Who the Eff is Parson Brown?
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
When I was a kid I thought Parson Brown was some celebrity I’d never heard of and that the line in Winter Wonderland was the equivalence of saying, “And pretend that he is George Clooney.” I won’t list any of my actual celebrity crushes because if I admitted that I felt an attraction to someone in the original Star Wars trilogy you’d know exactly who I was talking about and then it’d be weird every time the little rat gremlin who laughs at everything Jabba says comes on screen. I mean, it seems to find pleasure in the misfortune of others, but it’s inserted itself into a situation where that’s acceptable and is thriving there. I guess I just like a go-getter. So, we’ll use Clooney as our celebrity placeholder, since he’s great at everything except being Batman.
Essentially, in my youthful reading of the song, the kids imagine that Clooney sweeps into town and is all like, “Yo, you married?” And the kids are like, “Nah, dawg,” and Clooney’s like, “Well, you know, I could do the job while I’m in town,” and the kids are like, “Yeah, I wanna marry you. I mean, you’re George Clooney. Ocean’s Eleven is awesome and I forgive you for Batman.” And then Clooney explains that he was fresh off ER when he was offered Batman and was looking for that next big thing and that while Batman was a misfire this proposal wasn’t and that his next big thing was you.
Of course, the kids aren’t crazy and realize that the George Clooney who’s come to propose to them in this slick, casual, vaguely passive aggressive way isn’t real, and that after he melts they can wait a year and make George Clooney out of snow again because they’re not about to make a George Clooney scarecrow in the fall like a FUCKING IDIOT.
Eventually I found out that a parson was a kind of priest and not the first name of some dreamboat hunk of yesteryear. I also realized it was “Parson Brown” because they had to rhyme it with “town”. If the kids had wanted to get married on the ferry, it would have been Parson Perry. The song isn’t exactly a masterpiece. But then, Winter Wonderland is to Christmas what the little rat muppet is to Star Wars or George Clooney is to Batman; you wouldn’t want it to represent the whole thing, but you wouldn’t want it to not exist at all. Because sometimes it’s fun to watch a sleazy rat puppet just loving life. Sometimes it’s fun to think about whether George Clooney’s nipples actually lined up with the nipple molds on his Batman costume (if you didn’t know Clooney’s Batman outfit had nipples now you know - your life is different now). And sometimes it’s fun to make the people you care about read several paragraphs about George Clooney’s nipples and that inside out Gonzo in Return of the Jedi, all because of a little song called Winter Wonderland.