It may seem odd to highlight an everyman for the second article in the Wednesday Warriors series, but Clark Griswold is not your everyman. He’s the family man who’d make even the Father of the Year look ordinary. And since it is Christmas Eve, who can say Clark is not a warrior for the holidays?
Known for going overboard with his dedication to the holiday season, Clark (Chevy Chase) takes his place among heroes willing to uphold traditions in order to have a fun old-fashioned family Christmas Vacation.
It begins with hauling the family through the white tundra of the awesome winter wonderland in a quest to find the perfect tree. Not just any ol’ tree, but a tree that would make the Eiffel Tower seem short. When asked where he plans to put a tree that size, since it wouldn’t fit in the yard, he quickly says it’s not going in the yard. It’s going in the living room. And, of course, once the tree is set, all Clark has to do is to cut the rope holding the thing together. With a tree that size, we all know what happens. Let’s just say not a window survives.
Ah yes, Clark Griswold, the world’s last true family man. His idea of spending his bonus check is to buy a swimming pool and fly his family down to christen it. A man like him is a lost art. He makes setting up exterior illumination easy. He can’t simply have one, two, three rows of lights on his roof. He has to have the whole roof, pillars leading to the roof, window and doorframes covered in lights. If the draw of electricity becomes too much for the town to handle, all they have to do is switch to auxiliary power to keep up with Clark’s demands on the grid.
When Clark goes all out, he goes all out.
And when everyone’s ready to bail on him because the holiday becomes a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency, he steps in to do what any reasonable man would do—he holds them hostage by threat of violence while wielding a chainsaw as if it were a carving knife for the holiday turkey. Who could blame him? He lost his mind ages ago when he attempted to be the perfect father and hell showed up at his doorstep declaring war on his annual festivities. No, no—no one’s walking out on his fun old-fashioned family Christmas.
But the best part of who Clark is comes when he realizes that no matter how bad things get, he eventually snaps out of his morbid sense of adventure to accept what little good the holiday season presents—even if he keeps company with the jolliest bunch of idiots this side of the nuthouse.
[Author’s note: From my family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season.]
Have you seen Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation? What is your favorite part of the movie?