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  • Michael Christelman

Miser Melee: Grinch vs Scrooge vs Potter



‘Tis Better To Be Grinched, Scrooged Or Exiled To Pottersville?


In the last few nights, I have had the opportunity to watch a few holiday classics: The Grinch, It’s A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol. Granted, the Christmas Carol version was Mr. Magoo’s version, but I’ll count it nonetheless. One constant that remains through all three of these movies is that of the villain. Two of those villains have become one-word descriptions for anyone grumpy during the holidays. Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life doesn’t get as much attention but let’s face it, it would be completely appropriate to call a pompous jerk a Potter Head during Christmas. For some reason, all of this got me thinking about which ‘villain’ would actually be the least offensive to be compared to. So, in as close to a scientific way as possible (which means I watched all three movies recently and didn’t doze off during any of them), I will examine all three and try to make a determination.


First is the Grinch. He’s a pretty despicable guy when we are introduced to him. He mistreats his dog, wants to stop Christmas from coming, and impersonates Santa in order to ruin Christmas. If I remember correctly, he actually has termites in his smile. Mr. Grinch even stands face to face with a little Who girl on Christmas Eve and then steals her tree after he lies to her and puts her to bed. That doesn’t add up to a very good list of character traits. To make things worse, when he sees the light and realizes that Christmas must be about something more than packages, boxes, and bows, he suffers what will probably end up being a debilitating injury. His heart grew three sizes in just one day. He may have ended up on the nice side of Santa’s ledger, but he’s still got that dental problem and now has an enlarged heart. It’s not looking good for the Grinch.


Then there’s old (emphasis on old, please) Ebenezer Scrooge. There’s a reason Dickens went with Ebenezer Scrooge instead of Ebenezer Dogoodly. The name Scrooge just sounds awful. If anyone out there happens to have the last name of Scrooge, please don’t send an email. Scrooge was a harsh taskmaster, completely underpaid his help, and was probably in violation of every labor law you can think of. He asked Cratchet to work holidays, didn’t pay well, and withheld the use of ample coal for office heating, which undoubtedly led to a hostile workplace. He also chose the pursuit of money over a beautiful woman. What an idiot! Scrooge was mean to charities and wanted poor people dead to help reduce the surplus population. That’s certainly no way to win a popularity contest. Lastly, he was rather mean to his nephew, which was his only living relative. Scrooge wore what appears to have been a dress to bed. That has no bearing on my study, but I wanted to be childish and mention it anyway. Fortunately for Scrooge and all who knew him, he saw the light (three times, I’m guessing) and changed his ways in a dramatic fashion. I think that puts him the lead.


Lastly is Mr. Potter, the man who owns most of quaint Bedford Falls. He was unscrupulous. He owned what could only be described as tenement slums, which makes him a slum lord, and he tried to shut down his competition, which would have given him the ability to make the entire town his renters. I don’t believe Bedford Falls had any form of rent control because George Bailey was so concerned about Potter getting all the real estate in town. Unlike Ebenezer, old man Potter did not see ghosts (which is a plus), but he did directly steal Bailey’s business money and then filed a false police report about it. Unfortunately for him, it appears that Potter never reformed. This factor pretty much eliminates him from the competition, but I needed a third subject to review to make today’s blog long enough.


Now, who to pick? Would I rather be called a Grinch or a Scrooge? I’m concerned about the cost of treating one’s teeth for termites, and living with an enlarged heart is never recommended. On the other hand, despite his advanced age, Scrooge reformed with no visible health ailments. The Grinch could carve the roast beast, and Scrooge could afford the biggest turkey in town, so it’s almost a wash there. The Grinch had no visible means of self-support, but Scrooge owned a financial firm. In the end (and after minutes of scientific evaluation), I have to go with a good income and good health over green fur and heart disease. So if my Christmas spirit begins to wane in the next few days, please accuse me of being a Scrooge instead of a Grinch. Bah-Humbug, and God bless us every one!


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