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Let There Be Snow
December 19, 2009 7:08 PM   Subscribe

In 1992, CBS released a Christmas special directed by Bill Meléndez and produced by Lorne Michaels (a more current link), the cast included John Goodman in the title role, Jonathan Winters, Jan Hooks, Andrea Martin, Brian Doyle-Murray, and a young Elisabeth Moss as Holly. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh. How could this go wrong?

Frosty Returns, in an abbreviated version, but really more than you need to see.

Disputably the strangest Christmas special since Fisher crooned Happy Life Day, Frosty Returns is about Frosty’s battle with the evil manufacturer of an aerosol spray that melts snow and ice. The cartoon explores the verge of an environmental apocalypse, and appears to be the first Christmas special that manages to never actually mention Christmas. It’s also notable for its slight problem with continuity, both with the Rankin and Bass version, and with the conceit of the original song (a more current link ), the one requiring Frosty wear a hat. It just aired on CBS last night and 3 million viewers changed the channel or turned off their television.
posted by Toekneesan (39 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw a bit of it last night. I only watched enough to recognise John Goodman's voice and to see the villain spraying aerosol snow-melter all around.

I rolled my eyes and changed the channel.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:15 PM on December 19, 2009


Wow. This looks like one of those things where everyone's doing community service for the police. Not like I can imagine Mark Mothersbaugh doing anything illegal.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:15 PM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


*hits frosty over the head with a 50 lb bag of rock salt*
posted by pyramid termite at 7:16 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aren't nearly all TV holiday specials crap?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:16 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Venture Brothers Holiday Special?
posted by dunkadunc at 7:18 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and if you want to hear John Goodman sing in a great show, get J. Edgar!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:18 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


This was horrible, we watched about 10 minutes and turned it off. It was just weird enough that it wasn't funny - like Doumanian's SNL.
posted by HopperFan at 7:37 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would say it's on par with Bambi II, Lady and the Tramp II, The Junglebook II, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, 101 Dalmatians II, Cinderella II, The Lion King 1.5 and Mulan II.
posted by ZenithNadir at 7:56 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


We caught this last night with my 4yr old. She said "What the hell?" My sentiments exactly. And then I said "We don't say that... but that was very good usage."
posted by czechmate at 7:57 PM on December 19, 2009 [38 favorites]


Yeah, we changed the channel almost as soon as we figured out what it was. I saw that it was made in 1992 and that was really enough explaination for me.
posted by Kimothy at 8:05 PM on December 19, 2009


Augh! Explanation!
posted by Kimothy at 8:05 PM on December 19, 2009


The moral of the story: Attack civil servants who attempt to clear off the roads so cars don't skid off the road and kill people.

Sounds like a lot of other Christmas specials, actually. Between the SAD and this crap, Christmas is one of the more truly morbid holidays. Halloween is only mock morbid.

I say this as a Christmas baby.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:15 PM on December 19, 2009


Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhineverneedtowatchmorethantwentysecondsofthis.
posted by davejay at 8:16 PM on December 19, 2009


*kaff* I have this on DVD and it's truly unbearable. The Frosty name is forever sullied.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 8:18 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wasn't this just on last night? I watched the first Frosty special (you know, the classic one), and then left this during the first song.. as I believe I have every time that it's been on my tv in the past. If it's not authentic Rankin/Bass, it's not worth watching. (I didn't notice that it had such a connection to SNLers, but, even though I couldn't get through it, anything has to be better than that 'Gilly' special. WTH was that??)
posted by Mael Oui at 8:19 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Where's Eric Erickson when we need him? We need an organized, tactical strike on this icy imbecile.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:23 PM on December 19, 2009


AAAARGH!! MY EARS!!!
posted by milkwood at 8:26 PM on December 19, 2009


The first Frosty kind of, you know, sucked, too.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:34 PM on December 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


The first Frosty kind of, you know, sucked, too.

A-fucking-men!
posted by Bonzai at 9:43 PM on December 19, 2009


If you feel bad about Mark Mothersbaugh's involvement then fix your karmic balance with The Wipeouters.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:06 PM on December 19, 2009


One of the weirdest groups to rise from the ashes of punk rock

This phrase is wrong in so many ways.
posted by Splunge at 11:12 PM on December 19, 2009


Thus is answered the ever-burning question, what would a Christmas special produced by a Canadian Jew be like, anyway?
posted by dhartung at 11:17 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you for referencing Jonathan Winters. Had a good look on YouTube and was again reminded of just how funny that man was. Pure genius. I remember him on the Andy Williams how...god, I feel old, but oh so glad I remember those days.
posted by vac2003 at 1:02 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Koyaanisqatsi
posted by unklspot at 3:14 AM on December 20, 2009


The first Frosty kind of, you know, sucked, too.

Well, bah humbug to you too! Little children have been clapping their hands and singing along to "Frosty the Snowman" for forty years. I mean, it's not exactly the finest cinematic masterpiece ever crafted by the hands of man, but jeez. Maybe somebody just needs a sugar cookie.
posted by Garak at 5:34 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh. Just the other day my 7-year-old was humming the Frosty song and suddenly stopped short. He asked his older sister, "Wait. Why does it say 'Frosty the snowman WAS a jolly happy soul'? Why is it WAS? Why isn't it IS?" I then heard my 10-year-old say, "Oh, you know, it was before he turned bad or something and lost his soul." My son nodded and said, "Oh yeah, like he USED to be good, and then he went to the dark side." I finally interrupted and said, "Wait a minute, you guys are telling me that you think Frosty used to be jolly and happy, but then he turned to the dark side, lost his soul, and now exists in a dystopian winter landscape where he terrorizes children and perverts the holiday spirit of giving and love?" They thought about it for a moment and then said, "Yep."

Maybe they've been watching too much Buffy.
posted by mothershock at 6:45 AM on December 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


I was wondering why the ceeb was showing this at 9pm the other night.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 7:47 AM on December 20, 2009


I like the one where he's an ambulatory skeleton in search of a potion to restore himself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:52 AM on December 20, 2009


Frosty is a fucking pox. All he's good for is dying every year. That's the only thing he can be reliably counted on to do effectively. What the hell kind of message is that? Every other Christmas entity actually has some kind of purpose. What's good 'ol Frosty's big claim to fame? Nothing. He's water with personality.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:07 AM on December 20, 2009


Where would you put Frosty's Winter Wonderland in the series? Or Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July ? From the first, I've still got "Frosty and Crystal" to the tune of "Frosty the Snowman" stuck in my head, decades later. Hell of an earworm.
posted by stevil at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2009


My long-time housemate once played in the "Christian orchestra" a friend of his was conducting, as a favor to her, and therefore kept getting her ridiculous spammy Christian newsletters ever after.

One year she sent out a newsletter preening herself on her Christmas concert with her Christian orchestra and Christian chorus, which program included--according to the newsletters--"secular songs remade with a Christian theme, to reflect the true meaning of the holiday."

She did not share any of the "remade" lyrics, so we had to remake our own, of which the only one I can remember is this:

Frosty the Snowman
Was Jesus Christ's best friend
He was crucified
When Jesus died
And he came back; that's the end!

posted by Sidhedevil at 12:50 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Frosty the Snowman
Was Jesus Christ's best friend
He stood there melting by the cross
Until the very end.
posted by wrnealis at 6:44 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Frosty the snowman
Knew the sun would melt him through
He said "Don't be sad, and forgive them Dad
For they know not what they do."
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:56 PM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Frosty the Snowman
Was a man made out of snow
He was confused for another man
For they do what not they know
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:14 PM on December 20, 2009


Well, bah humbug to you too! Little children have been clapping their hands and singing along to "Frosty the Snowman" for forty years. I mean, it's not exactly the finest cinematic masterpiece ever crafted by the hands of man, but jeez. Maybe somebody just needs a sugar cookie.

Well, let's not conflate the song with the cartoon. These are two very different animals. One is a delightful song to sing while sipping cocoa. The other is a cartoon that has is Jar Jar Binks-level stupid for anyone over the age of ten.

I adored the original Frosty cartoon as a child, got a Rankin/Bass DVD collection a few years ago as a gift in anticipation of my first child, watched all of it, and was stunned and saddened at how shitty it is. It's far from being the finest cinematic masterpiece ever etc. It's really stupid. The kind of stupid that makes you angry at the missed opportunity to tell a truly charming and delightful story. And in case you're wondering, I'm a huge softie. It's bad, period. You're better off letting your kids watch the original Grinch or the Charlie Brown Christmas special or any of the old Looney Tunes holiday cartoons (pre-Chuck Jones, preferably).
posted by middleclasstool at 9:18 PM on December 20, 2009


About what I expect given that it stood upon the shoulders of the that purveyor of abominable animation, Rankin-Bass.
posted by bz at 1:48 PM on December 21, 2009


Jesus the Saviour
Is a fairytale, they say;
He was sent to earth
Via virgin birth
And He's coming back someday.

There must have been some magic in
That crown of thorns they found,
For when they placed it on His head,
He began to dance around!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:50 AM on December 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq that was blaspheriffic!
posted by Bonzai at 8:16 PM on December 22, 2009


Sys Rq, I shouldn't be laughing, but damn you, I am.
posted by HopperFan at 8:30 PM on December 22, 2009


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