?If you are a regular Topless Robot reader, chances are pretty good that your Christmas tree is overrun by nerdy ornaments based on your favorite shows and movies. The unpacking of tree decorations is a welcome opportunity to remember how fun some of these things are (like this year’s amazing Beaker ornament from Hallmark). While others are a uncomfortable reminder of old interests that have long since faded away.
Two years ago, Topless Robot presented a look at the 10 Most Shameful Nerdy Christmas Tree Ornaments Ever. More than just providing you with a welcome distraction from figuring out what the hell you are going to do with your Star Trek: Voyager ornaments, it shed some light on how crass genre holiday merchandise can be. This sequel list presents ten more examples of lame cash grabs, poorly executed ideas and Yuletide misguidedness in general. Check it out and see if any of these have ever graced the branches of your Christmas tree. If so, my condolences.
?Gremlins is the ultimate Christmas movie. So it’s somewhat surprising that there wasn’t an ornament from the film available until this year. As part of its 2011 assortment, Hallmark made this adorable widdle Gizmo available so you can hang it on your tree and have everyone who pops by your place revel in its carefully manufactured cuteness. I know I’m going to sound like that killjoy Mrs. Deagle here, but clearly the first ornament based on the flick should have been a little diorama of the Gremlins mowing down Mr. Futterman with a bulldozer (one that would allow you to press a button and hear Dick Miller dialogue/the Gremlins theme). A flasher Gremlin ornament would have been nice too. If you ask me, Hallmark took the easy way out by going with the cutesy route.
?Over the past couple of years, Carlton was released some truly terrific Godzilla ornaments. This is not one of them. Making its debut for the 2011 holiday season, this Godzilla ornament has the King of the Monsters beating up a lighthouse. You read that right, a fucking lighthouse. He’s not destroying Tokyo or smacking the crap out of Mothra or anything, but instead pointlessly demolishing a beacon of the sea. What’s up for next year, having him rip the shit out of a museum or laying the smack down upon an planetarium? C’mon, Gojira, step up your game a bit.
8) Homicidal Santa
?Modifying a vintage Santa Claus ornament so that it appears that jolly old Saint Nick is ripping off heads instead of giving presents, Etsy seller Kat Martin has single-handedly solved the problem of what you can get the Dexter Morgan in your life. Admittedly this is more disturbing than shamefully nerdy but hey, it’s the holidays, everyone is creeped out a little bit.
7) Lieutenant William Riker
?Over the years, Will Riker has gotten a lot of guff for his unwillingness to leave the comforts of the Enterprise behind in order to command his own ship. That’s a tad bit unfair because he was one of Starfleet’s most dedicated officers. His commitment to his job even was recreated in his 1996 Hallmark ornament which had him simultaneously engaging in a phaser firefight and pinching a squat. That my friends is what you call a commitment to duty… and doody. Wah wah!
6) The Divine Miss Piggy
?Nothing throws a monkey wrench into the comfort and joy of the holiday season more than a reminder of your own mortality. Enter this angelic Miss Piggy ornament from the 1980s. If you stare at this thing long enough you can almost hear a child asking their drunken parent why Miss Piggy has wings and getting a sudden crash course in the way the universe works. The response would go something like this: “Miss Piggy has wings because she’s dead now. (/kid starts crying) Hush now. Don’t worry too much about it because one day you will die too. And ultimately it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things if Santa brings you that Teddy Ruxpin or not this Christmas morning because at some point you and all of your hopes and dreams will cease to exist. It’s all a big nothing, really. Now be quiet and let’s watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Is this ornament a fun Christmas decoration or a portal into existentialism? You decide.
5) Angry Bert
?To continue the misguided Muppet merchandise theme, here’s a pissed off-looking Bert from a 1977 line of Sesame Street painted ceramic ornaments. This obviously predated the whole Bert is Evil Internet meme, so I’m guessing his scowl here is due to Ernie feeding his pigeons Alka Seltzer again. You can’t see what Bert’s other hand is doing in the above picture, but my money is on it flipping someone off.
?Oh, look! Superman’s wrapped a steel girder around his dick, like a bow around a present! How… festive.
3) Reggie Mantle
?You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger Archie junkie than myself and even I want nothing to do with this ornament of Reggie Mantle that sat unloved on store shelves back in 1988. Even if the character wasn’t the biggest dick in Riverdale I doubt anyone would put this on their Christmas tree because it looks absolutely nothing like Reggie. My theory is that the company accidentally produced a ton of Midge ornaments, realized their mistake and decided to release them as Reggie hoping nobody would notice. Unlike this travesty, Carlton’s “Lunch with Archie’s Gang” ornament (a replica of a lunchbox featuring art from the popular The Love Showdown storyline) is worth tracking down if you are fan of these characters.
2) Mr. Freeze
?On this list’s predecessor, Christopher Radko’s Batgirl ornament from Batman and Robin took the top slot. His Mr. Freeze is nearly as atrocious. This thing is nothing short of a miracle in terms of ineptitude. Not only does it look nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it bears more of a resemblance to Dynamo from The Running Man than Mr; Freeze. Which is actually kind of amazing really. So maybe this one isn’t entirely bad after all…
1) Showdown at the Cantina
There’s a fine line between nerd baiting and nerd inciting, and Hallmark’s “Showdown at the Cantina” ornament crosses it in a big way. With its release it seems that not even your Christmas tree is immune to debates about whether or not George Lucas raped your childhood. Is nothing sacred?
Chris Cummins is a pop culture writer and Archie comics historian who has contributed to The Robot's Voice, Den of Geek US, Philebrity, Geekadelphia, Uproxx, and Unicorn Booty. He is the co-producer and co-host of Nerd Nite Philadelphia, and is regularly involved in producing and hosting New York Super Week events. In 2014, Chris began Sci-Fi Explosion, a mix of live performance, trivia and funny clips celebrating the weirdest in science fiction that regularly travels around the United States. He wrote the introductions to the compilations Archie's Favorite Comics From The Vault and (with Paul Castiglia) Archie's Favorite High School Stories. You can find Chris on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.