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


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


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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