Monday, December 1, 2014

Garfield's Christmas Adventure! (A Shitmas Post from Chad Young of The Horror Movie BBQ!)

I'm here to discuss one of my all time favorite Christmas specials - one that's on level with Charlie Brown yet it goes unnoticed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we're gonna kick off ShitMas...with Garfield's Christmas Adventure!

Garfield's not impressed with John's Christmas plans. Just wait...

We've become so accustomed to Garfield celebrating his holidays in normal comedic fashion - swindling Odie or Nermal out of candy or season dining fare in his lazy nature. But this time's a little different. You see, John wasn't hanging around his normal StinkTown, USA for Christmas. Abandon all thoughts of a normal big town Christmas for Arbuckle folk. We're talking an Arbuckle Family Christmas down on the Farm. Yes. John appears to cockblock any of Garfield's fun for the holiday season by informing him that instead of his yearly tradition of laying in his shoebox, he's heading to miles of cowpies and hillbillies sitting in rocking chairs. No wonder he's so pissed all the time.

The Arbuckle Family. Notice the only one with hair grinning like an arrogant bastard.

 Garfield arrives to very little fanfare. No one wants to see him. They want to see John. Why? I don't know. I have a hard time thinking anyone would want to see John. He always comes off as a Steve Guttenberg-like nuisance. Anyway, John reunites with his loving family, including DocBoy, his brother. You get the sense, much like any brothers, there's some tension. DocBoy seems to be the Andrew Ridgeley of the Arbuckle clan: less successful and less interesting. Judging by his lack of companionship, it's clear DocBoy is single and unloved. Which, listening to him talk and whine, you understand why. Maybe DocBoy's anger is over the fact he's named "DocBoy". I'd hammer punch my parents if they named me that.

 After the initial hurrah of John's dull arrival, we meet the glue that holds the Arbuckle clan together and my personal favorite character: Grandma Arbuckle. She's essentially the cool, motorcycle riding grandmother we all wish we had. Imagine Shelley Winters as Nana Mary on Roseanne minus 100 pounds with glasses and a lot of greys. She's a sweet old biddy and has more personality than the entire family she helped create. She's the greatest fictional grandma ever created.
So, Garfield becomes chummy with Grandma Arbuckle and the family ignores her as she takes a live creature into a kitchen to feed him. So, Ma and Pa Arbuckle start throwing their weight around and start handing out chores. While this goes on, Garfield naps, eats and does whatever else cats do. Odie, a man on a serious mission runs out to the shed to start sticking his nose in boxes and probably stealing old medications Pa forgot to throw out. In doing this, Garfield spots him and probably plans on calling the cops like the NARC he is. So, after stumbling around, spying on Odie, he falls into a bunch of old boxes. Doing so, makes a stack of old letters that fall on Garfield's head. As with any Christmas special, we're not told who's letters these are.
After a hearty Christmas eve dinner, the family tradition of reading Binky, The Clown Who Saves Christmas continues in irritating fashion. Pa Arbuckle recreates Binky's famous "HEYYYYYYYYYYY KIDS!" in a tone that will remind you of Regan in the Exorcist. Jon and DocBoy, with their childlike enthusiasm at an all time high, head to bed. Now, let's face it, even as adults, we still get excited the night before Christmas which I have a hard time being sarcastic about since I get that childlike enthusiasm too. But, overnight, they start getting irritating. Waking their father up at 1 am to ask if they can open presents. Clearly their lack of authority needs to be addressed. But, it's Christmas, so all is forgiven come 6 am. I feel like after being told to go to sleep, they snuck into dad's liquor cabinet, got in a fist fight over who has the better Hess Truck collection, cried and fell asleep on top of each other in front of the tree. Mother Arbuckle, meanwhile, made cookies when she woke up and yelled at her stupid sons.

NOTE: DocBoy hiding his sadness with an airplane.

The moment of truth has arrived. It's now 6 am and instead of keeping their adult responsibilities like chores and breakfast, John and DocBoy opt for presents. While the greed and averious continues, Garfield delivers a special present to Grandma, who sits in her chair and watches peacefully. In a very tender moment, Grandma reveals the letters Garfield found in the barn were from her late husband and it's been so long since she's laid on eyes them. It's very clear that Grandma and Garfield have a very special relationship, which continues into Garfield Thanskgiving Special aired two year later.
The true stars of this holiday.
Now, it's Garfield's turn. The weird barnyard contraption Odie was working on in the shed was revealed to be a back scratcher for his best friend and partner in crime, Garfield. After being touched with such Christmas Spirit, Garfield goes into a speech about giving gifts. Which leads to the Arbuckle's giving us a gift of their own: a song called "Old Fashioned Christmas Down On The Farm". Listen...

Yup...this song closes out an Arbuckle family Christmas. And oh boy what a memorable Christmas special that goes forgotten at times. Which is a shame, it's definitely a Christmas special that I have fond memories of watching on CBS as a young child. It's also a bigger shame it doesn't air every year because it should be. There are so many generations that haven't seen it. Thankfully, dvd releases contain this as well as Garfield's other holiday exploits. Pick it up today, you really can't have a holiday without that lazy bastard.
Major thanks to Thomas Bryce for allowing me to come by and share my love of Garfield(and hatred of John). Merry ShitMas, everyone! Let the fun begin!

The Horror Movie BBQ 


  1. Always loved Garfield's Christmas Adventure. Great post, Chad!

  2. AWESOME POST!!! I Love this special with all my heart. I'm not a huge Peanuts fan to be honest (THERE... I said it!) and I never got why these Garfield specials never had the same sense of longevity as Snoopy and co. They're clever, timeless, and packed with pounds of both cat-fat and emotion!

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