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.


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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.


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AVAHS – Thomas and Friends: Percy the Snowman Review

Thomas and Friends Percy the Snowman

Plot: Thomas gets a special job for the holiday, but Percy is stuck in the snow. Thomas is determined to share his special with Percy, but he may be doing more harm than good.

Breakdown: I watched my fair share of Thomas the Tank Engine back in the day. It was a quaint and unique, if not somewhat creepy in its presentation, little show that holds a special place in my heart. When I heard they were rebooting the series in CGI and actually animating the characters I kinda had mixed feelings. I wasn’t really going to watch it either way, but I felt like it would lose a special little something having it animated like that. Sure, their non-moving faces were creepy, but their creepiness was, oddly, part of their charm.

No harm, no foul, though. This is for a new generation, so they can do whatever they want. I’m probably just being an old curmudgeon anyway.

I was actually looking forward to checking out this episode because it’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen anything Thomas the Tank Engine that wasn’t a meme. When I Googled the episode, I found the IMDB page for it, and uh…….It had a 2/10 rating (with 36 ratings) with no written reviews. I got a little baffled, to say the least.

I haven’t heard anything about this reboot, and I don’t think people who are grumpy old curmudgeons would bother review bombing a random episode of this series, so I didn’t know how to take this.

There were two versions of the show on the (Official?) Thomas the Tank Engine HD version Youtube channel – The UK version and the US version. I was more than curious to see how the two versions differed, so I watched both side-by-side. Basically, the entirety of the show is completely the same outside of the accents (and voices) and two details. The first is the most obvious – when referring to Sir Topham Hatt, the UK version constantly calls him the Fat Controller, but the US version always says Sir Topham Hatt to avoid offensive language. The second was when Sir Topham Hatt came out dressed up like Santa, the UK version called him Father Christmas while the US version called him Santa Claus. No idea why they felt that had to be changed. Pretty sure US kids know that term for Santa, but whatever.

As I was watching, I thought it was a pretty cute little show. I think it retained enough of the spirit of the original, though maybe a more hardcore Thomas fan would disagree with me.

But as I got about halfway through, I started noticing something concerning.

The plot is that Percy’s railcars slipped on the track because of the ice and snow, causing him to get stuck, but Thomas has a big plow so the snow isn’t a problem for him. Thomas gets assigned a special job to transport Sir Topham Hatt to the Town Square later to light up the town Christmas tree. Percy is upset that he basically can’t do anything while he’s stuck in the snow, so Thomas promises to finish up his jobs for the day as quickly as possible and share his special job with Percy somehow.

Each time Thomas passes back and forth past Percy as he does his jobs, he covers Percy in more and more snow. It takes until he’s done with his jobs to realize Percy is now entirely buried in snow….and also that, of course, being stuck in snow in the first place means he can’t participate in Thomas’ special.

Thomas rushes to town to bring the kids and Sir Topham Hatt to Percy so he can share in his special with him. (By the way, I’m not typoing “special job.” They consistently just call it a special.) He tells the kids that the snow-covered Percy is a Snow Engine, which makes both the children and Percy very happy.

That’s great and all…………Is uh…..anyone gonna get him out of the goddamn snowbank? Why is the solution to this problem bringing people to Percy to have fun instead of finding a way to help him escape from his snowy purgatory?

I went through this entire episode expecting the big climax to be Percy getting out of the snow, but no. No one cares enough to get him out. Is he going to be stuck there for the entire winter? Why is no one even concerned about him?

I was also disappointed that they didn’t do anything to Percy to actually make him look like a snowman or something to that effect. It’s literally just that he’s a snowbank with his face peeking out. And, for some reason, the kids are incredibly impressed by this. (Bear in mind they live in a world where they already know the trains are sentient and can talk.)

This special isn’t that Christmassy either. It showed one Christmas tree, and Sir Topham Hatt dressed up like Santa in the end. Other than that, there wasn’t much Christmas in this Christmas episode. Maybe I should give it some leeway because the title doesn’t imply it’s explicitly a Christmas special, but still. It takes place around Christmas, a Christmas tree is part of the plot, and a character dresses as Santa. You’re a Christmas special, Charlie Brown.

Do I think this episode deserves a 2/10? No, not by a long shot. But I definitely think either just the ending or the story as a whole should have been changed quite a bit to not leave Percy forever stuck in a mound of snow. Like what happens after the kids have to go home? Everyone just abandons Percy and the only times they ever see him again is when they look to the side and see a big pile of snow as they do their jobs, and then they remember he exists when the snow melts? Imagine if Percy was a human. How messed up would this be? It’s already pretty messed up. Even if Percy can’t die in there, he can still go mad being stuck in one spot for months – eventually being blinded and deafened to the world around him.

Still, I managed to enjoy it before I got distracted by the blatant train neglect. If you’re a fan of Thomas, either classic or the new stuff, this episode is fine. Not sure it’s a Christmas staple, but it’s fine for a quaint little brief watch during the holiday season.


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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.


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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.


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AVAHS – Snowden’s Christmas Review

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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.


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Animating Halloween | Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil – Kick or Treat/Dead Man’s Roller Coaster Review

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Plot: A – Kick or Treat: On Halloween night, Kick and Gunther get challenged to trick-or-treat at the supposedly haunted Van Der Deth Mansion – a place no kid has ever trick-or-treated before.

B – Dead Man’s Roller Coaster: After getting left behind in the woods by his older brother, Brad, Kick and Gunther stumble upon an abandoned amusement park that seems to be haunted by the ghost of one of Kick’s idols, Dead Man Dave.

Breakdown: Despite hearing good things about this show in the past, I’ve never sat down and watched an episode of Kick Buttowski. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because, even after hearing good things, I don’t think I ever heard enough good things to actively seek it out. Maybe I just don’t click with the premise. I dunno. Well, the show finally landed in my lap thanks to the randomizer on the Halloween Specials Fandom page, so how did it fare?

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A: Kick or Treat – This episode is extremely cliché. I think it’s one of the most overused Halloween special plots in existence to dare the main characters to go to a spooky haunted house that is somehow very close by but no one ever references it outside of Halloween episodes.

As you can expect, a bunch of weird and spooky stuff does happen in the house, but it winds up being fake. I will say that the ending was quite sweet. I fully expected them to boast to the other kids that they got a mountain of candy for their troubles and that would be that, but Kick actually shared the wealth, gave everyone a great Halloween party in lieu of Kendall’s weird report ‘party’ she forced on everyone else, and he made a lonely Halloween-lovin’ older lady very happy. That was very cool.

I will say that the costumes for this Halloween special were less than inspired. Kick basically just looked like he always looked, just with a five-o’clock shadow, a little trucker hat and a plastic stump on his hand. We had a mummy, a zombie, a fairy, a ghost – you know the typical costumes. I know it’s unrealistic to see this costumes, but usually TV shows will take advantage of this once-a-year prime real estate for a clever joke and make some funny or memorable costumes for the characters to wear, and they really didn’t make much of an effort here.

The one time I really smiled in the episode was with Gunther’s costume. He’s wearing what I can only describe as one of Richard Simmons’ outfits just without the curly hair. He claims he’s a viking called Thor Thorson who used to dress up like that because he was so intimidating that he didn’t want to scare his own men. Everyone keeps calling him a ballerina throughout the episode, but Mrs. Van Der Deth gets it right, which makes him happy. I smiled at that. That was sweet.

Kick’s other friend, who is obsessed with him, dressed up like Kick, which is creepy.

I did like one kid’s costume. He was dressed up in what seemed to be an actual glass light bulb that worked. He said he was the speed of light, which I thought was kinda clever.

Overall, not a bad Halloween special by any means, it just doesn’t do much of anything to stand out. It only earned a couple small smiles from me and no laughs, but it’s fine.

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B: Dead Man’s Roller Coaster – Usually, I’ll opt not to watch the second story after a single-part Halloween special because they typically have nothing to do with Halloween, so I can’t really review it for AH, but this one still kept the Halloween vibe with ghost stories and whatnot, so I figured it’d be alright.

I’m glad I made that decision, because this episode not only gave me a better impression of Kick Buttowski than Kick or Treat did, but it’s also, in my opinion, a much better Halloween special than Kick or Treat, and it doesn’t even take place on Halloween.

First of all, this episode has an actual ghost story behind it instead of just saying “Ooh look at this creepy haunted house.” Granted, the story is short and is literally just “This extreme sports guy died out here.” but it’s still something. Also, fun fact, while the dialogue has Kick saying Dave died out there, the closed captions on Disney+ say he disappeared.

Second of all, the plot and story are much more creative than Kick or Treat. It’s still not the most creative plot in the world, but it is more creative, especially with the inclusion of an abandoned amusement park, which is one of my favorite spooky environments.

I will say that Kick and Gunther were being a bit too stupid in the amusement park, even for kids. It made for some funny moments, but they didn’t realize that none of the rides would work if there obviously wasn’t power to the place? They didn’t realize that there obviously wouldn’t be good cotton candy stuff there and that the machine wouldn’t even work? Gunther didn’t realize that there would be no one to put on the Wild West show so he just sat there waiting in an empty theater?

The twist was pretty obvious as it was basically the same-ish twist that Kick or Treat had, but I will call a tiny bit of BS since that ‘ghost’ was very obviously flying/hovering around.

I do think it was a bit cool to have Brad actually feel guilty about leaving Kick behind in the woods and rush back to find him instead of just having him let Kick and Gunther stay lost in the woods forever like most asshole older siblings tend to do in kids shows. It adds a bit more dimension to his character instead of just leaving it as him being an asshole, even he did go back to being a jerk once he found Kick.

As far as I’ve read, this plotline actually connects back to other episodes, meaning this show isn’t entirely episodic and has actually storylines to it, which I didn’t really expect of a show like this. Points for that.

Finally, there was much more extreme sports than in Kick or Treat. The only things they really did as extreme sports in Kick or Treat was when they ‘drove’ around in giant cardboard boxes and when Kick frantically climbed up a banister. Here, Kick had a skateboarding competition against the ‘ghost’ throughout all of the rides in the park, which was pretty cool to watch.

Overall, I had more fun and a better Halloweeny experience watching Dead Man’s Roller Coaster than I did Kick or Treat, even though Kick or Treat is still a fine episode. I’m not sure when or if I’ll return to Kick Buttowski in the future, but this was a pretty good first experience with the show, so, if I do, I think I’ll enjoy myself.

Final Notes: Disney continues on with their weird as hell trend of having big stars cameo for extremely small parts in their Disney Channel shows. This time, Debbie Reynolds played Mrs. Van Der Deth. She had like five lines.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see Danny Cooksey here as Brad, and, of all people, Matt Jones (Badger from Breaking Bad) plays Gunther. I was going to comment that Kick and Gunther sound way too old to be eight, and this explains a lot about why that is. Matt Jones works fine as the character, but he clearly sounds way too old. Charlie Schlatter as Kick is somehow even more noticeable as being too old for the role, but I kinda gave him a pass because I figured Kick was constantly trying to make his voice sound gravelly to seem more adult or tough. *shrug*


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Animating Halloween | 6Teen – Boo, Dude! Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Animating Halloween | Gadget and the Gadgetinis – Trick or Trap Review

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Plot: Gadget brings Penny and the Gadgetinis to a Halloween party that is really a cover for a MAD agent recruitment drive.

Breakdown: I don’t really ever get an opportunity to talk about this, but I used to really love Inspector Gadget. For those not in the know, Inspector Gadget was a cartoon from the 80s about a cyborg inspector named, what else, Inspector Gadget, voiced by the legend himself, Don Adams, who solves crimes and fights his nemesis, the mysterious usually faceless Dr. Claw, who always gets away no matter what. Most of the time, he doesn’t solve much of anything. His genius detective/tech nerd niece, Penny, and her similarly intelligent dog, Brain, solve most of the mysteries behind Gadget’s back and give him the credit.

Despite the fact that I loved Inspector Gadget, I wasn’t too familiar with the larger Inspector Gadget universe, and it’s surprisingly large. There are direct-to-video movies, some spin-offs, it recently had a reboot as well. The only Inspector Gadget properties I had familiarized myself with outside of the 80s cartoon was the live-action movie starring Matthew Broderick. I know that movie gets a lot of shit for being so different from the cartoon, and that’s fine, it’s fully understandable…..

I really loved the movie.

You could even say there was a period in my life where I was kinda obsessed with it.

Sure, it’s very different from the cartoon. Sure, it’s kinda stupid. Sure, some aspects are actually kinda messed up and a bit overly dark for a kid’s movie. The live-action movie is the origin story of Inspector Gadget, who is named John Brown in this version. We see how and why he became a cyborg in the first place.

Dude got blown the hell up, and his body was so mutilated that they had to replace virtually all of his body with mechanical parts to ensure he could survive. And they specifically gave him crime-fighting gadgets (all of this without his knowledge and against his will) because he had always wanted to be a cop.

We also see Dr. Claw pretty much not be Dr. Claw. He’s actually a rich man named Sanford Scolex played by Rupert Everett. He became Dr. Claw when his hand was crushed by a falling bowling ball and replaced with a prosthetic hydraulic claw hand.

It’s a weird movie, don’t get me wrong, and I haven’t watched it in years so there are probably many things that are even weirder about it now, but I still really loved it once upon a time.

I didn’t much care for the sequel, which wasn’t really a sequel, despite being called Inspector Gadget 2, because they completely disregarded everything from the first movie, recast everyone (barring the Gadgetmobile, for some reason – Guess people really liked DL Hughley?) and completely change the tone and a lot of other stuff to better emulate the cartoon. Though, if you ask me, it didn’t succeed at all. Literally the only two things I remember from that movie are the song ‘Up, Up, Up’ by Rose Falcon, which is awesome, and the fact that they had Gadget fall in love with an android, which was really, really weird. And I don’t mean they did that as a one-off joke. They ended up together….

Blah blah blah segue, which leads us to Gadget and the Gadgetinis, which was a 2002 French spin-off made by Saban’s French studio and DiC in which Gadget, who is now a Lieutenant hired by WOMP, the World Organization of Mega Powers, fights crime alongside his new sidekicks, the Gadgetinis, whom are basically literally mini-Gadgets, even voiced by Maurice LeMarche, named Fidget and Digit. They were made by Penny, who is now a little older.

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This series never aired in the US, which I would say explains why I never watched it, but, from all I’ve been reading about it, this show doesn’t sound that good. The concept is iffy enough, but they made some changes that I don’t find appealing.

The biggest changes are in the absence of the Chief and Brain. They’re technically not fully gone as the Chief shows up a couple of times and Brain is discussed, but they’re nowhere near as integral to the series as they were before. In fact, the reason the Gadgetinis were made was because Brain left the picture.

And when you find out why he left the picture, you’ll realize why I’m a bit more put off by the character’s removal that I otherwise would be.

The main Wiki page for the Inspector Gadget franchise said that, in this series, Brain ran away so Penny needed to make the Gadgetinis to replace him. This sounded really weird to me because I just can’t imagine Brain running away. So I went to the main page for the show to figure out why exactly he ran away.

…….They gave Brain intense PTSD for a joke…..

I am not kidding at all. “After years of Gadget repeatedly mistaking him for M.A.D. Agents and trying to apprehend him, Brain is now phobic and nervous when he hears Gadget’s name and has taken refuge in a shack by a lake.” What the actual fuck? Poor Brain! I kinda wish he had just randomly run away. What an awful thing to do to his character.

Anyway, let’s move on to this Halloween special. We start off with the theme song, which is fine in regards to melody, but they have someone, I’ll guess it’s his boss, yelling out “GADGET!” repeatedly as part of the song, and it’s very intrusive and irritating. It’s a shame, because the original Inspector Gadget theme song is so good. It only has a few lyrics, but it’s so memorable and catchy.

In the first scene, which is constantly covered by the opening credits right there smack in the middle of the screen, Gadget, voiced by Maurice LeMarche, nearly kills his new boss, Colonel Nozzaire (pronounced “Nose hair”) because he thinks he’s trapped in a suit of armor, so he comes at him with a buzz saw. It’s actually kinda funny, but I was really distracted by the sound mixing. The sound of the buzz saw drowned out a lot, which is fine, I guess, because it’s a buzz saw, but only a few lines later I realized the music was way too loud and the sound effects as a whole were also too loud while the dialogue tracks were too soft.

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Nozzaire tells Gadget to go to Chicago to take Penny to a Halloween party because MAD agents have been detected there (Claw is using the party as a means to recruit new agents). Then we get an overly long gag where Nozzaire is stuck in his armor and Gadget doesn’t notice because he’s prattling on about Halloween. He also makes a caramel apple with an apple he ejects from his chest and a caramel sprayer in his finger. I don’t think the animators know how caramel works because it sprays as easily as water and drips off most of the apple. Gadget leaves while Nozzaire is trapped in his suit of armor covered in caramel.

The MAD goons start their plan of testing the guests to see if they could make potential MAD agents out of them. I guess their testing method is to spring a variety of booby traps on them and see if they….I honestly don’t know. They all survive, and fail, but I don’t see how they’re supposed to pass. Some of the booby traps are even unfair. In one, they immediately strapped the guy into a chair and just did a bunch of slapstick to him. What the hell was he supposed to do there?

Gadget, as expected, doesn’t suspect a single thing as he attends this party, even though it’s clear that the place is littered with criminals. He also doesn’t suspect anything as he suffers the various booby traps in the building.

The MAD goons who are running this test notice that Gadget survived the “chamber of doom” and are impressed with him, despite the fact that the other guy also survived, he just got his teeth knocked out. Gadget, trying to get into character as per his costume, pretends to be a crime boss, which further impresses the goons who then try to recruit him.

Meanwhile, Penny’s investigation leads her to discovering MAD’s plans, although she calls the traps “phony” which I don’t understand. She did notice the ghost was a hologram, but she also saw guys running from fireballs and giant boulders. Fidget and Digit kinda point this out because they’re in a room with traps that have clearly caused damage to the room, and one of them sarcastically says “Good thing the traps are phony.” which implies they’re real, but why would Penny, who is otherwise very smart, just assume all of the traps were phony? That would be kinda funny, though. MAD using fake traps to test potential agents because they’re just concerned about safety.

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When Dr. Claw realizes his goons screwed up and recruited Gadget, he sends every criminal in the building after him. Whoever destroys him first gets to be Claw’s right-hand man. It’s kinda weird that there are absolutely no female criminals in this party…….That doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, I just thought it was weird.

Gadget, however, just assumes everyone’s playing Tag, so he runs away. He’s grabbed by someone, thinking that makes him “it” and, for some reason. Gadget seems to believe that you can tag back in Tag, which wasn’t true in most games of Tag that I played. Allowing tag backs just made the game frustrating and no fun.

But that’s not the point.

Except it is the point because the resolution to the plot is based on Gadget’s misunderstanding of Tag. He thinks he’s not it because he tagged back the first person who ‘tagged’ him yet he seems to also believe anyone else who touches him is it and then he turns around and wraps them up in rope to tag them back?…..At least that’s what I think is going on. Most of it happens off screen. Even if tagbacks were allowed in Tag, tying up your opponents is obviously not.

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As it continues, it gets a little more understandable. Penny, Fidget and Digit are shown helping Gadget. While Penny activates booby traps to help stop the criminals, Fidget and Digit keep covertly tagging him to ensure he keeps thinking he’s it. This goes on for quite a while. Him thinking he’s playing Tag is okay for a quick gag, but it’s goes on for nearly five minutes.

Penny finally calls the police, and all of the criminals are carted away while Dr. Claw fires his goons. Later, back at HQ, Gadget finally frees Nozzaire and manages to do it without hurting Nozzaire or causing trouble. However, he reveals that he brought the two ex-MAD goons back with him to……I have no goddamn clue. They show up, turn Nozzaire’s hair into a literal ice cream sundae and then leave. It was one of the most random things I’ve seen in recent memory. Absolutely no buildup, not in reference to anything (except….maybe the caramel? Like, what, that they’re both sweets?) and literally came out of nowhere. I thought Gadget was going to give them a new job or something, but nope.

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Overall, this episode was fine. It didn’t really get me interested in seeing the rest of the series at all. The Gadgetinis do seem purely like smaller more competent Gadgets. And like I said, they literally are Gadget, in both design and voices. It’s just that they have smaller bodies, different color schemes and higher pitched voices. They’re not that funny or interesting. They’re okay, but I couldn’t even tell them apart, and they didn’t really add anything to the story.

Not that there’s much of a story here anyway. Inspector Gadget was never huge on story – they very much maintained the same trajectory that this show has – but it somehow feels more hollow, and I don’t think it’s an issue of nostalgia goggles.

Maybe this just wasn’t a good episode to start out on, but this viewing experience plus knowing what I know about Brain just makes me feel like they kinda gutted the original show but in small ways that damage it just enough to create a lackluster show.

A lot of iconic aspects of the show aren’t present in this version, which may have been a conscious effort to be different from the 80s incarnation. For instance, we no longer get exploding messages to inform Gadget of his missions. We no longer get his boss hiding in random places while he waits for Gadget to read his mission note, which is always thrown back in his face and blown up without Gadget realizing it most of the time. We don’t get Penny’s iconic computer book. We don’t even get Dr. Claw saying “I’ll get you next time, Gadget. Next time!”

Maybe they thought all that stuff was better left in the past, and maybe that is my nostalgia goggles calling out to me, but those lost factors took a lot of notable stuff from the original series off the table. We do still get Gadget causing trouble, being a complete idiot and using his various Gadgets in somewhat humorous manners. We still get Penny doing all the work behind the scenes, saving her uncle and letting him get all the credit. Dr. Claw’s still the faceless enemy. The main framework is there, though I still don’t forgive the loss of Brain, and while the show, as far as I’ve seen, isn’t that bad, it’s also not that good in my opinion.

As a Halloween episode, this fails pretty hard. I didn’t get Halloween vibes at all. Literally none of this had to involve Halloween. If you took the costumes off of them, absolutely everything would go the same way. I tried really hard to think of aspects of the episode that would justify it, but the best I can come up with is Gadget thinking all of the criminals at the party were just in costumes and some of the booby traps involved holograms of ghosts and stuff. However, Gadget’s so dim he’d probably think that anyway, and scary holograms can also easily be a thing they’d use outside of Halloween. I just don’t think they integrated Halloween well enough here. I didn’t even understand what Penny was supposed to be. A greaser?

Oh well. Maybe I’ll be able to revisit Inspector Gadget sometime in the future, but for now it’s time to move on.


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AVAHS – A Scooby-Doo! Christmas Review

Plot: Scooby and the gang wind up in Winter Hollow for Christmas only to find that the place has been terrorized for years by the Headless Snowman. Each Christmas, the townsfolk are driven out of their homes by the monster, causing most of them to despise Christmas. Can Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma and Daphne figure out who the Headless Snowman really is and melt him for good?

Breakdown: What’s New Scooby-Doo? was definitely one of the more popular branches of the Scooby-Doo franchise tree. I watched it quite a bit when it was on, especially enjoying its awesome theme song, but I never remembered it having a Christmas special.

A Scooby-Doo! Christmas is an enjoyable but overall fairly forgettable Christmas special. Story-wise, it doesn’t do anything to stand out from any other Scooby-Doo episode outside of mentions of Christmas, the very ending where they give gifts and stand around the Christmas tree, and a song or two.

A reviewer on IMDB said the mystery was way too easy, but I kinda disagree. I really thought it was the sheriff until they pointed out that the sheriff was acting suspicious, which is usually an indicator that they’re a red herring. I will agree with that reviewer in saying that the absolute ending was bunk, though.

Spoiler warning, even though this episode is literally turning 20 years old next year.

The culprit was a local professor, Higginson, whose great-grandfather was robbed by a man named Blackjack Brody who ended up dying in a snowman after being chased by an angry mob who were tired of being robbed by him. How did he end up in the snowman? I dunno, but it created a legend of a Headless Snowman. The professor’s great-grandfather being robbed of all his gold ruined Christmas forever….somehow. I guess that would make Christmasses difficult because they’d be rich otherwise, but he just ended up hating Christmas for some reason.

This isn’t even his dad he’s talking about. It’s his great-grandfather. Did they never recover enough financially for Christmasses to be fun anymore? Did their family just continue to be poor for all time? That can’t be true because the culprit is literally a professor. He has to have SOME money, I assume. Getting degrees ain’t cheap. He did get robbed on Christmas eve, but it’s not like anyone died. Is it really just a family perpetually mourning their lost ultra-wealth even when the man who robbed their ancestor is long since dead?

Using the Headless Snowman legend as a cover (by the way, the snowman’s not really headless. He can just take his head off and put it back on.), the professor created what is quite possibly one of the most implausible monster….I guess I’ll go with ‘robots’ to ever grace Scooby-Doo.

The Headless Snowman is legitimately made of snow from top to bottom. It has a cone-like…cockpit? in the center to allow the professor to manually control it. All of it. Every single part of it. It’s exactly like it’s living. The Headless Snowman can even detach his head and the head will still make noise and be perfectly animated. All of it is made of and connected by snow. I have no idea whatsoever how this thing works.

So the professor gets caught, his snowman melted, and he laments that he looked for his great-grandfather’s gold in the town every Christmas season by tormenting the townsfolk and….destroying shit. Because that’s definitely the most logical approach to that. Fred and Velma deduce that Brody hid the gold he stole in his home’s fireplace, masked as the bricks in his chimney.

Coincidentally enough, Brody’s old home was one of the homes the professor destroyed earlier that day, which left the chimney bricks in a pile of rubble. The professor accepts his jail-y fate, but, in a show of Christmas spirit, the town not only refuses to arrest him, but they also let him keep the damn gold.

Look, that’s real nice and everything, Merry Christmas and all, but this guy gets no sympathy from me. Did he even know his great-grandfather? This isn’t a matter of justice because the town actually tried to help his great-grandfather back then, and kinda succeeded considering Brody died as a result of trying to run from them. He just wants the gold for himself, making off like it’s in honor of his great-grandfather.

He tormented this whole town, destroying buildings and homes, traumatizing children and ruining the holidays of so many families for many years, AND he nearly got Shaggy and Scooby killed when they fell into a freezing cold pond because of him.

To his credit, he does share the gold with the town to help make amends, but I don’t think that’s enough. He still gets to keep however much he wants, and he still gets no jail time.

Bear in mind, most of what he did was completely pointless. There was no point in scaring the townsfolk, chasing people all over and destroying people’s homes. Why would he think the gold would be literally anywhere else but in Brody’s old house? Why would he not be able to find out which house was Brody’s house? They seemed to know exactly which house it was after they deduced that the gold bricks were used as regular bricks. Some professor you are.

Also, I refuse to believe that he can completely destroy a chimney with his bare…..snowman….sticks…and not reveal the gold when gently rubbing it reveals the gold.

End of spoilers

All in all, while the professor’s motives and ridiculous beyond reason plans were mind-boggling to say the least, this was a perfectly fine Christmas special. It’s also quite star-studded, featuring the voices of Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) as the young Tommy, Kathy Kinney of The Drew Carey Show as the Sheriff, Peter Scolari as Professor Higginson, Jim Belushi as Asa, whom I didn’t even remember, and frickin’ Mark Hamill as Tommy’s dad. And we also can’t forget the amazing Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Mindy Cohn as Velma, Frank Welker as Fred and Grey DeLisle as Daphne.

If you’re in the mood for Scooby and Christmas, this is a decent enough special. I just wish it either had more of an overall focus on Christmas or a better resolution/motive.


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