Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

The 20 Specials of Christmas: Garfield

Splitsider just featured an article about the history of Garfield's mediocrity. And generally, I agree. Garfield The Comic Strip has a long history of sucking. The joke-based strips are lame and the storylines are all boring. A character gets lost or goes on a date. Will they be okay? Yes, but it's Monday! Jesus.

However, I'll go out on a limb and say the Garfield animated series was alright. Maybe it wasn't great. But it was a fun, entertaining kids show based a comic strip solely designed to be hung in your saddest co-worker's cubicle.

Which brings me to the Garfield Christmas Special, a surprisingly funny and touching bit of nostalgia that has no reason to exist in a franchise that doesn't deserve it.

Let's see how fast Corporate America can send a take-down notice to Christmas:

The special is effective at replicating the feel of going home for Christmas. Jon may be a doofus jerk-off, but he's even more of a doofus jerk-off when facing the family he left behind. And seeing the Christmas spirit affect Garfield makes for a surprisingly tender moment in what is usually such a bland and cynically cynical series.

Perhaps the best part of the Garfield Christmas Special is that it's short. There's no meandering or useless parts – it just moves along and hits the proper points while delivering simple laughs.

This special — essentially the best episode of the animated series — fulfills all the promise of the comic strip without falling into any of its lame traps. While it may be said that a Christmas special is just another part of Jim Davis' line of merchandised shit — which it is — that doesn't keep this from being a really fun, smooth special.

Mike Drucker is a lovely man with many positive characteristics. He has written for Saturday Night Live, The Onion, McSweeney's, and Nintendo. He's also a stand-up or something, I guess.

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  • http://twitter.com/joshung Joshua Ungerleider

    I think the Christmas special was its own thing, and the tv show came later on, though I'm not positive. It's been years since I've seen this, but I remember it being the Christmas special I looked forward to most (I was 5, and therefore, I loved Garfield).

  • kevinmeagher

    What is there NOT to like about Garfield. He celebrated laziness like it was a holiday. He was a smart ass. He gluttonous toward Italian food. He also had entertaining farm animals right smack dab in the middle of an episode. Props to Garfield for keepin a good cartoon alive.

    His movies on the other hand make me want to choke a baby to death.