Monday, December 18, 2017

TV Funhouse: "Christmas Day"

Premiered December 20, 2000.

TV Funhouse host Doug (Doug Dale) is filled with Christmas cheer.  He tells his talking animal friends the AniPals that Santa Claus spreads it around everywhere during the holiday season.

Doug says it gives him a "ring, ding tingly feeling you have up your spine."  This gives the AniPals an idea.  If they can extract the cheer via spinal tap, they can sell it as a drug and also use it to get themselves high.

They go to the home of Chicky the rooster (Dino Stamatopoulos) so they can figure out the best way to "drop" the Christmas cheer.  The AniPals get Chicky's son Devin to convert the cheer to powder using his chemistry set.  They all freebase it and wind up high on cheer!

The AniPals hit the streets of New York City, running amok, accosting passersby with obnoxious overly-enthusiastic caroling and they build a giant snowman.

They end their night at a wild Christmas party hosted by Hank the lobster (Tommy Blacha).  Their friend Larry the sheep overdoses on cheer, which jeopardizes his job, playing Santa at Macy's.

Jeffy the duck (Doug Dale) freaks out when he realizes he's running late for church, where his son is playing one of the three wise men in a Christmas pageant.  He arrives at the church, but his "cheer-high" threatens to ruin the pageant.

At the same time, Doug's friend Xabu the German Shepherd (Robert Smigel) is busy trying to catch his own tail.  He resorts to new Yuletide-based methods to lull his tail into a false sense of security.

Will Jeffy's cheer-high ruin the Christmas pageant?  Can Larry make it through his Santa-shift without freaking out?  Can Zabu figure out a way to catch his tail?
Plus, Doug plays two short films:

Jingles, the Christmas Tension!  The story and song about the elf who sprinkles "tension dust" that causes family arguments and holiday disappointment.

And "Where To Look For Christmas Presents!"

J.A. Morris says:
I should mention before I go any further that TV Funhouse is NOT something you want to watch in front of kids.  It  ran for only eight episodes a and was a parody of local kids shows.   TV Funhouse featured humor that earned it a TV-14 rating.  It was created by writer/actor/puppeteer Robert Smigel, best known for performing Triumph The Insult Comic Dog.  If you enjoy Triumph, chances are you'll enjoy this holiday episode.

I watched this episode when it first aired and I still enjoy it today.  Its humor is certainly crude, but the material is made funnier by the fact that it's spoken by realistic looking animal puppets.

Host Doug Dale does a great job as the only human member of the cast.  Dale manages to play it straight while having his spine tapped by the AniPals.  Dale is also good as the voice of Jeffy, especially when Jeffy freaks out during the Nativity play!

Smigel and the other puppeteers and voice actors make the antics of the AniPals hilarious from start to finish.  Dino Stamatopoulous is particularly funny portraying Chickie the rooster.  Chickie gets some of the best lines of "Christmas Day."

The "Tingles" stop-motion cartoon short is very dark, but (sadly) accurate in its depiction of how many suffer from depression during the holiday season.  "Tingles" is a parody of a 1950s cartoon called "Hardrock, Coco and Joe."  Both toons feature a song with an identical melody, but with different lyrics.

This episode is available on a DVD.  Be forewarned that the curse words are not bleeped on the DVD.

"Christmas Day" is very funny.  It's not part of my annual viewing, but it's recommended for those who need a break from the sometimes-treacly sentiments expressed in holiday programming.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 candy canes.

No comments: