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Film / A Diva's Christmas Carol

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Yep, another retelling of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, only this time Scrooge is a diva singer and a Black woman. Almost all of the genders have been swapped for the characters. Premiering on VH1 in 2000, it stars Vanessa L. Williams, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Kathy Griffin.

A Diva's Christmas Carol provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the book, it is Belle who breaks up with Scrooge because of his obsession with money and furthering his career, but in the film it is Ebony (the Scrooge counterpart) who breaks up with Bob (Belle counterpart) in order to focus more on her career.
  • Adapted Out: Played with. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come does not show up as a physical manifestation, but rather as a future episode of Behind the Music.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: How the Ghost of Christmas Present is introduced, although he has three (one of which on his leg).
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  • Amicable Exes: Ebony initially doesn't want Bob to leave work to be with his family, and it hurts him. Still, despite their ongoing business relationship and his finding a new love, Ebony continues to think of Bob as one of his best friends years after they break up.
  • As Himself: Brian McKnight and Niles Rodgers.
  • Babies Ever After: Olivia and her husband are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl by the end of the film.
  • Back from the Dead: Marli, duh.
  • Bi the Way: Ebony, at least according to her diary:
    "I really gotta break it off with Anne Heche. What's fun at a party isn't a relationship, and I have to remember that. Plus, I miss Mike."
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ebony's "trusted" financial advisor, Ernie.
  • Break the Haughty: Since Ebony became a conceited bitch along with the typical Scrooge's crankiness and miserliness, this version qualifies.
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  • Broken Pedestal: Patrice was a fan of Ebony and Desire as a child, but comes to find out her true nature. That being said, though, she isn’t as hardened as her coworkers and even is still a fan of her music regardless of her poor behavior.
  • Career Versus Man: In the past, Bob and Ebony have a fight about the latter prefers success over love, so even though he genuinely loved her, they broke up due to her career coming first.
  • Catchphrase: "You're fired!"
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Lampshaded in the beginning, when Ebony's crew is talking about her career and her old group's music video just so happens to air on tv.
    "No way! How's that for timing?"
  • Comically Missing the Point: This happens to The Ghost of Christmas Past (played by Kathy Griffin).
    Ebony: You skinny bitch.
    The Ghost of Christmas Past: *gasps* Did you say 'skinny'?note 
  • Composite Character: Bob Cratchitt is able to take on his traditional role and the "First Love That Got Away" role Belle had in the original story. This is due to both Gender Flipping and Ebony being relatively young for an analogue to Ebenezer Scrooge.
  • Curse Cut Short: Ebony tells room service she wants her pasta al dente, and not soggy.
    Ebony: No, if it's soggy, I'm coming down there and I'm shoving it up your—(grandfather clock chiming)
    • And a little later after seeing Marli and thinking she was hallucinating:
    Ebony: That Pharmalain's some powerful sh...(passes out)
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Poor Ebony. She had an abusive and alcoholic father, an absent (and most likely dead) mother, she was taken into foster care away from her beloved older brother on Christmas Day, she reunites with him only to lose him to a brain aneurysm some years later and she pushes away the only man who ever loved her due to her working very hard to secure her success.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Played for Laughs in this instance:
    Niles Rodgers: She's worth ten times more dead than she was alive.
    Ebony: (outraged) Ten times?!
    Niles Rodgers: Make that 20! (chuckles)
    Ebony: I’ll have your head for this!
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: After being shown the error of her ways (and her terrifying future forecast), she grows friendlier and more loving.
  • Determinator: Olivia, arguably. Her Dad is dead, we don't know the fate of her mother and her only biological family member initially wants nothing to do with her. At least she has a loving husband, close friends who are like family and a baby girl by the end of the film.
    • Ebony as well, as seen when she and Christmas Past go back to see her alone in a church practicing scales instead of being with her loved ones) though somewhat folded into her narcissism and therefore not quite as admirable. It was clear that she was willing to do almost anything and step over anyone in her path to become successful.
  • The '80s: When Ebony and Desire first hit it big, which as expected, both Ebony's crew and The Ghost of Christmas Past mock, especially in regards to the looks involved.
  • Epic Fail: Ebony asks for French toast while in France.note 
  • Freudian Excuse: A good amount of Ebony's backstory goes toward explaining (though not justifying) her behavior. Her miserliness seemed to stem from growing up in poverty, and losing her entire family made her leery of letting anybody get close to her.
  • Gender Flip: The majority of the characters that were in the story were gender flipped (Bob Cratchitt and Tim being notable exceptions).
  • Greed: Ebony sells her Christmas CDs at $25 each. Also, she puts her large crew into fleabag motels, pockets the rest, and forces them to perform on Christmas Day instead of allowing them to go home to be with their families.
  • Happy Holidays Dress: Ebony rocks this towards the end of the movie.
  • Hollywood Atlas:
    • Gay Paree Ebony learns the hard way that French toast didn't originate (and is, in fact, unknown) in France.
    • Big Applesauce: The film's present-day action moves to New York City about fifteen minutes in.
  • I Am the Band: Discussed by Marli:
    One minute we were a trio and then the next, Terri and I were your backup singers, and that hurt!
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Ebony's and The Ghost of Christmas Past's wardrobe (which she explains she has because she "had to show Tom Ford his past Christmases.")
    • Desire's matching outfits are pretty cool, too. Hell, even Marli's outfit as a ghost had a pretty unique and memorable style to it.
  • Ironic Echo: The same phrase Ebony used on Olivia to decline her offer to come over to her Christmas party—"Let me take a moment to consider your offer. Ah, mmm, no."—was also used by the Ghost of Christmas Past when Ebony herself asked to stay longer in her only happy Christmas memory: when she and Desire first debuted.
  • It's All About Me: Ebony comes first and foremost.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Marli Jacob's outfit is a variation of this.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ernie ends up being arrested at the end of the movie for embezzlement.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Ebony asks Christmas Past what happened to Terri, Christmas Past asks, "This isn't Where Are They Now, OK, that's on later."
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Bob's son Tim of course, although which exact disease he had remains vague. The fact that everybody seemed to sure that he would be cured at the end makes it seem like whatever he had could be easily treatable (which is was, as seen by the ending) if he simply had access to the appropriate resources, which makes his sickness all the more gut-wrenching (and Ebony's cheapness all the more horrible.)
  • Looping Lines: In-Universe: Ebony lip-synches at the beginning of the film, before she chokes on the fake snow.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Ebony’s back-up singer, Tina, believes in the old rumor of Ebony cutting Marli’s brake line, thus killing her in an effort to start her solo career. However, Bob absolutely refuses to believe it, and Ebony herself is horrified by the notion, calling it “terrible”.
  • Mean Boss: Ebony.
  • Morality Pet: Ebony had several throughout her life, including her brother, Marli and Bob. Unfortunately, none of them are enough to help her stop her selfish ways (at least not at first.)
  • Never My Fault: Ebony refuses to take responsibility for her actions, such as her diva behavior eventually driving Marli into drug addiction or her suing Terri for trying to recreate Desire leaving her in poverty.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted hilariously with Ebony's Behind The Music episode, as many viewed her as a miserable person, a meal ticket, or just glad not to have to deal with her.
    Patrice: I mean, great performer...
    Brian McKnight: ...nice butt...
    Tina: ...but such a bitch.
    Lance: She smelled real bad.
    Ebony: Oh, you're all fired.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Ebony Scrooge is this in spades. Even her poor back-up singer Patrice, who was and continues to be a fan of her music, learns this upon being hired to be on her crew.
  • Nightmare Face: When Marli reveals her “real” face to Ebony, it's implied to be so revolting, we are spared from seeing it.
  • Noodle Incident: Ebony when commenting on Marli's outfit:
    "I thought you gave up the whips and chains after you broke up with the guy from Paramus."
  • Not His Sled: Since this adaptation's analogue for Belle also fills the role of Bob Crachett, he not only remains in Ebony's life, but remains an important part of it as her manager. As a result, Ebony gets a more intimate look at the family life that Bob has with Kelly and Tim and might have had with her. Bob and Ebony have a close but strained friendship, which is mended when Ebony is redeemed.
  • Only One Name: All of Ebony’s crew. Some of them aren’t even given names, just the main three, Patrice, Tina and Lance.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Ebony, who feels that Russians can’t drive and how she must take a long shower to wash the “Parisian stink” off of her.
  • Pretty in Mink: She also rocks a big (fake) fur coat during the beginning holiday special.
  • The Prima Donna: Even to a point of her bitchiness making a French production member cry.
  • Race Lift: Scrooge and Jacob Marley (now Marli Jacob) are black in this version.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Kelly. Her only roles in the film are as Bob's wife and Tim's mother.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Terri. She attempted to get a new Desire off the ground after Marli's death and Ebony's abandonment, but the latter's lawyers crushed her in court, leaving her destitute.
  • Second Love: Kelly is this to Bob, as Ebony was his first.
  • Shout-Out: Since the movie originally aired on VH1, a couple of their now-defunct shows were mentioned, such as Where Are They Now? and Ebony's own bad future-themed episode of Behind The Music.
    • Also, Patrice jokingly declares to her bandmates, "God bless us, everyone!"
  • Someone Else's Problem: In addition to things never being her fault, she feels that the problems of the homeless (amongst others) have nothing to do with her.
  • Something Completely Different: The Ghost of Christmas Future does not come in the form of a person or even a different being, but rather an episode of Behind The Music.
  • Take That!: Several, at Los Angeles, Patterson, New Jersey, France, Céline Dion...
  • True Companions: Initially, Ebony, Marli and Terri were the best of friends who even grew up together.
    • Olivia, Matt and their friends are this trope as well.
    • Arguably, Ebony's crew are considered this.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: You don't say.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Nobody is exactly sure of what became of Terri after Ebony abandoned her, Ebony included, until the Ghost of Christmas Past showed her what happened.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: In this adaptation, Bob Crachit is a tour manager working for Ebony. He's on duty in France, and his wife, Kelly, and very sick son, Tim, are in Cleveland. Tim is understanding, but Kelly is out of patience. Before Ebony's reform, Bob and Kelly's marriage is teetering on the brink of divorce.
  • You Bastard!: Ebony’s reaction to Brian McKnight using her death as a way to become richer (as he and producer Niles Rodgers quickly released a duet the two of them did just after her demise as a memorial single):
    Brian McKnight: And the workers are just about finished putting in the pool. Thanks, Ebony! I’ll never forget you!


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