Cartoon Network is back again to rustle up some holiday revenues with a new
season-oriented disc featuring its list of usual animated suspects. Although
it's a good idea to serve up such a thematic collection (as was attempted with
the previous Cartoon Network Halloween—9 Creepy Cartoon Capers),
many such attempts to drizzle out a few offerings from various cartoon series
often leave much to be desired. Nicely enough, this new collection, Cartoon
Network Christmas—Yuletide Follies, does a better job than the
trick-or-treat misfire that preceded it.
Once again enlisting the services of its most recognizable characters (for
better or for worse—you decide), this new disc is a bit fresher than that
decorative dish of carbon-dated ribbon candy that's collecting dust on your
entry hall table, and certainly more appetizing than the network's Halloween
hack-job. Here's a run-down of each episode you'll find on this relatively
pleasing new holiday disc, including a Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating to help
you decide if it's in your interest to stop and nibble:
•Grim and Evil—"Son of Nergal"
Grim and forget Evil: they don't appear in this winter-related excursion.
Rather, imbecilic Billy and his cynical best friend Mandy are off to winter
camp. There's a strange boy who has also arrived, who bears a twinge of jealousy
with respect the other kids. This odd little fellow has a tendency to turn the
objects of his scorn into ice statues. Who is this strange child-thing, and
whose offspring might he be?
Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating:
Somewhat sticky and slightly stale. Not really worth attempting to break a piece
•Ed, Edd, and Eddy—"Fa La La La Ed"
breaching the barrier that prohibits any and all children from entering
Double-D's parent's bedroom, Ed and Eddy discover the treasured family heirloom:
a weighty and decades-old fruitcake. Convinced that Christmas has arrived (even
though it's the middle of July), Ed is overcome with holiday spirit and sets
about to share the joy of the season with the rest of the neighbors. Eddy,
meanwhile, has concocted a plan to wrest piggy-bank riches from the rest of the
cul-de-sac kids. Will Double-D be sucked into Eddy's scheme despite his better
Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating: A fudgy concoction with
a rather runny consistency. Still tasty, though.
•Courage the Cowardly Dog—"The Nutcracker"
While rummaging through the flotsam of La Salle's Junkyard, Muriel, Eustus,
and Courage uncover numerous trashy treasures, including a seemingly useless
nutcracker figure. Unbeknownst to our trio from the town of Nowhere, two very
large rats are closing in with despicable designs on the soon-to-be-tasty human
morsels…and their stupid dog. Can Courage and his newfound nutcracker
rescue his human hosts from the poetic posturing of the junkyard rodents?
(They're plotting to the poetic progressions of the Nutcracker Suite.)
Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating: A tasty sweet peanut-brittle loaded with
nutty goodness. Yummy.
another winter of discontent for Dexter as he's forced to endure yet another
season of snowball pummeling by his aggravating sister, Dee-Dee. Turning to his
Dad for help, Dexter learns of his father's storied past as the ultimate
Snowball Warrior. Eager to relive his glory days, Dad puts Dexter through a
rigorous training regimen of "scoop-roll-throw-hit-duck." But, who,
pray tell, was the one who dethroned mighty Dad all those years ago?
Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating: A well-textured serving of divinity that
•The Powerpuff Girls—"Ice Sore"
oppressive heat wave has descended upon Townsville and Professor Utonium is
ready to boil. Meanwhile, his genetically-engineered superhero daughter,
Blossom, accidentally discovers a new super power: ice breath. The professor
warns Blossom about the improper use of this chill-inducing ability while
sisters Bubbles and Butter-Cup sneer in envy. But when the Mayor
discovers—goodness gracious!—a great ball of fire headed
directly for the sweltering 'burb, it's up to Blossom to save the day.
Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating: A rather lumpy mint conglomeration that
barely qualifies as a holiday offering.
•Johnny Bravo—"A Johnny Bravo Christmas"
The King of Cool is in a real quagmire: while Mama's preoccupied in achieving
that perfect fa-la-la-la-la feng shui, Johnny realizes he never mailed his and
Mama's Christmas lists to Santa. Fearing he may not receive this year's
allotment of "free stuff," Johnny slicks back his hair and shifts into
high gear on Christmas Eve to make sure Santa will deliver the goods. He finds
help along the way, even to the point of unwittingly enlisting the
perpetually-grinning Donny Osmond.
Candy Dish Sweet-O-Meter Rating:
A nice rum-laced egg nog that compliments some of the better treats in this
particular dish of goodies.
•Cow and Chicken—"Me an' My Dog"
introduces the family to her new imaginary dog, Kevin. Naturally, brother
Chicken is jealous. When Kevin runs away, however, Chicken must dredge up a few
ounces of caring to soothe the loss that Cow is suffering.
Sweet-O-Meter Rating: A lump of fruitcake that languishes, untouched, on the
plate. Avoid it.
•I Am Weasel—"I.R.'s First Bike"
the annual reading of "A Christmas Lie," Weasel and his baboon buddy,
I.R., lay their heads down for a hasty winter nap. Upon awakening, it seems
Santa has left I.R. a bicycle. Weasel's challenge, of course, is to teach the
mentally-deficient baboon how to ride the darned thing.
Sweet-O-Meter Rating: An unbalanced mix of ingredients makes this
whatever-it-is offering the stuff of indigestion.
•I Am Weasel—"Dessert Island"
ashore on a deserted island, I.M. Weasel and I.R. Baboon discover their new home
isn't deserted—it's dessert-ed. Loose in this newfound Candyland
brimming with chocolate rivers and candy cane shores, I.R. goes on a snacking
binge that would gag Augustus Gloop. Unbeknownst to the spastic snackers, a
tribe of savage gingerbread men is plotting against them.
Sweet-O-Meter Rating: An unexpectedly tasty tart but one which should be
enjoyed in small bites only.
Each episode presented here is offered in its original 1.33:1 full frame
format. Unlike the unsteady Halloween DVD, each short here looks consistently
terrific, with high levels of detail free of excessive edge enhancement, and
rich, sumptuous colors that look good enough to eat. The extras, however, smack
sour like olives in a jelly bean jar. All you'll find here are useless promos
for other Cartoon Network DVDs.
Warner Home Video has improved its serving of holiday treats in this new
Christmas disc, which is much improved over its trick-or-treat travesty.
Nonetheless, it seems a bit more could be offered in regards to special features
(production footage of a cartoon or a looping session or a how-to-draw the
character feature or something). Still, this release is sure to entertain some
of the occupants of your household—at least long enough to allow you to
get your holiday turkey, roast, or ham prepped and stuffed into the oven.
Season's Greetings to all!