Nickelodeon celebrates the holidays with its first full-length stop-motion animated special, It's A SpongeBob Christmas!, airing tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. According to a press release, It's A SpongeBob Christmas! was inspired by the classic Rankin/Bass specials (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town) and the popular SpongeBob SquarePants song released in 2009, "Don't Be a Jerk (It's Christmas)," co-written by Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) and Andy Paley. The half-hour special features John Goodman as Santa Claus.
In It's A SpongeBob Christmas!, Plankton turns everybody in Bikini Bottom from nice to naughty by feeding them his special jerktonium-laced fruitcake all in an effort to get his Christmas wish: the Krabby Patty formula. The DVD includes bonus scenes featuring a stop-motion version of the character "Patchy," also played by Tom Kenny. Read my review of It's a SpongeBob Christmas! on DVD. Picture courtesy of Nickelodeon.
7:30 p.m. ET
It's a SpongeBob Christmas on Nickelodeon.
8:30 p.m. ET
SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas Special on Nickelodeon
Tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET, ABC will air The Year Without a Santa Claus, a favorite Christmas cartoon of many adults who grew up in the '70s. Featuring Heat Miser and Snow Miser, The Year Without a Santa Claus is a mixed-up story full of police, forces of nature, a cross-dressing Mrs. Claus and Vixen at the pound. Read more about the cast and history of The Year Without a Santa Claus.
More Classic Christmas Cartoons
Have you noticed that Christmas cartoons from the '60s have a vein of sadness running through their stories? I've noticed that Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation Christmas cartoons especially tell a tragic tale before wrapping up with a happy ending.
For instance, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph is shunned not only by his peers, but also by his own father! He faces life-threatening circumstances as he wanders the artic. The Little Drummer Boy is supposed to be a tale of selflessness, but even as a child I could hardly keep from crying about how poor and lonely that child was. (I can't help but think if that story were animated today he would be pluckier and, regardless of income, still have a cellphone tucked away somewhere.)
Hard times are certainly part of Santa's origin story in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town. As the story is told by narrator S.D. Kluger (Fred Astaire), Santa Claus (Mickey Rooney) is abandoned as a baby. Sure, later he's christened Kris Kringle and marries Jessica (Robie Lester). But he's abandoned as a baby! Not to mention how he must square off against Burgermeister (Paul Frees) and Winter Warlock (Keenan Wynn). Watch Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.
(RANKIN/BASS PRODUCTIONS/ABC FAMILY)
Did you miss yesterday's episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic? The episode was about one of my favorite recurring storylines--Rainbow Dash and her love of the books written by A. K. Yearling--because my favorite author is J.K. Rowling. (I've read each of the Harry Potter books at least three times, some of them even more.)
In MLP:FIM, A. K. Yearling is the author of Rainbow Dash's favorite books that star an adventurous pony named Daring Do. We first met Daring Do in "Read It and Weep," when Rainbow Dash hid her newfound love of books from her friends because she had spent so much time making fun of "eggheads." Daring Do had brief appearances in "A Friend in Deed" and "Too Many Pinkie Pies."
In yesterday's episode, "Daring Don't," Rainbow Dash's favorite character is back. When Rainbow Dash discovers that the new A.K. Yearling book she has been eagerly anticipating is delayed, she recruits her reluctant pony friends to spring into action to ensure the book gets written. However, when the ponies arrive to help the famous author, they soon discover that A.K. Yearling has a secret that sends Rainbow Dash and her pony friends on an unexpected mission. No spoilers here; you have to watch the episode.
Above is an EXCLUSIVE image of our favorite ponies on their special secret mission. "Daring Don't" will re-run today at at 10:30 a.m. ET and tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Picture courtesy of The Hub/Hasbro.
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Frosty's Winter Wonderland is the sequel to the Rankin/Bass animated holiday special Frosty the Snowman that premiered in 1969. In tonight's tale, the children see that Frosty is lonely and fashion a wife for him. But that mean ol' Jack Frost gets jealous and starts causing trouble for Frosty again.
Frosty's Winter Wonderland, which first aired on ABC on December 2, 1976, features Andy Griffith as the narrator, Jackie Vernon as Frosty, Shelley Winters as Crystal the Snowgirl and Paul Frees as Jack Frost.
Fun Fact: The vocalists are named The Wee Winter Singers.
- 6:00 p.m. ET Frosty's Winter Wonderland on ABC Family
- 6:30 p.m. ET Muppets Christmas Carol on ABC Family
- 8:30 p.m. ET Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Jeffrey Tambor is becoming one of the hardest working voice-over actors in Hollywood. He has regular gigs on the late-night cartoons Archer and China, IL. He has guest starred on The Annoying Orange and Bob's Burgers. Now he'll be lending his talents to the children's cartoon Bubble Guppies.
Bubble Guppies, a Nick Jr. cartoon that helps preschoolers with basic math, will air "The Puppy and the Ring," a parody of Lord of the Rings, on Thursday, December 5, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT). This mythical adventure features Tambor (Arrested Development) as the voice of an evil Night Wizard who has stolen the Ring of the Sun. In a press release, Tambor said, "I am going to be a hero in my own household. My twin boys will go ballistic when they hear Daddy. Ah to be 'cool' in one's own living room."
Picture courtesy of Nickelodeon.
Rudolph's Shiny New Year is not one of my favorite holiday specials, because as a child Happy, the Baby New Year, simultaneously annoyed and frightened me. In this sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph has a new problem: Baby New Year has run away from Father Time and Santa has sent Rudolph after him. The future is riding on Rudolph's success, because without a Baby New Year to ring in the next year, December 31st will last forever and thereby eliminate all future Christmases. This Christmas cartoon features an original score by Johnny Marks, including his hit song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Rudolph's Shiny New Year starts at 6:00 p.m. ET tonight on ABC Family, followed by Polar Express.
Disney XD is chilling out with a week-long event called "Winter Wonder What!?" Fans can enjoy this programming event that features holiday-themed episodes of popular series (Lab Rats, Crash & Bernstein, Packages From Planet X, Camp Lakebottom) and holiday movies, including Disney's A Christmas Carol, Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause and one of my favorite specials, Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation.
These two EXLUSIVE images of Packages From Planet X feature two episodes that will air Wednesday, December 4 beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. In "Christmas Evil" (pictured above) Dan delivers seemingly harmless alien toys to every house in Iron Bay on Christmas Eve, but soon discovers that the toys end up hypnotizing everyone. Then in "True North Strong & Freezing" (pictured below) Dan attempts to use an alien Fridge Magnet to freeze Copernicus, but his plan backfires when the magnet threatens to turn Iron Bay into the new North Pole.
Picture courtesy of Disney XD.
Crash landing on Adult Swim is the a new series, Rick and Morty, from creators and executive producers Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. Rick and Morty premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
After missing for nearly 20 years, Rick Sanchez (Justin Roiland) suddenly arrives at his daughter Beth's (Sarah Chalke) doorstep looking to move in with her and her family. Beth welcomes him with open arms, but her unremarkable husband Jerry (Chris Parnell) isn't too thrilled about the tearful reunion as Rick's arrival serves to shake things up quite a bit around the household. Rick converts the garage into his personal laboratory and gets to work on all sorts of dangerous sci-fi gadgets and contraptions. That wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that Rick continues to involve his grandchildren Morty (Justin Roiland) and Summer (Spencer Grammer) in his insane adventures.
Picture courtesy of Adult Swim.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is the most beloved and most remembered animated holiday special. Did you know A Charlie Brown Christmas was originally one long ad for Coca-Cola? Or that Jewish producer Lee Mendelson wrote the lyrics to "Christmas Time Is Here?" Learn more about the classic Christmas cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas. Watch it tonight at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.
© 1965 United Features Syndicate