The Rocketeer-The Christmas Star
Vamprina-The Fright Before Christmas
DuckTales 2017-How Santa Stole Christmas!
Puppy Dog Pals-A Christmas Mission in Toyland/Nine Lights Tonight
Thundercats Roar-Mandora Saves Christmas
Apple & Onion-Christmas Spirit
It’s Pony-Christmas with the Bramleys
The Casagrandes-A Very Casagrandes Christmas
The Loud House–Season’s Cheating/A Flipmas Carol
Just Roll With It-The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year
Raven’s Home-Mad About Yuletide
Danger Force-Down Goes Santa
Hello, Spongey here.
Welcome to the 2020 version of our yearly look at what the kids Networks gave us for Christmas episodes this year. I’m happy to say that we have a fair bit to get through this year, and Nick actually has content, just like in October. Seriously, they’ve been hit or miss with that lately.
There isn’t too much to say before we get into it, really. I like keeping these intros short. However, there are two things to address. First, streaming shows made by these companies, including Warner Bros do count. That’s why I am slightly annoyed the Animaniacs ended up putting a Halloween episode after October.
I mention that to say that High School Musical The Musical The Series had a Holiday Special…that was just the actual actors doing a bunch of songs or whatever. It’s not an actual episode. That made me kind of miffed for some reason. So yeah, not covering it. Second, a recent Nick Sitcom called Side Hustle kinda sorta had one,
Apparently there’s an episode where the leads have a Friendiversary and the joke is that it’s treated like Christmas. However, it is not directly Christmas and it’s set in reality, I assume so I thought of it but passed. Mostly because I learned of it at the last minute.
With all that, how do I feel about what I did cover? Let’s get into it.
This, is A Look at Disney/Cartoon Network/Nick Christmas Episodes (2020)
The Christmas Star [The Rocketeer]
Writer: Brian Hohlfeld
Airdate: July 17
Sylvester disguises himself as Santa to steal all the presents.
This episode was decent. When I reviewed the Halloween episodes, I said that the stuff with Kit was fine but standard while I quite enjoyed the villains. That applies here. I again love how funny and pathetic Sylvester is. Here we see him using his disguises to get free stuff from someone who only gives it one thing per person. And he doesn’t understand how he got no presents…cuz he was always caught stealing them.
There’s even a nice ending with him, as predictable as it was. I was ready to declare that his ferret, Lilith is the true villain since she eggs him on but that ending put a damper on that lol.
The other stuff is just there. There’s some fun tension later on with the other “Santa”, but again Kit’s side isn’t super compelling. There is a ice Christmas vibe though, even if this does stretch to get to 22 minutes.
Still, it’s a pleasant watch with a fun villain. I enjoyed the Halloween ones more since we got more wild comedy from the baddies but this was fine too. Perhaps other episodes flesh out the heroes side more but for now, the villains seem like the main reason to watch this.
Also, I have a correction: That boy is just some friend and not her brother. So…yeah. Now onto the ones that actually aired in December!
The Fright Before Christmas [Vamprina]
Season 3, Episode 17a
Writer: Jeffery King
Airdate: November 30
(Danny Phantom’s lawyers will hear from you)
Vee plans a Spooky scare in the hopes of attracting Spooky Clause so that her family can enjoy a festive Transylvanian Christmas.
This episode was decent. It is weird that Spooky Claus wasn’t mentioned in the previous but it was focused on the Christmas carol stuff so I can forgive that. Otherwise this was nice. I like the conflict of Vee thinking she isn’t scary enough as it is one that makes sense. Of course the ending message is obvious but decently executed.
The payoff to the Spooky Claus stuff is nice and there are a few amusing moments. …And that’s about it. It was easy to like and overall was a nice watch. I suppose I got into Gargoyle Carol more just due to the Christmas Carol element but this was enjoyable too.
Nothing that gives me a lot to talk about but hey, still works for what it is. Also, I watched a couple extra episodes from this show this year…as they featured Rachael Bloom. Yeah, I had to lol. Overall, fine start to the proper offerings.
How Santa Stole Christmas! [DuckTales 2017]
Season 3, Episode 18
Writer: Colleen Evenson
Airdate: November 30
The family is securing the mansion against Santa Claus whom Scrooge has a one-sided feud with, when Father Christmas approaches them with a broken leg and requests his help, which he agrees to provided he never bothers him again.
This episode was good. Not as good as “Last Christmas!” but still solid. The stuff with them saving Christmas is a bit typical but is fun enough to work as it has some solid moments. The main thing that makes this stand out are the flashbacks showing what went down with Scrooge and Santa. I expected it to just all be in the third but it’s basically the main story in a way.
It’s a fun adventure and I enjoyed their interactions and the action. It’s in the third act we find out what made Scrooge angry at him and it works. It’s not as silly as I figured it would be and worked with the themes and it ties into some stuff Webby goes through in here. Scrooge does something that feels bad even for him but what they do with is interesting.
It goes into gushy overload at the end and I can say it being a bit much for some but the execution made it work, generally. So yeah, not as unique as the previous one they did but still pretty satisfying. It has some typical bits but manages to be work pretty well in the end.
And it doesn’t involve too much story stuff so it can work if you’re not caught up and thus I recommend it reasonably strongly.
-A Christmas Mission in Toyland/Nine Lights Tonight [Puppy Dog Pals]
Season 4, Episode 3
Writers: Brian Hall/Jessica Carlton
Airdate: December 4
Auggie and Mo help recite their naptime Christmas story when the pages of their book go missing./Bingo and Rolly go on a mission to help Santa and Mrs. Claus replace the lights on their friend’s Hanukkiah.
These episodes were decent. Starting with the former, I like it’s just all the story they are telling. As it goes on, other characters chime in to help it along and that is fun. The story itself is actually a bit creative as it has them going inside Santa’s bag, which turns out to be a TARDIS bag, to find a lost toy. I don’t think I’ve seen the inside of Santa’s bag be portrayed as a wonderland in itself, so points for that.
They do some fun stuff there and overall it was the most enjoyable of this show’s episodes I’ve seen so far. Although Auggie and Mo, who seem to be new, could be annoying for being so saccharine at times. Otherwise, it’s fun. As for the latter episode, it’s more standard as they go looking for lights but there’s some fun bits as they try to do so. Plus the ending is nice. Oh and Santa has a Jewish friend named Miriam, that’s some important new lore.
Otherwise, it’s just there so the former was better as a whole. Both were fine though, not a bad watch all things considered. Also, at one point one of them says “Did I do that?” in an Urkel voice. Well okay then.
Mandora Saves Christmas [Thundercats Roar]
Writer: Jon Ford
Airdate: December 5
Hey, remember when this caused a bunch of dumb controversy, took forever to air, and then it when it did it dropped from our memories after a week? That was weird, anyway here’s the last episode.
“I will try to stay happy even though these are such hollow days”
Mandora chases Santa Claus as the Thundercats try to help him sneak off Third Earth without being discovered.
This was decent. I hadn’t seen any of the show but knew the vibe of it from clips and honestly I at least enjoyed this one episode. I like the idea of Santa being seen as a lawbreaker and the heroes having to basically harbor a fugitive. There’s some fun stuff they get from that. There’s also a musical number about breaking the law that honestly I wish was longer, it was kinda fun.
It’s not super funny but it has some moments like Lion-O saying Goodwill and Cheer are his favorite intangible concepts. Although I feel like this whole thing was only made just for the bit of Santa saying “Thundercats Ho Ho Ho!”.
The ending is nice and the way they work the title in is amusing. However the final note is very abrupt, made worse by how this is indeed the last episode. Yeah, this flopped that hard. That’s honestly sad as if this is anything to go, the show is at least competent and not bad for a timewaster. It’s not great or anything but man, this is what people were up in arms about?
Anyway, not one to rush out to watch but for what it is, I had fun. But I must ask: Third Earth doesn’t know of Christmas but someone tells Lion-o Happy Holidays, so what do they celebrate there instead?
Christmas Spirit [Apple & Onion]
Season 2, Episode 10
Writer: Eric Acosta
Airdate: December 5
Okay, I wanna talk about the weird handling of this show first. In March of 2018, they went through 10 episodes and basically stopped. It seemed like it was a weird short series idea or it got canned that quickly. Then in November of 2019, well over a year later, Season 1 started back on and went on to make a total of 39 episodes which wrapped in April of this year.
Season 2 started soon after and that was announced in April 2019 so are those later season 1 episodes truly part of Season 1? They can’t be part of the same production cycle, right? I don’t know, I actually liked what I saw of it but it’s so weird how it was handled….Anyway, here’s a Christmas episode.
Apple & Onion takes jobs as mall Santa to raise money, only to find themselves competing with a mall cop.
This episode was decent. It was just pretty fun as this rivalry with the cop heats up. They all want the job to get money so the deal is that whoever gets the most kids to visit them gets paid. There’s some fun stuff as both sides go a bit far to win.
My favorite two gags involve the duo reading text on screen and lampshading the very thing I was thinking when they did that.
The thing with the cop is interesting, he’s introduced as being kind of sympathetic as he has to work on Christmas when he wants to see his kids. Then he randomly turns into a super asshole and then the sympathy comes back in the end. It leads to a nice ending that I liked but the transition could have been cleaner.
I like how this has the same ending as the Thundercats one.
Overall, a fun episode that could be tighter but as whole, it’s a nice watch and it’s not a bad option.
Bramley Holiday [It’s Pony]
Season 1, Episode 24
Writer: Richard Purcell
Airdate: December 5
The Bramley’ need to find a way to celebrate their traditions and be together for the holidays,
This episode was decent. The previous episode I reviewed was fine but the tone was a bit at odds, and thankfully that is less of a problem here. The kind of plot lends itself to that mix of simple and wacky, so it all flows better. There is one rather cartoon-y gag where they get lost but it was the biggest laugh for me so I didn’t mind it.
The plot is solid as they want to see Nana but things keep getting in the way. It escalates well and it leads to some fun stuff. Although dad’s jerky-ness is pushed here, especially with one reveal. He mostly works and they make up for it, but it can be a bit much for some.
Speaking of, Pony can be slightly annoying at times. Not too much but just a bit. If those wore tweaked a bit, this could have been better but everything else still works well. The ending is nice with a decent twist, although it is fairly abrupt.
Still, even with a few bumps, it was fairly solid and used the time well. Could be better, but still enjoyable.
A Very Casagrandes Christmas [The Casagrandes]
Season 2, Episode 4
Writers: Micheal Molina and Rebeca B Delgado
Airdate: December 5
Ronnie-Ann is excited for the perfect Christmas, but her plans are put on hold when she gets visits from the neighbors.
This episode was good, although I don’t have much to say about it. It’s another one with a good escalation, as things just get worse with all the people showing up, as well as other problems. There’s nothing super funny I suppose but it is quite fun with how things escalate.
You see how they get annoyed as more and more neighbors need a place to stay but of course they aren’t being intentionally disruptive so you see it’s seen as bad when they eventually get fed up with them. But man, are they just the only well off family in town or something?
It leads to a predictable but very nice ending, and a decent cameo at the tail end. It’s just a very solid and feel good episode. I wouldn’t say it does anything amazingly but it does do everything pretty well, making it a well rounded experience. Certainly one worth watching for sure.
Season’s Cheatings/A Flipmas Carol [The Loud House]
Season 5, Episode 6
Writers: Danny Warren/Byron Dockins (I first read it as Dickens, fitting lol)
Airdate: December 5
Lincoln tries to game the family gift swap/Flip goes through A Christmas Carol
These episodes were decent. The former was pretty typical for this show, which does drag it down a bit. Lincoln makes a mistake and after things escalate, he has to make up for it. Standard but it’s at least done well as Lincoln tries to get picked by a certain sister and there’s some good jokes to go with it.
I mainly like the ending which was incredibly sweet so that made it worth it. I also like how they continue to acknowledge time passing. Lori is actually now in college and Lilly is seen as big enough to pick out a gift for people, so that’s cool.
As for the latter, it’s a fun take on the story. It’s hard to do in 11 minute but this has an excuse as I wouldn’t full blown 22 minutes out of this character. It can’t hit super emotional highs but it works. Flip just fits this role so well and I like his motivation for being the way he is, it’s a solid take. The rest is more standard but it’s fun.
So yeah, both episodes were typical in their own but the latter is more my thing so I liked it a bit more although the latter is more unique, and has a nicer ending. Both were about the same. If you’ve already seen 11 Louds a Leaping, check it out for some extra loud stuff. If you haven’t, I would skip this and go for if you only have time for one.
Still, they’re both fine. Also, I fell off this show a bit ago but I can tell Lincoln’s voice changed again…and I can really tell with Clyde, dang,
The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year [Just Roll With It]
Season 2, Episode 12
Writers: Trevor Moore and Adam Small
Airdate: December 11
Owen investigates the case of missing props that vanish before a Christmas charity telethon.
This episode was decent. Last year’s episode was more interesting plot wise but honestly I enjoyed this one more. It got more laughs out of me than I expected. My favorite joke featured this conspiracy theorist guy, although he’s frankly more toned down than people like him in real life. Where was his rant about 5G causing Corona? There’s also the reveal of who did all this which was also good.
There’s even a 2nd reveal that worked too. The gimmick worked better with the plot even if they use it a bit less and I’m fairly sure it’s rigged. The downside is that it takes a while to get to the mystery and even then it takes a bit to get back to it. However, they make up for it once they all on on the murder mystery stuff. It got some laughs, although they overuse the dramatic sting.
I also liked the element of Mom overworking the crew, mostly for the payoff. The Christmas element is a tad weak but the first one is there for that. Overall, I enjoyed this more than I expected. There’s some pacing problems and dumb moments but it did manage to have some good jokes that caught me off guard.
This show is weird with the gimmick but can get some decent laughs, more so than I expected. So all things considered, it has grown on me a bit. Not one to recommend super highly Christmas episodes but not bad.
1134 [All That]
Season 11, Episode 36
Airdate: December 17
Oh joy, this show again. It’s still a sketch show no summary. I thought this was fine, better than the one from last year. That is mostly because most of it actually does tie into Christmas! So at least it has the feel down this time.
There isn’t as much of the annoying stuff this time and there were a few laughs. It still had that hit or miss feel though. The first skit was someone getting hit a lot while another kid teaches Spanish. The latter kid had amusing delivery but the getting hit stuff was lame. It also went on for way too long which I feel some of the others do as well.
That’s because there really aren’t that many. At least there’s only one 1 Bed Bath and Beyonce this time. There’s one with this guy teaching a store how to do Christmas. He mostly yells a late but there were a few decent bits and it didn’t drag too much. My favorite one was this fake movie trailer about a family losing the remote, because it is very true to life. They hardly even exaggerated a thing there.
Then there’s the musical guest, Penatonix Didn’t even know they were still relevant. So yeah, there’s some dumb stuff but some amusing bits as well. As a whole, not quite enough to recommend it fully but if you do watch it, it’s not too bad. They improved and I gotta give credit. Not too great but fairly watchable for the most part.
Mad About Yuletide [Raven’s Home]
Season 4, Episode 8
Writers: Marcelo Chow, Brett Maier & Caitlin Davis
Airdate: December 18
The Baxter/Grayson family are trying to make the best of the holiday when a storm hits and disrupts their plans to celebrate together at a cabin on the lake. Snowed in at three different places—Raven and Chelsea are lost in a snow tunnel, dads Devon and Garrett are stuck at the cabin and the kids are home alone—they all must lean on each other to help keep their inner “Christmas Cray” alive.
This episode is decent. The thing about is that, for some reason, it’s a double length special. I had no idea until I started watching it, it wasn’t even advertising as one. That does drag it down as it does overlong. I’d more strongly like if it were more compact but as it is, it drags. Not to a horrible extent to be fair, but it’s still a problem.
The other thing is that, part of the plot is that Booker had been trying to cheer them up all year and now it has taken his toll on him. He says the year is a wash and in case that wasn’t clear enough, eventually there are references to masks and “the quarantine”. …Yeah, they made this rather fast and recently I see.
Not sure why I’m shocked given shows like this are easy and cheap to make but still, figured it would be ages before a Disney sitcom does this kind of commentary. And it honestly works, with a whole theme of staying optimistic during dark times. Frankly that makes this one quite relevant, since Booker is basically a doomer at times.’
Everything works fine enough. The jokes are alright, and there is decent emotion with a situation that seems hopeless. Everything is honestly even and just solid, just goes on too long for my liking. It’s weirdly solid enough for me to not have a lot to say. It did what it set out what to do and had obvious current day references without going overboard.
I suppose there are other things I can pick at, but everything works out fine and it is really is the extra length that drags it down. The parts that go on too long aren’t bad per say, just drag-y. The ending is perhaps a bit cheap, things work a bit too easily. Otherwise, it ends on a nice note with a good message I can agree with.
So yeah, too late but otherwise, it’s fine.
Before wen move on to whatever our last one is, I just wanna say I’m glad I’m done with the Dan Schneider universe. Henry Danger indeed ended earlier this year, so that means I have no reason to have to deal with anything he has made ever again in any wa-
Down Goes Santa [Danger Force]
Season 1, Episode 12/13
Writers: Nathan Knetchel/Sam Becker
Airdate: December 12/19
You’ve gotta be kidding me. Yeah, for those who don’t know, this is a spinoff of Henry Danger, featuring Captain Man and Schwoz starting some well…force with new kids. I know Henry Danger was quite the cash cow for Nick, with that crappy cartoon and all. But since Dan left, you’d think they would want to distance themselves from his work. But nope. Plus, Henry has already popped up a few times, which means Nicks till won’t let him out of that basement they keep him in!
Anyway, to make matters worse, this is a two parter. Yes, really. And both parts aired a week a part for some reason. Anyway, let’s go.
When Santa’s sleigh goes down, an ancient spell is broken and the fate of Christmas hangs in the balance. See, Santa loses his memory and his brother Krampus escapes and wreaks havoc.
This episode was mostly fine. It really did not need two parts though, as it leads to a lot of dilly-dallying in the end. Certain parts drag and yet some aspects still feel underused. Santa weirdly isn’t in it a ton, as him losing his memory isn’t focused on a lot and is resolved very easily.
It has some of the usual dumb jokes and Ray is still the worst. They attempt a nice moment near the end but the execution is botched so it feels very tacked on and forced. Also, one of the members if the reason this all happens so I guess he sucks too.
As for the rest, there are some good jokes, like how they do that thing where someone says something, there’s a cut to later where they follow up and they ask him why it took so long to reply. There’s a few self aware jokes like that I enjoyed. Shwoz has some good bits and I kinda love the concept of Krampus basically being a dude bro.
Also, he says “the ladies love him, men also love him”. Krampus is a bisexual icon confirmed?
The backstory is somewhat interesting, although it feels like Captain Man knowing Santa should have been brought up before in the original show. The plot itself is fine enough but it does drag and becomes weaker for it.
It’s a fine enough watch, just needed to be cleaned up so it could more compact and satisfying. If that were done, I’d call it decent and saw it’s not a bad option. And while it’s actually mostly fine, it has those drag-y moments and as a whole does feel like it could have been better.
There’s a fair amount to like here but overall, it’s too long to be more than simple fine. Still, better than Christmas Danger, which I know isn’t saying much. Also, BTS is name dropped, o/10. However, at one point they show the Naughty list and Piper’s name is on it, so that’s good.
Side notes about the show in general: The did a quarantine episode because of course, and in one, apparently there’s a bit where we see a same sex couple. Hurray for progress?
Anyway, not the worst note to end on, not the best either.
And that concludes this years Christmas episodes. Overall, I felt they were a solid batch for the most part. None got below at least fine, which is good. My least favorites were Danger Force and All That but even though were generally alright compared to what I expected. They still had weak elements, they just enough to like for me to find them okay enough. My favorite was DuckTales, with Casagrandes right behind it. Those were just really solid. Maybe not fantastic of anything but very solid.
There have been years where the best is better but this was one of the more even and varied ones. Not as many Disney Jr ones, and we had stuff from Nick. There could have been more, Disney Sitcoms need to pick up the slack and I wish Ollie’s Pack had one to match the Halloween episode. Still, not too bad for what we get. They generally did well this year.
It’s nice to know in a very odd year the holiday programing was at least not too bad. There was a period where I wasn’t sure about doing these but for some reason I didn’t feel that fatigue this time, mostly because we had better variety. Granted, my favorite was still from a show I had been established as watching already but whatever.
Speaking of holiday reviews, next July or so I plan to do a post covering the one I missed in the past. Most of them were missed because I couldn’t find them but whatever, still have a fair few plus some I didn’t know of until I did research. How did I miss that Stanley had a Christmas episode?
Anyway, these are fun to do and this was a good one. Join me on the 23rd for the official Christmas review.
Until then, see ya.