The Fairly OddParents!: Christmas Every Day

Title

Debuted in 2001

22 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: Timmy is excited about Christmas morning and wishes every day could be Christmas. Cosmo and Wanda grant his wish and it becomes a major problem, with most businesses staying closed and other holidays getting upset. When every kid wishes for December 26th, life returns to normal.

Fun Fact: The Fairly OddParents! ran for 16 years on Nickelodeon, making it the second longest animated series on the network.

My thoughts: The Fairly OddParents! got its start as part of the Oh Yeah! Cartoons show on Nickelodeon and was expanded into its own series and even a few live action movies. Timmy Turner is a boy with fairy godparents and he makes wishes that inevitably create problems that need to be resolved, leading to the conclusion that wishes are probably not as great as they are cracked up to be. In this episode, the problems are global and all the kids of the world have to come together to solve them. I really liked the plot’s resolution here and thought the episode was a lot of fun. The other holidays represented here are the Easter Bunny, Cupid and the April Fool, who is clearly a parody of Jerry Seinfeld, punctuating every statement with ‘What’s the deal with that?’ There is a lot of creativity at play in this show, with Cosmo and Wanda able to shape shift into different things to avoid detection. I thought this episode was a lot of fun.

Natural enemies

The miracle of Christmas can turn the bitterest enemies into friends.

Nog obsessed

Timmy’s Dad has eggnog addiction issues.

Other holidays

The baby new year could use a little cardio.

Children of the world

Italian kids have amazing moustache game.

Individual Superlative: The Economic Impact – Several different specials and characters have taken on the problematic issue of wishing for every day to be Christmas, but this is the first one I’ve seen that looks at it how it affects the global economy. Kids are growing up fast.

Want to Watch it? The Fairly Odd Parents: Christmas Every Day is available on DVD and YouTube.

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Pucca: Christmas Shorts

Title

Debuted in 2006

23 minutes 

Plot in 3 Sentences: In the first of three stories, a ninja named Black Powder shows up to get his revenge on Santa for becoming a giver instead of a thief. In the next story, Pucca and Garu try to discover why the Northern Lights have gone out. The third story features Tobe kidnapping Santa to take his place in hopes of capturing Garu.

Fun Fact: In the show, Pucca is supposed to be 11 and Garu is supposed to be 12.

My thoughts: Pucca started as a South Korean series of animated internet shorts, each only running a couple of minutes. They were produced from 2000 to 2005 and then expanded into longer shorts for a TV series that ran two seasons from 2006 to 2008. I stumbled on this episode because it was Christmas themed, but kind of fell in love with the show and watched all the episodes after that. The basic premise revolves around a village of ninjas, where the niece of the guys who own the local noodle restaurant is smitten with a silent ninja named Garu. The village is full of bizarre characters, including Santa Claus, who is integral to this episode’s shorts. The show is very funny and clever, with fun send-ups of anime and short parodies featuring these characters in other genres. This one has made a few appearances at our Christmas special parties over the year and is always well received.

Naked Santa

I don’t think I want to know how Santa can pull a long string of lights from his mouth.

Fake Santa with Zombie

Yes, the zombie asks Santa for brains.

Abyo with Walrus

Abyo gets his workout ninja kicking a walrus. Seems legit.

Closing Santa Wreath

Christmas is all about love, especially funny love.

Individual Superlative: Best Use of Santa’s Belly – Santa’s signature ninja move is called the Belly Bounce and he uses it to defeat Black Powder twice. That’s why he needs all those cookies!

Want to Watch it? The individual Pucca short cartoons are available on DVD and YouTube.

Uncle Grandpa: Christmas Special

Title

Debuted in 2014

23 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: When Santa breaks his leg, Uncle Grandpa steps in to deliver the toys. He causes lots of trouble and then gets captured by Sally Smith, a naughty kid. His guardian lobster shows him what life would have been like without him and he manages to save Christmas and have a nice holiday with his friends.

Fun Fact: Cartoon Network developed a video game called ‘Sneakin’ Santa’ to promote this holiday episode of the show.

My thoughts: Well, there are no two ways about it. This show is nutso. In addition to the main character, there is also a talking fanny pack, a slice of pizza named Pizza Steve, a grumpy dinosaur and a photographic cutout of a tiger who can fly. Creator Peter Browngardt was influenced by Gary Larson, Robert Crumb, Tex Avery and Don Martin and it’s not too hard to see their fingerprints here, although the show is extremely original. Normally, each show features two 12 minute segments, but this show uses both segments to tell its story and appears to be the first double episode in the series. We find out early in the show that Uncle Grandpa and Santa are brothers and that Uncle Grandpa is still angry at Santa for ruining his talent show performance when they were young.  There are some good underlying messages about friendship and family hidden amongst the bizarre moments here and if you enjoy your specials a little on the wacky side, this one should be right up your alley.

Santa and elves

Elves make really good footrests.

Other holiday mascots

Sally Smith keeps a prison for holidays.  Not pictured: The Veterans Day Velociraptor.  (No, that wasn’t a joke.)

Skeleton

Does Mr. Gus wind up as a skeleton in a museum without Uncle Grandpa?

Rooftop

Photorealistic Flying Tiger is absolutely my favorite character in anything.

Individual Superlative: Born to Be Crazy – Contributors to this series include the folks who gave us both Chowder and Ren & Stimpy so there’s no way this show wasn’t going to be insane.

Want to Watch it? Uncle Grandpa: Christmas Special is available on Hulu and will likely show up in holiday programming.

 

Angelina Ballerina: Angelina’s Holiday Treats

Title

Debuted in 2009

13 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: After their final rehearsal for the Christmas dance performance, Angelina, Marco and A.Z. go back to Angelina’s house to help her mom bake gingerbread houses for the recital party. They eat candy canes and lots of gingerbread cookies and wind up with stomach aches. Because they ate too much, Marco and Angelina don’t perform well at the show and they promise never to overindulge again.

Fun Fact: This episode is from the ‘The Next Steps’ series, in which Angelina is now 8 years old.

My thoughts: This holiday themed episode is a cautionary tale, advising kids to use moderation when eating Christmas sweets. Angelina is playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in their Nutcracker ballet and her teacher compliments her on her light and airy steps during rehearsal. She also compliments Marco on his accompaniment as he plays the celeste, which is cool, because it gives kids the chance to learn about a musical instrument that they probably don’t know much about. And they’ll be sure to learn something, because it seems like half the lines of dialogue are exposition and data. For example, as she’s dancing, Angelina says, “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is from my absolute favorite holiday ballet, The Nutcracker.”  Who is she telling this to? The whole special is also over the top on political correctness, even down to referring to the ‘holiday tree.’ While Angelina and Marco are scarfing down candy and cookies, their friend A.Z. is judging them and commenting on his healthier choices. Come on, we all have friends like this and we hate them. I’d say this one is probably good for younger kids, especially if you’re trying to get them to leave some Christmas cookies for you.

Candy canes

The shopkeeper offers them candy canes and they take so many.

AZ

Yes, A.Z., we all see you eating an apple instead. Hush your smug face up.

Stomach aches

These are the faces of regret.

Mud

Angelina feels like she’s dancing in mud. Ew.

Individual Superlative: The Moral Hammer – In case you may have missed the moral the first time, don’t worry. It’ll come up again. And again. And again.

Want to Watch it? Angelina Ballerina: Angelina’s Holiday Treats is available on YouTube.

George and Junior’s Christmas Spectacular

Title

Debuted in 1995

7 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: George and Junior arrive at the North Pole to deliver a letter to Santa, but it’s Christmas Eve and Santa has already left for the night. This means there’s a present Santa didn’t know he was supposed to bring, so the elves give it to George and Junior to deliver. The house has a guard dog, so they have a lot of trouble delivering it, but when the present turns out to be FOR the guard dog, everything turns out okay.

Fun Fact: There were only four cartoon shorts in the original George and Junior series. A fifth was written for them but was produced using two random dogs instead of George and Junior (yet, for some reason, it’s still considered a George and Junior short).

My thoughts: The original MGM George and Junior series was inspired by George and Lennie from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The short-lived series was rebooted for the Cartoon Network What a Cartoon! Show in 1995, but it must not have been a big hit, because only two shorts were created. Actually, watching this one, I’m not at all surprised it didn’t score a hit. The humor fails on just about every level and if they were trying to recapture their old fans on the nostalgia ticket, they missed the boat on that by ratcheting the original Tex Avery gags up way too far. Everything here is oddly proportioned and verging on grotesque and the punching, farting and smashing all seems like overkill. The only thing I enjoyed about this was the score, which was a mixture of The Nutcracker and traditional Christmas carols. It seemed like a fair amount of thought went into matching the music to what was happening onscreen, but that’s about all there is to recommend it.

Head elf Steve

In case you didn’t know that was Head Elf Steve, they’ve provided a label.

I done a bad thing George

“I done a bad thing, George.” (Yes, I happen to agree with you.)

The boys and Santa

Santa could use some serious dental work. And some sun.

Bear heads

Super trippy bear heads.

Individual Superlative: Most Surreal Reality – There’s a moment when George and Junior are so scared that their cartoonish heads suddenly become very realistic looking bear heads. It’s freaky, even though (or maybe especially because) it only lasts for a couple of seconds.

Want to Watch it? George and Junior’s Christmas Spectacular is available on YouTube.

Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. – It’s a Wonderful Smash

Title

Debuted in 2014

22 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: After a battle with some bad guys leaves parts of the city in shambles, A-Bomb wishes that the Hulks could be more appreciated for the good that they do. We next see them living the lives of their dreams, rich and famous in a luxurious penthouse, but that turns out to be a false reality the Collector is using to keep them prisoner. The agents of S.M.A.S.H. team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to break free, defeat the Collector and retrieve the Orb of Truth.

Fun Fact: This episode was produced to be part of Season 1, but aired during Season 2.

My thoughts: Let’s face it – I am not the target demographic for this show. I have enjoyed the recent Marvel movies (especially Guardians of the Galaxy) but have never been a big fan of the comic book hero genre overall. So I had my husband watch this one with me to get a second opinion, but we were pretty much on the same page. About halfway through the show, I asked what any of this had to do with Christmas and then remembered that the original battle takes place in a city decorated for the holidays. At the end, they explain Christmas to the Guardians of the Galaxy and have a warm and fuzzy moment when they talk about the sense of family that you have in a super hero group. In retrospect, it seemed like just I watched 15 minutes of weird things punching and shooting each other, with a few minutes of plot and a non-stop parade of new characters coming and going. I’ll give it a few comic points for having A-Bomb hallucinate having Eliza Dushku for a girlfriend when she does the voice of She-Hulk on the show. But this one is strictly for those who are already fans.

Destroyed city

The Christmas tree in the background makes the destruction look festive!

Guitar Playing

A-Bomb plays guitar in a band in his fantasy world.

Hulk and SheHulk

“Why Hulk wearing dumb sweater?”

Not Groot

No, you are NOT Groot.

Individual Superlative: I AM GROSS – Groot was awesome in the movie, but in this thing, he is absolutely terrifying. His tree face here looks like a nightmare of evil. I mean, look at him! I want the movie version back!

Want to Watch it? Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H: It’s a Wonderful SMASH is available on YouTube.

A Very Pink Christmas

Title CleanDebuted in 2011

22 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: The Pink Panther and Big Nose both want the last luxury sports car in the lot. They open competing Christmas tree lots each hoping to make enough money to buy the car first. But a poor boy who just wants to afford a small tree for his family puts things into perspective for them.

Fun Fact: This is not to be confused with A Pink Christmas, which was the first Pink Panther special, released in 1978. (This one is apparently pinker.)

My thoughts: The Pink Panther seems like a tough sell here in the 21st century. When many modern kids’ shows over-explain and dumb down their plotlines, the idea of an animated program in which no one speaks is intriguing. But it works today just as well as it worked back when I was a kid watching the Pink Panther on Saturday morning cartoon shows.  (At least, it did for me.) The animation defines the characters and moves the plot and the music helps convey the emotions and set the mood for the action.  There’s a clear message about commercialism here that is very simply conveyed. I like that the little boy is shown to be cheerful and dedicated, in spite of the fact that he and his family are practically homeless. It’s a welcome change from the more traditional tearful and pitiful child bundled up against the cold, which makes it even more meaningful, I think, when he learns that the little tree he’s been saving for has been sold and he breaks down crying. The show has its comedic moments as well and there’s a fun scene when Pink’s tree lot shows off its lights that dance in time with music, which sets this special very firmly in its contemporary world (where that kind of thing shows up all the time in viral videos). This isn’t one that I watch every year, but it is kind of cute.

Seeing the car

This car is so amazing that it makes your eyebrows fly off your face!

Adorable orphan

It helps that the little boy is pretty gosh darn adorable.

Coaster

Does this Christmas tree lot require an admission ticket?

Car for Christmas

And even after all his scheming and dirty dealing, Big Nose gets a toy version of the car from Santa Panther. Awwww.

Individual Superlative: What Is Your Name? – The Pink Panther’s nemesis in this special is never addressed by name, but is listed as Big Nose in the IMDB. However, in the past, he has also been known as White Guy and Little Man. (Can’t we just call him Steve or something?)

Want to Watch it?  A Very Pink Christmas is available on YouTube.