Ahh Christmas. 'tis the season of joy, love, forgiveness, and… ABBA!
If, like the rest of us, your 2016 took a swift nosedive into the Water-loo or if your Xmas bonus was a little less Money, Money, Money than you were expecting then, Knowing Me and Knowing You, (ah-ha) you’re gonna wanna Take a Chance (I’ll stop now, I promise) on SBS on December 21st, when ABBA Christmas Party hitsthe airwaves.
This delightful fusion of tinsel, go-go boots and UK soapie stars could only have been conceived by a drunk British TV executive who realised the night before trotting off to Gran Canaria on holidays that he was a couple of hours short on Christmas programming and put out a call to some of his mates to help a feller out. That’s basically what ABBA Christmas Party comes down to: a host of (contractually obligated) British celebrities dropping by a mock ski chalet in a TV studio to bash out their favourite ABBA number then engage in some gift giving and general festive banter. Why ABBA, you ask? Why NOT ABBA, I say! Don’t let reason get in your way: you don’t need a reason to sing ABBA at Christmas!
This show is excellent, camp fun! I mean, honestly, if your cold, cynical heart shuts down at the first exultant trills of Dancing Queen you’re probably not the target audience anyway and no amount of Ikea meatballs could convince you otherwise. But if, like me, you’ve been known to whip out your flares and and belt out a few bars of S.O.S at karaoke, then trust me: you’re gonna love it. ABBA Christmas Party is like Mamma Mia except with more B-Grade celebs and less Meryl Streep in overalls dancing atop a mountain in Greece.
Besides, when you think about it, ABBA and Christmas is, somehow, a match made in heavenly peace: Christmas is about nostalgia. All those years of bad bon-bon jokes around the dinner table and drunk uncles asking you about your love life are much more fun in your memories than they were in reality. ABBA is nothing if not nostalgic.
Christmas is also about bright lights and even brighter novelty outfits. And nothin’ says festive like some spangly bell-bottoms and a disco ball!
Finally, Christmas is mostly about grinning and baring it with family members you don’t really want to spend any time with. Which is what Benny, Agnetha and co were doing for at least the last three years of their fame.
So go on: spend some time with the Swedes this Christmas. Get another earworm in your head besides the horror that is Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You , which has been stuck in your brain since you heard it in Myer in mid-September… watch the stars of Coronation St and Emmerdale exchange terrible presents, and then sing along as they wail through The Winner Takes It All! Get the kids involved in a spontaneous Dancing Queen dance-off! Or just tune in to watch Susan Boyle awkwardly make out under mistletoe with a much-younger British game show host! What I’m saying is: there’s something for everyone.
ABBA Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
ABBA Christmas Party is streaming now on SBS On Demand.