The 69-year-old actor is one of the few openly conservative people in Hollywood. This makes it no surprise that critics zeroed in on a single line in the new “Santa Clauses” series that follows up on the popular “The Santa Clause” movie franchise, which premiered in 1994.
Allen again plays toy salesman Scott Calvin, who becomes Santa, but now he’s looking for a suitable successor to wear the red suit. One reviewer described the character as a “cranky, conservative Santa Claus.”
In one scene, Allen’s character complains about the state of modern society. “’Saying ‘Merry Christmas to all’ has suddenly become problematic,” he observes.
“What was going on in the minds of the writers as they penned this semi-political one-liner?” an article on The A.V. Club wondered.
DigitalTrends had a similar reaction to that moment. “To suggest it strips the story of some of its charm is an understatement, but with only two episodes to go on, the series’ plans for its right-wing Santa are almost certainly going to make or break the show,” that reviewer observed, also noting how Allen’s character seems “like he’s spent too much of the Christmas offseason watching Fox News.”
Showrunner Jack Burditt addressed the line during an interview with Deadline. The interviewer explicitly asked about the “lightning rod” quote and asked if there was any “back and forth” on including it. Burditt said the writers did consider the implications.
“Yeah, we did,” the showrunner said. “This is something that I just think is silly but then I’m like, I don’t know.”
“I mean, look, we also had a joke at one point where Santa is on his rounds, they’re going in for a landing and somebody’s shooting something up at him. And Noel the elf [who rides with Santa], says something like, ‘A war on Christmas!’ I’m like, yeah, I don’t wanna go that far,” he continued.
Allen has been a target in Hollywood not just because he’s conservative, but also due to the success of his comedy series “Last Man Standing,” which was a ratings success until it was abruptly canceled.
The “Home Improvement” alum blamed his political beliefs on the show’s cancelation.
“There’s nothing more dangerous to me, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative,” Allen said at the time.
“That was the most dangerous thing. Because he was mitigated on his show by a family of women that had different opinions — but the guy was a likable guy, a principled guy, just about work and ethics and all this stuff. I think there’s nothing more dangerous now than a likable conservative character.”
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