‘Twas The Easter Before Christmas (or: When The Teen Titans Battled Santa Claus)

So, I was recently watching Netflix and catching up on the best super hero show on television today (no, not one of the CW’s colourful quartet of DC shows…and not one of Netflix’s growing stable of gritty Marvel adventures, either). What I’m talking about is Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! – the irreverent animated take on the mighty teen heroes of the DC Universe.

Anyhoo, I just stumbled across a TTGO! holiday themed show (Season 3, Episode 17) that I instantly had to add to my Classic Christmas TV Episodes short list – even though it’s actually an Easter episode. It’s titled “The TTGO! Easter Holiday Classic”, but I think a more fitting title would be “A Battle With St. Nicholas”.

And in that vein, allow me to use that classic poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas”, as inspiration for the following episode recap. After all, ‘tis the season!

 

‘Twas the Easter before Christmas and out on Titan’s Island
Our young heroes were excited – even Raven was smilin’!

capture0000

Robin had their next mission and was ready to unmask it:
“Titans – search for eggs to fill your Easter basket!”

capture0

The Titans ran off, but soon noticed something funny…
Not an egg was to be found – nothing was there from E. Bunny!

capture001d

Something must have happened to the Holiday Hare!
There is no way he would leave Easter baskets so bare.

capture011

The Titans questioned some other holiday icons
From second-rate days, they were nearly bygones.

capture02

With Cupid, the boys got nowhere fast
Since he shot them all with his arrow love-blast.

capture02b

So infatuated now with one another
They forgot all about Leprechaun – paid him no bother!

capture03

The girls tried cop roles – Starfire, the “bad” one
And Raven watched on as she harassed George Washington.

capture04

Tom Turkey fared worse and barely squeaked out a gobble
Before Starfire bashed his head and made his brain wobble.

capture05

Learning nothing helpful, the Titans took pause –
“Our last hope is King Holiday – we must see Santa Claus!

So off to the North Pole and Santa’s sprawling HQ,
Teeming with elves, all with something to do.

capture06

They sat with Santa, he of white beard and round bod
Who noted that E. Bunny had been acting quite odd.

capture07a

“But if he’s gone missing, then there’s only one thing to say:
I’ll take his place – and save Easter Day!”

capture08

The Titans all cheered as he hopped in his sleigh
And quickly restored Easter – but in a more “Christmas Way”

capture11

That’s when Robin suddenly realized it was no time for cheer.
This was his plan all along – Santa wants to rule the whole year!

capture13b

So they raced back up north to sneak into Santa’s Lair
Shocked, but not surprised at what they saw there.

capture14

All the holiday mascots, locked in cells, just a-chillin’!
While Santa watched over them like an evil Bond villain!

capture15b

“Yes, I kidnapped Easter Bunny and all of the rest!
Every holiday should be MINE, because I am the BEST!”

capture16b

Then Santa armoured-up, his battle suit ready to fight.
The Titans knew they were outgunned and could use some extra might.

capture17b

So with a snap of her fingers, Raven summoned to their aid
The stalwart members of the Holiday Brigade!

capture19

A President’s Day punch, then a brutal swift kick
Followed by a bop on the noggin from Leprechaun’s stick

capture22b

Then Robin’s grapple wrapped him ’round and around
And brought Santa crashing right down to the ground.

capture24

The day saved (again), all was now bright and sunny
And the Titans couldn’t wait to free cute, fluffy E. Bunny.

But as they unlocked his cell, what they saw was a fright
A human/bunny hybrid laying eggs? Man, that stuff just ain’t right!

capture27b

…and a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

capture26

Heroes For The Holidays

As we count down the final hours to Christmas, I thought I would just pop up a little post showcasing some Season’s Greetings of the super hero kind. From comic book covers to in-house greeting cards to one-off works of art, the heroes of DC and Marvel can always be counted on to turn it out for holidays!

Holiday Comics

xmas-superheroesDC’s semi-regular tradition of collecting holiday themed stories spanned over many years – and many formats. Christmas With The Super Heroes started out as an oversize tabloid, then went to  paperback digest before finally settling in to the regular comic book format.

3578_4_2

Marvel also knocked out a few of their own Holiday Specials over the years, and these two pin-ups from one of its earliest ones are favourites of mine.

Christmas Cards and Holiday Art

DC and Marvel’s Christmas card game is always on point – whimsical and usually with a welcome touch of humor (I especially love Batman getting beaned with a snowball).

dcuxmasbats

Marvel-Christmas-green-Hulk-redDC_Comics_2011_Holiday_Card

And artist Chris Giarrusso’s spot-on homage to A Charlie Brown Christmas for one of Marvel’s holiday cards is a pure delight.

MarvelHolidayCard

And to conclude this brief little heroic holiday excursion, I thought I would cap it off with this amusing mock-up of a 1950s-era Action Comics, courtesy of Comics Alliance (“No-El” – heh, heh – gets me every time).

gctnhholiday01

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Have Yourself An Unconventional Little Christmas

So here it is, Christmas Eve. And while most people are making last minute preparations for tomorrow and just bursting to the brim with Christmas spirit, there are others who have just had it with the season of joy and happiness.

Are you all Christmas-cheered out? Do you want to deck your neighbour instead of decking the halls? Or maybe you’re just sick of hearing the same old cloying Christmas songs wherever you go? Well, if that’s the case, then just settle right in and listen to the sounds of some kindred spirits – namely Blink-182, Save Ferris and Cyndi Lauper – for some unconventional Christmas cheer and some ho-ho-humour.

 

For The Person Who Hates Christmas

Blink-182  “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas”

This song by the pop-punk band details a hilarious worst-case scenario of what happens when someone finally snaps at hearing yet another group of Christmas carollers approaching his house. It also includes a lyric that for many, sums up their true feelings of Christmas:

It’s Christmas time again
It’s time to be nice to the people you can’t stand all year
I’m growing tired of all this Christmas cheer
You people scare me

 

 

For The Person Who Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas

Save Ferris – “Christmas Wrapping”

The ska-punk act from California gave a unique spin to their cover of The Waitresses modern Christmas classic, turning it into an chuckle-filled account of what it’s like to be Jewish and be assaulted with Christmas craziness for two months out of the year. While some pop culture references clearly show its age (Beanie Babies, Kabbalah Madonna), the hilarious insights from a Christmas outsider are pure gold:

Ho Ho Ho woke up this morning with a scary feeling
Realized it was November first
Christmas – oh my god, its nearing

 

 

For The Person Who Is Sick Of The Same Old Stuff

Cyndi Lauper – “Christmas Conga”

So, maybe you’re just burnt out on hearing the same old Christmas songs each year and doing the same old Christmas traditions with your friends and family. Well, if that’s the case, then Cyndi Lauper is here for you, serving up a unique Christmas song AND a new tradition, all in one – it’s Christmas Conga time! Now I don’t know if this is an actual tradition anywhere or if it’s just something that Ms. Lauper made up herself because she thought it would be a kitschy and fun addition to her 1998 Christmas album, but I dare say that it sure sounds like there’s some good times to be had doing a conga line ‘round the old Christmas tree:

Come on and hold my hips a little longer
As we do the Christmas Conga,
Bonga, bonga, bonga, bonga
Do the Christmas Conga

 

Bonga, bonga, bonga, indeed.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Movies: The Not-So-Happy Holidays Edition

As Christmas draws closer and closer, there is no shortage of holiday-themed films available for viewing on television, cable, Netflix or what have you. The problem however, is that for those people looking for a fresh cinematic Christmas fix, they are pretty much forced to choose between an umpteenth re-telling of A Christmas Carol or It’s A Wonderful Life or a cookie-cutter tale of someone who is: unhappy/unlucky/uncaring whose life gets changed for the better through the Christmas miracle of: falling in love/adopting a puppy/falling in love with an adopted puppy.

So, for those people who want to ditch the same old boring family fare, here’s a short list of some edgier Christmas flicks you can view to spark up your seasonal viewing (as well as make you thankful that you’re not having a Christmas like any of the ones depicted).

Black Christmas (1974)

blackchristmasForget schlock like Silent Night, Deadly Night – if you’re looking to add a little creepiness to your Christmas, seek out the 1974 chiller Black Christmas. The premise is simple – college girls staying in their sorority house over the holidays are taunted and stalked by an unseen killer – but director Bob Clark (who would later revisit the holidays with more seasonal fare via A Christmas Story) serves up such tension and unsettling imagery that it will stay with you well into the New Year. (Please note however, that if you happen to come across the 2006 remake, what you’ll get is a more by-the-numbers slasher flick that spends far too much time giving an unnecessary back story to the killer and then chooses body count over any real plot or character development for the rest of its running time)

 

The Ref (1994)

In this wickedly funny film, a thief (Denis Leary) takes a married couple hostage in their own home when he bungles a burglary on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for him, they’re the most dysfunctional family in the neighbourhood and he has to pretend to be their marriage counsellor when their relatives show up for the holidays. Fortunately for the viewers, the bickering family is played deliciously by Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, Christine Baranski and Glynis Johns.

Turbulence (1997)

Ray Liotta stars as a serial killer being transported on a Christmas Eve flight who tries to hijack the plane when it gets disabled after heading into a massive storm. Turbulence is implausible, over-the-top and thoroughly enjoyable. Liotta chews the scenery with gusto while Lauren Holly does her best to channel Airport 1975’s Karen Black as the flight attendant who is tasked with saving the day (not to mention landing the plane). From the gratuitous Christmas decorations in the flight cabin (seriously, that has to be some kind of safety violation, right?) to the non-existent passengers (I know Christmas Eve/Day flights are usually the least-busiest flights of the holiday season, but there are only eight passengers booked on this film’s 747. EIGHT), this is one flick you need to turn off your brain to enjoy, which I highly suggest you do. If you like disaster films, cool set pieces and big slices of cheese, then be sure to add this one to your Christmas wish list.