TV | The Bill Murray Effect

A Very Murray Christmas might be season's greatest TV gift

There are few individuals on this planet who should ever be allowed to host a "Christmas special." Such programs are essentially filler. They exist for networks to score easy ratings because people really love celebrity duets. And isn't Christmas special enough without this stuff?

Among the exceptions is Bill Murray, who has his very own special debuting this week on Netflix called A Very Murray Christmas, and is someone who should be allowed whatever television special he wants, even if it's just an hour of him making a sandwich. The special, debuting on Dec. 4, is directed by Sofia Coppola, who gave us the Murray vehicle Lost in Translation, and is marked with her quirky feel, but with a dose of charm.

The gist is that Murray is set to host a holiday show at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, but a snowstorm has kept the audience and most of his guests away. Still, Murray decides to go on with the help of friends like Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Miley Cyrus and Jason Schwartzman. But wait, there's also George friggin' Clooney, who appears to be the star of this show within a show.

There's a line in the trailer when he gets a terrible singing audition from a hotel staff member that seems to illustrate the tone of this weird short film: "You're not a singer and we don't have time to find out if you're a dancer," Murray says briskly.

Murray doesn't have to do something like this. In fact, he doesn't have to do anything, but he does a lot of weird things that have made him perhaps more folk hero than entertainer. He shows up at random weddings, tags along with strangers for a night on the town. He supposedly has no agent or manager and can only be reached by way of a mysterious answering service. His face is on the back of cars and on T-shirts.

It's this Santa Claus-like mystique that's made Bill Murray the sort of person who should be able to sing about Christmas on our televisions.

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About The Author

Mike Bookey

Mike Bookey is the culture editor for The Inlander. He previously held the same position at The Source Weekly in Bend, Ore.