Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Tick Loves Santa (Shitmas Day #13)

SPOON! Like most people I think I love the idea of the holiday season more than the reality of the season. I think we all have the best intentions wanting to celebrate the magic and joy of this time of year......the reality is most people act like jerks. Out of the nerve racking nonsense of holiday traffic and into our homes we escape to holiday cinema and Christmas specials of our favorite shows to put most of us back in the holiday mood. We have a whole genre ripe with different tales for different moods. As an adult I make it a point to watch Night of the Comet, Christmas Evil, Silent Night Deadly Night, and the first two Die Hard films......but the kid in me still craves the Rankin/Bass specials, Gremlins, and the animated classic The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Somewhere in there I guess that leaves the adolescent in me craving The Tick Loves Santa.

One thing about holiday films and specials that never sat well with me is that some tell kids that there is no such thing as Santa. Sometimes subtle, sometimes they come right out and say it. This Tick episode begins on the later and then shifts gears keeping the magic of Santa alive. It does so in a way that keeps it balanced and entertaining for children and adults. Anyone who is a fan of The Tick knows its basically for adults, but written in a way keeping it kid friendly ( making it safe for the 90's Fox Kids Saturday morning line up ). The comic, cartoon, and live action series are full of sarcasm and wit with double meanings.

In this episode we are introduced to a villain that is the Saturday morning version of a "NAUGHTY" St.Nick. After robbing a bank and stealing a Salvation Army Santa's Suit, a nameless crook is chased by the cops. The Tick joins the chase thinking that the cops are confused, he can't understand why they are chasing Santa. The chase leads the Tick and the Santa impostor to the rooftops where the crooked Kringle takes a fatal leap and into a neon billboard getting himself electrocuted and falling to the ground below. This incident leaves Tick confused and emotionally crushed because he thinks Santa is dead.

On the street below the the crook awakens with a "M" burnt into his Santa suit (that's what letter he landed on when he was zapped by the neon billboard, coincidence). He sits up and begins to multiply (because of the electricity) creating a small gang of Santa clones, thus Multiple Santa is born. Throughout the episode Multiple Santa electrocutes himself building a larger gang to loot the city. His master plan is to get to the Hydro Electric Plant at the city dam to "shock" himself an army of followers.

The plot is fun and full of sarcastic side characters (the security guards are my favorite), the city treats the heroes more as a nuisance than a help. One of my favorite scenes takes place in the diner, after the heroes get beaten in battle with Multiple Santa, they ask Tick why he didn't fight back, his response "Guys I'm sorry......I just couldn't hit that jolly face..." "...odds are it wasn't the real Santa but how could you ever be sure?". Basically Ticks running gag is his refusal to fight Santa, not wanting to believe he turned bad. Then the real Santa shows up and sets him straight. " Tick, I love you like a son. You've kept the faith longer than any sane adult could, but get a grip on yourself." Santa goes onto explain to Tick that " those aren't real Santa's out there making all those kids cry themselves to sleep every night..." "...these Santa's are a sham and they're NAUGHTY!"

I won't ruin the ending for anyone by explaining what the following line means, but just know (referring to the Santa clones) that "they're Achilles heel is the noogie!!!"

The Tick Loves Santa is one of many holiday specials that never got the Christmas classic status that I feel it deserves. If you're in a superhero mood this holiday season, this episode pairs nicely with Batman Returns for a Holiday/Hero double feature. It always puts a smile on my face and reminds me, (in the words of The Tick) that " Santa is real, he's a compulsive gift giver and he's Christmas all over!!!"

- John Tatarelli Jr.
(Thanks John for bringing The Tick to Shitmas, everyone check out John's Art ad Bust over at his SITE, I love his Pumpkinhead bust as seen below!)

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