Holiday knee-jerk review: "The Year Without a Santa Claus"

1. You know this one. It's the stop-motion 1970s Christmas special with the Heat Miser and Snow Miser.
2. They're the best part of the show, although their whole subplot is effectively moot: our heroes visit the Snow Miser and Heat Miser to try and make it snow in South Town, which will in turn free reindeer Vixen from the dogcatcher. (When we write it all out like this, it really seems ridiculous but it sorta works in the show.) But by the time they make their case to the Miser Brothers, Vixen's already free so the whole thing was pointless. Makes you wish they'd just done one more rewrite on the script.
3. Interesting how active Mrs. Claus is here in trying to save the day and go behind Santa's back.
4. Also interesting that Santa's doctor is such a crabby anti-Christmas jerk. Can't they fire that guy? How'd he get this job?
5. The melancholic "Blue Christmas" song at the end, paired with kids' crayon drawings, is cheesy stuff. But good cheese.
6. But the real showstopper is of course, the Miser Brothers' songs.
7. "I'm Mister White Christmas, I'm Mister Snow. I'm Mister Icicle, I'm Mister Ten Below. Friends call me Snow Miser, whatever I touch turns to snow in my clutch... I'm too much!"
8. "I'm Mister Green Christmas, I'm Mister Sun. I'm Mister Heat Blister, I'm Mister Hundred and One. They call me Heat Miser, whatever I touch starts to melt in my clutch... I'm too much!"
9. As sleek and beautiful as Pixar-style computer animation may be nowadays, there's still something cozy and tactile about these sorts of old-school stop-motion specials, with their moth-eaten wire-frame dolls and schmaltzy songs.
10. Or maybe it's just another example of lame Generation X nostalgia.

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