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.