve
any problem. By destroying the entire planet! JP: Okay. Where was I? Um… Wow. Writing Christmas specials is kind of hard. No wonder writers just give up and do a variety
show. Is this variety show mind numbingly awful? No? Then try harder. Add in a random cooking show in there somewhere! Our holiday special isn’t complete until
the plot is a random wreck of disparate elements. You know, kind of like this is video! Don’t forget to turn the special into a
musical! Has every episode of the series never had
a single musical number ever! Well then this is the perfect time to add
it in! Why? Because it’s Christmas! I mean, I’m not going to sing. Several international treaties prohibit me
singing, but that doesn’t mean a musical number shouldn’t be awkwardly shoved in
there! Crap. I need to pad the run time even further! Wait. I know exactly what this Christmas Special
needs! A Love Triangle! Adapting a Christmas classic for a modern
audience? Better add a love triangle to that too. Our Christmas special will not be complete
until we’ve thrown in every last idea and have thoroughly cleaned the bottom of the
idea barrel. DARK LORD: Behold, mortal, for I am the ghost
of Christmas future! JP: Oh great. Here we go again. DARK LORD: I am here to show you what Christmas
will be like! JP: Yes yes. I know. Unless I accept holiday spirit, whatever that
is, I am going to die alone and unloved. DARK LORD: What? I don’t know about that. I was going to describe my coming reign of
darkness. For once my forces overrun the final bastions
of light, my evil will reign supreme. Every Christmas in the future will be nothing
but eternal darkness and despair. Then, every year on the month before Christmas,
I shall set aside a day where I separate workers from their families and force them to brave
angry mobs of ravenous creatures. I shall call it Black Friday! JP: Um. We already do that. DARK LORD: Oh. Well fine then! I shall create a holiday that reminds single
people of how lonely they are while putting stress on loving couples by beheading flowers
and giving it them as a reminder of how fleeting goodness and love is in the world! JP: Yeah that’s Valentine’s day. DARK LORD: Um… then I shall steal chicken
eggs from children and hide them after ruining their white, pure shells with absurd color
schemes? JP: Easter. DARK LORD: Argh! Your world is stupid! I’m going to play Skyrim. Finally. This stupid tortured to reference to A Christmas
Carol can end and I can get on with making ruining Christmas a trend! By now, my terrible advice should be having
its desired effect. Writers should be churning out holiday specials
with the quality of dreck! The audience is watching now and I know just
what they’ll do! Their mouths will hang open a minute or two. Then dudes down in YouTube will all cry BooHoo. Actually they will probably just reference
a few memes and other natter. But Christmas will be ruined forever and that’s
all that matters! Now I shall admire my devious handiwork. While everyone celebrating Christmas calls
me a jerk! It was in that moment when JP’s monologue
was stopping, that he saw December retail was still hopping. Nothing he did had any result for Christmas
was beyond his power to insult. Maybe Christmas does now just come from a
store, but who cares, the economy is what matters more! Book sales were up and the money flowed in! Who cares if holiday specials are lame, it’s
all a win-win. Oh wait, I meant to say that he grasped the
true meaning of Christmas. This most certainly was not about JP cynically
promoting his business. Yes. JP learning that greed is bad and he will
repent. Just ignore the upcoming segment of sponsored
content. And what happened then? Well in YouTube comments they say, that JP’s
small heart grew three sizes that day! Then he seized his chest, his pain flowing
readily. And then dropped dead of Cardiomegaly. EVIL EMPEROR: A ghost! CONSPIRACY GUY: Why does everyone keep saying
that! I’m not a ghost. Do ghosts have tech grid lines running through
them! You should know. Your in a scifi setting. You have holograms. EVIL EMPEROR: Yeah but our holograms have
hex grids! Hexes are in right now. CONSPIRACY GUY: Oh whatever. I still have this video’s sponsor, Skillshare. It’s vast trove of knowledge, being an online
learning community with over 20,000 classes in writing, design, business, technology and
more is now mine. But before I start a round of well deserved
gloating, I wanted to ask you something. You see, last time we were about to steal
the sponsor from the Dark Lord, then this guy in knight armor showed up and started
ranting about artistic integrity or some such nonsense. Then he screamed something about a prophecy
and tried to kill us with a sword. A sword! And they call me old fashion. EVIL EMPEROR: Yeah. I hate those guys with laser swords! Always ruining my plans to destroy entire
planets. CONSPIRACY GUY: Anyway, we shot him, because
who brings a sword to a gunfight? He wandered off after that. You know anything about these guys? I don’t want them screwing up my plans again. EVIL EMPEROR: Did you try blowing up their
entire planet? That usually works. CONSPIRACY GUY: Oh yes. That’s practical. EVIL EMPEROR: Well it’s not our fault you
conspiracy types are parasitic. You may have stolen our sponsor, but you lack
the key to using it. CONSPIRACY GUY: Don’t get smart with me,
young whippersnapper. I was manipulating world governments back
when your empire was still a city state on planet backwater. Besides, I already have a Premium Membership
which gives those who possess it unlimited access to Skilshare’s high quality classes. Which is good, because I really need to finish
up that class on what YouTube is. Ah well, it can’t be that important. It’s not like hundreds of thousands of people
are watching me on it. Having my existence revealed to so many would
be disastrous. EVIL EMPEROR: Insolent fools! I will… CONSPIRACY GUY: Let me guess? Destroy our entire planet? Is that your only solution to every problem? EVIL EMPEROR: Of course not. We can come up with other solutions. CONSPIRACY GUY: Like? EVIL EMPEROR: Um… We could uh take an entire planet and uh break
it up into an asteroid field through orbital bombardment! Ha! Showed you. CONSPIRACY GUY: Yes. You put me in my place. By the way, wouldn’t it be unfortunate if
the imperial capital was suddenly hit by a rogue planetoid? EVIL GENERAL: My emperor, a rogue planetoid! Impact imminent CONSPIRACY GUY: Mwa ha ha ha! While the Empire contemplates its doom, TWA
fans can get 2 months of Skillshare for free by going to or by signing up through
the link in the description below. All according to plan! EVIL EMPEROR: NO! If only we had some means of removing a large
stellar body! Wait! Maybe. Maybe we can. Maybe we can use the doom station and… I had something there for a second, but I
lost it.

About the author


  1. Can you do love stories too? Also my mom would play only Christmas music in the car for two months so I know how you feel. Do you know how many versions of Baby It's cold outside there are! And they all sound the same! Oh and White Christmas and Let it Snow!

  2. I currently work as a cleaner at my local Morrison’s have been for little over a month right over the Christmas period and I’m already glad they stopped playing Santa baby

  3. It would be cool if there was a video that covered the cursed hero trope. Or maybe a video that covers characters witj a god complex.

  4. Who else wants JP to make a legit feature length animated movie with all of these characters? Maybe “JP” is setting out to write a story, then falls into all of these tropes, and these characters that he’s made for his story sort of “come alive” and talk to him to. It would parody itself and be kind of meta. Or is that just me?

  5. Almost every Holiday special:
    1. One or more of the main characters for any reason doesn't have a holiday mood
    2. Characters discover that the figure of their winter holiday exists
    3. NoMood character(s) somehow ruin the holiday
    4. The characters use plot devices from other instances (if any) to save the holiday
    5. NoMood loves the holiday

    For Scooby Doo kind of storytelling you can change NoMood character for the cliche "It's all much darker than you thought"

    Can combine also

  6. Preaching to the choir about the same 12 Christmas songs over and over.
    Worse was when my store had our Xmas CD on random and the last song of one cycle was repeated by the same song as the first song of the following cycle.

  7. Top 5 Terrible writing advice videos that NEED to exist:
    1. Evil Organizations
    2. Fantasy continents
    3. Fantasy weapons
    4. Archetypes
    5. Political battles

  8. I can't stand christmas movies anymore. Children praise and worship satan I mean santa in excessive commerism. I like to take a vacation on christmas instead sitting around a pagan sun god tree.

  9. If anyone can answer this I will be very grateful. I'm writing my own story right now and one of the things that I'm having trouble with is balancing establishing the world as well as getting to the revil of the overarching plot. As I'm writing this story it seems that the first few (3-8) chapters always seem to spend time developing the world that the story takes place on rather than showing who is the main antagonist. In my planning, the main protagonist is not revealed till towards the end of the first "part" (chapter<part<story) and I'm wondering if that is a bad tactic to use. I spend so much time having the main character and friends going through the world because I don't want to info dump everything but I try to foreshadow that the antagonist that they are fighting is merely the tip of the iceberg, i.e. he is only one of many puppets that are being used. I guess my main question is; Is this a good strategy? or could it make the plot move too slowly?

  10. Man Terrible Writing Advice needs to start watching Anime(Shonen especially!). If he did he would have so much content to rip on.

    Shows like Dragon Ball Super that have Bipolar levels of bad writing constantly adding and throwing away concepts.

    Or Shows like Fairy Tail that brings people back from forced fake "Death" scenes even martyr sacrifice scenes (Makarov) that people liked. Or

    Shows like Naruto/Black clover that has the main character constantly gargle idealist vomit every time a villain so much as breaths negativity

    Villain: Breaths
    Villain: But let's begin the fight

  11. how to be a good Christmas special
    step 3. focus on loving your friends and family instead of buying stuff

  12. Recon.
    Please tell us how to fail at writing about a reconnaissance.
    Recon efforts in a state of turmoil, but not open war, is rather difficult to describe in an engaging way.
    What shortcuts are there?

  13. Christmas episode plot option 1: A Christmas Carol
    Christmas episode plot option 2: It's a Wonderful Plot
    Christmas episode plot option 3: How the [character] stole Christmas

    These are the only options and should be used in the first season, then the second season and then the third season in that order respectively.

  14. A war on Christmas?! Oh no! If only there were some way to instantly incapacitate you and your entire army… But I wouldn't possibly know how-


  15. wow, there was a christmas horror movie with William Shatner that went a lot like this episode… kind of a variety show, there was a musical number… hit just about every beat this episode does.

  16. Black Friday wasn't that bad for me working at GameStop except for….

    customer: wHaT dO yOu MeAn YoU dOn'T hAvE aNy MoRe NiNtEnDo SwItChEs

  17. I love the interactions between J.P and his inner critic. It's always so funny! I think the rivals episode is my favorite because of this, but these little moments are a treat as well.

  18. Honestly, the worst thing for me in working retail is the go-backs/returns. Although, I don't have to worry about that too much since now I'm working for a Grocery Store. Just have to worry about the day before Thanksgiving. The one day when ALL 9 REGISTERS have to remain open for most of the day.

  19. I think, it’s inspiring how the more you explain what bad writing is the worse the terrible writing advice series writing gets!
    If it’s not intentional then please ignore this comment and continue…

  20. Twelve songs and about two dozen versions of each.  Jolly jingles every five seconds, Santa hats everywhere you look, and Christmas decorations and sales put up before Thanksgiving has even arrived.  Yeah, I know your pain, buddy.

  21. IDK man, the greatest holiday special of all time isn't even a Christmas movie, it's a Hanukkah one! Eight Crazy Nights with Adam Sandler! Because animated holiday movies clearly aimed at children should feature a drunk asshole and be rated PG-13, lol!

  22. When first found out Santa wasn’t real I was crushed but deep down I was happy to know that I was right about there being an Elf on the Shelf

  23. Christmas at shop I work at they only played five every hour of every day from November till the end of January

  24. Christmas comes each time this year… over and over and over and over and over. I remember those dark times…

  25. And what happened then? Well, in YouTube comments they say,
    That JP's small heart grew three sizes that day.
    Then he seized his chest, his pain flowing readily,
    And then dropped dead of cardiomegaly.
    I shall write this down and pin it on the wall, this is high quality poetry, mate.

  26. I wouldn't mind the Christmas soundtrack during retail Jobs at Christmas time… but yeah, it's only 12 to 15 songs over and over again. If they had at least 100 different songs for variety it'd be a bit better.

  27. Can sympathize on dealing with retail work during the season; 12 different versions of the same song, and why? Wasn't one version enough? I'm a little more tolerant of the instrumentals and that one song by Barenaked Ladies, but the rest mostly get on my nerves.

  28. I dont think i've written any real holiday specials… Other than one or two short comics but those arent stories really…

  29. 8:00 Dark Lord: …Then I shall create a holiday that commemorates a brutal tyrant; reminding people that nothing in this world is free, and everything you desire must be taken by sheer brute force!
    JP: That’s Columbus Day!
    Dark Lord: Then I shall create a holiday where intruders invade your home and eat all your food!
    JP: Christmas and Thanksgiving!
    Dark Lord: Screw this!

  30. What triggers me is the dark lord is the future, the rival is the past and the imperial emperor is in the present

  31. Dont forget that they HAVE to be about helping Santa save Christmas who's been at it for god knows how many years and somehow doesn't have a fail safe or backup plan should he lose his sled, sack, and/or reindeer.

  32. Chrismas in mordor would still be better than most broadway musicals, last time i saw metal rocker in costume ruling the stage was on an european song contest ages ago. Orcs would make fun protagonists in a musical.

  33. Santa's cultural basis is way more pagan than Christian, Saint nickles happened to be a helpful historic analog to replace the pagan witches and woodland creatures which gave toys and presents before Santa.

  34. I wongth, did he actually plan out those 2 prior videos with (amazing) inner critic in preperation to this video?
    hmm, so J.p is dead now.
    Yay inner critic can take over the channel! yay!
    Also did he somehow manage to rip off avitar the last air bender in a christmas video?

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