Contrary to the purported meaning of the winter holiday season, the sound of Christmas carols and the tinkling of sleigh bells provoke naught but feelings of disgust and disappointment for the jaded souls of the world who know well that the candy canes and neatly wrapped presents are also accompanied by hordes of assholes knocking people over and shouting at poor overworked and underpaid retail employees and even robbing folks at gunpoint to get those holiday staples that supposedly represent good-will towards one's fellow man and all of that shit. For many -- say, folks standing behind the counter -- it can be a dismal time of year.
It wasn't always that way, though. When we were young; when we believed that presents were made in North Pole sweatshops instead of purchased in overcrowded stores; when we believed they were placed under the tree not by our parents, having hidden them in a closet until the night of December 24, but were personally delivered by a fat red-suited immortal who traveled in a sleigh drawn by flying reindeer; when we believed that it was possible for one individual to consume millions of plates worth of cookies and not rupture his stomach (in other words, when we were too young to have seen Se7en) -- when we believed these things, the winter holidays were special. Holiday-themed programming was also a plus -- hence the subject of today's review!
Hopefully most of you out there remember Gumby, or at least know enough about him to make me not feel bad for writing that seasonal introduction above when I could just as well have gone on about the green guy for a couple of paragraphs to bring you up to speed. The theme song said it best, though:
He was once a little green slab of clay
You should see what Gumby can do to-day
He can walk into any book
with his pony pal, Pokey, too
if you've got a heart
then Gumby's a part of you
I never really understood that last part -- as far as I know, hearts don't contain anything resembling little green slabs of clay -- but that's pretty minor as far as the absurdities of Gumblore go. You'll see what I mean as we go along. Anyway, Christmas with Gumby consists of four cartoons, so
because I have a tendency to write too bloody much about five minute segments in order to drag the review out and pad Scary-Crayon's content because I love to see you shiver with antici...pation do I even need a bloody reason? we're going to tackle the first one this time and save the other three for next week or something. That said, on with "Christmas Carol"!
Okay. As if it weren't weird enough that the stars of our cartoon are an orange clay pony and a green clay humanoid thing, for some reason unbeknownst to me Gumby and Pokey have donned the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I'm not kidding -- throughout the entire episode they'll jokingly refer to each other as "Sherlock" and "Watson" as if there were some context for doing so besides their role-specific hats. Your guess is as good as mine. Anyway, in keeping with their detective roles, Gumby and Pokey are staring into a telescope and watching stuff. Specifically, they're watching books. Closed books. Now, to you and I, that might seem even more boring than watching paint dry. I mean, at least paint dries, whereas a closed book doesn't do a goddamned thing. But that's in our world.
In Gumby's world, books routinely open up from the inside and characters from the stories climb out to wreak havoc and ask for help and whatever else that particular Gumby adventure requires of them whether it makes a lick of sense or not. And since this short is titled "Christmas Carol", none other than Ebeneezer Scrooge climbs out of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, grunting, "HAHMBAGH!!!" with every breath and making plans to wreck Christmas for everybody. Sure, this kind of behavior is to be expected of Scrooge, but I actually had to stop the DVD and think about it for a moment. Consider the following series of questions:
1.) Does Scrooge not change at the end of the book? 2.) And if so, given that he obviously hasn't changed yet, at what point in the story did this Scrooge emerge? 3.) The beginning, perhaps -- but if Scrooge can emerge from the book at the beginning, why not at the end as well? 4.) And if so, why not from any point in the story? 5.) And if we consider that Scrooge exists on each page, and if we take into account that each page presents, per the changes wrought by the events that he has experienced, a different Scrooge, would it not be possible for the book to produce an infinite number of Scrooges -- or at least as many Scrooges as there are pages or even sentences or even clauses or even words in the book? 6.) And if Scrooge exists more/less independently at each point, why only one Scrooge? Would it not be possible for a multitude of Scrooges from various stages of the story's development to emerge from the book? 7.) Why this particular Scrooge, then?
8.) And in any case, given that the Scrooge that emerged from the book obviously came from a more/less realistic setting, would he not be perplexed and even frightened to find himself in a world in which Christmas toys dwarf him in size, and in which he could hop into a motorized farm tractor with ease and push said toys over the edge of a countertop? Ponder those other questions at your leisure, but the last one gets an, "Apparently not," 'cause that's what happens. Unfortunately for Gumby and Pokey, they'd climbed to the top of a stack of toys in order to better monitor Scrooge's activities... and, well, see for yourself.
Yeah, our sleuthing heroes plummeted to their untimely deaths when Scrooge toppled the stack of toys on which they were standing -- pretty depressing fare for the first episode of a Christmas DVD. I wonder how many children burst into tears when they saw poor Gumby and Pokey splatter into nothing more than flaccid pools of clay topped with stylish headgear. Let's all pour out some eggnog for our dead clay homies. :(
Meanwhile, Scrooge continues his efforts to ruin Christmas -- and what better way to achieve that dastardly goal than to take out the source of all that nonexistent goodwill and festive cheer? And what luck! Nearby there's a copy of
the Bible Stories of Santa Claus, just waiting for Scrooge to walk into it and give the big man Hell! So we've not only established that characters can walk out of their own books and interact with objects in Gumby's toystore world, but also that they can walk into other books and somehow alter the content of those works despite the fact that modifying the story would necessitate a change in the words printed on the pages, which, unless each printed copy of that story contains its own individual world that exists independently of the worlds contained in other copies of the same book, would necessitate a change in every other copy of that novel and that would therefore require the altering of some past event with respect to either the book's printing or even the penning of the author's original manuscript. Try not to think about it too deeply.
So once inside Stories of Santa Claus, Scrooge devises that the best way to put an end to Santa's charitable actions would be to
kill him and rape Mrs. Claus replace all of the children's toys with rocks, such that everyone will come to hate Kris Kringle for giving such shitty presents and do away with him themselves. Personally, I'd prefer the more direct approach (see strikethrough), but admittedly Scrooge's plan is the more devious of the two. After all, it's one thing to put an end to Christmas with one's own hands and quite another to manipulate things such that the people of the world do the dirty work for you. As Pokey comments, "It would take a writer with the name 'Dickens' to make a character like Scrooge."
Waitasecond. Not only is it totally inappropriate for a G-rated children's cartoon character to be pointing out the presence of the word "dick" in the famed author's name, but didn't Gumby and Pokey bite the big one a while ago? I guess claymation characters never die, which kinda makes you wonder what they're up to now that computer-generated effects dominate movies in this day and age. Anyway, following their miraculous resurrection, Gumby and Pokey arm themselves with a rope and an empty sack and follow Scrooge into Stories of Santa Claus with intent to bag that bastard and put an end to his evil doings.
And that's just what they do! As Gumby lassos Scrooge, Pokey mutters to himself, "Gumby has confused Sherlock Holmes with Roy Rogers!" despite the fact that except for the role-specific hats and their references to each other as "Sherlock" and "Watson", this episode had absolutely nothing to do with sleuthing or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters, unless he wrote a story that involved Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson tracking down Ebeneezer Scrooge after he escaped from Dickens's A Christmas Carol, which is entirely possible given that I've read very little of the Sherlock Holmes literature. I somehow doubt it, though. As for Scrooge, he fails to cry out or even wriggle a little as Gumby and Pokey tie him up and sack him, which leads me to believe that he somehow enjoys being dominated in this way. If folks in the mid-1800s had been more open to kinky role-playing games, maybe Scrooge wouldn't have needed ghosts to loosen him up!
Bloody hell, so that's why they're dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Watson -- it's a signal to the audience that deductive reasoning will be required to figure out what's really going on! But not only does the theory of Scrooge's domination fetish explain Gumby and Pokey's role-playing, it also explains Scrooge's figurative hard-on for ruining Christmas (the trees remind him of the erections he can't have with the dull 19th century women), his replacing of toys with rocks (he wants to get his rocks off), the bondage fun, and even Pokey's reference to Dickens! And OMG! The pony's name is Pokey!!! Where's Freud when we need him?
Nowhere to be found, apparently -- and neither is Santa Claus, as Gumby and Pokey discover when they run into his workshop to warn him about Scrooge and the fact that the toys in one of his sacks have been replaced with rocks. Of course, Santa's outside, and spying the abandoned Scrooge-filled bag in the snow he believes it to be his missing sack of toys and loads it up on the sleigh with the others. Again, Scrooge doesn't budge.
By the time Gumby and Pokey make it back outside, Santa's taken to the skies with Scrooge in tow. None too disappointed by this turn of events, Pokey chuckles and exclaims, "Instead of Christmas, it's April Fool's Day for Santa!" Gumby, a little less enthusiastic about the situation, responds, "You mean... it's December Dopey's Day for us." I don't see what the big deal is, though. Scrooge finally got the release he needed, and some lucky kid is going to end up with the story to end all stories -- the time he/she received a rejuvenated old man and a fresh cup of ejaculate on Christmas morning. Or maybe, instead of la petite mort, poor Scrooge experienced the big death -- maybe he had a heart attack after being tied up and bagged by a talking pony and a Martian thing -- so some kid will end up with a fresh corpse underneath the tree. Either way, good times will be had by all. So lighten up, Gumby -- Scrooge did! By 21 grams! Or whatever a pool of semen weighs.
That does it for Gumby's "Christmas Carol", then -- join us next time, when we delve deeper into the the strange and festive world of Christmas with Gumby! No proper conclusion needed, since this is just the end of Part 1. You're lucky you even got a sentence! An ominous "To be continued..." would've sufficed just fine. :P
-- Wes --
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