Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Windows: Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue traditionally puts on the most jejune Christmas windows of all the New York City department stores — always some bland kiddy holiday story full of aspartame and pixie dust. Little Billy and Susie, the whitest of white animorphic dolls — our protagonists are always white, unless this year is a diversity themed Christmas — sneak up to their attic on Christmas Eve and find a magical telescope that lets them watch Santa bring toys to good, presumably Christian, children all over the world. Even Dr. Seuss, if he were alive, would be like, "Whoa, that's a little too saccharine for me."

Oh, I almost forgot, the narrative is etched on the windows with those rub-on letters, but they have a tape loop reading it aloud, too. So you know who their audience is: four-year-olds. Because toddlers have a ton of disposable income. I think Barney's Christmas display gets offended that you have the nerve to look it right in the eye, but at least they know who they're marketing to.

This year's story was, uh... a weird cross between Leonid the Magnificent and a kinky icicle fetish. It's like the window designers were on angel dust this year. Okay, our herione, no pun intended, is "an ice crystal who was known as Allie." That thing on the right is Allie The Passive Voice Ice Crystal; I guess she's in a pairs figure skating competition or something, and I'd make more fun of her outfit, except it's really not that bad once you see the other anthropomorphized ice crystals in the story and what they're wearing. Allie is looking around for a snowflake of other blue-haired albino dolls to join. I'm sure we can all relate.

Next window: Allie floats by a snowflake of scantily-clad anorexic ice crystal ballerinas. Look at these role models for young girls. The fabric goes over your body, not around it. There's also this fat nerd snowflake, and he's got no chance with these vapid bitches. God, I hate them. They won't let him in their snowflake, lunch table, or nightclub. But Allie, bless her heart, takes pity on Nearsighted Dork Ice Crystal, and they become bestest buddies.

I'm calling bullshit right now. First, there's no way in hell Allie's not joining that ballerina snowflake. We all know they thought her fugly, slutty dress was totally cute and they invited her into their stupid clique. And second, never in the history of man nor trillions and trillions of snowflakes has a hot babe ice crystal passed up the opportunity to join the popular snowflake to hang out with the buck-toothed, pencil-necked, beanie-wearing melvin.

Third window: Allie and her new dweeb-alicious friend run into this ice crystal dude, named Chip. Really. No offense to everybody named Chip out there, but I don't even know how people wind up with that name, let alone ice crystals. What does that list of baby names look like, that Chip is the best option? Scratch, Dent, Blemish — no, I guess we'll go with Chip. And for a snowflake? It's worse than naming your sussex spaniel Kevin... but not quite as bad as naming your child Kal-el because you suck as a parent. Okay, I'm done.

And I forgot to mention that the nerdy ice crystal is named Tay-Tay. Yeah, he looks like a Tay-Tay.

Here's Chip. He's floating alone because he's just too wacky and free-spirited and — let's be honest — gay for all those bourgeios snowflakes. But Chip looks like he's cool with it. He's smiling and waving, so I don't know if it's such a huge personal growth moment for him when Allie and Tay-Tay invite him into their circle of merry ice crystals.

By now I've written at least twenty times more words than this story actually consists of, so I'll speed it up. Alice, Tay-Tay, and Chip meet Winnie, who — surprise, surprise — can't find a snowflake to join.Winnie is, uh... "special." I mean, I'd like to give a lot of credit to the artists who built this whole display, and I know their work probably started even before Christmas of last year, but couldn't they put his/her pupils in the center of his/her eyes? He/she looks like he/she just had a stroke. Try explaining that one to the kids.

And while you're at it: try explaining where this baby ice crystal's arms and legs went. And how two ice crystals make a baby ice crystal in the first place. Or maybe they reproduce asexually. Maybe explain to the kids how ice crystals masturbate, especially since hands don't seem to come standard.

Final window: Alice, Tay-Tay, Chip, Winnie, and Baby Ice Crystal decide they can all join hands and become their own misfit snowflake! Yay! Except they don't so much join hands as they all sort of meld into this creepy Siamese quintuplet thing that spins around, and it's all totally messed up. Also, Tay-Tay lost his glasses in the final window. I guess he had LASIK surgery. But as someone who wears glasses, I find this offensive! It's like they're saying everyone who wears thick, horn-rimmed glasses is a friendless louse who'll never have a snowflake to call his own. I'm sick and tired of all these mostly accurate stereotypes about people with glasses! God, it almost makes me want to learn how to poke contacts into my eyes.

I guess here's the Christmas lesson. Everyone is their own unique, special ice crystal, although not necessarily special in the way that Winnie is special. Be yourself. Then, find the one single sympathetic snowflake girl out of the trillions of snowflakes and fuse together with her and three of her weirdo friends in a totally non-sexual way. Gee, they never covered that in The Christmas Shoes.