Cartoon Christmas Specials: A Festive Retrospective

 

Motley Editor-In-Chief Dan Webb takes a look at three Christmas specials produced by Cartoon Network that he enjoyed growing up.

 

From a young age, the Christmas season was, and always has been my favourite time of the year. The lights, the music and the atmosphere of the festive season just has this unique way of capturing my heart. When I was growing up, it was tradition that I would tune into Cartoon Network every morning leading up to Christmas and watch a series of holiday special episodes produced for some of the most popular franchises at the time. Recently, as I was getting ready for my annual build-up to Christmas, I decided to rewatch some of these Christmas specials, and let me tell you, although crude, they all have a very strong message that still sticks with me almost 23 years later.

 

  1. Ed Edd and Eddie: Jingle Jingle Jangle

The first stop on my festive nostalgia trip was to look at a childhood favourite of mine, Ed Edd and Eddie. This quirky, wonderfully weird show shows the misadventures of three teenage boys living in a small suburban community. The show’s crude slapstick humour is not something that I would initially associate with Christmas at all, but then I watched Jingle Jingle Jangle, and I was surprised. The thirty minute special follows Eddie as he goes on a journey to steal everyone else’s holiday joy after discovering his parents have bought him socks for Christmas. This special, which employs a satirical mix of a number of Christmas classics (The Christmas Story, How The Grinch Stole Christmas etc.), is a fantastic representation of just how materialistic and cynical people have become around the holiday period.

2. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy: Billy and Mandy Save Christmas

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy is one of the more unique shows that Cartoon Network put out back in the day. Looking back on it now, it also serves as a reminder to me of just how weird my choice of entertainment was when I was a kid; between Butt Ugly Martians and this, I spent hours in front of the television. This Christmas special actually reminds me a lot of The Nightmare Before Christmas, in that it mixes traditional festive elements with a spookier tone that would usually be associated with Halloween. Santa (voiced by Gilbert Gotfried) is bitten by a vampire (Malcom McDowell) and it’s up to our trio to save the day. If that brief doesn’t make you want to watch this special, then we are in a “Grim” situation indeed.

3. The Powerpuff Girls: Twas The Fight Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, a television was blaring, The Powerpuff Girls unite! Now this is what I call a real festive nostalgia trip. I remember many nights sitting in front of the tv watching the adventures of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup and revelling in their fight for justice (what can I say, I like alliteration in character names). Twas The Fight Before Christmas has everything a good Christmas special needs to succeed: 1. Scrooge-like antagonist (check), 2. Call backs/references to other Christmas classics (check), 3. Rhyming narration from the voice of Bikini Bottom’s god himself, Tom Kenny (double check!). This is what my mind immediately goes to when I think of the classic Cartoon Network Christmas formula.

 

And that’s all for this year’s festival nostalgia trip. Of course, there are so many other classics I couldn’t cover; Dexter’s Laboratory, Courage The Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo and many more. I would just like to take a brief moment to squeeze in one last Merry Christmas from myself and all the staff here on the Motley team. We hope you have happy holidays, and we will see you all in the new year!