The face of the Grinch as he explains away his deception to little Cindy Loo Who.
Redemption is most satisfying when the lie is appropriately vile.
In the 1966 TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch tries to steal Christmas from an entire town, and when he’s caught by a two-year old, he quickly makes up a believable lie. Why is Santa taking the Christmas tree? Why, it’s because he’s going to fix one of the burnt out lights, that’s why. (Actually, he fibs badly here when he says there’s a light that "won’t light on one side," which doesn’t make any sense.) But she’s two and doesn’t fully understand, so she believes him.
What’s amazing in this sequence is the variety of facial expressions on the Grinch, as he runs through all the emotions he’d usually keep hidden inside his head until he finds the lie that will let him escape. That’s the artistry of Chuck Jones animating this classic Dr. Seuss book.
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.
"So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
"I’ll fix it up there. Then I’ll bring it back here."
And his fib fooled the child…