AVAHS – Nestor the Long Eared Christmas Donkey (Rankin/Bass) (1977) Review

Plot: A little donkey named Nestor was always endlessly ridiculed for his incredibly long ears. He faced many hardships throughout his life, but one fateful night in a little town named Bethlehem would turn him into a Christmas hero.

Breakdown: Okay, look, I know what you’re going to say. We’re all thinking it. And as far as I’m concerned, yes, this is a Christian-ized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They’re not even remotely subtle about it. The song on which this special is derived from even makes direct references to Rudolph, and the song feels like it was originally written to be an off-shoot of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Nestor Lyrics: “Everyone knows about Rudolph
Our fleet-footed friend from the north
Who lights Santa’s way through the darkness
As he drives his sleigh back and forth
But there’s someone else we should mention
If we want the whole story told
He carried the first gift of Christmas
More precious than diamonds or gold”

Rudolph Lyrics: “You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?”

Summary: “You know these other reindeer, and they’re cool and all, but do you know of someone even cooler than they were? Here, let me tell you the story.”

Nestor: “Nestor was a donkey who seldom laughed or played
‘Cause no one even used him in the stable where he stayed
And all the camels teased him, the other donkeys too
They said, look at little Nestor, there’s nothin’ he can do.”
Rudolph: “All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games.”

Summary: “A physical deformity made them the laughing stock of the town, and they were completely ostracized from the other animals.”

Nestor: “Look at little Nestor, his ears hang to his knees
When he looks at his reflection, ears are all he sees
Nestor’s heart was broken and his eyes were full of tears
If only there was somethin’ he could do about his ears.”

Rudolph: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows.”

Summary: “Dude looks weird.”

Nestor: “One dark night two strangers gave Nestor a surprise
They chose him from all others for they loved his gentle eyes
A man was called by Joseph, Mary was his bride
She needed help to Bethlehem and Nestor’s back to ride

They travelled through the desert but hadn’t gone too far
When winter clouds no longer let them see their guiding star
But Nestor learned a secret as he listened to the breeze
And the angels gave directions to the ears that touched his knees

And so it was that Nestor found the manger where they stayed
Where kings and wise men bowed before the baby where he lay
Mary bore our Saviour and Nestor brought them there
A gift of love from God above for all the world to share”

Rudolph: “Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say
“Rudolph, with your nose so bright
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?””

Summary: “Deformity came in handy. Saved Christmas. Cool beans. Also, Nestor’s song is clearly way longer at this point.”

Nestor: “Though, Rudolph, I just love you, I know you’d want it said
Nestor’s ears are lovely as a reindeer’s nose is red
So children, if you’re happy when you trim your Christmas trees
You might thank a little donkey whose ears hung to his knees.

Look at little Nestor, his ears hang to his knees
They shouted as they praised him and his friends were all so pleased
Nestor was so happy and his eyes held no more tears
Now all the world knows Nestor for his laughter and his ears”

Rudolph: “Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
You’ll go down in history””

Summary: “Golly you’re sure swell, Rudolph/Nestor. We love you now that your physical oddity proved useful to us.”

Now, being COMPLETELY fair, the song was co-written Gene Autry, who wrote the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song, even though it’s not mentioned anywhere in his very long Wiki page. Also, while he is given top billing in the song credit in the special, probably for the sake of name recognition, every entry I can find about this song lists Don Pfrimmer and Dave Burgess in the writing credits before Autry, so I kinda feel like he didn’t have much to do with the writing of the song and was moreso consulted about it since it was so similar to Rudolph and had references to Rudolph in the song. I don’t have any proof of that, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

Even if he wrote the song, it’s hard to defend this as not being a Christian Rudolph story, even if the bookends still take place at the North Pole and all the Santa stuff is still canon.

I hate to ding them for copying something else too, but the whole ‘huge ears made me a laughingstock’ thing was also done in Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, which came out one year before Nestor.

But hey, I can give this special something. It’s more grounded than Rudolph was, and…..dear god it is depressing.

I mean, yeah, of course it has a happy ending, but uh…Let me just go through the story real quick.

Spieltoe, Santa’s donkey, watches as Santa flies away on the night of Christmas eve, with Rudolph heading the sleigh. Spieltoe shows the audience the stables, which house him and the reindeer. In the stables is a nativity scene which, as Spieltoe points out, displays an inaccurate representation of Nestor because it doesn’t have long ears.

He starts singing the story of Nestor, and one of the elves comes over to replace the donkey figure with a more long-eared one. Cool. I mean…ya know….Jesus and Mary (why is Joseph not here? The figures behind her are the three wise men.) are still being depicted as white people, but you make sure that donkey has accurate ear length.

We flashback to Nestor as we start the opening credits and…Uh….it certainly sets the stage for the depressing aspect I mentioned. Here’s the entire credits sequence.

Nestor walks out, trips on his ears, we keep cutting back to the other animals, who just think it’s the funniest thing, Nestor legit CRIES, spends a while being sad on the ground, and then walks over to his mother, which you’d think would be the one nice spot in this entire opening, but just you wait, readers. Just you wait. Did I mention the music blaring over this is very upbeat?

A long, long time ago, somewhere in….pbbtt this area.

Under the rule of the rising Roman empire, Nestor lived on a modest little farm owned by Olaf, an almost comically designed asshole. He denies Nestor dinner because he has difficultly working on the farm due to his long ears constantly tripping him up. And, of course, one of the other farm animals has to chime in and say there’s nothing he can do (though, this is part of the song.)

Olaf feeds Nestor’s mother because she ‘earns her keep’ and she decides to share her meal with Nestor to help keep him fed.

You guys starting to see why this is Rudolph only with the depressing factor turned up? Rudolph being made fun of sucked, yeah, but at least he wasn’t starved. At least he lived in a nice place. At least his parents didn’t have to suffer to make sure he stayed alive.

But let’s take a break from that depressing scene to head to a different depressing scene. Spieltoe explains how hard Nestor has had it his whole life because his long ears made him clumsy and everyone mocked them.

The next verse of the song plays here, though there’s one difference. Instead of saying “When he looks at his reflection, ears are all he sees” they say “They whispered as they mocked him, but he heard every sound.” Yes, Nestor gets absolutely no peace. He hears every insult and comment all of these jackasses (pun intended) make about him. He can’t turn his ears off. He has to cope with the constant torment.

But don’t worry, Nestor. If Rudolph’s Shiny New Year taught me anything, it’s that no one ever laughs AT someone’s strange physical attributes. They’re just filled with so much joy when they see it that they can’t help but burst out laughing. They’re secretly just being pals and you’re misinterpreting their laughter (and terrible comments and shunning).

Honestly, though, the song is pretty nicely done.

Cut to later, during a harsh winter storm, the animals of the farm are all celebrating the winter solstice by partying and giving gifts. Nestor’s mom gives him some old stockings to wear on his ears to keep them warm. Even the farm animals are, for some reason, being very nice to Nestor today. One donkey even apologizes for making fun of him and gives him a kiss on the cheek. Uhhh….How and why? You can’t have characters established as being complete jerks to Nestor every day of his life suddenly shift to being super nice to him and giving him a kiss on the cheek just because it’s a holiday. Oh, by the way, the one who gave him a kiss on the cheek, I’m pretty sure that’s the same donkey who made the “He can’t do anything.” comment earlier.

It’s not unheard of for bad guys to suddenly turn good-ish in holiday specials or anything, but this situation is such a drastic and quick turnaround for no reason that it feels pretty lazy. (Unless they ARE playing off of the “Laughing at people for their physical differences isn’t a bad thing – they’re just really happy and stuff” thing from Shiny New Year, in which case I think I need to be thankful I stocked up on aspirin.)

Especially considering we get an all too familiar foreboding line;

Nestor: “This is the best day ever! I’ll never forget it!”

Things sure are going great for Nestor….completely out of the blue. I certainly believe things will stay good for him.

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So things go bad.

An imperial Roman soldier barges into the stables demanding donkeys for the emperor. They snatch a bunch of them, including Nestor, and pay off Olaf. Nestor tries to run back to his mother, but the soldier stops him by grabbing his ears. The stockings come off and reveal his true ears. The soldier accuses Olaf of trying to sell him ‘misfit’ donkeys. Olaf tries to just give Nestor away for free, but the soldier is so insulted that he takes back all of the money, knocks Olaf down and takes the donkeys without paying.

By the way, the foley in this special is really weird. Either the sound effects aren’t there at all, what is there sounds like it doesn’t belong or the effect is delayed. Also, I can’t be certain, but I’m 95% sure those pieces of silver are nickels.

The soldier heads off, referring to his new donkeys as ‘slaves,’ whipping them and laughing maniacally. He is a bad guy. Also, he never shows up again so…..guess those donkeys are screwed.

Olaf is so pissed about Nestor’s ears screwing him over again that he chucks Nestor across the room and kicks him off of the farm, proclaiming he doesn’t care if he freezes in the storm.

*snort* Look at Nestor’s face when he’s being held up as Olaf threatens to throw him out of the stables. He should be scared out of his mind, but his expression comes off like he gives less than zero fucks.

Nestor is literally thrown out into the snowy tundra. Meanwhile, Nestor’s mother fights her way out of the stables so she can find him. Once they reunite, she tells him that, no matter what, he has to be brave.

They find a slightly sheltered spot, and Nestor’s mother digs a spot down to the ground so Nestor won’t be lying in snow. He lays on the frozen grass, and Nestor’s mother shields his body from the snow and cold by laying on top of him.

So because this is a Christmas special and we have to get going with the happy happy joy joy, Nestor enjoys a beautiful sunrise with his mother followed by some delightful breakfast foods and they plan on going into town together to see if some other nice farmer will take them in.

Hold on, I’m getting word that I’m a sarcastic git and Nestor’s mother actually frickin’ died.

Story at 11.

Or right now. Whatever.

What the hell?! What the actual hell? What kind of Christmas special is this?

I don’t recall any part of the song including something like;

“Nestor’s dear mother froze to death out in the snow.
Covered her son’s body with her own, now, don’tcha know?
Who knows how long she survived. Four hours? Maybe five.
If her son didn’t have long ears, she’d still be alive.”

They immediately cut to Nestor crying as he looks at the makeshift grave he made for his mother, which, considering the frozen ground, is not even a grave. She’s just covered in snow. But if you think about this even more, it’s HORRIFYING. Nestor woke up to his dead mother lying on his back. He had to wiggle out of his dead mother’s frozen embrace and deal with the fact that his mother froze to death trying to save his life. And considering he couldn’t even give her a proper burial, I hope to god he never returns to this spot once spring rolls around….

Merry Christmas, by the way.

Nestor survives for a while on his own, steadily making his way south, when he meets a Cherub named Tilly who has come to lead him to the plot—I mean, who explains that she’s meant to inspire animals as angels inspire humans. He’s meant for something very important – to save a life like his mother saved him. They must go to Bethlehem, which is a long and arduous journey.

Nestor: “Aw…I don’t want to go THAT far.”

Tilly: *a light shines down from the sky on her head* “Of course you do. You know….”

Nestor: *that same light shines on Nestor’s head* “Ohhhhhh….”

Tilly: “Mmmhmm. Come on now.”

Did….did….God just brainwash a donkey?

Nestor and Tilly go on a nice friendly montage where the accompanying song talks about not laughing at others to make them cry as they pass a bunch of animals who laugh at Nestor’s ears. This is a pretty good montage, and I think it’s really cute that Tilly holds Nestor’s ears through so much of it. However, the lyrics kinda fall flat at a point. A bear laughs at Nestor’s ears, but then the bear freaks out because he saw a spider and Nestor laughs at him. Then the bear happily waved as he walked away? So….laughing at someone is okay as long as the laughing person gets humiliated too?

Nestor and Tilly head off on a boat with Nestor’s ears acting as a sail and Tilly smacks two dolphins who were laughing at Nestor’s ears. Okay, Tilly hasn’t hit anyone until now, and the one time she does it’s when Nestor is using his ears as a sail, which is legitimately funny? Come on.

They finally reach a village and Tilly just straight up dips back to Heaven, telling Nestor to wait in town until it’s the right time to head to Bethlehem…….So of course he immediately gets captured by a jackass merchant (Like my clever wordplay? I’m so witty.) who tosses him in a pen with other animals who promptly laugh at his ears. So, uh, Tilly, you sure you don’t want to pop back down and help him out?…No?….Okie dokles.

Second verse, same as the first – no one wants to buy Nestor, the other animals keep viciously mocking him, he cries about it a lot and it’s sad.

Merry. Christmas.

Oh yeah, this merchant dude was pointed out by another reviewer as having a ‘penis-nose’ and uh….

I feel like I need to censor this….

Also, phallic imagery aside, this guy’s design just feels racist in general….Especially when it’s right beside White Joseph and Whiter Mary.

Okay, now we’re finally getting to greener pastures. Joseph and Mary show up looking for a donkey to purchase to take them to Bethlehem. They chose Nestor because he had kind eyes. The merchant can’t believe that they want to buy him, so he decides to pull a con and claims Nestor’s super expensive because long ears are popular these days.

Mary and Joseph can’t afford it and are about to leave, but Joseph stops her because they need a donkey in order to travel considering she’s with child. Mary then glows with the same warm light that came from heaven before.

Merchant: *gazes at glowing Mary* “Ooohhh…take him. A gift. He’s yours.”

Okay, God keeps Jedi Mind Tricking people and it’s freaking me out.

And before anyone questions if this is mind control;

Mary: “Oh thank you, sir. God bless you.”

Merchant: “Oh….what made me do that?”

*waves hand* This is not the donkey you’re looking for.

They head out, but quickly run into a strong sandstorm that obscures their view of the star they were following.

Suddenly, a familiar holy light appears in the sky. Tilly tells Nestor that he has the ability to do something no one else can right now. He has to listen to the sounds only he can hear and lead Mary and Joseph out of the storm. As Tilly vanishes, Nestor tearfully sees his mother in the sky also telling him to listen to the angels and follow them.

Nestor wraps his ears around Mary, which I found to be adorable, and listens to the sound of the angels singing to guide his way through the storm.

Eventually, the sandstorm passes and the three find themselves on the outskirts of Bethlehem. All the inns were full, so Nestor, remembering the warmth of a stable when he was a baby, brought Mary and Joseph to a nearby manger for Mary to birth Jesus.

Nestor decides to leave them………….for…..some…..reason. Seriously, I have no clue why. He just up and leaves right after Jesus is born. He finally gets adopted by a kind couple who appreciate him and don’t mock him for his ears and he just leaves when their son is born. Can you imagine being Jesus’s donkey? That’s be awesome…..At least as awesome as a donkey’s life can get.

But no.

No.

Instead……

…..he returns to Olaf.

Rudolph really didn’t have a choice when it came to returning to the North Pole. He was trying to help Santa and he kinda lives there. However, it’s completely out of left field for Nestor to return to Olaf’s farm. They’re cheering him on when he returns, but how would they know he did anything worthy of praise?

And even if they somehow magically did know what he did, screw you all. Screw each and every one of you. Especially you, Olaf. If it wasn’t for you, Nestor’s mom would still be alive.

“And his friends all gathered ‘round.”

FRIENDS” Some friends you are. Now that Nestor’s a biblical hero, you suddenly treat him like royalty. I also don’t care at all about that turnaround they had before the Roman soldier came. If that was their redemption, it was entirely unearned. You can’t just have them being complete jerks to Nestor, constantly making him cry, and then immediately go “Oh but then they were nice to him on this one holiday, so they’re good guys now.” Even if you could say that about the animals, you can’t say that about Olaf because he kicked Nestor out after the party.

Remember how I mentioned that the Rankin/Bass Rudolph special fixed a problem the song had in that the special had the reindeer making amends with Rudolph before his LED nose became useful in a pinch? So it didn’t seem like they only like him now because his physical deformity had benefit?

They didn’t do that here.

Instead, Nestor’s returning to his abuser in his dilapidated farm that’s probably going to go under soon because Olaf said he was screwed without all of those young donkeys and the money from their sale – and Nestor will be living there without his mother, the one Olaf indirectly got killed.

He went there instead of staying with JESUS.

Back in the present, the song concludes as all of elves, reindeer, including Rudolph, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Spieltoe dance around the nativity scene to celebrate Nestor, who I know realize is probably long since dead, and how he saved Christmas and lived happy ever after.

The End.

——————————————–

I do vaguely remember watching this special when I was a kid once or twice, and I liked it fine. Even now I find it to be alright. Nestor is quite adorable, the animation is okay, though the voice acting and foley are a little hokey, the music is nice and catchy, and the story is….decent, although I can poke way too many holes in it.

I can forgive most of them, it is a Rankin/Bass production afterall, barring the very ending and one note I can’t keep quiet about anymore…..why did Nestor’s mother have to die?

The reason I bring this up is because they make off like Nestor’s mother had to die in order for Nestor to fulfill his purpose. They specifically say “the lord works in mysterious ways” when she dies, and I really don’t like that phrase. I get that it’s just a go-to phrase religious people have for explaining terrible things in an effort to maybe comfort people, but I just can’t get into that. I can’t leave something so terrible with a phase so flippant. Nestor could have been with his mother this whole time and nothing would have changed. She could have been Joseph’s donkey or something. Why did she need to die for him to do what he was destined to do?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful that she was willing to sacrifice herself for her son, but I’d like some actual meaning in her death in regards to the story.

Another phrase said a couple of times is that Nestor needs to do this so he can save someone as his mother saved him. Sooo….he wouldn’t have been compelled to save a life unless his mother sacrificed herself for him? I sincerely doubt that.

The only realistic way I can figure it is that the writers wanted you to feel as bad as possible for Nestor, so they killed the only character who loved him.

I mean, it worked. I felt so bad for that poor kid I wanted to reach through the screen to hug him and take him home with me. He doesn’t catch an actual break until about twenty minutes into this 24 minute long special….

It was just wave after wave of terrible things frosted in the mocking of strangers. Topped off with a cherry of Nestor leaving caring owners and baby Jesus to return to a poor abusive asshole and a farm full of animals who probably traumatized him with their ceaseless laughter and insults. In that respect, this special is fairly miserable, no matter how adorable Nestor is. In fact, Nestor being so adorable makes the miserable feeling worse.

In the end, everything is all well and good. Nestor is happy, people celebrate his role in Jesus’ birth and we all learn not to mock people unless it has some role in a cosmic plan.

It’s not like the special has bad messages or anything (except the ‘returning to your abuser’ thing, but I don’t think kids would infer that much) and it’s an alright Christmas special for both religious and secular households. I did enjoy seeing Santa, the reindeer and the elves dancing around the nativity scene. It’s not saying either Rudolph or Nestor is ‘better’ or the more important Christmas hero. They’re just humble little animals who helped save Christmas. And they’re both adorable.

Once more, though in a non-sarcastic manner this time, Merry Christmas! 🙂


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AVAHS – Lloyd in Space: Cheery Theerlap, Lloyd! Review (Hanukkah Special!….Kinda!)

AVAHS - LISMTL

Plot: Droimatz is everyone’s favorite holiday. People give gifts, sing songs, eat delicious foods and spread holiday cheer. However, Lloyd’s people celebrates a different holiday this time of year – Theerlap – so he feels awkward around everyone else as they prep for their Droimatz pageant.

In an effort to be respectful of Lloyd’s culture, they offer to have Lloyd put on his version of the Theerlap story for the holiday pageant. Problem is, he barely knows anything about the holiday nor has he ever really celebrated it. When he asks his grandpa about it, he’s extremely disappointed to learn that Theerlap’s origins and customs are boring, so he worries he’ll look foolish at school. He creates an “improved” version of the story for the pageant to liven things up without realizing how disrespectful it is to his culture and his grandpa.

Breakdown: I did it! I found another Hanukkah special!……Kinda!

Yeah, this isn’t directly a Hanukkah special, but it is obviously implying that Droimatz is Christmas and Theerlap is Hanukkah.

It’s also highlighting something that the other Hanukkah specials really haven’t focused on much and that’s the awkward feeling Jewish people, especially kids, might have when everyone around them is celebrating Christmas and they’re not.

Being completely clear, I’m not Jewish, so I won’t speak for any Jewish person’s experiences, but I imagine it’s not terribly uncommon for Jewish people, again, particularly children, to feel this way around the holidays.

Although, considering Lloyd barely knows anything about Theerlap and has seemingly never celebrated it, I do have to wonder why he and his family never just decided to join in on the Droimatz stuff. Even Lloyd’s mother admits that she never much cared about Theerlap and never bothered getting into the tradition because she was rebellious. She doesn’t even know enough about the holiday to tell Lloyd simple things about it like the origin story or what songs they sing – she really doesn’t care even now. So why is Lloyd acting like Droimatz is something he can’t celebrate because his family celebrates a different holiday? It’s not like they can’t celebrate both either. Unlike Hanukkah and Christmas, there’s no conflicting religious basis to consider.

Also, they DO make Theerlap seem significantly goofy in comparison to Hanukkah. The story goes that some guy named Nimrod left the door to the food supply hut, also known as a theerlap, open, which spoiled all of the food except for some gross salty fish cakes. The villagers lived on those cakes for six days until the supply rocket came in with food from the grocery hub.

The end.

They never say that the villagers would have died if the rocket didn’t get there soon or if there was only a small amount of those cakes left to feed the villagers, so feeding them all for six days was very improbable, just that they were inconvenienced to have to eat one type of food for six days. I get that that’s not the point, but I feel like they could have made the effort to make the holiday seem more special and worthy of tradition instead of something so inconsequential.

Kinda makes you want to side with Lloyd in the realm of not wanting to explain Theerlap to a bunch of people jazzed on a holiday that seems pretty identical to Christmas. I always found Hanukkah to be a really interesting holiday with a great history, so this seems a little…I won’t go far as to say offensive because I can’t speak for any Jewish people watching this, but it’s at least iffy.

All of that aside, I did enjoy this episode much more than I did the pilot episode of Lloyd in Space I reviewed way back when. You understand where Lloyd is coming from, but your heart breaks for his poor grandpa who is in the audience watching this utter destruction of a holiday and part of his heritage that means a lot to him. He was SO happy that Lloyd wanted to learn about Theerlap, but Lloyd just crapped all over it.

When Lloyd gets ousted in front of the whole school, during the pageant no less, his grandpa explains that the holiday isn’t about excitement – it’s about remembering and celebrating their ancestors; the people who made future generations like him possible.

Lloyd finally gets it, and they all have a quiet Theerlap celebration at home. Lloyd even offers to read some of the Theerlap story as they enjoy their briny cakes and spend some quality time together.

I found it rather poignant that they zoom out of this shot to show an external shot of the space station and we see all of these Droimatz decorations. Among a sea of decorations focusing on a holiday they don’t celebrate, Lloyd’s family is perfectly content celebrating their culture’s holiday at home with each other because it’s not about the spectacle or excitement, it’s about family.

I think this is a pretty solid ‘Hanukkah’ special that most people would enjoy no matter if you celebrate Droimatz or Theerlap.

Sadly, however, I think this time I am seriously out of animated Hanukkah specials.

Have a Happy Hanukkah everyone!

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No, I still won’t review Eight Crazy Nights. No. Even I have limits.


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AVAHS – Santa’s First Christmas (1992) Review

AVAHS - SFC1

Plot: Santa shares his story about his first Christmas.

Breakdown:

Brain?

Twix’s Brain: “Yes, Twix.”

Today’s review is about the origins of Christmas.

Brain: “Neato bandito.”

And how Santa became, well, Santa.

Brain: “Cool beans.”

Yeah, well, this is just a short cute little kid’s film that is in no way taking itself seriously, so if you could do me a solid and not overthink this, that’d be—frick, you’re already googling things. Stop it!

Brain: “But it’s an interesting topic! Before Santa was a part of things, Christmas was basically Mardi Gras! And the poor would bust into rich people’s houses and demand stuff, and if they didn’t get it, they’d “terrorize” the homeowners, like this was some trick-or-treating raid.”

Brain!

Brain: “People used to get absolutely plastered and the rich were expected to cater to the lower class – Hey, one of these things stuck around through the years. I’ll give you a hint, they ain’t spiking eggnog with an increased minimum wage. Am I right? Up high!”

Brain!

Brain: “Hey, did you know Christmas was banned in the United States by puritans for a while because they didn’t like that people were giving and receiving gifts? I need a reverse alarm for how backwards that is.”

That’s fascinating, Brain, but we’re reviewing an early 90’s Christmas cartoon about a young Santa, and I’d really like to get through this without writing a thesis.

Brain: “Oh well, I’m sorry, Twix. I thought I was helping. So, uh, how’s the story start?”

Okay, first, Christmas, specifically, not any holiday that preceded it but landed on the same day, is already a holiday even though they’re not acknowledging the Jesus part and Santa isn’t a thing yet. Also, they act like Christmas is a boring-ass day where nothing happens, so you kinda wonder why it’s even a holiday.

Brain: “…….Okie dokie.”

And Santa makes these gifts out of rocks and sticks. He saves an elf from a frozen lake, gives her a stick, and then she brings him to the North Pole where the other elves show him their workshop where they make furniture.

Brain: “Wha, wait, they walked to the North Pole? Where does Santa live? Didn’t Saint Nicholas live in Asia Minor?”

That’s not important, Brain. What’s important is that Santa is super generous and wants to make Christmas special so he destroys all of the furniture and turns them into toys.

Brain: “He….celebrates the act of giving by destroying their hard work?”

Well….I….He….Moving on. He makes a sleigh out of firewood, but finds that his red dog can’t pull it very well. So he meets a flying reindeer – these reindeer, by the way, fly by flapping their antlers.

Brain: “……”

……

Brain: “You know, it’s theorized that the flying reindeer part of the Santa mythos was created due to a magic mushroom fueled drug trip, so I’ll leave that alone.”

I am really regretting using up my drug jokes on Pac-Man.

Brain: “I know, right?”

The reindeer, Romuald–

Brain: “Romuald?!”

Romuald…

Brain: “There was a real Romuald – a saint even.”

Oh really? Any connection to reindeer or Christmas?

Brain: “…..Mmmmmm……No.”

………Anyhoo, Romuald wouldn’t listen to Santa because he was a kid so Santa wore a fake beard and tricked Romuald into thinking he was an adult.

Brain: “That work–”

Before you say anything, they joke about how stupid it is that that worked.

Later, the elves work their butts off trying to make enough toys to hand out at Christmas. They calculate that they’ll have to work non-stop in order to make the deadline. This is played off like a joke, but it’s also kinda horrifying. These elves were just chill carpenters a few days ago and now they’re working themselves to the bone for nothing in return.

Santa dons his signature red suit and heads out on his first delivery run. The bottom of his sleigh ends up getting a massive hole in it due to Santa and Romuald’s poor flying skills, so many of the gifts end up falling out and conveniently fall into the chimneys of the houses below.

They patch the hole and deliver presents ‘round the clock’ and we see a clock spinning several days worth of hours, even though they said they have to deliver all of the presents by morning.

Brain: “Where do his parents think he is?”

Dunno. We never see them beyond the first couple of scenes. And Santa’s never seen delivering presents to his own house. As far as this story is concerned, he’s whisked away to the North Pole and never returns home.

Brain: “That’s upsetting.”

it sure is. They accidentally skew about 8000 miles off course, so Santa does the rational thing and plungers a steering wheel to Romuald’s head.

Brain: “….He….plungers….”

Yup.

Brain: “….a steering wheel….”

Yup.

Brain: “To Romuald’s head….”

Yup.

Brain: “For what purpose?”

To make him go faster, of course.

Brain:

Using Romuald’s new brain implant, they manage to reach all of the houses in the world, including a bunch of animals, except one – a little cottage in Mexico. They’re all out of gifts for the little boy inside, so they scrape off the snow from the sleigh and make a snowman outside the little boy’s window.

Brain: “Heh….wait…so everyone else gets gifts, including the animals, but this little Mexican boy gets a snowman made of old crusty sleigh snow that will inevitably melt in about 20 minutes?

Mmm, yeah, that’s about it.

Brain: “Didn’t they make an igloo for a dog in the arctic out of about twenty different individual gifts?”

Sure did!

Brain: “Couldn’t THAT have been made out of snow?”

Yeah, but the specialness about the little boy’s gift was that it was a snowman in Mexico – a place where it never snows.

Brain: “That is very wrong.”

Okay, fine. It’s an awful gift, but it’s the thought that counts.

Adult Santa: “So that’s the story of how I made Christmas what it is today.”

Funny, you wouldn’t think he’d be nimble enough to suck his own di–

Brain: “Did you know that one of the origin stories of Saint Nicholas involves him staying at an inn where three little boys were murdered by the innkeeper? They were dismembered and stuffed in the basement in barrels, but then Nicholas sensed what he had done and brought the victims back to life.”

?!?!?!

Brain: “Also, early Christians wanted to keep the gift-delivery aspect of the story, so they claimed baby Jesus did it, but in order to make sure they could literally scare kids into being good all year (and to explain how a baby can deliver all those gifts), they designed ‘scary’ huge sidekicks that were based on Saint Nicholas – Ru-Klaus, or Rough Nicholas, Aschenklas, or Ashy Nicholas, and Pelznickel, or Furry Nicholas……don’t read too much into that last name.”

…….Uh…yeah, the point is you can’t really thank anyone for the way that Christmas is celebrated today because it has such a vast history that underwent many changes, and it’s not universal across the numerous different countries and cultures that celebrate it. If we can blame humanity for ruining Christmas with its commercialism, I think we can also thank humanity as a whole for making it the loving and warm holiday that many people still cherish it as. No holiday can truly be ruined as long as you celebrate it the way you want to, and that type of thinking spreads to other people and makes the season that much more peaceful and happy.

Brain: “Amen.”

Santa and the others nap after their journey and we close out on the story, which, by the way, has been conveyed to us through The Office-style documentary shots of Adult Santa and pals telling the story. Also, this wasn’t really Santa’s first Christmas since he had about six or seven Christmases before he started delivering gifts.

The end.

Brain: “So you hated this special, eh?”

Nope. I thought it was really good. It had a good sense of humor, it was unique enough and it drove home the true meaning of Christmas without being overly cheesy.

Brain: “But it was really stupid.”

You know what’s stupid? Spending a five page review talking to your own brain.

Brain: “……..Fair enough.”

Yes there are some things they just get bafflingly wrong, and it’s really simple stuff too, so they didn’t really have any excuse for it, but it’s mostly just goofy and silly instead of enragingly dumb. It’s a light-hearted and fun Christmas story. You won’t bust a gut laughing, but you will probably enjoy it well enough.

Brain: “Huh, well I sure learned something today.”

You should, you read about fifteen different articles.

Brain: “No, I mean that you can enjoy something kinda cheap and goofy as long as the heart behind it is genuine.”

Of course you know that, because I know that. Because….you’re….my brain.

Brain: “…..Oh my god. You weren’t out of drug jokes, you liar! HOW MANY MAGIC MUSHROOMS DID YOU GOBBLE, MARIO?!”

I didn’t do anything! But I’m going to stop talking to you anyway just in case the pink elephants  turn into reindeer.

Brain: “Good call. I need to stock up on aspirin for your Nestor: The Long-Earred Christmas Donkey review anyway. Peace out.”

Yeah, see ya—wait what?……Damn, Brain left before I could make a Pinky and Brain reference. That’s relevant now and everything! *huff* Now how do I end the review?

That’ll do.


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AVAHS – Ed, Edd and Eddy: Fa-La-La-La-Ed Review

AVAHS - EEE FLLLE

Plot: Eddy concocts a scheme to take everyone’s money on Piggy Bank Day, but Ed counters his scheme with some Christmas cheer!……In July.

Breakdown: You guys remember that insanely short-lived Christmas in July block on Cartoon network where they would just play a bunch of Christmas specials in July? Well this…..

….Was not one of them….somehow.

I saw someone comment on this episode saying it was made for the block, but when I looked at the scheduling for the block (all four years that it ran – inconsistently even) the only Ed, Edd and Eddy entry that appeared was their other Christmas special, Jingle, Jingle, Jangle.

Yup. A Christmas special literally set in July and Cartoon Network never used it for their Christmas in July block.

As for the episode itself, it’s pretty okay. It’s got some decent jokes in there, and it managed to be a fairly good Christmas special. It can work both around the holidays and in summer because it has a nice holiday story in there while also kinda fulfilling a longing many people have when they’re at that harrowing middlepoint to Christmas. It’s been six months since Christmas so you barely have any leftover Christmas cheer, but you’re so far away from the next one that it seems like forever until it comes.

Ed proves that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is – you can always spread some Christmas cheer by giving to others.

Eddy didn’t learn any big lesson in the end, which is fine because who expects him to? Kinda wish Double-D got one of the jawbreakers in the end, though.


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AVAHS – Charlie and Lola: How Many More Minutes Until Christmas? Review

AVAHS - CaLHMMUC

Plot: Charlie and Lola prepare for Christmas, but Lola begins to panic when she believes Santa didn’t get her letter.

Breakdown: I’ve definitely seen Charlie and Lola around here and there, but I’ve never sat down and watched any of it. What better way to be introduced to a show than through its Christmas special?

This special is very cute and sweet. I absolutely loved the relationship between Charlie and Lola. They’re adorable, but still realistic.

Charlie’s teaching Lola all about Christmas, which is kinda strange because she seems old enough to have remembered at least one or two previous Christmases, but she’s confused by things like reindeer and whether everyone gets the exact same presents. I mean, for the most part, she just asks understandable questions that a little kid would ask, but thinking reindeer are horses with twigs on their heads?

I understand her not knowing what an advent calendar is, though, because I didn’t even know until a few years ago.

I did have a bit of a nostalgic squee when she and her friends were making a paper chain. I was just decorating our Christmas tree today and I have a paper chain from when I was about eight or nine that I put up every year. It’s been squished pretty bad over the years, but we still use it.

Lola becomes nervous when she mixes up her letter to Santa (or Father Christmas as he’s referred to here) with a letter she made for an exchange at school for her friend Lotta. (Also, she doesn’t seem to care that Lotta will never get the letter she made for her. It’s probably just an oversight, but I found that kinda insultingly funny.)

She does send another letter less than a week before Christmas, but she becomes increasingly concerned that Father Christmas won’t get it in time. Her fears seem to be compounded when her grandparents confirm that they won’t be able to come to their house this holiday because their cat hurt its paw. She had wished for them to come in her letter, so she believes Father Christmas didn’t read her wish.

On Christmas Eve, Charlie and Lola go to open their last advent calendar door, but they find that it’s missing. In a creative imaginary segment, they enter their advent calendar and make their own final door, which leads to the north pole. All of the Santa’s elves are just sitting around depressed and not getting ready for Santa’s trip because of a catastrophe: They’re all out of wrapping paper!

Hahahahaha! Seriously, why do so many Christmas specials insist on depicting Santa and his elves like they’re incompetent? Wrapping gifts is literally their main job and yet they ran out of wrapping paper before they even started wrapping. Didn’t think to stock up last year after the last holiday? 75% off clearance, guys. Get on my level.

The elves were pretty funny. They say everything in unison and even sigh and shift places at the same time.

The solution is really creative and cute, but it’s also one time I’m glad I overthink things because that made it so much funnier.

The two leave the north pole depressed because they believe Christmas is canceled, but then Lola and Charlie get an idea. They’re technically in the advent calendar, which means everything is paper, even the sky. So they decide to literally rip the sky down to turn it into sparkly star wrapping paper to wrap the toys.

….They literally destroyed the fabric of space so they could wrap some presents.

The elves get to work wrapping, and, once Lola leaves, they find her letter. Charlie and Lola return home, and when they awaken they find their stockings filled with toys wrapped in starry paper. Their grandparents even arrive with their injured little kitty.

There’s a really sweet and funny moment at the end where Lola gets excited that Charlie’s going to open the surprise she asked Father Christmas to get for him – it’s a pineapple. He said before that Father Christmas always brings a tangerine for some reason, but he finds it boring because it’s not a surprise. Lola asked him to not bring a tangerine because of that, so he got a pineapple instead. I just thought that was legitimately hilarious and cute.

The art, while being very simple, is charming, and I rather love the ‘collage’ style animation they utilize for this series. Everything looks very unique and fun, and it definitely adds to the warm and familiar air they have about the series.

I also found it to be kinda interesting that they have the same ‘never show adults on screen’ rule that Peanuts had. Even if it’s pretty unrealistic and a little confusing at points, and it’s especially odd in a Christmas special, I kinda get why they do it.

Overall, this is a really cute and creative Christmas special that I fully enjoyed. And if this is a mark of quality for the series itself, then I imagine the show must be a great, imaginative and educational show for young kids.


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AVAHS – Christmas Every Day (1986) Review

AVAHS - CED

Plot: Lucy’s father regales the story of his mother, Grandma Tilly, who wished for Christmas every day. Her wish came true, much to her delight, but one should always be careful what they wish for.

Breakdown: Painted/sketchy art, paper cutout animation, in-special indications of commercial breaks telling you the special will be right back – MmMmm that’s some classic Christmas goodness right there.

This is a very warm and amusing forgotten old Christmas special. At this point, I’ve seen a few versions of the ‘Christmas every day’ plot, and this one still manages to throw a couple curveballs my way.

The 1986 iteration is somewhat reminiscent of Fairly Odd Parents’ version of the story. Every day after Christmas is still Christmas, meaning piles of presents and an overload of carols and holiday food day after day. What started as an innocent wish to perpetuate something so good started to become tiresome and irritating until the kid gets so sick of it that they want to unwish it, but they find that they can’t. In the end, everything gets set back to normal, but the kid has a better understanding that special events like Christmas come only once a year for a reason. Too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing, and times like Christmas give you something to look forward to throughout the year.

However, Christmas Every Day goes a bit further than Fairly Odd Parents did – and they get a bit darker in the meantime. First of all, Santa is not involved here. They do get presents every day, but they’re from each other, and they’re the exact same gifts. The dad gets the same tie, the mom gets the same hat, the older daughter gets the same dress – although, for some reason, Tilly gets different dolls each time. The funniest part is that they got a dog this Christmas, so each day they get a new completely identical dog.

Eventually, things get so bad that they don’t have the money to keep buying the same gifts over and over and everyone just starts getting rags. Everyone ends up poor because they keep spending money buying gifts, and the poor houses end up getting filled to capacity, so they just end up sending everyone home (figure that one out.)

Meat stores start charging $5000 for turkeys because they’re in such high demand, and the turkeys in question are teeny tiny because they’re running out. Christmas trees are being cut down to the point of extinction, though I’m not sure why everyone’s getting a Christmas tree on Christmas day.

All holidays outside of Christmas are celebrated in a Christmas manner. Halloween is celebrated with everyone dressing up as Santa and handing out candy canes, the play for Washington’s birthday had Washington dressed like Santa, the Easter bunny had to sport reindeer antlers and Tilly’s birthday is celebrated with a birthday turkey and everyone singing Merry Christmas instead of Happy Birthday.

She tries to unwish the wish, but her arrangement with the Christmas fairy doesn’t allow her. Tilly wanted Christmas every day forever, but the fairy decided to give her a one year trial run. If she still wanted it after that point, she’d get it forever, but she wasn’t allowed to wish out of it before the year was up.

Her older sister overheard her trying to contact the fairy, and that ousted her as being the source of the perpetual Christmas. Her sister, being a bitch, spread the news all over town. She was instantly hated by everyone – her neighbors, her friends and even the 200+ dogs she had accumulated.

When Tilly decided to run away since everyone hated her, we got this exchange;

Tilly: *while crying* “I’m running away Mrs. Jones.”

Mrs. Jones: “Good!”

Jesus Christ, lady!

I get that people are upset, but this is a little kid who made a wish any little kid would make. If they want to direct their anger somewhere, it should be the fairy.

Her parents find her and explain that they love her no matter what she did, and if Christmas lasts forever they’ll just make the best of it and work through it together.

The fairy does show back up on Christmas day, the wish gets reversed, everyone stops hating Tilly, once everything returns to normal no one mentions the fiasco ever again (I sincerely doubt that) and there were happy endings all around.

This is a very sweet and fun little story. The animation is quite endearing and, despite being paper dolls, they actually managed to bring them to life very well. It has a pretty nice flow, and only a handful of shots seem truly stilted and doll-like.

The voice acting is fairly hokey, though. Lucy’s dad especially sounds very bored, but most of the actors sound a bit wooden.

If you want a quick and quaint little Christmas tale, check this out.


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AVAHS – An All Dogs Christmas Carol Review

Plot: Charlie, Sasha and Itchy try to make a good Christmas for all the dogs and puppies in town. However, their holiday fun is ruined when Carface crashes the party. Using a mind-controlling dog whistle given to him by Annabelle’s evil witch cousin, Belladonna, Carface hypnotizes the dogs into giving him all of their bones. As he leaves, he also takes all of the presents, food and the money being raised for little Timmy’s life-saving operation. Belladonna’s true plan is much more sinister than just ruining a Christmas party. She wants to control all of the dogs in San Francisco to steal their master’s presents and ruin Christmas.

Charlie, Itchy and Sasha use a miracle tag granted to them by Annabelle to make Carface the hero they need to stop Belladonna by putting him through a familiar Dickens story.

Breakdown: It wouldn’t be AVAHS without at least one two animated version(s) of A Christmas Carol.

I have a bit of a strange relationship with the All Dogs Go To Heaven franchise. I did watch all of the movie entries numerous times when I was a kid, and I definitely remember today’s topic of focus as well. I liked it quite a bit, but I wouldn’t say I was ever a massive fan or anything.

Nowadays, I don’t have much interest in ever returning it, mostly because, as you might now, I have a bit of an issue with any feature involving animals being abused or dying, especially pets – particularly dogs.

Gonna get a bit personal here, so skip down to the part where you see a Spongebob time card to just get to the movie review.

When I was a kid, I hadn’t really processed death much. I had lost one cat, Mowgli, whom I was too young to really remember that well, and when I was about eight I lost my dog, Ginger, whom I do remember and loved. However, I don’t really remember being able to properly understand what was actually happening at the time. I don’t remember crying. I don’t remember being scared. Unless I blocked all of that out, I just don’t think I actually grasped the gravity of concept of death at that age.

I’ve never lived a day of my life without having at least one dog in the house. As of this writing, I am 31 years old and have lost six dogs over my life – the most recent one being the most devastating to me (no disrespect or any less love to my other dogs, of course) because I had her for 15 years, half my life, and I spent the last few years giving her near round-the-clock care, so I bonded with her a lot.

I had watched All Dogs Go To Heaven 1 and 2 before I ever lost my first dog, and I probably watched An All Dogs Christmas Carol before I lost my second dog. But as the years went on, I just didn’t want to return to the All Dogs Go To Heaven movies anymore even if they would probably be positive reinforcements on helping me deal with my grief, at least a little. After all, it’s literally saying ‘all dogs go to heaven.’ However, I don’t process emotions in a very healthy manner – neither good nor bad – but I’ll spare you from that mess and just say that certain topics, like animals dying, cut deep with me.

I know some people don’t value animals very much nor have they had pets and, as a result, have never had to deal with losing a pet, but animals are special to me and my pets have always been my very best friends. Seldom do times feel worse than when you lose a pet.

While the overall hot-button topic of dogs dying is most definitely the main problem with me here, I can’t help but also believe that a part of my issue in going back to All Dogs Go To Heaven is the fact that I’ve grown up around some ignoramuses who think it’s a good idea to tell a kid that, no, their dog probably isn’t in Heaven because only humans go to Heaven. That’s almost as bad as telling a kid that their very recently deceased grandfather probably isn’t in Heaven either because he wasn’t a Christian. 😐

But I digress, kinda, I guess.

Surely this movie will be fine, right? I mean, it’s a Christmas movie and it’s just another retelling of A Christmas Carol. What could they possibly do that would be depressing?

*presses play*

*presses pause*

…….There are….angel puppies……We’re starting the movie WITH DEAD PUPPIES?!

What the hell, movie?! I mean, granted, I’m not sure most kids would connect the implications, but holy hell.

Annabelle starts telling the angel puppies a story about how Charlie and Itchy saved Christmas from her evil witch cousin, Belladonna. Flashing back, we get a pretty decent Christmas song as Charlie, Itchy and Sasha do some Christmas decorating with the local puppies.

One of the puppies is our Tiny Tim for the movie, Timmy. He has a bum leg and they’re trying to raise enough money for an operation to help save his life.

Carface and Killer come in to collect the debts of everyone there, but they don’t have the bones to pay up, especially since Carface has added in a lot of interest. Using some strange whistle to hypnotize everyone, Carface and Killer steal every single bone they have, all of the food, all of the presents for the puppies and even the handful of cents Sasha and Charlie were able to raise for Timmy’s surgery.

Before I go any further, yes, Carface is our Scrooge. The guy who extorts, kidnaps, steals, manipulates and viciously assaults others as regularly as he probably craps over the course of a day. One of the only dogs to ever wind up in Hell. And, oh yeah, the guy who MURDERED CHARLIE is going to be given a redemption arc a la A Christmas Carol. I do not agree with this choice.

Scrooge was a cold-hearted ass, but even he wasn’t nearly as bad as Carface. Scrooge was flippant and didn’t care. He was blunt and angry, but he didn’t really actively do much that was bad to other people besides be a really strict boss. Carface is actively a pile of garbage. He is evil. Whereas Scrooge refused to give money to a charity for the poor, Carface stole from a charity for a dying disabled puppy. Whereas Scrooge didn’t have sympathy for the children, Carface kidnapped and nearly killed a little orphan girl (And, later, did the same thing with a little boy). Whereas Scrooge didn’t celebrate Christmas in the slightest, Carface stole Christmas presents and holiday food from a group of dogs and puppies who were trying to celebrate the holiday.

Hell, as much as Scrooge hated Christmas, in most iterations of the story, he begrudgingly allows Bob Cratchit the day off(ish). Carface would probably beat or kill him for asking.

The original movie is also a redemption story of a slimy person/dog eventually realizing the error of his ways and bettering himself, but Charlie’s worst crimes were mostly stealing, gambling and cheating – and he had to sacrifice his life and nearly damn himself to Hell for the sake of another person to redeem himself.

Carface? Well, let’s find out.

Charlie and Itchy confront Carface about the money. He reveals that he’s actually working for Belladonna, who gave him the magical dog whistle. They’re planning on using a giant version of the whistle to hypnotize every dog on the night of Christmas Eve so they’ll all steal their masters’ gifts and bring them to Carface.

They frame it like Belladonna is the big mastermind behind this whole plot, but she’s really not. Even Charlie points this out. He asks Belladonna what she gets out of this arrangement if Carface gets all of the gifts. Her response? She gets to ruin Christmas.

Yes. Carface gets hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts, and Belladonna gets to brag about ruining Christmas to….?

Also, literally the only reason we’re learning of this plot is because Charlie and Itchy have to know about it in order to stop it. It’s not even villain monologuing. Belladonna tells Killer to explain their evil plans to the boys for really no reason. They even show Charlie and Itchy a giant blueprint of the giant whistle for no other reason than to just give them an idea of what they need to look for. She could have kept the fact that there even was a second whistle a secret and let them believe the little whistle was what they were using so they could reveal the big whistle later, but nope. In fact, she melts the little whistle for no reason, despite the fact that Carface and Killer could still use it in the meantime to cause trouble.

Hey, why not use the little whistle on Charlie and Itchy so they’ll be hypnotized the whole time and not ruin your plans? No? Just gonna chase them away with fire imps so they can come back and save the day like this is a movie? Okay. Really not impressing as the main villain so far, Belladonna, not even as just a villain in this franchise.

Annabelle shows up and gives the duo a magical dog tag that, and I quote “won’t locate the whistle. It will, however, help you find a way to foil Belladonna’s plans.”

Yyeeaaahhhh………that’s dumb. That is a diamond of dumbness. With the amount of dumbness in that statement, if you managed to make a generator that ran on dumb, you could power the entire world until the day the sun burns out.

What the hell is this dog tag when its powers amount to ‘whatever you need it to do to stop Belladonna EXCEPT find the massive mind-controlling whistle, which, of course, would end this movie in a minute and a half.’?

I find it hard to believe that it’s so well-hidden anyway. The whistle is a giant object built from evil magic. Shouldn’t that thing be a beacon to the head angel dog, Annabelle? She actually has the nerve to say “There’s only so much I can do.” WHY?! Why is it you can give the boys an item that will surely give them the ability to defeat Belladonna, barring finding the whistle, but you can’t get your halo’d ass down here and actually help?

Gah, it’s Gaia and Planeteers all over again.

Believe it or not, Charlie’s first idea is to make Carface a good guy, which doesn’t make sense because they don’t even know if Carface knows where the whistle is. He was acting suspicious about knowing the location, but he could’ve just been screwing with them. (Hindsight alarm: I wrote this as I was watching the movie when I believed they wanted to turn him good to make him tell them where the whistle was so they could destroy it. Turns out, that’s not the intention. The intention is actually way stupider. Carry on.)

Actually, now that I think about it, why did Belladonna even involve Carface and Killer? Their only actual role throughout all of this is to get presents and lead the heroes into foiling her plot. She could’ve just blown the whistle in secret and gotten away with everything. Belladonna is a complete dumbass.

Itchy jokes that Carface is too much of a Scrooge to become a good guy, which also doesn’t make any sense because Scrooge DID become a good guy….

The mention of Scrooge gives Charlie an idea – they’ll use the tag’s magic to make Carface go through the motions of A Christmas Carol so they can turn him into a good guy so they can use him to stop Belladonna.

Yup. That’s the plan. Built entirely on the idea that every bad person has some sad backstory and that, with a little self-reflection, they’ll change their ways and become good, even if they’re a murderous scab.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to try this plan on Killer? He’s actually shown some semblance of goodness in the past when he helped save Anne-Marie in the first movie.

As Carface lies in bed watching TV, Charlie pops in on the screen to announce “It’s a Wonderful Carface” which is the wrong reference. I don’t know why they changed it because not only does it not fit, but it also would be better to say “A Carface Carol” or even “A Christmas Carface.”

Itchy takes over as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and he takes Carface back to when he was a puppy. Surprisingly, they don’t make off like he was a good dog turned bad. Instead, he was a bit of a nightmare as a pup. He bullied his siblings and made trouble. However, he explains that, no matter how bad he was, his mom always loved him. That was the last holiday they spent together before he eventually was adopted by a nice family.

In his new house, Carface would be even more of a nightmare. He’d destroy everything – chew it up, tear it up, break it to pieces – as Carface put it, he could get away with murder in that house. He even destroyed the Christmas dinner and knocked over the Christmas tree. However, his owner, a boy named Bobby, would always stand up for him no matter what he did. As Carface explains in song, Bobby would always say Carface didn’t mean to do it, and he was always his buddy. Bobby, by the way, is a shitty owner. He completely ignored Carface as he did all of these things and never once thought to properly train him.

Speaking of training, Carface couldn’t help but pee on the rug after he had just gotten done demolishing the house, and apparently that one thing, that most puppies do, was the last straw – not the fact that he destroyed the place moments before. Carface expected Bobby to stick up for him, but he blamed the incident on Carface and his mother kicked him out of the house and into the cold winter night.

After that Carface decided to stop being a ‘good dog’ and became a bad dog, which is a weird thing to say because this entire story has proven that he’s been a little demon since day one. The gist is that Carface was always awful, but he had people there to enable him. The instant the enabling wasn’t there, he became even worse.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting the entire blame on Carface. Like I said, Bobby was a terrible owner. He never cared about what Carface was doing and never bothered to try and train him. Instead, he just made excuses and kept letting the bad behavior happen. He didn’t even properly house train Carface.

This kind of situation is all too familiar. Family adopts pet but because they either pawn off responsibility on their lazy-ass kid or they simply don’t realize that dogs, particularly puppies, need to be trained in order to not develop or exacerbate behavioral issues, and that requires, *gasp*, work, they instead blame the dog for not just being good and well-trained by default and abandon the poor thing without even making the effort to rehome it.

In that regard, Carface does get some sympathy points, but the fact that all of that was preceded by Carface just being a nightmare from day one really dulls that angle.

Compare that with Scrooge, where he was a good, but lonely, kid whose father hated him for reasons beyond his control. He loved his sister, Fan, but she ended up dying young while giving birth to her son, Fred. He had a good time under the tutelage of his boss, Mr. Fezziwig, but eventually lost his way in greed. He became obsessed with money, embittered and cold, which drove the people he loved, particularly his fiance, Belle, away and only made matters worse. He didn’t let go of the greed or the anger, even when plenty of people offered him a kind hand and a smile, friendship and understanding.

We can sympathize with Scrooge easily during this flashback period because we see that he was a good person who suffered from some terrible circumstances which certainly affected him, but ultimately he made the choice to become and stay a miserable old coot. This also gives us hope that Scrooge can change since he was, at one point, good.

This can’t be said of Carface. We can only barely sympathize with him here, and we’re left with little hope that he can actually change because he never was a good person in the past. His love of his mom or Bobby isn’t the same as Scrooge’s love of Fan. His sister loved him because Scrooge was a good person who was unjustly hated and treated like crap by his father. Scrooge loved her because she loved him and she was the only one who brought joy to his life. Carface’s mother loved him in spite of the fact that he was a troublemaker who treated his siblings badly, and Bobby just loved him because he was a little boy and Carface was a puppy – of course he’d love him. Carface loved the both of them because they loved him in spite of being a mini Tazmanian Devil.

Carface became an even worse dog after he was kicked out and loved every minute of it, but admits that he still sometimes yearned to be back with Bobby again.

Itchy returns to Charlie once the segment ends.

Itchy: “Carface is madder than ever. I mean, I didn’t know he had such a rough puppyhood.”

Charlie: “Well, a lot of us did, Itchy, but we didn’t all go turning nasty.” Mmm…I’m going to give the movie some props here for this line. They are acknowledging that his bad past isn’t an excuse to be evil, but they’re also ignoring that Carface was always a jerk, far before his owner betrayed him. He wasn’t always evil, but he clearly knew right from wrong and kept being bad while expecting people to just excuse him.

Also, he KILLED CHARLIE.

As Charlie and Itchy discuss how little time there is until Belladonna executes her plan, they see this and just ignore it.

GOLLY I WONDER WHERE THE GIANT WHISTLE IS. WHAT A BIG FUCKIN’ MYSTERY.

Sasha takes over as the Ghost of Christmas Present and shows Carface that Killer cares about him and is even preparing to give him a blow torch for Christmas. He secretly loves Christmas even though Carface hates it…..which just makes you wonder 1) why he’s agreeing to partake in a plot to ruin Christmas and 2) why he wasn’t the one Charlie and Itchy targeted for a redemption arc.

Killer even says during a song break that he regrets the bad things he’s done.

Carface realizes what a good guy Killer is………Didn’t you try to kill him too?

The aforementioned song break is a duet with Belladonna where she explains that she also loves Christmas….ruining it, anyway.

We then move to Timmy’s house. He’s owned by a fairly poor family. His owner is a young girl named Martha, who is kinda like Bobby in that she keeps ignoring this puppy doing clearly dangerous things. Timmy doesn’t have a collar, is sick and has a bum leg yet is allowed to roam the streets for hours on end. She also put a plate of cookies on the floor for some reason and allowed him to try to grab a stocking with a bone in it by stacking presents, balancing on top of them and grabbing it while she’s just sitting on the couch in the same room reading a magazine.

Carface likes Timmy because he reminds him of himself at that age, but he’s saddened when Sasha reminds him that he robbed Timmy of money he needed for an operation to help save his life.

Timmy falls from the stocking and lands on the plate that wasn’t under him before, but it was stupid for it to be on the floor anyway, so I’ll allow it. The plate breaks, and Martha’s mother rushes in.

Carface starts cringing because he believes Martha will rat out Timmy and he’ll be kicked out, but Martha actually takes the blame for what happened, much to Carface’s surprise. Timmy…’confesses’ that he was the one who actually broke the plate by carrying a plate piece over to Martha’s mother with his head down.

Martha’s Mother: “You mean….you broke the plate?”

*Timmy nods his head*

You mean….you’re intelligent enough to understand human speech, convey information and even respond to questions?

*Timmy nods his head*

Timmy is forgiven and praised for telling the truth and owning up to what he did. See, this kinda highlights that Carface wasn’t just a rowdy puppy that didn’t know any better – he did bad stuff on purpose. If Timmy knows right from wrong and knows when he should apologize, Carface should have as well. I imagine his brothers and sisters were held up to that same standard considering his mother seemed so loving, so there’s really no excuse.

Carface: “Someone should take care of him!”

Sasha: “Why?”

Carface: “Because….nobody ever did that for me!! *starts crying*” Oh shut up, you Charlie murderer. Plenty of people cared for you, but you took advantage of their kindness and never took responsibility for your actions.

Anyway,

Charlie takes over as the Ghost of Christmas Future. Everyone’s celebrating Carface’s untimely demise, and, while sporting a super not outdated reference to The Mask, Charlie sings about Carface needing to clean up his act.

Killer: “Make up for all those mutts you whacked!” ?!?!?! So they’re acknowledging that Carface is a murderer – not just of Charlie but of who knows how many dogs? And they’re saying he still has time to turn his life around and make up for that? Are you people mental?

Oh by the way, this isn’t clever wordplay – like they meant he literally ‘whacked’ some dogs. As he’s singing this part, Killer is giving Carface a shave. When he says ‘you whacked’ he slices Carface’s head off (non-graphically). There’s no other way to interpret that.

Throughout the song, they tell Carface that, if he doesn’t change his ways, he’ll end up in Hell (without saying Hell because they’ve neutered this franchise…..no pun intended) which makes sense, but also doesn’t.

Carface killed Charlie and a bunch of other dogs (as well as did a lot of other evil things) and still ended up in Heaven in the first movie because…well….*pokes original movie’s title* Also, he sold his soul, which made him wind up in Hell in the second movie. How did he come back after that (Is it explained in the series? That was one part of this franchise that I never saw), and isn’t his soul still bound for Hell after he dies because of the contract? If the contract is null and void, doesn’t that mean he goes to Heaven by default anyway because….well….*pokes original movie’s title harder* You can’t keep changing the rules on where dogs end up after they die – especially when the rule is in the frickin’ title.

Moving on, Charlie shows him Timmy’s ‘future’ which isn’t him being dead because, like I said, they neutered this franchise (even though they still showed us angel puppies in the start, so *shrug*) Instead, Timmy’s under the influence of the whistle and steals his owner’s present to bring to Carfa—….Wait, a minute, I just realized that this whole story has no urgency because, if Carface is changed, it doesn’t matter whether or not Belladonna blows the whistle. Even if the dogs steal the presents, Carface can just return them.

Charlie: “Well, the miracle tags worn off. Guess our job is done.” You guys are the worst heroes. You can still TRY TO FIND THE DAMN WHISTLE BEFORE MIDNIGHT. My god….

After that, Charlie just up and decides that it’s an emergency to find the whistle now that it’s mere minutes away from midnight.

Belladonna: “And nobody suspects that’s right here – on Alcatraz Island!” THIS is Alcatraz Island?

O…..kay.

Belladonna has–Wait a minute. Wait a dog damn minute. They’re on Alcatraz Island…….Alcatraz Island……ALCATRAZ ISLAND.

They’re going to blow the whistle from Alcatraz Island…..

How are the dogs supposed to bring the presents from San Francisco to ALCATRAZ ISLAND – a place notoriously difficult to swim to and from – while enduring incredibly cold water temperatures, especially in winter, with presents in their mouths, no less; presents that will be destroyed in the water.

Although, I guess Belladonna would get what she wants anyway. Killing everyone’s dogs on the night before Christmas would pretty handily ruin Christmas.

Belladonna has a spell set up to have lightning strike the whistle’s steam generator at midnight, causing the whistle to blow.

Carface is having second thoughts, but Belladonna is set in her plans.

Meanwhile, after about two minutes of searching, Charlie and the others return home.

Sasha: “Oh you tried, Charlie. You did everything heavenly possible.” Yeah, he sure did. He wasted nearly all of their given time and all of the magic of a miracle tag just to bring his worst enemy and MURDERER through an A Christmas Carol adaptation in the hopes that he’d have such a massive redemption arc that he’d do all of their work for them instead of doing, mmm, literally anything else.

Also, he had absolutely no plan in case Belladonna decided to go through with her plot without Carface. Like I said, he’s completely superfluous. I don’t even know why she’s commanding them to pull the levers. Can’t her little fire imps do that?

Carface does end up pulling the lever, allowing the whistle to function and hypnotizing all of the dogs of San Francisco, but he has a change of heart and flips the switch back.

Under threat of Belladonna, however, he flips the switch back once more and she melts it so he can’t flip it again.

Carface is determined to stop this, however, so he jumps on the line feeding electricity to the machine and grabs the whistle, somehow blowing it up.

Now you’d think this’d be a death fake out – have Carface sacrifice himself for Timmy and whatnot…Nope. In fact, before we see what happened to Carface, we see Killer pointing and mocking him for getting shocked this time instead of him. Carface is perfectly fine. He doesn’t even have any burn marks.

Belladonna is pissed. Carface takes the rap for what happened, yay he finally grew as a person, but Belladonna doesn’t care who takes the rap, she’s going to kill both Carface and Killer now.

………….

Annabelle: “HALT! You will not harm these two!”

Annabelle….who didn’t know where either the whistle or Belladonna were….suddenly knows where both Belladonna and the whistle are….Now that everything’s over.

Oh but not only that;

Belladonna: “Annabelle! Get out of my line of fire!”

Annabelle: “Try it and I’ll clip your wings!” This implies she’s more powerful than Belladonna and could easily defeat her.

Belladonna: “This dog belongs to me.”

Annabelle: “No, cousin. People belong to themselves so they can choose between good and evil. And it’s my duty to protect that!”

Annabelle: “Your ways are big and fiery. So I’ll stop you with something cool.”

*Annabelle makes it snow*

The light snowfall is enough to defeat her fire imps, which is sad, but Belladonna laughs it off and transforms into some half-dragon version of herself…..that of which is easily defeated by Annabelle literally snapping her fingers and burying Belladonna in snow.

Annabelle: “Hah! Nobody messes with Heaven!”

We cut back to Charlie, Sasha and Itchy with the puppies…….sleeping…………They’re sleeping…..Christmas was about to ruined in front of their very eyes….and they all decided to go to bed…..

Charlie: “It means our plan worked! We convinced Carface to save Christmas!” Well, it’s nice that you straight out admit that your plan was to get someone else to do your dirty work. You’ve learned from Annabelle quite well, Charlie….

Itchy: “Actually, Charlie, the final decision belonged to Carface.”

Annabelle: “Yes, and he chose correctly.”

Charlie: “See? I told you all along we could trust him.” He fucking murdered you.

Anyway, it’s snowing, yay, Christmas is saved, yay, and Carface even arrives to return the presents and everything else he stole. He also added a bunch of new presents and filled up Timmy’s donation can with coins. Thank god complicated life-saving operations cost about $13.87.

Uegh, Sasha even gives him a kiss on the cheek. He murdered your boyfriend.

Oh and Carface says he’s not going to stay all sweet and kind since he still has to run his business. I’m assuming, since this is based off of the TV series, that they made him say that in case it continued so Carface could still be a villain, status quo and whatnot, but it didn’t continue since they mark this as being the series finale, so….sorta implied he’ll ruined his character development for no reason.

Once everyone is all happy, Carface leaves to go visit his mom…..Wait, his mom is still alive, and he knows where she is? Why hasn’t he ever visited her until now? Also, if he had a loving mother to return to, why didn’t he just do that when Bobby betrayed him? This story has more holes than a porcupine’s shirt.

After Timmy does the trademark “God bless us, everyone.” we cut back to Annabelle one more time as she finishes telling the angel puppies the story.

The End.

——————————————-

This movie is really stupid. Like, really, really stupid. The kind of stupid where I can feel my brain fighting off the stupid like it’s a virus. The set up is stupid, the villain is stupid, her motivations are even stupider, the concept is stupid, the resolution is stupid, the heroes are stupid – everything is stupid. Granted, the original movie isn’t really a masterpiece of storytelling, but how did we devolve from that to this?

It was definitely the worst adaptation of A Christmas Carol I’ve ever seen, and Annabelle can shove a harp right up her a–

I still can’t wrap my head around the decision to make Carface a good guy. Maybe he’s been drained of so much villainy in the series that this makes more sense, but….HE KILLED CHARLIE! The main character, the guy we’re most meant to connect with, the hero of the franchise – he murdered him and slues of other dogs. He also did so much other evil shit, to the point where he was sometimes designed to look like a devil in the original movie. He sold his soul and went to Hell in the second movie.

But oh yeah, he’s just got a chip on his shoulders from something that is mostly his fault and needed to connect with someone to become good.

And with the implication that he won’t stay good in the end….what did this movie even accomplish?

I can’t even enjoy our heroes being heroic, because they weren’t. Annabelle pawned off a mission that she could have easily taken care of herself on Charlie, Itchy and Sasha, who, in turn, created an insanely convoluted plan to pawn off the task on Carface and then they just went to bed hoping the dude who murdered Charlie would have a change of heart and save the day.

The art and animation are also clearly miles away from what they once were, although I guess it could’ve been a lot worse. For the most part, it’s passable, but there are numerous instances of very stiff animation and even some shots where it looks like in-betweens are missing.

That being said, this is tolerable. In fact, the ride itself is pretty okay. Some of the dialogue is funny, and I absolutely loved those dogs who kept trying to wait for their cue to pick the Christmas song back up. The message is also very good. People choose to be good or evil – you can’t force them. Their pasts may be sad, but they’re not excuses to be evil. They make those choices. The best you can do is try to help them get back on a better path, but the rest is up to them.

That is very much a theme in A Christmas Carol. Fan dying and Belle leaving him was sad, but they weren’t excuses for him to become so jaded and hateful, and he was showing signs of wantant greed and a lack of caring before then. The ghosts may have shown Scrooge everything he needed to see, but he, ultimately, had to make the decision whether to stay greedy and cold and accept his future or become good and use what time he had left to share warmth and happiness.

I still don’t think Carface did nearly enough to earn his redemption, but they gotta keep that G rating…..Wait, the original movie was rated G, too?! What the literal hell?! Guess ten years makes quite the difference……Don Bluth reportedly owns the only PG cut of the movie.

Carface has just done way too many terrible things to believably be redeemed because he got a cartoony electric shock to stop an evil plot that he was part of in the first place. Like I said, Charlie sacrificed his life for his redemption, and he did way less than Carface.

I guess the lesson there is that no one is really beyond redemption, but that is an insanely loaded debate even for adults, let alone kids.

The music was also a positive note. Almost all of the song breaks were memorable and snappy. I most remembered listening to ‘Clean Up Your Act’ and Carface’s sad song during the Past segment. They’re not amazing songs, but they’re pretty good. I’d listen to them over again no problem.

The voice acting was alright. I think they were definitely starting to phone it in at this point, though. Steven Weber does a pretty good job as Charlie, Ernest Borgnine was fairly decent as Carface, Sheena Easton did a great job with Sasha, and Dom Deluise does well enough as Itchy.

The movie is, ultimately, harmless and would probably be a fun casual Christmas watch……barring the implications of the angel puppies. As a nostalgic rewatch, it’d probably be fine if you turn your brain off, but I despise making that suggestion, especially when it comes to children’s media. Just being a good ride is fine, but I shouldn’t have to actively not think about anything as I’m watching something. As someone who overthinks to the point of stress, it’s also a difficult endeavor for me. Children’s media should never get a pass for being dumb just because it’s for kids. That’s so ass backwards.


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AVAHS – A Christmas Carol (1971) Review

AVAHS - ACC1971

Plot: It’s A Christmas Carol….I told you guys before that people who haven’t seen anything based on A Christmas Carol don’t exist. Stop trying to trick me.

Breakdown: It wouldn’t be AVAHS without at least one animated version of A Christmas Carol. Today, we’re looking at the 1971 version produced by none other than Looney Tunes’ own Chuck Jones. The special has a very unique and engaging style in its art and animation that I really loved. The art is inspired by 19th century wood carving illustrations, and the animation is directed in such a way to really bring the viewer on a ride with Scrooge – kinda like Disney’s adaptation of the story only without the clear peddling of the 3D gimmick. The music is fitting, but I most like the sections where they completely omit sound. It could be due to budgetary constraints, but I like how there’s no big spectacle made when shifts and transitions occur. The silence helps keep me in the moment.

If I had any real gripe against it, I’d say that it’s a bit too light on the exploration of Scrooge’s past, and some of the acting doesn’t really have that much emotional oomph to it. It’s a pretty fast rendition of the story, and the ending feels a little abrupt.

Other than that, it’s a pretty loyal and creative adaptation. I especially like their rendition of the Ghost of Christmas Past. It has a surreal design and a haunting manner of speaking.

This short even won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 1972, but it caused some controversy because it aired on TV before being shown in theaters. As a result, the rules of the awards were changed to disqualify any feature that aired on TV before appearing in theaters.

If you feel like checking out another version of A Christmas Carol and enjoy some gritty classic art and animation, this is a pretty solid entry.


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AVAHS – A Monster Christmas Review

AVAHS - AMC SCREEN1

Plot: After Santa injures himself in a freak accident, Tom and the monsters head off to deliver presents in his place.

Breakdown: ……Where did this special come from?

When I first stumbled upon this special, I thought “Neat! A little known one-off holiday special.” However, as I watched it, I wondered if there was a series attached to this special since it didn’t explain anything about how or why these monsters live in this small boy’s house with his parents none the wiser.

Finding information on this show is very difficult. Having such a generic title like Friendly Monsters already makes Googling a challenge, but there’s flatout not a lot of information available on this show. In fact, while this Christmas special has an IMDB page, it seems like the main show does not. To matters worse there’s a 2012 animated Christmas movie (Starring Emilio Estevez and Drake Bell…..okay?) with the same name (also under the name Abominable Christmas) that also doesn’t seem to have that much information available on it, though definitely more than this special, so you wind up getting confused and lost while looking for info on this feature.

AVAHS - AMC SCREEN2

The only reason I even know this special came from a series, besides the fact that several listings had “Friendly Monsters” marked as a part of the title when the title screen on the actual special didn’t, is because I happened to find the ‘full’ series, of which there are only three episodes, available for streaming on Peacock. Someone also uploaded all of the episodes to Youtube, but they don’t provide much information either, outside of, for some reason, reciting the entire story from start to finish in the description. I can’t even get information from people in the comments section of the Youtube uploads because all of the videos have been flagged as being for kids, meaning the comments section is locked.

Even with Peacock listing this as a series, I’m having trouble finding evidence that it is one. Each episode has its own independent IMDB, but still no page for a short-lived TV series. None of these specials are at a movie length, each about 28 minutes long, so I feel like it had to have been made for TV. Maybe they were a series of short TV specials?

The three episodes contain the pilot, which is a vacation episode and origin story, this Christmas special and an Easter special. The series debuted in 1994 in the UK. I think it MIGHT have been made for the BBC, because they credit Michael Carrington, who, at the time was the executive producer for the BBC, and they note him as such. Other than that, this show is a complete mystery to me. Who created it? For what reason? What station aired the specials? Is it based off of something? Why did it have such a short life span?

Let’s hop down a small rabbit hole.

The production studio that was listed in the credits, Fat City Flims, doesn’t have this series listed on their website.

Carrington Productions International, a company that may or may not be related to Michael Carrington (Absolutely nothing I find online about the company lists his name, but it seems like a big coincidence that the executive producer from the BBC who helped work on this project has the same name) acted as executive producers. They don’t have their own website, and any third-party information I can find on them is scarce. What I do know is they’re now defunct (likely not even having lasted the 90s) and were bought out by a company called Entertainment Rights (Then known as ‘Sleepy Kids’…good call on the name change.), which basically made a name for themselves in buying up a bunch of dying animation companies. Entertainment Rights eventually became defunct itself in 2009, having merged with Boomerang Media to create Classic Media, which would eventually be bought out by, of all, people, Dreamworks Animation, who were bought by NBCUniversal, which explains why the series is available on Peacock.

I dunno. I found it interesting.

Anyway, as for the special at hand, it’s actually pretty good. The production quality’s fairly cheap, and the art is extremely simplistic, which is fine, for the most part, but the songs, of which there are three – darn good number for a half-hour special – are catchy, the dialogue is pretty witty and I found myself laughing a couple of times. Kept a smile on my face here and there.

This is, however, one of those shows where the adults are complete idiots. Tom, this four or five year old kid, has monsters stored all over the house and his parents don’t suspect a thing. In the middle of the night, he calls them all out, and then he leaves the house for hours trying to find a monster named Colin (Have you tried Ryan Stiles’ house?) He asks some nearby cops for help, and instead of escorting this little kid who is in the middle of the street in the dead of night back to his house, the two of them just argue about directions and don’t care at all when they realize he left while they were arguing.

These two police officers were the most consistently funny parts of this special. They have a pretty good back and forth.

Tom later just gives up because he’s hungry, so screw Colin, I guess. They go home to cook up some Christmas pudding or “Christmas Pud” as they call it. I’ve never heard it called that, and I couldn’t help but feel like that word sounded gross.

In addition to this kid and the monsters singing at incredibly high volumes without his parents ever waking up, he also uses the oven unsupervised.

Oh and then the pudding explodes, to the point where the entire house jumps and the pudding starts leaking everywhere – from the edges of the roof to the windows to the chimney – ….and his parents still don’t wake up.

AVAHS - AMC SCREEN3

Colin is found after he accidentally knocks Santa out of the sky and hurts his leg. There’s a sweet song break when Tom and the monsters have to take over for Santa. I like how they were giving a bunch of presents to animals too. Not just pets, but also animals in the zoo and strays.

The one thing that kinda got on my nerves during this whole special was this literal cat burglar who might as well have been a more annoying Swiper.

In the end, Santa recovers so quickly you’d think he faked it, he goes off to deliver the rest of the presents, Tom and the monsters head back to bed, but Colin is missing again. Uhp, there he is. He sneaked onboard Santa’s sleigh to help him deliver more presents.

I don’t have a clever ending, so here’s the Colin Mochrie reference coming full circle. Good night, everybody!


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Animating Halloween | Kim Possible: October 31st Review

AHKPO31

Plot: Kim wants to go to Monique’s Halloween party, especially considering her crush, Josh Mankey, will be there, but she ends up creating a web of lies while trying to avoid going Trick-Or-Treating with Ron. What’s worse, she has a top-secret nanotech bracelet on her wrist that slowly covers her in armor the more she lies – and Drakken and Duff Killigan both want it.

Breakdown: Considering how much I loved Kim Possible so much when it was airing, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

….But on the other hand I can totally believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

It’s just such a cliché plotline with one of the most overly parroted lessons in all of media – honesty is the best policy. It’s so overly done that the episode kinda pokes fun at itself for doing it. Kim’s little brothers points out how stupid it was to lie when Ron and her parents both would’ve understood, and even the villains go on about how disappointed they are in her.

And, really, a Halloween special has to be the absolute worst setting to use something like the Centurian project (the nanotech bracelet) because she can just claim the armor is part of her costume or is her costume – which she did, even though she tried to cover it up with a princess outfit. Actually, considering the Kim Possible universe, she can just claim that the armor is slowly covering her up for some reason. She doesn’t have to tell people it’s because she’s lying.

Outside of the cookie cutter plotline, though, this episode is perfectly fine. There are some funny moments, and the Centurian project is a pretty awesome set of armor. The one part I don’t like is the part that covers her head. It just looks weird. Also, if that’s the full armor, I’d think it should cover her face. The suit is so advanced that it can instantly recover from any damage, but all someone would have to do is aim for her face and it’d be all over.

The animation is a bit rough, but this was season one Kim Possible and it had a habit of being all over the place. There’s one scene that’s just terrible, though. Kim’s mom is taking tickets at the hospital’s haunted house, and they show her saying ‘Thank you, enjoy.’ THREE TIMES without anyone handing her a ticket or entering the haunted house. The only part of this shot that is animated is her lips. It’s like they forgot to animate everything else.

I can’t imagine there will be many more Halloweens where I’ll purposely seek out this special, but it did stoke my fire to do a Cartoon Step-by-Step of Kim Possible sometime soon.


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