I like to think that I try to do good things for myself, that I try to take care of myself, despite all the evidence to the contrary in the form of beer and high cholesterol foods. But I’ve subjected myself to some real terrible crap through these classic cartoon features. I’m going to try get through the entirety of the most dangerous holiday themed cartoon I could possibly watch and tear to shreds without being driven mad myself. This time, I subject myself to the banality of the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special.
But Dan, it’s not Christmas, you say. Dan, you missed Christmas by almost three weeks, you say. I know. I did it intentionally. I did it for you. I managed to miss every single major winter holiday. Nobody deserves to have Christmas/Haunukah/Kwanzaa/Tet or anything else ruined for them.
This came out in 1987, in the middle of a recession, when I expected a robot for Christmas. Not just a robot, but a Rocky 4 fully operational talking servant-bot. So when I was six and this sack of crap aired the same Christmas I didn’t get the wildly unrealistic robot that I had been made to expect because of my lack of understanding of money and my further lack of understanding of the capacities of human technology at the time, my Christmas was entirely ruined. Bear in mind, I was aware of how bad this was, THEN. So seeing it now is….ugh. Basically, if you watch this thing, you’re more or less voluntarily amputating your Christmas spirit, and it will grow back in roughly 11 months, so I’m giving you EXACTLY enough time, for your sake.
We’re opening on a city covered in snow, an Eternian city where apparently the first bar of ‘ Happy Birthday’ is an acceptable Christmas song for the ridiculous intergalactic Mannheim Steamroller knockoff they got to produce the music in this special. The supporting cast of b-list, jobber cronies of He-Man and She- Ra are hard at work decorating the palace. ‘Purple would look good up there, Peek-a-blue,’ says the guy with the heart on his chest I don’t remember. He’s got a moustache and a heart on his chest and a gold half shirt that exposes his midrif? What’s his name, Closet-dor? Man-not-out?
The king says he’s been preparing for this festival for days, and then Queen Marlena points out it’s like preparing for Christmas, a very special Earth Holiday. EARTH HOLIDAY. You ask yourself, these people on this planet not only possess high technology, enough to determine where and what Earth is, but also a cultural curiosity enough to think about celebrating it? No, no, no, silly. Marlena, the Queen, is a stranded earth astronaut. No, Not only is she the mother of a magical superbeing imbued with magic and invincible powers of Aryanism, but she’s also a Queen and an alien. The queen of this planet is an alien. It sort of makes Skeletor seem a bit more sympathetic, keeping things Eternian and all.
So after they reuse the same damn shot they used less than a minute ago, we cut to Man at Arms and Adam working on a spacecraft in the Eternian frozen wilderness. It’s referred to by Man-at-Arms as a ‘Skyspy’ to check on Skeletors devious doings. Orco, being an almost unforgivably one dimensional walking accident, manages to not only gain entry to this completely security lacking rocket that Man-at-Arms and Adam built, but manages to turn it on, initiate a take off, and lock out remote controls.
Because theft of death-rocket isn’t a contingency Eternians plan for.
After being pursued by Skeletor, and Two-Bad , He-Man does his best to rescue the errant rocket from it’s disorganized pursuers to no avail. Orco, who’s any move can’t POSSIBLY make things worse, takes the initiative to cast a spell on the rocket, which naturally causes it to malfunction. So Orco ends up hurtling through space, in keeping with Eternian Yule tradition. At this point Orco ends up, where else, but on Earth.
This pisses off Neil Degrasse Tyson like you wouldn’t believe.
LET ME POINT OUT HERE THAT ORCO, THROUGH HIS UNCOMICAL ANTICS, HAS MANAGED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF FASTER THAN LIGHT TRAVEL TO ANOTHER POPULATED STAR SYSTEM, A PROBLEM PLAGUING EARTH PHYSICISTS AND ASTROBIOLOGISTS AND THEORETICIANS FOR OVER 100 YEARS, COMPLETELY BY ACCIDENT. HE IS THE SIDEKICK OF A MAGIC NAKED ARYAN WITH A SWORD. SUSPEND ALL DISBELIEF.
Let’s not forget that he survives entry into an atmosphere and lands the craft and exits without any damage to himself. Who gives a shit? He hasn’t got any legs.
He sees, and saves two white children ( one of whom is inexplicably named Miguel) who are illegally cutting down and stealing a Christmas Tree from a nature preserve. After using magic to save the kids from a violent avalanche they caused, he calmly and amicably explains he’s a fucking goddamn space alien and his mothershitfucking spacecraft is parked just over that motherfucking hill. The kids come with him, somehow without shitting their pants and passing out.
Hey you kids want to see my spaceship, it’s concealed by magic and sorcery. Don’t let that freak you out.
The kids then sit inside of the space-aliens flying saucer and explains very matter-of-factly that Christmas is a time when greedy consumeristic kids who steal Christmas trees from nature preserves get a whole shitload of presents from their parents who are cruel enough to name a white kid Miguel in the 80′s. The magic of Christmas. They add that that’s not all, but a time for thinking about peace and goodwill toward men’..at least that’s what the angels say.’ says the girl. ‘Now I’m really confused’, says Orco.
Somehow the blue-skinned floating ghost-alien from a planet of naked magic Germanic barbarian supermen and horribly monstrous wizard-ghoul abominations is baffled by the concept of angels and peace.
Meanwhile on Eternia the Queen and Man-at-Arms discover Orco’s on earth, and the only way to power the skyspy back to earth is something he made up that might exist on She-Ra’s bullshit planet.
She-Ra visits one of her ridiculous friends, a Mermaid thing with a breathy drawl, that tells her that she knows where this made up ‘Something Water Crystal’ is. It’s in a cave guarded by the Beast-Monster.
Yep, Beast-Monster. Someone got paid to write that because that was a creative thing they came up with.
No single thing in your life, no matter who you are, is that hollow an accomplishment. Nobody ever said to you, ‘I’ll pay you money to come up with a creative evil thing for a kids cartoon hero to fight’, and you came up with something as phoned in an awful and redundantly uncreative as ‘Beast Monster. Quick, She-Ra, get on your horse-steed you woman-lady, and prepare to fight the Beast-Monster.
She-Ra flies her Lisa Frank Gay Pride Rainbow Unicorn to the planet of the Beast Monster. After she fights alongside Mermista against the Beast Monster to obtain this Water Crystal, there is suddenly a rumbling, to which her here-to-fore silent unicorn Swift-Wind says in a voice as gruffer than a 40 year old alcoholic billy goat, ‘What’s that?’
Tonight, in an abscense of something way gayer to voice it, the part of Swift-Wind the Unicorn will be played by a hungover Edward James Olmos.
Well Commander, here’s your flipping Cylons, what you’re hearing is the sound of your doom:
How the hell are we getting out of this molecule thick membrane of fats suspended by gas pressure?
Next thing you know they discover that the planet pf the beast-monster is also home to robot-androids! Which live in the ground! And are very oddly shaped! And are very powerful, says She-Ra. Robots, we see, that are so powerful that they have powerful lasers that trap unicorns in bubbles.
The robots then inform each other they all need to go to Monstroid Central to prepare for battle.
These monsters are bureaucrats?
‘Welcome to Monstroid Company-Business Central-Headquarters Base-Place. If you’ve got an appointment with the Beast-Monster, queue up and take these paper-forms to fill out, they’ll be collected just prior to your death-murder.’
Aww, I don’t transform into anything.
The 3 Monstroids prepare to transform and roll out. The first, transforms into a rocket, the second, with tank treads, transforms into a tank and blasts off. The third, shaped like a sort of minotaur with machine gun hands, shrugs it’s shoulders, cocks it’s feet into the air and follows the rocket-bot.
She-Ra then uses the power of her sword and an inordinately extravagant roundhouse kick to free herself from the bubble, and make it back to Man-At Arms.
They fire up the transport beam and zap Orco, The sky-spy and the two kids that taught him Jingle Bells back to the center of Eternia.
Meanwhile, on an asteroid, a sinister presence is way pissed off because he has detected the SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS in his midst. No, the magic of Greyskull and the Eternian battle-mages is nothing in comparison to this earth holiday. A robotic hand cloaked in darkness presses a button saying, ‘ Summon Skeletor, and Hordak!’ Which is probably what the button does, making it very unnecessary to yell at it.
I’ll insinuate a homoerotic crush on your arch-enemy all I want, Skeletor!
It informs the two villains that it doesn’t need any more good will on the planet Eternia, and they have to find it and crush it. The two argue about how they will succeed where the other will fail. Hordak utters the line ‘What about the way He-Man handles you, Bone Brain?’ What about it, indeed.
Seriously, who is that guy, and to hell with everything going on in this picture.
Meanwhile on Eternia, the landscape is covered in an idyllic snow of hydrochloric acid, and that one thing with rainbow ears is floating in the air next to Closet-Dor who is now playing a lute. The only job options for young men on Eternia is being Nazi-supermen and or queeny-gay stereotypes. Closet-Dor let’s them know at roughly 22 and a half minutes into the film that it’s the perfect time for his new song. I’m giving you the time, because I want to spare you from having to hear it. The two kids inexplicably know the song, and that’s odd, but that’s all you need to know. You can restart at exactly 23:31. If you sit through the song, seriously, you’re shitting on your own next Christmas. I didn’t ruin it for you.
Oh sick, dude, is that a…dick-copter?
But just then, Hordak shows up in a….is that…is that a dick-copter? Closet-Dor is somehow frozen in place as he readies his bow, and the rest of the crew, kids, Orco, Perfuma, and that one rainbow eared thing, get tractor beamed into the dick-copter.
Yeah, dude, that’s totally a dick-copter.
As Hordak’s cock-pter attempts to escape to Etheria, it’s violently grabbed out of the air, and jerked around to the ground by one of the Monstroid robots who steal the hostages, and send Hordak and his goon’s away on the Heli-penis.
She-Ra knows the kids are in the ominous sounding ‘Fright Zone’ so she had Peek-A-Blue use her Jodorowsky inspired far-sight to find the kids. She sends He-Man and She-Ra to rescue them, telling them the Man-chines have already gone to find them. Man-chines are basically Smurf robots. Cute, silly, and would be cuddly if not for all the hardened aluminum alloy.
One of them, Cutter, as already caught up to the kids outside their cell and says he can get around the bars to their cell because they don’t call him ‘cutter for nothin!’ No, he takes the snipper hand attachment which looks already perfectly suited to cut through bars, and somehow turns it into a buzz saw. Another Man-chine, with the voice of a retarded Bill Cosby and the body of a big wheel, named Zipper, (who they don’t call Zipper for nothing) whisks them all away from the Monstroids, and then very capably right back into the midst of them.
But He-Man and She-Ra show up in the nick of time, to deliver well timed blows, and ill timed puns. After the battle the realize that their self-satisfied genocide of an entire race of sentient robots is a bit premature, as during their battle, Skeletor made off with the precious Earth kids who carry the power of Christmas inside of them.
Skeletor attempts to outrun Hordak, who, with a laser weapon manages to take down Skeletor’s craft. As he’s about to crash land from incredible heights to certain death, Skeletor shouts that ‘He’ll get (Hordak) for this.’
But Skeletor and the kids survive, crashed on top of a mountain. She children beg the musclebound living skeleton sorceror in front of them to be nice to them, because, after all, it’s Christmas right? Skeletor expresses his disgust as the little girl passes out from hypothermia, and the boy, who is wearing a winter coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf complains to the musclebound living skeleton sorceror who’s purple skin is exposed to the elements because he’s wearing little more than a codpiece and shoulder pads that, ‘We’re so cold!’
I swear they give you an extra long shot of Skeletor just for that to sink in. Skeletor gives in and use his sorcery to give the kids….two slightly thicker coats. He then lets the kids keep the Manchine puppy that had tagged along with them, instead of leaving it to die in the freezing cold. Skeletor is being swayed by the power of Christmas. He’s a necromancer, deathworshiping living skull with muscles like Lou Ferrigno and a goat staff like Anton LaVey and he’s now carrying a robot dog and learning about Christmas. He takes the kids close to Horde Prime, the creepy robot smoke creature that hates Christmas, and is saved, just in time, by He-Man and She-Ra. Or so we think, as Hordak and his robo-minions show up and knock out Skeletor. As He-Man and She-Ra defend against endless robots, the kids run right into the clutches of Horde Prime’s spaceship.
But then, overcome with the spirit of Christmas, Skeletor rouses himself and with a blast of necrotic evil energy, burns up the giant metal spaceship dick Horde Prime was trying to use to capture the kids. After it crashes, He-Man and She-Ra throw the wreckage off of the planet and out if the planet’s orbit.
WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION AS TO WHY ONE OF THEM COULDN’T HAVE JUST THROWN A CRAFT INTO SPACE AFTER ORCO AND COMPLETELY AVOIDED THIS WHOLE STUPID MESS.
As they laugh at the fact that Skeletor (who’s social anxiety disorder makes him prefer feeling evil to pleasant) feeling so kind, the camera fades back to Eternia. As the kids prepare to disembark on a teleport ray back to Earth, Prince Adam give both of the children a flight belt. No way the kids could misuse that shit back on Earth.
I know all about the other world kids! The one where your mom is a princess and I’m a super plumber who fights turtles and eats mushrooms! What? Space sorcerors? What the hell is a Beast-Monster?
When the kids instantly zap, seemingly right into their living room, their parents (apparently Super Mario and Peach) and seem not to have been troubled by their absence at all, and don’t need a single explaination. After all, who gives a shit kid, if you were brought to a planet of barbarians and sorcery and changed the culture by preaching a gospel of love and caring, or if you were abducted by a child molestor who permanently scarred both of your minds so badly that you made up this outlandish story to cover up your pain, it’s Christmas, so don’t bother me with this crap.
This is how you celebrate Christmas? Giving children technology they should never be able to get their hands on?
Ho Ho, Ho. I hope I’ve exacerbated your holiday depression enough. See you soon.