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When we last visited the desolate mall on the edge of our inner-ring suburb, Purdue Santa Claus wasn't making any promises to the children of Boilerville. But it's a new year, and a lot has changed in the world since December 2015. Notably, Darrell Hazell was fired after a 3-3 start to the season, leaving his record at 9-33 in three and a half years helming the Boilermakers. In comes Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm, with a high-flying offense, promising career record, and a six-year contract to boot.

[SCENE: inside a haphazardly-refurbished mall that recently re-opened under new management]

[mall radio]

Rockin' around / the Christmas tree

Got a brand-new coach this year

Everyone thinks we might improve

In a new old-fashioned way

PURDUE SANTA: Ho, ho, ho! Jump right up here, little boy, tell me what you want this year!

BOY: Do we have to do this?

PURDUE SANTA: It's Christmas, young man! Why, aren't you excited to tell Santa what you want?

BOY: I mean, not really? Last year I asked you for a puppy.

PURDUE SANTA: And a wonderful puppy it wa-

BOY: You gave me a framed picture of a dog.


BOY: It was clearly a page ripped out of a magazine. I think it was part of a prescription medication ad. Just a dog running on the beach with a middle-aged man.

PURDUE SANTA: It was a nice frame, though.

BOY: It was clearly stolen from Marshall's. Anyways, I'm not fooling myself this year. I know you're not capable of doing better, and I don't hold it against you. You're just not any fun.

PURDUE SANTA, smiling coyly: Ohhh, ho, ho, is that, so, little boy? Would someone who's not fun let you drive their new Camaro? [tosses child keys]

BOY: Wow, you bought a Camaro!?

PURDUE SANTA: Yes, something like that! Now, go on, have fun! And remember, mall cops can't make vehicle stops!

BOY: Thanks, Purdue Santa!

[mall radio]

Purdue Santa

Slip a bowl game under the tree

for me

I've been an awful patient fanbase

Purdue Santa

So try to string out six wins for me

PURDUE SANTA: How about you, little girl? Do you want a pony, or maybe a Barbie dreamhouse?

GIRL: I want you to stay away from our house.

PURDUE SANTA: But little girl, Santa has to bring all your wonderful presents down the chimney Christmas Eve!

GIRL: Last year you broke in through the patio door, and left our own lawn furniture under the tree.

PURDUE SANTA: A magical outdoor playset!

GIRL: You stole my cat.

PURDUE SANTA: Maybe she ran off to become an elf!

GIRL: I found her at a pawn shop downtown. Pawn shops don't buy cats. They only took her in because they didn't think you'd feed her. I just want you to stay away from my family. You're not welcome around us anymore.

PURDUE SANTA: Well, that's an awfully unjolly thing to say... right before your trip to Disneyworld!

GIRL: what

PURDUE SANTA: Here, take my credit card! Charge the whole thing! It's on Santa!

GIRL, squinting at card: Who's Terry Malone?

[mall radio]

There's a world outside Big Ten West

And it's a world of dread and fear

A team whose only FBS win / was against New Mexico

And the Power Conference dreams that once rang

Are the clanging chimes of doom

Well tonight thank God you're not RU

SKEPTICAL YOUNGSTER: Hey, can we talk for a minute, guy?

PURDUE SANTA: Why of course, little one! What can I do for you? Santa's here to fulfill everyone's wishes this year!

YOUNGSTER: Right, see, that's what I wanted to talk about. It seems like you're making a lot of promises that I don't think you're going to be able to keep.

PURDUE SANTA: Everything's different this year! My vape shop is doing great business, and my lawsuit against Wendy's was settled for cash!

YOUNGSTER: I don't believe for a second that you didn't put that severed finger in your Frosty yourself.

PURDUE SANTA, hiding one hand: Per the terms of the settlement, I'm not allowed to discuss further! Ho, ho, ho! It's a Christmas miiiiiracle!

YOUNGSTER: Look, all I'm saying is, everyone's expectations are really low for you. You've disappointed us all. You've hurt people who gave you second and third and fourth chances. Don't overpromise to compensate now. Just stop hurting us.

VOICE IN BACKGROUND: Someone just drove a Camaro through the window of Captain D's

YOUNGSTER: We just want to be able to trust you. Don't betray our trust again.

PURDUE SANTA: Have I ever told you about Advocare?

[mall radio]

I don't want a lot for Christmas

There is just one thing I need

I don't care about the presents

Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want Utah to roll

IU just to lose its bowl

Make my wish come truuuue

Bad things to happen to IU

MOTHER: Can we talk, Santa?

PURDUE SANTA: Okay, I see where this is going. You're going to chew me out for being bad at my job again. I disappointed your kid, didn't I?


PURDUE SANTA: Which kid was it? The one that I sold the timeshare? The one I gave a staple gun to? The one I promised to take hang-gliding?

MOTHER: It's not that, it's-

PURDUE SANTA: Oh god, your kid isn't the one I promised could meet Prince, is it

MOTHER: No, it's not any of that. It's - [takes off winter jacket, is wearing Notre Dame sweatshirt] ... do you want to grab a drink after your shift?

PURDUE SANTA, smiling knowingly: Notre Dame went 4-8 this year.

MOTHER, nodding flirtatiously: Kept Brian Kelly, though.

PURDUE SANTA, putting on coat: Notre Dame kept Brian Kelly after a 4-8 season.