Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nick Jukebox Episode 8: 12 Days of Nick-Hanukkah-Mas

Celebrate New Year's Eve with festive songs from Nickelodeon. Expect songs from Invader Zim, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and ChalkZone.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 25: The Manic Expression/PlaysStation Christmas Extravaganza

In this special Christmas episode of Casual Chats, Patricia and Kevin invite Manic Expression members Mark, Mike, Jim, David, Kyle, and Ryan and PlaysStation members Tristen, Nick, and Tom to discuss about their favorite and least Christmas movies and specials. Click here to watch it.

Please check out PlaysStation on FaceBook at facebook.com/CBClps and subscribe to its YouTube channel. Here's a preview of the content they do.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Old School Lane's Top 10 Worst Nickelodeon Christmas Specials

It's Christmas Eve and it's time to finish watching a marathon of Christmas films and specials before the holiday is over. As some of you know, I did a recap of my top 12 Nickelodeon Christmas specials last year which you can check out right here. For every awesome Christmas special, there are at least two of them that are mediocre or just plain bad. Nickelodeon is absolutely no exception to this rule as there are a lot of crappy holiday specials. Which are the worst of the worst? Which Christmas specials from the former #1 kids' network are the equivalent of stale fruit cake and rotten eggnog? Let's find out.

10. A Rocket X-Mas from Rocket Power

In this episode, Reggie and Otto don't want to continue their dad Ray's Christmas traditions since they feel they're getting too old for it. Meanwhile they save up for purchasing a surfboard for him by walking dogs for their neighbors. They've been so busy that they've neglected being around Ray who wants to continue to follow the traditions of a Rocket Christmas such as dressing up in Santa hats singing Christmas songs around the neighborhood. Eventually, they've saved up enough money and bought the surfboard. However, Ray feels alone and left out and cancels the traditions. Reggie and Otto then approach him wearing their Santa hats and saying that they'll join him in the traditions. Ray reveals some surprise gifts that their mother had been saving for them before she died saying that Christmas was always a special time for her and Ray kept the traditions in her honor. Reggie and Otto gave him the surfboard and the special concludes with them surfing.

This holiday special had some potential to be decent, but ends up being very mediocre and forgettable. The one thing that bothered me was the fact that Ray telling the story of Reggie and Otto's mother about the importance of Christmas and then pretty much forgets about the true meaning of the holiday by showing off the surfboard. He had more emotions on getting a new surfboard then telling the story of why the Christmas traditions are important to him. This was the first time that we had any knowledge of Reggie and Otto's mother and we wouldn't get too much of a backstory until a year later in the TV movie Rocket Power: Island of the Menehune. The one character that was never mentioned throughout the 4 year run of the show was finally brought up and was heavily rushed just to bring a message across that was thrown out the window just as quickly when the surfboard appeared. That is disappointing. Plus the one dimensional characters in Rocket Power doesn't help this special either.

9. A Very CatDog Christmas from CatDog

In this special, CatDog are getting ready for Christmas with Dog just wanting a special Christmas gift to give to Cat and Cat wanting everything. When Rancid appears to CatDog saying that he wants to buy them to give to his niece for Christmas because she already has everything, Cat accepts. However, Santa hears about this and cancels Christmas due to people's greedy nature. The townsfolk hears about this and rushes to get CatDog to Santa so that he can return Christmas to Nearburg. In the end, Dog brings back Christmas with simple decorations, gifts, and the joy of friends and family.

This special is dull, boring, and predictable. I feel the same way about all the other CatDog specials and the show all together. It brings nothing new to the table and it has a generic, cliched message of Christmas not being about the gifts and blah, blah, blah. The only thing I can say about this special is that it exists.

8. Baconmas from Robot and Monster

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 4.36.34 PM

I have to admit something to you guys: I haven't watched all the episodes of Robot and Monster. Since Kevin will be the one reviewing the show when the time comes, I was concentrating on watching the other programs and skipped it. Last year, when watching the Nickelodeon Christmas specials to prepare the best of list, I saw Robot and Monster's Christmas special and was blown away at how confusing it was. Then I watched more episodes later on and went back to this Christmas special and I was still confused. The episode is about Robot and Monster preparing for the holiday Baconmas. If you've seen Robot and Monster, then it wouldn't shock you. But for those who haven't, just be forewarned that this show is really obsessive with bacon. I don't know why and they don't give reason as to why, but they do. I know that bacon is very popular nowadays with the many new, creative ways of cooking it such as adding it to chocolate, ice cream, alcoholic drinks, etc, but this show never explains it with their obsession over bacon.

Anywho, so Robot and Monster are having their first Baconmas together as friends and begin decorating their tree and opening their gifts when Robot reveals that he invited Monster's family over. Monster reveals the same thing about inviting Robot's family over. Things start going insane with the families clashing together about how robots and "organics" cannot live together and partaking on Baconmas activities. Finally, Saint Crispy, their version of Santa Claus, makes peace by revealing that he's half organic and half robotic. This episode is weird, confusing, and all over the place. It doesn't feel at all like a Christmas special and makes absolutely no sense. It's no wonder why nobody saw this show when it first came out.

7. A Very Canine Christmas from 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd

In this episode, Eddie is expecting to do more good deeds especially with Christmas coming. Meanwhile, Justin has given up on Christmas snow due to not snowing in their town in years. Eddie becomes a bit of a grouch, but eventually has a change of heart when he sees someone in need.

This is the dullest live action Christmas special in Nickelodeon history from one of the worst Nickelodeon shows of all time. Just like the show itself, the characters are bland and the special is forgettable as soon as you stop watching it. When watching it, I didn't care about what was going on and dismissed it after 10 minutes of watching.

6. Christmas Together, Friends Forever from Power Rangers Samurai

PowerRangerSamurai Christmas DVD

The Power Rangers series is known for being extremely cheesy, especially in their Christmas specials. The last one before this one was the Power Rangers Zeo Christmas special in 1996, so Power Rangers fans had to wait 15 years for a new one. This one is both corny and lazy at the same time. It starts with Bulk and Spike wanting to get a bike for Christmas, but they can't afford it. Meanwhile at the Shiba House, the Power Rangers set up the tree for the holidays. While doing that, the Rangers recollect memories from when they first met and all the adventures they had. You know that means? That's right: a recap episode featuring clips from previous episodes. The episode ends with Bulk fixing his old bike for Spike, but Spike giving it away to someone who needs it.

I hate recap episodes. I find them to be a cheap way of getting an episode out, unless done right for emotional reasons or as a final episode of a show to recollect fond memories. This feels cheap and lazy. The other Christmas episodes are cornier as they continued the franchise with new installments such as Super Samurai and Megaforce, but at least they had a charm to them. This doesn't.

5. Have Yourself a Thornberry Christmas from The Wild Thornberrys


In this episode, the Thornberrys make it to the Skeleton Coast in Africa to film for their show while preparing for Christmas. While the family is gone and Eliza watches over the Comvee, various animals have problems such as a zebra being afraid of being eating in the dark or a lion haven't had anything to eat in days. Eliza helps them by sacrificing the Christmas gifts, lights, and dinner to the animals. When the family finds out about it, Christmas is ruined for the Thornberry family. Everyone is depressed until the animals come back and sing Jingle Bells. The Thornberrys smile and claim that Christmas with the Thornberrys is like no other.

Similar to Rocket Power and CatDog, this Christmas special is dull and boring. If you've read my review on The Wild Thornberrys, you probably know that I don't care for it as I find it to be the worst of the Klasky-Csupo Nicktoons with the exception of another, but I'll get to that later. In fact, I don't know anyone who says that The Wild Thornberrys was their favorite Nicktoon. It was mediocre back in 1998 and it's still mediocre now. The one thing that kills it for me is when the family finds out about Eliza's good deeds to the animals. It feels dreary and depressing when all the Christmas lights and food are gone, mean spirited when Debbie concludes her Christmas poem with Eliza, and very unsatisfying when the animals singing Jingle Bells. It just felt a bit unfinished.

4. The Finster Who Stole Christmas from All Grown Up!


In this episode, Chuckie is dreading another awful Christmas with Chaz since he always picks the worst trees. Chuckie decides to get a big tree for the house without realizing he stole someone else's. Eventually, the neighborhood finds out about the Christmas thief and tries to capture him so Chuckie has to find a way to return it before he's caught. But it's not easy since Chaz is happy for the first time in years decorating the tree in a cheerful way. Meanwhile, Tommy and Dil are unhappy that there are no Hanukkah songs other than the Dreidel song so they decide to write a new one.

This special has so many continuity errors from Rugrats that it's not even funny. First off, while it is true that Christmas was always depressing for Chaz, he always joined Stu, Didi, and the rest of the group for the holidays. Even then, he still has family to visit like his parents so why doesn't he visit them and vice versa? Also, where are Kira and Kimi in this special? I know that Kimi and Kira are in Japan visiting their family, but the flashback pictures of the pathetic Christmas trees do not show them what so ever. Do they do this every year? If so, why don't Chaz and Chuckie come along? This makes no sense whatsoever! Finally, the side plot with Tommy and Dil was absolutely disappointing. After a phenomenal Hanukkah special that Rugrats did 8 years prior, they should have done something just as good with Hanukkah in this special. But it's not. It feels half-ass and pointless, plus the song they came up with in the end sucks. I would rather hear the Hanukkah song from Adam Sandler than theirs. Overall, I'm so glad that Klasky-Csupo officially retconned All Grown Up! because this special and the show itself is an embarrassment to such a great show like Rugrats. 

3. iChristmas from iCarly


In this episode, Spencer creates an electromagnetic Christmas tree for the house. However, it starts short circuiting and burns down all the Christmas gifts. Carly is shocked about this and wishes that Spencer is a normal guy who doesn't do any inventions. When Carly's guardian angel Mitch grants her wish, she finds that the world has become a different place: Freddie and Sam aren't friends with Carly, Nevel is Carly's boyfriend, and Spencer and Mrs. Benson are getting married. Carly doesn't like the way things turn out so she wishes Mitch for things to return to normal. Eventually, things do and everyone has a happy Christmas.

This is a parody of It's A Wonderful Life and that's a huge reason why it's such a disappointment. Most of the Christmas specials on Nickelodeon are original ideas and did not need to rely on parodying or referencing classic Christmas movies. If they did, they would put their own spin to it. iCarly doesn't even do that; they played it way too safe. If they wanted to parody It's A Wonderful Life, fine. But make it so in which it makes sense. Having Spencer normal should not change the world. None of the events of being friends with Freddie and Sam or having Nevel as an enemy did not involve Spencer in any way. Plus, having Spencer normal would actually improve iCarly since he's one of the most annoying characters in the whole show. This special is a perfect example of releasing a Christmas special with no effort put into it.

2. A Fairly Odd Christmas 

FairlyOddChristmas Titlecard

A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up Timmy Turner is one of the worst Nickelodeon movies of all time. At that point, The Fairly OddParents was growing stale and this was their way to bring new life to it. It resulted in a disaster of a film that should have never been made. However, millions of people saw it and it brought enough ratings to ensure that a sequel will be made. So because of us, we have gotten this piece of crap. It starts with Santa working on getting gifts for the kids by checking on his list, but then he finds out that the Nice List is shrinking due to Timmy and Tootie granting kids' wishes with his fairy godparents. Santa shuts down his workshop due to the kids not needing him anymore. Jorgen von Strangle tells Timmy and Tootie that Christmas is approaching and Timmy is the new Santa. Timmy and Tootie must bring the Christmas spirit back before it's too late.

This special is horrible with terrible jokes and a confusing plot. While it's not as bad as the first one, it's still not a good Christmas special. You want to know the worst thing? There's rumors of a third live action Fairly OddParents movie coming out in 2014. Way to go, guys!

Timmy driving the Wishful Thinking vanTimmy and Tootie meet Santa

1. A Very Brrr-y Icemas from Fanboy and Chum Chum

Title-A Very Brrr-y Icemas

Similar to Robot and Monster, I haven't seen every episode of Fanboy and Chum Chum since Kevin is reviewing them. However, I did see the first 5 episodes and my God, this is without a doubt one of the worst Nicktoons I've ever seen in my life. This Christmas special is also just as bad. It starts with Fanboy wanting to have a M.O.R.K. (Mega Octo Rocket Kraken) for Icemas (great, another fake holiday) despite the toy being sold out for months in the toy stores. Chum Chum tells him to go see Man-Artica at the Frosty Mart and tell him his wish of getting the toy. When Fanboy wishes for the M.O.R.K., Benjamin wishes for a S.M.O.R.K. (Super Mega Octo Rocket Kraken). This makes Fanboy changed his mind, but finds out it's too late when he said his wish. Chum Chum reveals that Man-Artica is a fake removing his disguise and they're wrong since he is actually real. Fanboy and Chum Chum have to help make teddy bears. But then they make a teddy bear with laser, rockets, and explosions and accidentally ship it. They have to disguise themselves and retrieve it or else they'll be on the Naughty list forever.

FB&CC-AVBI promo art

What can I say about this special? It's horrible. It's zany with little to no substance, it's stupid, it's degrading, and it's just plain bad. While they did learn their lesson in the end, they pretty much ruined everything for everyone just because of their greed. A terrible special based off of a terrible show. A match made in hell!

That's my top 10 worst Nickelodeon Christmas specials. What Nickelodeon Christmas specials that you hate with a passion? Post it in the comments below. Tune in next time as we review a Nickelodeon Christmas special that I didn't get a chance to last year.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.