AVAHS – A Pinky and the Brain Christmas Review

Plot: Brain has a plan to take over the minds of people across the globe by planting his mind-controlling Noodle Noggin dolls in Santa’s sleigh.

Breakdown: I watched a lot of Pinky and the Brain when I was a kid. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the series as Animaniacs, the series on which Pinky and the Brain spun off, or even Tiny Toon Adventures, but I did like it quite a lot.

I only vaguely remember this special, but I’m very glad I rediscovered it because this is a really great Christmas special. Not only does Brain have a pretty good plan that very nearly works, not only do they get into some pretty funny shenanigans in the meantime, but they also manage to end on a legitimately heartwarming moment. It was kinda predictable, admittedly, but it was also super sweet. I audibly said “Aww!” at least four times when watching the final five minutes. Pinky is just the sweetest sweetheart in the world.

What’s weird is that the quality of the footage is quite bad on Hulu. It’s available on DVD, but the quality of the episode on Hulu is kinda bad for some reason.

Anyhoo, this is a very sweet and funny Christmas special that I recommend to anyone.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – Prep and Landing Review

Plot: Prep and Landing is a special covert team of elves who go out every Christmas Eve night to prepare the homes of children all across the globe for Santa’s arrival. Their services are vital to ensuring that Santa can land, deliver gifts without being seen and leave without being caught. Wayne is a legendary member of Prep and Landing, but he’s burned out and ready to leave those days behind him for a cushy life in a higher position. When that doesn’t work out, he becomes lackadaisical and uncaring about his job, which leads to a major catastrophe that puts the Christmas spirit of an innocent child on the line.

Breakdown: This is an interesting one for me, because I know for a fact that I heard of this special when it first came out, and it seems kinda familiar, but for the life of me I don’t remember sitting down and watching it. Shame if I didn’t, because this is an excellent Christmas special.

Someone said this seemed very reminiscent of Arthur Christmas, and I agree, to an extent. While it doesn’t have the Aardman style to the artwork, the way Santa and the elves are portrayed comes off a lot like the way they were portrayed in Arthur Christmas, only not in a negative slant. In Arthur Christmas, they were getting so reliant on technology that it really seemed like Santa didn’t need to go out to visit houses every year, the elves were being phased out or just made to be tech specialists, and the spirit of Christmas was dying as the use of technology was increasing.

However, this special portrays the integration of technology in a much more positive light. Santa’s still Santa, and the elves are still the elves, but they have new jobs to ensure that Christmas magic stays alive and well. For example, while they treat the launching of Santa’s sleigh almost as if it’s a rocket launch, they toy with the process to not diminish the original roles of Santa’s reindeer and sleigh. When they say to “Rev up the engines” they send down an elf who basically acts as the hype man for the reindeer who gets them super excited before they head out.

It’s a much more natural and fun integration than they had in Arthur Christmas, but, then again, that was the point in that movie. The technology here is more of a fun backdrop for the antics of the story, not a focal part of the story.

I really like how Prep and Landing is made out to be such an integral part of the process. It’s a pretty unique idea to have elves who prepare the house before Santa visits to help ensure everything goes smoothly. It’s pretty realistic, too – at least in regards to the Santa mythos. An operation like Santa’s would want to make their activities as efficient and covert as humanly possible, and having a special team of elves preparing the house beforehand while also doing everything in their power to streamline everything back at the North Pole makes it much easier to pull off this job every year.

In regards to the story, I feel like this plot lends itself more to adults than children, and not because it’s mature or anything, but the themes surrounding it give me a feeling like if I watched it and enjoyed it as a child I’d have more of an appreciation for it as an adult.

Wayne starts out the special being arrogant and uncaring. We don’t really spend a lot of time with him as a young and enthusiastic Prep and Landing agent. Once we learn of his backstory, we see him as a cocky guy who thinks he’s about to land (hehe) a fancy promotion to being head of the naughty list. While he is being arrogant and kinda rude, he’s not being so bad that he’s obnoxious or your don’t sympathize with him.

As we learn later, he’s just a very, very burned out elf who, despite being top of his game in Prep and Landing, wants to go higher and get more respect. That position is ripped from him for no given reason, and the promotion is handed to his partner – an elf he trained. We never learn much about his partner nor do we ever see him after the backstory portion. Him getting the job doesn’t matter as much as Wayne not getting it.

Being burned out, wanting more out of your job and losing promotions to younger people who may or may not have snaked them from you are all very real situations adults find themselves in more and more. Not to mention that the office-esque vibe the entire factory gives off (while still being loaded with Christmas stuff, of course) makes it feel, almost sadly, very familiar to adults. They’re not really aspects of the story that kids get – and they don’t really have to connect with that aspect of the story. They really just need to know that Wayne is a grump who is fed up with doing the same stuff over and over, and he needs to rediscover his Christmas spirit to get back in the swing of things.

Wayne does get dangerously close to being obnoxious when they enter their first house. Wayne is so done with his job after losing his promotion that he leaves every task in the home up to the brand-new rookie, Lanny, who, despite being enthusiastic and skilled, is still extremely inexperienced and self-conscious. He idolizes Wayne since he’s such a legend in Prep and Landing, but Wayne just dumps all of the work on him while he goes to laze around and take advantage of the comforts of the home.

Lanny does his best, but he still screws up some stuff because he’s never done this before. Wayne won’t help him because he doesn’t take his job seriously anymore.

This, of course, leads to them getting caught by the kid in the house. He’s a nice young lad who immediately starts taking pictures of them, because, well duh. Most kids, especially after the advent of digital cameras and smartphones, would immediately jump on taking pictures of elves in the house. Though Lanny was smart enough to delete the pictures when they managed to knock the kid out.

Wayne still doesn’t care all that much about causing this mess until he realizes that they still haven’t prepared the landing strip on the roof, and there’s a big snowstorm coming through. Santa is unable to land safely, so they’re forced to do something they almost never do – call off a visit to a house.

Only then, when he completely screws up Christmas for an innocent boy, does he both see how badly he’s messed up and how important their job truly is. They save Christmas for the boy together, and Wayne isn’t hailed as a hero or anything (which he shouldn’t) but he’s offered a promotion to director of the nice list, and he turns it down because his true place is with Prep and Landing.

All the way through, this special was very entertaining. It wasn’t the most emotional thing it the world, but it’s not trying to be, and I think it could have stood being a little longer, but it was funny, well-animated, a little heartwarming and managed to create fairly memorable, likable and relatable characters in a short 22 minute time frame. It’s a special I really feel would instantly become a classic for families. I’m certainly thinking about putting it on my annual watch list for the holiday season.

It received an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less than One Hour), it was nominated for nine Annie awards – winning three – and it was so popular that it actually dethroned the Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special as the number one Christmas special on TV.

Prep and Landing went on to have a sequel called Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice, which I may get around to watching and reviewing this month, several shorter spin-offs and even a comic book crossover where Wayne and Lanny prepare the Avengers mansion for Christmas. However, nowadays, Prep and Landing is all but dead, and it seems the sequel is kinda the reason for that. There was a third Prep and Landing special meant to come out some time after 2011, but the plans were scrapped because reception for the second special was too disappointing.

Still, Prep and Landing and Naughty vs. Nice air every year to this day (although, for some reason, they stopped in 2020, they’re set to return to Freeform, ABC and the Disney Channel this year.) and it seems to be a well-remembered short for many people. I certainly enjoyed myself, and I recommend anyone reading to give it a shot. It’s available on Disney+, but will also be airing on Disney Channel, Freeform and ABC throughout the month.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – Casper’s First Christmas Review

Plot: Casper tries to celebrate Christmas while waiting for the impending demolition of his home. Meanwhile, the other Hanna-Barbera characters visit the home, not realizing it’s haunted, to have a fun Christmas together.

Breakdown: Ladies and gentlemen….we have been lied to.

Yogi Bear is in this special.

He’s supposed to be hibernating.

This deception cannot go unpunished!

Blatant filthy lies aside, this is a pretty okay special, although there is something inherently depressing about a dead child trying to celebrate Christmas. Also, doesn’t that technically mean the title is incorrect? Casper certainly had to have had Christmases while he was alive, right?

I honestly don’t have much to say about this special because nothing much happens. Hairy Scary scares the other characters when they visit the house and is a grump about Christmas, but then he changes his mind, his house is saved, and everyone has a merry Christmas. It’s plenty Christmassy, there’s just not much to it. If you like Casper and Hanna-Barbera stuff, it’s a fine little special to watch around the holidays.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – Veggietales: Saint Nicholas – A Story of Joyful Giving Review

Plot: Bob and Larry recount the story of Saint Nicholas to the kids in order for them to grasp the true meaning of Christmas.

Breakdown: I was never really into Veggietales when I was younger. It was just ever so slightly beyond my time, despite growing up in a Christian household. It didn’t really look that appealing to me when I finally did start seeing little bits of it around. I didn’t even really know much about it (outside of some Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything trailers I remember seeing when I was younger) until a few months ago when I watched a very interesting video on it by Saberspark. Go watch it. It’s fascinating.

I have heard pretty good things about Veggietales over the years. People have been praising it quite highly for being a rare Christian/religious program that is both entertaining and doesn’t tend to really alienate non-Christian/religious audiences.

So here I am finally giving something of Veggietales a true watch, and, yeah, I can see the appeal. I wasn’t blown away or anything, but it was indeed genuinely entertaining and, while the subject matter was very heavy in the realm of religion, I don’t think it was presented in such a way that it would alienate anyone watching, especially considering that Saint Nicholas was a religious figure.

While they obviously take a lot of liberties in the tale of how Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus, and I mean a lot, they kinda acknowledge that they’re taking these liberties since many of the things that are added or changed for the sake of making Santa connections are blatantly pointed out. However, they almost completely fabricate the backstory of Santa Claus as a child and his reasons for becoming such a giving figure.

They pretty much get a pass for this because we really don’t know much for certain about Saint Nicholas besides a handful of details. However, even these details they get wrong. One of the details, which is Saint Nicholas saving three girls, is changed for understandable reasons. Instead of saving them from lives of prostitution by paying their marriage dowries, the Nicholas in this story saved them from being sent to prison for giving gifts and being unable to pay the fine of one gold coin each.

What’s especially funny is that a detail they add is Nicholas’ parents suddenly dying of illness and Nicholas abandoning his friend to the mercy of demanding townsfolk and an oppressive fisherman because he thinks his friend’s presence will remind him too much of his parents as he journeys.

In this interpretation, Nicholas’ parents were religious, but he, as a kid who didn’t understand or care about that kinda stuff, just brushed it off whenever it came up. He even thought it was weird that his parents were so giving and caring. As local fishers, they would give away their fish to those who needed it, and would help anyone whenever they could. Nicholas didn’t understand truly why they did this until he traveled somewhere and found religion on his own. Then he made it his mission to pick up where his parents left off and start giving to the town again. When he returned to his hometown, he discovered that it was overtaken by the rival fisherman I mentioned, Gustav, who declared himself mayor and basically took over the whole town in tyranny. Everyone worked for him, and no one was allowed to ever give any gifts.

According to this version, Nicholas adopted his trademark outfit only eventually as a means to disguising himself to avoid getting caught while giving the townsfolk gifts.

This story is being told by Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber to a group of kids who are focused entirely on getting gifts for Christmas. Like in the story, a jerk named Gus is basically keeping a guy’s truck hostage when he needs to finish his delivery route in time to go get a Christmas tree with his daughter. And I mean it, he straight up stole this guy’s truck. He takes it from him, locks it in his garage and tells him he can’t get it out unless he pays for it – which he can’t afford.

The story of Saint Nicholas that they made up is believable enough, for the most part, and I was never bored or anything. Plus, it did manage to really get me in the Christmas spirit.

………I’m sorry, I can’t not talk about this anymore. How do they hold things?! They have no arms or hands. Things just float in front of them! It’s like they have telekinesis. It was freaking me out!

Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest.

Anyhoo, if you’re a Veggietales fan or even if you’re simply open to a more religious take on the origins of Santa Claus, check this out. I enjoyed it well enough, and I’d like to see more Veggietales stuff in the future.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – Back at the Barnyard: It’s an Udderful Life Review

BTTB - It's an Udderful Life

Plot: Otis and the other barnyard animals try to save Christmas after Santa falls ill.

Breakdown: I have never seen Barnyard, the movie on which this series is based, but I have seen an episode or two of the show in the past. And I thought it was very….fine. It had its moments, but nothing ever really stuck out. It’s one of those properties where I always forget it exists.

The show as a whole has a pretty strong Jimmy Neutron vibe, which makes sense because it was made and written by Steven Odekirk, the man who created Jimmy Neutron. Back at the Barnyard is not as good as Jimmy Neutron, in my limited opinion, but it’s still fine. I think the main problem is that Back at the Barnyard tries to be Jimmy Neutron without the fun science stuff, making it rely too heavily on stupid humor. Not that Jimmy Neutron was the most scientifically accurate show in the world, it most certainly wasn’t by a long shot, and it definitely had its fair share of dumb humor, but at least the science aspect was fun and was a strong hook. This show just has talking animals as a hook, and that’s been done to death even when this came out.

Just as Jimmy Neutron’s Christmas special was okay, so is this special. In fact, it basically has roughly the same-ish plot as the Jimmy Neutron special in needing to deliver presents in Santa’s stead because the main character incapacitated him on accident.

And, just as Jimmy Neutron’s special, I don’t think the overall plot makes a lot of sense. According to the lore in this universe, Santa needs to have a present under every tree by midnight or else Christmas will be over forever. But isn’t it supposed to be that he has until Christmas morning? I guess if you just count “morning” as being the AM hours, then this makes sense, but I still don’t think so.

It garnered a few smiles out of me, admittedly, but I don’t think I’ll be seeking out anymore Barnyard stuff in the future. Apparently, the movie was poorly received, and the TV show was one of those “kick it to Nicktoons so we can let it quietly die” situations, being sent there mid-season two. I really don’t think I’m missing much.

There was a musical number in the episode, produced by Guy Moon, whom you may know as the man who did a lot of musical work on Fairly Odd Parents, Danny Phantom – Basically any Butch Hartman show. It was a fine song, but, just like the songs in the Jimmy Neutron special, I forgot them as quickly as I heard them.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – Jimmy Neutron: Holly Jolly Jimmy Review

Plot: Jimmy, being a man of science, refutes the existence of Santa Claus. In order to prove once and for all that he doesn’t exist, he travels to the North Pole.

Breakdown: I’m a bit surprised that in all my years of reviewing I haven’t once reviewed anything Jimmy Neutron related. While I only saw the movie on which the TV series was based only a few times, I followed the show quite closely. It wasn’t one of my absolute favorite shows, but I enjoyed it and I watched it all the time. While the premise wasn’t all that unique, the sense of humor was good, the characters were memorable and it definitely had a unique and memorable art style, even if it did take some getting used to. I always wanted a toy of Goddard, and I’m sad I never got one. He’s one of the best robot pups.

Jimmy Neutron was such a popular property for Nickelodeon that they did three crossover specials with Fairy Odd Parents, and the show got a spin-off, kinda, with Planet Sheen. I say “kinda” because really the only link the show had with Jimmy Neutron was having Sheen as the main character. There was a Carl-like character, but it wasn’t him, and neither Jimmy nor any of the other characters from the show ever made an appearance….and it’s one of the most widely hated cartoons of the time.

As for this Christmas special, I just barely remember it in tiny bits and pieces. It’s not the most memorable holiday special in the world to say the least. As I was watching, I slowly started remembering more, but most of it isn’t really worth remembering. There are pretty of good jokes here, it got a few chuckles out of me, but for the most part it’s very much forgettable. If I hadn’t probably watched it numerous times as a kid around the holidays just because it was on, then I probably would never remember it.

There’s nothing really wrong with it, there’s just not much to help it stand out. It also makes some weird decisions. For instance, this is….kinda a musical? There are two songs in this special (technically three, but the third is a reprise of the first.) which isn’t a bad or confusing decision, but they seriously didn’t seem like they wanted songs in this. The first song is very lackluster and took me off guard because I never remembered any musical numbers in Jimmy Neutron. I basically forgot the song as soon as it ended. Then there was Jimmy’s dad’s song about Pule, which is the holiday he made up to replace the seemingly ruined Christmas. It’s a mixture of ‘pie’ and ‘yule.’ The song is basically just “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” just replace “Christmas” with “Pule.”

Speaking of Pule, that part was just dumb. I get that Hugh is an idiot, I get that he loves pie, and I get that he had the best intentions, but that B-plot just wasn’t funny nor was the song that accompanied it.

In regards to the A-Plot, it’s the ol’ ‘Character wants to prove Santa doesn’t exist and accidentally screws everything up in the process and ruins Christmas’ plot. Not the most common plot, but simple and common enough to predict what will happen, more or less. My problem with it really is that it doesn’t make ANY sense.

Jimmy’s trying to disprove the existence of Santa because he doesn’t believe there’s any possible way for Santa to do the things everyone claims he does. Fine. He goes to the North Pole to investigate, finds Santa’s workshop and still doesn’t believe anything he’s seeing. He writes off the factory as if it’s just a normal factory, and he dismisses the elves as short people with an ear condition. He accidentally zaps Santa, who is in a different room, with his scanner, rendering him unable to go out and deliver presents. This gives Jimmy a great idea to prove Santa doesn’t exist.

His plan?

He will use his technology to deliver all of the presents in twelve hours. And if he’s successful, it will prove that Santa doesn’t exist……

I really feel like I need to repeat that.

Jimmy doesn’t believe Santa exists because he thinks what he does is physically impossible. So if Jimmy can manage to do it, that proves that Santa doesn’t exist…….???

Santa is able to later recover and save Jimmy, Sheen and Carl after they nearly die while failing in trying to deliver all the presents. Turns out, Santa’s basically Jimmy. He says his catchphrases, he’s a science genius, and he even does a Brain Blast. Santa utilizes a mixture of magic and science to do what he does. With the help of some of Jimmy’s tech, he’s able to deliver the last of the presents and return the three back home.

Jimmy now realizes that Santa truly does exist, and he even got a special present. The reason he actually stopped believing in Santa was because, like so many characters who stop believing in Santa, he didn’t get what he wanted one year. He asked for a core from a dwarf star when he was little, but he never got it. When Jimmy returned home from his Santa trip, he found the star core under the tree with a note apologizing for taking so long to get it to him, but Santa needed to wait five years for it to cool enough to give it to him. Why didn’t you just leave a note for him five years ago saying he got the star but it wasn’t safe to give to him until it cooled?

Again, seriously, this special wasn’t bad at all. It just doesn’t seem like much effort went into making it stand out or make sense. It really feels like another episode of the show instead of being a special. If you enjoyed Jimmy Neutron, then you’ll likely enjoy this special, but as a Christmas special on its own, it’s just not very special.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – The Town Santa Forgot Review

Plot: An extremely selfish brat named Jeremy Creek learns an important lesson after he sends Santa a massive list for Christmas.

Breakdown: This is a special I’ve definitely heard of, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. It’s certainly a heartwarming special. It’s short, sweet and to the point. It has plenty of Christmas warm fuzzies, and I can totally see this being on someone’s must-watch list every holiday season.

Jeremy is one of the biggest brats I’ve ever seen in animation, and his parents are bigger enablers than Angelica’s. He just constantly demands mountains of toys, and if he doesn’t get them he throws the loudest tantrums until he gets what he wants, and his parents almost always give in. Everyone in the neighborhood is sick of his tantrums, and the kids around town are sick of him bragging about his toys (of which he doesn’t share, obviously.)

While the story is sweet, I kinda find it hard to believe that Santa just overlooked an entire town of people. They act like the town is so small that they never noticed, but like….a population of 8800?….come on. My town has a population of 1800.

Isn’t Santa supposed to be omniscient? Didn’t any of these kids ever send a letter to Santa at some point? And what a coincidence that the town in question just so happens to be one where everyone’s dirt poor.

I also thought it was sweet that Jeremy got to be Santa’s helper after this……even though….ya know…………he didn’t do the good thing on purpose. He may have changed after he realized how happy his toys made everyone, but it was a total accident. He didn’t intend on those kids getting his presents. Wouldn’t it have been nicer to make one of the children from Jeremy Creek (the town, not the kid) his assistant to maybe help make up for an eternity of never visiting them on Christmas? How did Jeremy outgrow the sleigh? Santa is surely bigger, and you clearly showed earlier that one of his powers is to smush himself into smaller/thinner forms to get down chimneys and rain spouts. He can’t help make room for a 12 year old?

Despite my grumblings over the details, this is still a very sweet special to watch around the holidays. I think the twist at the end was kinda cute too. I’d certainly watch it again.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AVAHS – Snowden’s Christmas Review

vlcsnap-2022-12-01-17h04m02s743

Plot: A little boy’s toys fly out of the moving van while moving all the way to New York. Lead by Snowden the stuffed snowman, the toys all try make the long journey back to him.

Breakdown: So, uh, Target…..Did you try to pull a Rudolph? Unrelated, but did you also recently watch Toy Story? Because I feel like you did.

I’m just kidding. Anyway, it’s the 2022 A Very Animated Holiday Special!

Starting out our reviews this holiday season is Snowden’s Christmas. Snowden is a Christmas plushie that was made in 1997 exclusively for Target stores. It was available until 1999, so it didn’t really have a long life. However, it did somehow manage to have five Christmas specials based off of it. You heard me. Five Christmas specials in two years. They must have had a lot of blind faith that Snowden would take off.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

I was never aware of Snowden as a child. We don’t have Target nearby. I think the closest one is about 40 minutes from my house, and I think that was built when I was a little older.

We have K-Mart and Walmart. And I don’t think K-Mart or Walmart ever had their own Christmas plush or holiday specials.

While I haven’t seen the other four specials, only two of which being animated, I went into this one because the Christmas Special Fandom page has a randomizer and that’s how I pick my AVAHS entries…..It’s times like this where I’m pretty glad that is the method with which I choose what I watch for these review series, because this was a pretty entertaining special. It was kinda funny and kinda heartwarming. Definitely worth my time.

It’s nothing groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a lot more than I’d expect from a Target promotional toy-based holiday special. It has some pretty nice stop-motion animation courtesy of Cuppa Coffee Studios, and even the voice acting is pretty alright. They hired some big names for the time like Peter MacNicol voices Snowden, Michael McKean voices Drummer, Kathy Najimy voices Tiny and Ed Asner voices Big Daddy. Only one character is voiced by a professional voice actor, and that belongs to Footloose the rabbit voiced by Rosalynn Taylor, who is probably most well-known for playing Queen Rapsheeba in Chalkzone or Mackenzie in Rocket Power, but she had numerous other cartoon roles.

The characters, while being fairly one-note, were all likable. They had their annoying spots, especially Drummer, who was basically just a jerk, and Tiny who was pretty much just constantly panicking about everything.

Snowden’s a confusing character. He’s like the leader, everyone listens to him, but he’s also frequently mocked and belittled by Drummer and sometimes Tiny. Snowden is very sweet, and I love his dedication to Adam, I’m just a bit confused as to what his role was meant to be. Is he leader because he’s seemingly Adam’s favorite toy so it doesn’t matter that he’s timid and looked down upon?

I did mention that they seemed to be taking some inspiration from Toy Story in regards to the…..uhm…story, and you can definitely get that vibe numerous times, but it’s not copying them or anything, especially considering there’s no “Buzz” stand-in. It’s just a story of some toys trying to get back to their owner. Adam loves his toys so much that he doesn’t even want new toys for Christmas, he just wants his old ones back.

If there’s one scene I really want to bring up, it’s when the toys get put in the hands of some kids. They believe that they’re toys included in a kids’ meal from a burger joint. The kids just throw them around and get them sticky etc., which is understandable. I kinda like this whole scene because this is one of the most realistic families I’ve seen in animation in a while. Kids just being nightmares, the littlest kid just chillin’ and the parents losing their patience the longer it goes on.

What took me off guard was when the mom just threw all of the toys away when they stopped at a restroom. What a horrible thing to do. She got pissed because Drummer accidentally started drumming. Doesn’t he have batteries you can remove? The other toys don’t make noise. It just seemed so awful of that mother to trash her kids’ new toys just because they were being kinda rowdy. She justified it by saying that they’d get new toys on Christmas, but it’s still a mean thing to do.

Anyway, I recommend watching this one at least once. It’s a sweet and kinda funny little seldom-known special. And, hey, if you’re a Target fan, this was literally made for you.


If my work makes you feel jolly and you’d like to send some Christmas cheer my way, please consider leaving a gift under my Ko-Fi tree. Every donation goes to helping me pay my bills and keeping this blog running as like Santa’s Workshop. Thank you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a Wonderful New Year! 🎄☃️

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Animating Halloween | 6Teen – Boo, Dude! Review

vlcsnap-2022-10-11-23h03m48s606

Plot: The group deals with various problems as a result of Halloween.

Breakdown: I still haven’t watched anything else in the 6Teen series besides the first episode, the Christmas special and now this episode, but it continues to be a show that I’m largely just okay with it. I don’t have a bad time watching the show, but it doesn’t latch onto me so much that I feel compelled to watch the rest anytime soon.

In this Halloween special, we have fewer plots running at once than the Christmas special, so it flows a bit better, but it’s still not a great episode. Caitlin is trying to get some guy she’s been dating for a little while, Talon, to finally kiss her. I don’t care about this plot at all because Talon comes off as a big jerk throughout most of the episode.

He acts like he barely even knows her despite the fact that Caitlin said they’ve been on three dates so far, and he always has an attitude when he’s talking to her like he’s not, in any way, romantically interested in her. However, near the end, he changes entirely and suddenly becomes a very sweet guy because…..I dunno. She wore a Halloween costume and embarrassed herself by wearing it in front of a bunch of people who weren’t wearing Halloween costumes, even though….ya know…..it’s Halloween. And then that’s resolved by Talon basically saying it’s okay to wear Halloween costumes because it’s Halloween, and everyone suddenly flips on THEIR heads, stops laughing at her, and then they put on the costumes they were wearing in front of everyone in the mall a few scenes ago.

No. I have no idea what the hell all that was about. Her costume wasn’t even an embarrassing costume. It was just a feathery Vegas showgirl outfit.

vlcsnap-2022-10-11-23h09m00s920

The buildup doesn’t even have a payoff because he never kisses her. He kisses her on the cheek, but she clearly wanted a kiss on the lips – she even read up on signals that a guy gives when he wants to kiss someone, one of which being staring at their lips.

There’s more to this, but we’ll come back around to it in a bit.

Jen’s storyline involves her being aggravated at having to dress up for Halloween because her boss loves Halloween and requires them to dress up. The bigger issue is that her boss is also a crazy person who keeps scaring customers by waving a realistic-looking and sounding chainsaw in front of them. I’m not entirely convinced it’s not a real chainsaw, but the blades don’t move so there’s that.

I will admit that the coach’s chainsaw thing was kinda funny in a dark way the first time he did it, but it got really old and more concerning the more he did it – and he was constantly doing it. Maybe I am just being a stuffy old person, but I just kept sympathizing with the poor customers who had to put up with that. The one thing I vividly remember from a haunted hay ride I took when I was a little kid was one guy with a chainsaw chasing after the wagon. And that was while I knew I was in a staged haunted hay ride, safe in a wagon with others, including my parents, while the guy clearly couldn’t catch up (or, well, wouldn’t). These poor customers have a guy waving a realistic-looking and sounding chainsaw right in their faces, causing them to pass out or suffer other accidents.

vlcsnap-2022-10-11-23h10m12s324

You’d think this guy would be getting more shit for doing this. He’s literally causing several people to pass out, one of the customers in the store was a pregnant woman, and Jen said she had to call for an ambulance twice that night. She gives him a taste of his own medicine by scaring him with a mechanical mouse, which you’d think would just end their plot entirely. I figured he’d respect her more for giving him a scare and he’d understand that you can go overboard with scaring people, even on Halloween, but no. It kinda goes that way, but then Jen suggests helping her help her friends prank the security guard.

Which brings us to the third plot – Jude, Wyatt and Jonesy are trying to pull off a prank on the security guard like they do every year, but he’s not falling for any of them. Their attempts are realistic enough but also quite lame. They stick a tag in his pocket so he’ll set off the alarm in any store he sets foot in, but, like….he’s a security guard….so who cares? Also, he finds it after the first time he trips an alarm and doesn’t react or care.

Next, Jude dresses up as a security guard and tries to trick him, but this obviously doesn’t work.

vlcsnap-2022-10-11-23h13m50s352

Then they try to scare him with a remote controlled mouse, but it not only doesn’t work, the thing also runs out of batteries almost immediately.

After several failures, they concoct their master plan, which is to get him loaded up with coffee, close the other bathrooms in the mall, forcing him to go into the bathroom they set up, then they kick in the door and take a picture of him on the toilet, which isn’t creepy or a major violation of someone’s personal boundaries at all.

Oh and Jonesy also puts butter on the toilet seat to make whomever sits on the seat fall into the bowl.

Jen comes in with her boss to spice up the plan. When the security guard comes in, he’ll also give him a good scare with his chainsaw before they take the picture.

Then Caitlin comes into the fray. After Talon dresses up as discount Batman and they go on their date, Caitlin says she has to go to the bathroom, but all of the bathrooms are full of people for some reason – they never explain how the boys did that, but whatever. They also don’t explain why no one else would be heading to other bathrooms. They did somehow block the main bathrooms for the mall, but certainly there are many other restrooms and even restrooms in the stores and restaurants. They couldn’t have blocked them all.

Caitlin is lead to the trap bathroom, which obviously means bad news for her. For some reason, Caitlin doesn’t turn on the lights when she gets into the bathroom nor do her friends, who are hiding behind the stalls, ever peek and notice that this girl in a flapper outfit is probably not the security guard.

I really thought that they’d scare her and she’d pee her pants or something, but no….

She goes into the stall and does her business, clearly making noises before going in and while being in the stall, but no one seems to notice these teenage girl sounds are not middle-aged Christopher Walken impersonator security guard sounds. Then the coach guy/Jen’s boss, scares her by kicking open the door and waving a chainsaw in front of her while wearing a Jason mask, then Jonesy, who I guess is still not getting the hint from the girl screams takes a picture of bare from the waist down Caitlin who then also falls into the toilet bowl because of the butter. Jen stops it, but…..it’s already done. She was already scared, the picture was taken and she fell into the toilet.

This is just awful. Caitlin didn’t do anything to deserve this. Technically, the security guard didn’t either, but because this is a tween/teen show, boring rule-abiding adults=bad and need and to be picked on for doing their jobs.

vlcsnap-2022-10-11-23h19m33s358

It’s bad enough to be humiliated like that, but they took a friggin’ picture of her half-naked on the toilet. That’s a million layers of no.

The frosting on this awful cake is that they never apologize or even say they’ll destroy the picture. The boys don’t care at all, they brush it off rather quickly and even laugh at her, and then they go off and try to figure out how to prank the security guard again immediately afterward.

The security guard, by the way, just went to the bathroom in a nearby store, because that’s an option.

Don’t worry, though. The security guard will get his just desserts for being a minimum wage guy doing his job. Jude, Wyatt and Jonesy put a chocolate cupcake on his chair and he sits on it, making it look like he pooped his pants. Because the height of comedy is doo-doo. Bear in mind, this show is meant for teenagers, not six-year-olds.

Overall, this episode wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t all that entertaining for most of the runtime, and the ending prank on Caitlin just seemed awful for no reason. The fact that Jen tells her boss to tone down the chainsaw scare tactics only to immediately tell him to do it to someone else kinda negates whatever message was in there, even if the target was a stoic tough guy, and the boys don’t get any punishment for doing something so terrible and violating like that to Caitlin. She might not be the most likable person, but she didn’t do anything to deserve that.

There’s also something at the beginning that I can’t tell if it’s an animation error or a joke. Caitlin is carving a jack-o-lantern and she accidentally cuts the mouth and nose off……..like….a nose and mouth were cut into the pumpkin, clearly all the way through, but she cut them off, leaving behind a completely untouched area of the pumpkin? It’s the pic I used for the main image, take note of the fallen piece near the bottom. It’s quite weird.

……Oh and I had to check the Wiki/Fandom page for the spelling of Talon’s name. Turns out she later dumps him because his idea of actual kissing is licking her face…….I wish I hadn’t known that.


If you enjoy my horrifying work and would like to show your ghoulish support, please consider offering a financial sacrifice at my Ko-Fi altar. Every offering goes to helping me combat evil money-sucking vampires known as ‘bills’ and keep this blog from becoming a ghost. Thank you! 🎃

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) | Chaotic

Plot: The trading card game, Chaotic, is sweeping the world by storm. Tom and his best friend, Kaz, love the game and play with their other friends all the time. When Tom gets a mysterious code for Chaotic, Kaz tells him it’s a special password in order to enter the REAL world of Chaotic. Tom doesn’t believe him until he finally gives in and inputs the code into his scanner. Turns out, Kaz was right. Tom is instantly transported to a virtual world where Chaotic players gather to have ‘real’ Chaotic battles, with themselves as the creatures. In his first game, Tom chooses his favorite creature, Maxxor, and faces off against his opponent, who takes the form of a Takinom. Tom can certainly win his fair share of card games, but can he find a way to win when he’s playing for real?

Breakdown: I have been aware of Chaotic for a while, but never gave it a chance in the past. When I wrote about the whole huge mess with 4Kids and Chaotic in my retrospective blog post series, I became very curious about the series and game. Since the TCG hasn’t been re-released yet as far as I know, nor has the online version of the game, and I’m not particularly interested in buying the old cards, especially since they seem expensive, I decided to just watch the cartoon series.

The series is entirely available on Peacock (And Tubi) for free, so that was lucky.

As for the first episode…..it’s one of the messiest first episodes I’ve seen for a show in recent memory.

I came out of it not only not understanding how the hell to play Chaotic even a little bit (they never once play a full or even half game in the entire first episode, and we only see a few cards) but I’m also entirely confused as to what even happened to Tom when he entered Chaotic, what the ‘real’ world of Chaotic even is, and they had the gall to end the episode by circling around to the literal cliffhanger that was at the start of the episode in a flashback and barely continuing it at all before putting a ‘To Be Continued’ on the screen and ending it.

I get that this is a two-parter, but at least do something more substantial with your part one to help the audience understand what the hell is going on or make things interesting.

To summarize, the episode starts with a fire-wielding harpy-esque character named Takinom, chasing after and attacking a muscly green dude named Maxxor through a frozen tundra. He’s cornered on a cliffside, our main character, Tom, explains in narration that he is actually Maxxor, Takinom blows fire on him and then the theme song starts. After the theme song, we flash back to how he got in that situation.

Tom is a new-ish/not new (?) player to Chaotic, which is a TCG that has an online version of the game where you can enter codes to obtain digital copies of your real cards, just like the TCG and online game 4Kids and CUSA acquired and adapted for the US. Tom is playing Chaotic with some random guy after school in the cafeteria, which….why wouldn’t you do that literally anywhere else? Unless it’s a legitimate after-school activity, most schools don’t allow you to just hang out in the school for any reason, let alone to play trading card games. There are so many kids there just hanging out in cafeteria – it’s like no one went home.

vlcsnap-2022-09-12-16h40m24s894

It’s not just that they’re there when they shouldn’t be, it’s also weird because what kid wants to just hang out at school after hours, unless, again, you were part of an after-school activity? Usually any kid would want to be anywhere else BUT school – their house, a friend’s house, a local hangout, a rec center, a park, a basketball court, etc. That looks like a really nice school in a nice area. I can’t imagine aren’t options.

But whatever, they montage this game in about 20 seconds so you really have no clue what’s going on. They attack each other, Tom says something about sending his opposing monster to Nauthilax, his enemy’s energy is depleted, and that’s it. That is the first, and, no I’m not kidding, only time we see this game played in the entire episode. I never thought I’d say this, but, Bakugan, you have been surpassed in awful game explanations. I at least had some minor degree of understanding how Bakugan worked a little when I saw the first episode, and at least they showed a full game. Not Chaotic. Who cares about properly explaining that game this cartoon was literally created to help advertise?

After he wins, he gets a message over the game. It automatically opens, and a password pops up on his screen that makes his best friend, Kaz, super excited because he knows that’s a special invitation to the real world of Chaotic where he can play for real. Why he got this for just beating some rando at school, I have no idea. Kaz has been a part of the real Chaotic for a while and excitedly told Tom stories about it, but Tom never believed him. Considering Kaz is yelling all of this information in a crowded cafeteria and has told Tom about it a lot, I’d guess it’s not a secret. But also, like….no one seems to know about it? Even rumors? There are a lot of people in Chaotic when they get there – how is this not more common? I know that would be a really difficult thing to believe without proof, but there would be chatter about it.

Then again, maybe they wouldn’t, because apparently these kids are all 15 years old. I was about to criticize this further, but then I remembered all of the characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are in the their mid to late teens….

Anyway, Tom blows him off until Kaz calls him in a panic in the middle of the night. He tells him he has to input the code into his scanner before midnight otherwise the offer to join the real Chaotic will end. Why exactly isn’t this information given in the message that contains the password? What if you need to wait to input the code? What if you don’t have access to your scanner for a few days? What if you don’t personally know someone who has already been to Chaotic? What if you don’t want to input the code at all because it’s some random code on a blank message from no one?

vlcsnap-2022-09-12-16h42m56s039

Also, if you’re wondering what the scanner is for, apparently, later in the show, they can scan real creatures to get information on them I think – like a Pokedex. It also kinda works as a smartphone in that it’s also a camera, can be used for video chat, has a music player and a flashlight. As for the purpose of the scanner in their real lives in regards to the game, I have no idea. Chaotic cards have codes on them that are manually input into the online game to create digital copies of your cards – they’re not scanned. I have to wonder if 4Kids originally planned to make the real life cards scannable, including creating a real scanner kids would have to use to scan the cards, but then realized that was too expensive or impractical or something so they opted to keep the code system instead but forgot that made the scanner concept nonsensical in the TV series.

The scanners really have no real world purposes for the game, so why do they even exist? Why do any of these players buy them? Kaz tells him to input the code into his scanner, but also the scanner doesn’t have a keyboard, not even a virtual one, it just has a d-pad like thing, so I can’t imagine it’s for the purpose of inputting codes. Since the game is played online, you can probably just input the codes on your laptop.

Tom gives in, and, when he inputs the code, it at first seems like it didn’t work. His screen flashes, goes black and the scanner won’t turn back on. He then throws the scanner out the window into the garbage can on the sidewalk like a douchebag. Yeah, I imagine that scanner was expensive, you little shit. And I bet anything your parents paid for it. Don’t try to troubleshoot it, don’t see if you can get it fixed, just chuck it out the window into the garbage. Don’t tell me Dan has competition for one of the most obnoxious gaming show protagonists too….

Anyway, that’s not what happened….but it also is? In narration, Tom says that’s what happened, but he didn’t realize that there was more. We then cut to the ‘more’ in question. When Tom hit the button, he actually did go to Chaotic…..only not really? The best I can guess is that a duplicate of himself was sent to Chaotic – one that his real-world self is not aware of? How? Why? Dunno. They don’t explain anything.

When he gets there, it’s not any better. They basically just tell him “Hi Tom! Let’s get you to your first match!” without explaining where he is, what happened to him, how he got there, what the hell’s going on, why he’s being forced into a Chaotic match minutes after he got there and everyone knows he’s new, nothing.

Luckily, Kaz does help him a bit with setup through his scanner, but other than explaining how the interface works and giving him a hint about his opponent, he doesn’t explain anything else. Which you’d think he would because there’s that whole thing about him becoming the Chaotic creature and getting into a ‘real’ battle with another Chaotic creature would be something you should discuss a bit.

vlcsnap-2022-09-12-16h46m43s030

When he is turned into Maxxor and his opponent into Takinom, he obviously has no clue what’s going on, what to do, how to utilize any of the game mechanics or anything – he just does what anyone would do in his situation and runs away. Kaz and a bunch of other players are watching the match from the lobby, and Kaz just acts horribly embarrassed for him and facepalms at the fact that he’s not playing properly, which, of course he’s not, no one’s telling him anything.

The end of the episode, like I said, is just barely a continuation of the first scene. Tom/Maxxor is cornered on a cliff by Takinom, who attacks him with fire. The continuation is that the fire causes Tom to fall off the cliff. We get a “To be continued” as Tom is falling and that’s it. They haven’t established any stakes here. This Tom isn’t real, right? His real self is still in his room, right? I can’t imagine him dying (or even getting hurt) in the game is akin to dying in real life because then narrator!Tom wouldn’t have been able to act as if the stuff about real Chaotic was something he learned about later. In addition, if this is a real Chaotic game, then I’d imagine him ‘dying’ at this point would just result in his creature dying and then moving on.

What even happens if he loses the game? I can’t imagine they bar him from Chaotic or anything. I don’t get it. What is on the line here? I doubt even kids would find tension in this.

It’s just so baffling. 4Kids – the kings of overexplaining every single thing – made a show where they just don’t explain anything out the gate.

I didn’t even touch upon the fact that the art and animation are awful. I know that they switch studios after season one from Bardel Entertainment to Dong Woo Animation and the art and animation get better for seasons two and three (Looking ahead though….not that much better. Definitely much better art, but the animation is still pretty rough.), but wow, this is just bad. It reminds me so much of the art and animation from those old eSurance commercials with that Erin lady. Old Flash animation leaves a lot to be desired as is, but this is not good.

vlcsnap-2022-09-12-16h49m00s522

Overall, I’m kinda torn. If I had just watched this without doing all that research on Chaotic beforehand, I’d most likely drop it, but the fanbase seems to genuinely enjoy the show as much as the game. Bryan Gannon, head of Chaotic USA, said he planned on continuing the show, not rebooting it, which means there must be something to the story worth keeping, I’d assume.

I’ll probably wind up finishing this series just casually, maybe throwing out a review here or there, maybe for full seasons, but this, as a first episode, just failed so badly that I feel like I can’t really suggest it. There are several more card game or gaming related shows out there that I’d recommend way above Chaotic. I guess I’ll just leave this as an undecided and make firmer opinions down the line.

Verdict:

Continue Uncertain


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com