'Tis The Season For Corny Movies Nothing says "cheer" like a cheesy made-for-TV holiday movie. Can you tease out the real ones from the fake when it comes to The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation or Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever?

'Tis The Season For Corny Movies

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You're listening to Ask Me Another from NPR and WNYC. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and with me is our one-man house band Jonathan Coulton and our puzzle guru Art Chung. Let's welcome our next two contestants, Ken Reid and Edward Smith.


EISENBERG: I'm sure you'll agree with me that nothing says the holidays like a cheesy, made-for-television, holiday movie.


EISENBERG: So what is your favorite, or least the one that has a special place in your heart, holiday television special or movie, Edward?

SMITH: It's a television special and it's got to be whatever "Community" decides to do that year. I'm not sure that their writers really think about it beforehand. They just start writing and you get, like, weird Claymation robot specials.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah.

SMITH: But it's pretty great.

EISENBERG: That is very highbrow and in tune with our listener demographics.

SMITH: Exactly.


KEN REID: Now I'll offset that...


REID: ...With my answer.


REID: There's only one answer here. And it's 1990's fantastic Dolly Parton special "Christmas At Home."


REID: It is the only Christmas special that needs to exist. She dresses like Rudolph and no one mentions it. She goes and sings for an old folk's home and then while the old people sing she brings down their singing and does a voiceover over their singing.


REID: I watch it every year.


EISENBERG: All right, well, in this game we are going to read you a movie plot summary and you have to tell us if it's an actual made-for-television holiday movie or if we just made it up.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: And we are going to alternate clues so there's no need to ring in. You don't need to use your buzzers. The winner will move on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

EISENBERG: So, Ken, we'll start with you.


EISENBERG: "Finding Mrs. Claus" - here's the summary - feeling neglected by her husband, Santa, who, let's face it, is a bit work obsessed. Jessica Claus, played by Mira Sorvino, goes to Las Vegas to make a little girl's Christmas wish come true. But when Santa follows her to Vegas to make amends will the world's children be out of luck?

REID: All right, I know the Hallmark Channel's a thing. So that makes that difficult. I think Mira Sorvino is making me lean towards you making it up.

EISENBERG: I'm sorry, that is real.


REID: She won an Oscar, didn't she?

EISENBERG: She did win an Oscar.

COULTON: Edward, this one's for you. "Santa Baby" - Jenny McCarthy...


COULTON: That's it. That's all I have for you.

SMITH: It's all over.


COULTON: No, no, Jenny McCarthy is Mary Class - a high-powered businesswoman who is also secretly the daughter of Santa Claus, played by George Wendt. When dad gets sick right before Christmas, Mary returns home and uses her business techniques on the elves. Can Mary downsize those elves in time?

SMITH: This game plays on my complete lack of Christmas knowledge, but I'm going to go with made up.

COULTON: No, I'm sorry, that's real.


SMITH: Of course it is.

EISENBERG: All right, back to you, Ken. "The Santa Con" - when smalltime con man Nick is ordered by his parole officer to take a job as a department store Santa he rashly promises to reunite a young boy's estranged parents for the holidays. Can this former crook steal back Christmas and our hearts? Costarring and directed by Melissa Joan Hart.

REID: One-hundred percent real.

EISENBERG: That is correct. Yes, it is real.


REID: I've seen that.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) And how was it?

REID: It was OK. It wasn't her best work.


REID: She's a better director than a performer.

COULTON: All right, Edward. "Oh, Christmas Tree" - after the star on the company Christmas tree falls on the head of a cynical ad executive, Josh Hartnett, he wakes up to find that he's a small-town lumberjack running a struggling tree lot business. Can the sexy spirit of Christmas, played by Tiffani Thiessen, help him understand the true meaning of the season and save his wood?


SMITH: I'm going to go with fake.

COULTON: You're right. That is totally fake.


COULTON: What gave it away for you?

SMITH: The wood, the saving of the wood.


EISENBERG: All right, this is your last set of questions. Ken, the "12 Men Of Christmas" - woo - at the office Christmas party Manhattan publicist E.J. Baxter, played by Kristin Chenoweth, loses her job and her fiance. Distraught, she takes a job in Montana - there's no other reason you would take a job in Montana - helping the locals raise money for their search and rescue station. While trying to convince the male rescue workers to pose for a racy calendar, she realizes that love is an appointment that she can't miss.

REID: I have to say that's real.

EISENBERG: It is real.


COULTON: Edward - "The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation." When the Bannister family spends the holidays at a Rocky Mountain resort, they're unexpectedly joined by Uncle Randy, his poodle Bella - voiced by Paris Hilton - and a pair of bumbling jewel thieves led by Dean Cain. Can their police dog Zeus - voiced by Mario Lopez - stop the thieves and learn to ski before Christmas?


COULTON: One of Mario Lopez's finest roles.


SMITH: It's one of those that sounds so ridiculous that I can't call it fake since I have "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" on my DVD shelf so I'm going to go real.

COULTON: You are right. It is real. Yes.


EISENBERG: Puzzle guru, Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: We have another tie.


CHUNG: This time you got to pick up your buzzers. Which of these is not - I repeat not - a made-for-TV holiday movie, starring Dean Cain - "Defending Santa," "A Christmas Wedding," or "My Father's Sleigh?"


CHUNG: Edward.

SMITH: "My Father's Sleigh."

CHUNG: That is correct. Well done. You're moving on.


CARLA THOMAS: Hello, there. Merry Christmas. How've you been? Gee whiz. It's Christmas.

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