Old School Americana & Nostalgia


’Christmas Vacation’s Bonkers Forgotten Sequel Starring Cousin Eddie

’Christmas Vacation’s Bonkers Forgotten Sequel Starring Cousin Eddie

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a certified classic. However, there’s a sequel featuring Cousin Eddie that’s all but forgotten.

Debuting in 1989, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation served as the third installment in the acclaimed John Hughes film franchise. Interestingly, unlike its predecessors, this film deviates from the traditional vacation theme. Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold is instead visited by extended family members to celebrate the holiday.

Among these extended family members are Cousin Eddie and his wife Catherine, played by Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn. Quaid’s Cousin Eddie has several scene-stealing moments in the holiday classic. He also has one of the most oft-quoted lines in the Vacation series. Clark looks on in horror as Eddie, dressed in his bathrobe, empties his RV’s toilet into the suburb’s sewer via a hose. When a yuppie neighbor notices Eddie, the boisterous character exclaims,” Merry Christmas! Sh**er was full!”

In This Sequel, Cousin Eddie Gets a Proper Christmas Vacation

Given the success of Christmas Vacation and the breakout nature of Cousin Eddie, it’s no wonder that a sequel starring the character was released. Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure, released in 2003, was first aired as a TV movie on NBC. This film is the second installment in a series of three movies, the other two being Vegas Vacation and the 2015 reboot of Vacation, all made without the involvement of series mastermind John Hughes. The cast includes Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn reprising their roles as Cousin Eddie and Catherine, along with Dana Barron returning as Audrey Griswold. It also stars Ed Asner as the cranky Uncle Nick.

It’s clear that this Vacation outing is much lower rent than the ones starring Chevy Chase. Also, any pretense of this story taking place in the real world is quickly cast aside. For instance, we learn that Cousin Eddie works in a nuclear power plant, but is fired when a literal chimpanzee co-worker outperforms him.

With Christmas approaching, Eddie worries about his job loss and its impact on his family. To find a solution, he decides to contact his former boss. Unbeknownst to Eddie, the nuclear company anticipates legal action and offers his family a free vacation on a serene island in the South Pacific. During their trip, they go on a boat excursion. While Eddie tries shark fishing, an unexpected event leads them astray, leaving them stranded on a remote and uninhabited island.

What follows is a series of hijinks on the island, with Cousin Eddie trying to prove he can still be a provider. Eventually, the family enjoys a Christmas celebration together on the island.

The Christmas Vacation Sequel Pays Homage to Other Installments

The movie is by no means perfect, but offers the Christmas Vacation super-fan a few solid moments. Also, interesting casting and references to the other films in the franchise show some thought went into the film. Jake Thomas from the tween sitcom Lizzie McGuire plays Third, the Johnsons’ only smart child. The film also serves as a reminder that Vicki, who is absent, is a thriving stripper in Las Vegas. This adds a rare thread of continuity to the series. Additionally, Monty Python’s Eric Idle makes a comeback from European Vacation.

Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure can be rented on most streaming outlets such as Amazon or Apple TV+.