Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Addams Family: "Christmas With The Addams Family"

Premiered December 24, 1965.

It's Christmas time and the Addams family is preparing for the holiday season.  The Addams' daughter Wednesday (Lisa Loring) hopes Santa Claus will bring her a Marie Antionette doll to use on her guillotine, while her brother Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax) wants a bow and arrow so he can shoot apples off the head of his Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan).  However, their Christmas spirit is diminished when their neighbor tells them there is no Santa.

Pugsley and Wednesday's parents Gomez (John Astin) and Morticia (Carolyn Jones) reassure them that Santa is real and they decide to take action.  They ask Fester to put on a Santa suit and climb down the chimney on Christmas Eve and deliver gifts. Unfortunately, Fester gets stuck and doesn't show up, so the family is forced to improvise.  

Gomez puts on a Santa suit and and visits Pugsley and Wednesday.  He brings them the doll and bow and arrow presents they asked for.

Grandmama Addams (Blossom Rock) also shows up dressed as Santa.  She gives them the same gifts Gomez brought.   

She's followed by the Addams' butler Lurch (Ted Cassidy)...

...Cousin It (Felix Silla)...

...and Morticia!

Each "Santa" gives the kids a doll and bow and arrow.  Which means they end up with five of each!

Will the Addams Family's attempts to play Kris Kringle convince Pugsley and Wednesday that Santa is real?

J.A. Morris says:
The belief in Santa Claus (or lack thereof) is an common trope of Christmas programming.  The topic is dealt with very nicely in "Christmas With The Addams Family."  

This is a very sweet episode that features the "creepy" and "spooky" Addams Family going the extra mile to make sure their children believe in Santa Claus.  It's a reminder that Morticia and Gomez had one of the best and healthiest marriages in the history of sitcoms and "Christmas With The Addams Family" shows they were also very good parents.  It's also nice to see their extended family of Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Lurch and Cousin It helping out too.

The plot of this episode isn't very complicated.  It's basically just a series of scenes that feature the cast in Santa suits and they eventually bump into each other!

The episode closes with the cast breaking the forth wall and singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" to the viewers, which makes me smile every time I watch it.  

"Christmas With The Addams Family" is a touching episode that serves as a reminder that families often go to great lengths to make Christmas a magical experience for children.

J.A. Morris' rating:

4 candy canes!

Monday, January 3, 2022

Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne

 Premiered December 10, 2021.

"Christmas was a letdown.  But New Year's is going to be perfect!"
-Lucy Van Pelt

Christmas is approaching and the holiday season is in full-swing in the Van Pelt household.  Lucy (Isabella Leo) and her brother Linus (Wyatt White) are excited because their grandmother is going to spend Christmas with them.  Linus is a bit nervous, since Grandma always tries to make him get rid of his security blanket.

Even though the year is almost over, Charlie Brown (Etienne Kellici) hasn't fulfilled most of his New Year's Resolutions.  When he visits Lucy's psychiatrist booth, she tells him his resolutions are too ambitious.  Lucy recommends that he should just try to complete "one realistic resolution" and then he'll be "covered for the year."  

Snoopy (Terry McGurrin) is happy to see his five siblings, who have come to visit for the holidays.  They spend time reminiscing over an old photo album and playing music.  His brother Spike (Rob Tinkler) has brought his camera along so that he can take a group photo of him and his siblings.  He has only one photo of the whole family, which was taken when they were puppies.  However, accidents keep preventing the photo from happening and Spike begins to feel unappreciated.  

When Christmas Eve arrives, Lucy is heartbroken when Grandma calls and says she won't be coming for Christmas.  Lucy believes that her grandmother didn't come because she didn't want to see her.  Lucy wonders if Grandma doesn't love her and worries that she isn't "lovable."  

The next morning, Lucy decides that in order to prove she's lovable, she will organize a huge New Year's Eve party.  The event will be called "Lucy's Gala: A New Year's Eve Celebration of Elegant Perfection!"

Lucy "volunteers" Linus into helping her plan the party.  She says "everyone" will attend the party, because she IS lovable.  Snoopy and his siblings are booked to be the house band.  She even rents an old ballroom for the party and writes new lyrics for "Auld Lang Syne" that celebrate her!

Since Charlie Brown is still working on his resolutions, Lucy assigns him to be in charge of decorating the ballroom.  She asks Peppermint Patty and Marcie to build an ice sculpture of her face!  Everyone is excited about attending the New Year's gala, but Lucy's desire to throw a "perfect" party gets in the way of having a good time and her demands start to get on everybody's nerves.

Will the party be a smashing success?  Will it prove that Lucy is lovable?  Can Charlie Brown complete his resolutions?  Will Spike be able to take a new family photo?  

J.A. Morris says:

I'll cut to the chase and say that Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne is a very good special.  For starters, we don't have many movies, specials or episodes that are built around New Year's Eve, so it's nice to add another to that short list.  This special begins in mid-December and shows Lucy decorating for Christmas, so I think it can also be considered a Christmas special.  

What jumped out at me was that the creative team behind For Auld Lang Syne really "gets" the Peanuts characters.  They're all very similar to the kids we've seen in dozens of specials over the past five decades.  The voice actors are also all good fits for their characters.  Isabella Leo, who portrays Lucy, does a great job as the special's lead.  Longtime fans of Peanuts specials will be glad to know this special includes a scene where Charlie Brown visits Lucy's psychiatry booth and we also get to see Lucy leaning on Schroeder's piano.

Jeff Morrow's music won't make you forget Vince Guaraldi's immortal tunes, but it's fun and appropriate for a Charlie Brown special.  

Lucy is the focus here and it's nice to see her doing something other than calling Charlie Brown a "blockhead."  For Auld Lang Syne shows that she's a complicated character who gets upset when she believes she's not lovable.  

Since this is a new special, I don't want to go into too much more detail about its plot, but I'll add that it features a nice mix of sentiment and humor.  

Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne is a lot of fun and is highly recommended.  Is it as good as A Charlie Brown Christmas?  No, but few things are.  This special is a worthy addition to the holiday specials canon and I expect to watch in during future holiday seasons.

J.A. Morris' rating:

4 candy canes!

RigbyMel says:

Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne is a sweet addition to the Peanuts holiday special family.   

The story which features the normally confident Lucy feeling vulnerable because of her grandmother's decision not to visit for the holidays, which provides an interesting twist and gives depth to our dear fussbudget.  Lucy is still Lucy, but it's endearing to see a slightly different side of her.  

In re. Lucy being Lucy, I really like that she was able to rent a party venue for her New Year's Eve gala by using nickels collected from Charlie Brown via her psychiatry booth.  Her attempt to force Linus to wear an Elton John inspired stage getup is also pretty amusing (although perhaps not as amusing for Linus). 

The subplot involving Spike wanting to take a family photo with Snoopy and the other siblings was also quite cute and touching.   It's nice to see the Snoopy siblings again and I feel that lots of people can relate to Spike's frustration about taking a good group photo.   

As J.A. Morris says above, I feel the writers of this special really do have a good handle on what makes a Peanuts holiday special tick.  They have a good feel for all of the characters and their interactions.  There are sweet moments that are interspersed with melancholy and also some very funny bits and it is a winning combination that I suspect would make Charles Schulz very happy.  

For Auld Lang Syne takes a gentle and touching look at what can happen when our holiday expectations don't match up with reality and a fun way to spend time with these beloved characters. 

RigbyMel's rating: 

4 candy canes!