Fans of the original holiday classic A Christmas Story gathered around their TVs on Sunday, Dec. 17 to watch Fox's A Christmas Story Live! and see the holiday magic unfold IRL. However, fans weren't totally sure what to expect. The live show was preformed as a musical, which set the stage for a different story experience right from the get-go. Fans of the classic wondered how the 2017 version would compare, and were wowed by the inclusivity of a special Hannukah number that wasn't in the original during the first half of the show. Additionally, A Christmas Story Live! made a major change in that very-'80s Chinese restaurant scene – and it was definitely for the better.
The original Chinese restaurant scene in A Christmas Story, which first aired in the original 1983 movie, is considered racist and far from politically correct in our modern world. The scene comes after the Parker family's Christmas Eve meal is completely eaten by the neighborhood dog, and the family resorts to having their Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. When they get there, a group of waiters are singing Christmas carols in a stereotypical, exaggerated Chinese accent. As the scene approached, fans were biting their nails waiting to see how it would be handled. People let out a sigh of relief when it aired; it was done far more tastefully than the original.
The new scene had the waiters, most of whom we learn are attending Ivy League colleges, singing classic Christmas carols with no accents. The only nod to the original was from Ralphie's father who noted it was "not what he was expecting."
Here's the original 1983 version of the scene to compare it to:
Yeah... not something you'd see on today's primetime networks... even on Fox News (I think).
Fans took to Twitter before the scene aired to express their worry about how the live performance would handle the controversial scene:
Once it aired, fans were generally pleased to see the racism removed from the scene and replaced with a tasteful nod to the original.
A Christmas Story Live! was stacked with a star-studded cast that blew audiences away. Matthew Broderick helmed the cast as the added Adult Ralphie Narrator, Maya Rudolph starred as Mother Parker, Jane Krakowski as Ralphie's tap-dancing teacher Miss Shields, Chris Diamatopolous as Old Man Parker, Ana Gasteyer as Mrs. Schwartz, Kem Jeong as the Salesman and Chinese Restaurant Owner, David Alan Grier as Santa Claus, and 11-year-old newcomer Andy Walken as Ralphie. Walken landed the role of Ralphie after a nationwide casting search and proved his triple threat chops tonight in the show's starring role.
And fans couldn't get enough of him:
As two-time Tony-award winner Matthew Broderick put it, "He’s very bright and sings beautifully and can dance."
Although Broderick is a long-time musical theater pro, he revealed A Christmas Story Live! was definitely challenging: "“It’s extremely complicated, just trying to get it staged in a way that actors get to the right set at the right time."
This wasn't the first time fans got to see the Christmas classic in musical form. In 2012, A Christmas Story hit the Broadway stage. It was nominated for three Tony awards during its time on Broadway. The 2017 spectacular combined elements from both the movie and the musical, and the original songwriters, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, worked together again on a few new songs.
The modern spin on the classic Christmas-time movie definitely filled fans with holiday cheer.
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