Fox's A Christmas Story Live didn't fill all of its viewers with the holiday spirit of the original movie. One line stood out in particular, when Matthew Broderick's narrator made a winky joke to the camera about how his younger brother hated to eat. The A Christmas Story Live joke is being called out for being insensitive to those with eating disorders.
Elite Daily reached out to the network for comment on the controversial line, but has not heard back by the time of publication.
As the Parker family was sitting down for dinner, Matthew Broderick explained to the camera that his little brother Randy was an extremely picky eater, which led to the infamous piggy scene from the classic movie. However, before getting to the iconic scene, Broderick's narrator threw in a new line that did not land well with viewers. He turned to the camera and said:
There's always one kid in the family who won't eat. Normally it's the kid who takes ballet...
The line was immediately called out online for its insensitivity to those with anorexia. The issue is that eating disorders are indeed more prevalent within the dance community, and making light of that fact with a throwaway joke belittles their devastating effects. Check out the responses online:
The joke may have only been a tiny part of the three-hour live special, but it stuck out in a major way to viewers familiar with the issue. A recent study in the National Institutes of Health found that about 16 percent of all ballet dancers experience eating disorders, due to the rigorous and often weight-related demands of the form of dance. The devastating effects of eating disorders have been explored at length in scientific studies, personal anecdotes, and in popular media. One of the most recent examples is To the Bone, a movie that was released on Netflix this summer that stars Lily Collins as a young woman who seeks treatment for her anorexia.
The small A Christmas Story Live joke grew into a much bigger deal online with viewers who recognized how harmful it was to anyone with an eating disorder. Surprisingly enough, this wasn't even the only time that A Christmas Story Live made a confusing and unnecessary joke out of a mental disorder. Many fans also questioned the live adaptation's head-scratching decision to give Ralphie's teacher (played by Jane Krakowski) obsessive compulsive disorder. Miss Shields didn't have OCD in the original movie, and it seemed to be just thrown in there for one quick little throwaway joke about organizing her desk, and then almost immediately forgotten. Viewers also took to Twitter to share their confusion over that OCD decision; check out some of the responses below:
Of course, that small Miss Shields note did not come off as offensive to fans as the eating disorder joke. The other thing that fans seemed to take issue with was Matthew Broderick's seeming omnipresence as the narrator. In the original movie, the narrator is the booming voice of an older Ralphie, who never actually appears in person throughout the movie. That completely changes in Fox's live musical adaptation, which sees Matthew Broderick's low-energy narrator wandering in and out of almost every scene of the show. (Fans of the original movie were not exactly big fans of this big change.)
But in the end, the live musical did seem to be a relatively harmless and joy-filled good time, introducing a mainstream audience to the 2012 Broadway musical that was originally adapted from A Christmas Story. They really should have had someone go over the script and cut that eating disorder joke, though.