Last time, in Part 1 of our Christmas with Gumby review, we looked at Gumby's "Christmas Carol" -- a short that which perhaps told us more about Scrooge's sexual fetishes than we ever wanted or needed to know. Now, I know what you're thinking -- if that was the first short on the DVD, what horrors must the others contain? Fret not, dear reader, for you're about to find out! Pull up a chair as Scary-Crayon reviews the second Christmas with Gumby cartoon -- "Unusual Stories"! Be warned: the short certainly lives up to its name.
With the words, "I want that one, Mommy!" our second short begins with Pokey dodging the eager hand of a giant child. Luckily, our pony pal escapes, but "Unusual Stories" is already more than living up to its name. Taking refuge behind a book, Pokey takes a moment to expound upon the dangers of the holiday season, noting both that "a fellow could get sold if he isn't careful" and expressing hope that Gumby has escaped the holiday rush unscathed. With stuff like this, one has to wonder how the writer of this short really felt about Christmas -- we're not two minutes into the story and not only has "the most wonderful time of the year" been characterized as dangerous, but it's nearly resulted in one of the show's principal characters being sold into slavery. How offensive! That shit would never have happened if this had been Kwanzaa with Gumby. Moreover, Gumby himself never appears in the episode -- and, given the worry Pokey expresses about Gumby's safety, kids watching this one were forced to wonder about the green guy's fate for the entirety of the short. And you wonder why some children burst into tears when they sit on Santa's lap. :/
Surmising that he'd probably be safer if he ducked into a book for the time being, Pokey enters the book at his side -- which, like the episode, bears the title Unusual Stories. Now, if it were me, I'd be a little wary of running into a book with that title -- while there are a number of good things that can rightly be called unusual, the term could also be applied to a culture in which all foreigners are bound with barbed wire and systematically raped by kangaroos that chirp like birds -- but Pokey's in flight mode and doesn't have time to consider the limitless potential for depravity that could possibly be contained in a book with a title like Unusual Stories. Luckily for Pokey, however, the contents of the book -- while certainly unusual -- are far less dangerous, as he steps into a world of ice and snow and is greeted by Sybil, a talking sea lion with a doily around its neck. Alrighty then.
After Sybil flirts with Pokey for a bit -- seriously, she calls him cute and giggles coquettishly and everything, but apparently he's not fucking into her -- sirens wail and a dogsled ambulance pulls out of the nearby workshop with a very ill Santa Claus in tow. Whereas he routinely walks into books and didn't bat an eye after being hit on by a talking sea lion, something about the sight of Saint Nick on a stretcher is enough to make Pokey's eyes extend a good two feet from their sockets. Kinda makes you wonder what he considers to be "unusual," doesn't it? I mean yeah, Santa's immortal and all, but the guy travels all over the world in a single night -- not only is that a ton of work for one person, but think of all of the various diseases from different parts of the world that he could possibly contract! Hell, think of all of the various diseases from different parts of the world that he could be spreading to us! Suddenly a visit from Santa doesn't seem like a very good thing at all.
So maybe it's not such a bad thing, then, that Santa's too ill to make his rounds this year. I mean sure, as the big guy points out, a lot of kids will be disappointed when they wake up on Christmas morning and find nothing under their trees, but at least they won't die an agonizingly slow death from the horrible flesh-eating bacteria Kris Kringle picked up in Guatemala. Still, not satisfied with the thought of the world's children receiving the mere gift of a clean bill of health for Christmas, Pokey decides to fix the situation by picking up the phone and calling the only person he knows who could possibly stand in for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
Yeah, he calls a fucking witch to deliver the children's presents. Never mind that witches are known for eating children, among other evil things in no way associated with festive cheer -- what's a few missing kiddies and a few parents turned into hoppy toads so long as someone takes to the skies in Santa's name? Y'know, I don't think Pokey thought this one through too well. Also noteworthy is the fact that Santa never meets the witch, even though she's going to be filling his boots for the evening. You'd think he'd be a little more concerned about the ringer brought in by a toy horse who actually spurns the advances of a talking sea lion ('cause seriously, think of how smooth her skin would be... mmm...), but I guess illness breeds apathy. And germs.
As the witch touches down, Pokey apologizes to her for forgetting that the reindeer only obey Santa -- so basically she can't fly the sleigh after all and wasted her time coming all the way to the North Pole from... hey, where the fuck did she come from, anyway? Here's another problem with these worlds being contained within books. Given that Pokey didn't seem to be familiar with Unusual Stories before stepping inside, I'm guessing that the witch was actually from the outside world -- or, more likely, from another book -- which begs the question, "How the hell do these telephones work?" Are there invisible phone lines that span the whole of the literary cosmos, such that any character -- assuming the character knows the correct area code and all -- can call any other character from any other work, including the great work of The Powers That Be that we call reality? This is all so confusing! People have often wondered why, while there are certain children who excel at mathematics and the sciences, there are no child prodigies in such subjects as philosophy -- and although an answer to that question would take us too far from our present task, allow me to suggest that maybe it's a good thing that kids lack the ability to consider these subjects in depth. Children who thought too deeply about the worlds of Christmas with Gumby would get aneurysms in their stockings.
As far as solving the reindeer problem goes, the witch simply fits the sleigh with a team of flying broomsticks.
As Santa Witch and her two helpers soar through the night sky, we cut to the interior of a government facility that appears to be broadcasting its findings to the nation at large via televised news bulletins. I was going to raise some questions about what world these children were from -- would Santa merely deliver gifts to the children of the world contained in Unusual Stories, or would he fly out of the book and deliver gifts to children in the other worlds as well? After all, if they share the same telephone system, maybe they share the same Santa Claus too...? -- but given that the government is actually being straight with the people, it's quite obvious that they're still in Unusual Stories. I mean, an honest U.S. government? C'mon. Anyway, according to the report, "Our radar outposts report they have picked up an object over the North Pole traveling South. Air Force headquarters say no planes are in that vicinity. Therefore, it could only be Santa Claus." Again, unusual. Of all of the things we'd assume that that unidentified object was before concluding that it was Santa Claus -- foreign SCUD missiles, hostile alien life, falling meteors -- these guys go with Kris Kringle right off the bat. And they're more/less right! Don't you wish you lived in the world of Unusual Stories? I know I do.
With the advent of this news, then, the mother of these two kiddies rushes them off to bed. After all, Santa will be here soon, and you know what he does to naughty little children he finds still awake past their bedtime! He douses them with pepper spray! You know, the more I think about it, the less I understand children's enthusiasm about Santa coming to their homes. Not only is the guy probably carrying manifold diseases by this point -- among other things -- but he actually abuses children for the simple crime of being too excited to sleep on one of the biggest nights of the year! Hell, could you sleep knowing that a strange man was going to slide down your chimney in the night and give you "presents" -- but only if you were asleep, 'cause if he found you awake he'd beat you? Think about it! From that description, Santa sounds more like a nocturnal rapist than a charitable saint. Couple that with the stalking -- sees you when you're sleeping; knows when you're awake -- and you've got one scary dude on your hands. I'm never sleeping on Christmas Eve again.
Naturally, for these children, the excitement is too much to bear, so when they hear talking and movement coming from their living room they naturally creep down the stairs to catch a glimpse of the big red machine himself. Santa, I mean. Not Kane. But not content to merely hide on the fringes of the doorway, and for some reason not sufficiently weirded out by the sight of a pony and a sea lion at his side (but I guess they wouldn't be, if they're used to an honest government), the children risk being maced and address Santa directly...
...whereupon the witch spins around and terrifies the living fuck out of them. Positioning your mouse cursor over the image above will show you an alternating shot of the unbridled horror that crosses the children's faces and the hideous face that filled their hearts with such fear. As you see, the boy goes into shock, whereas the little girl's eyes bug out of their sockets at the paralyzing sight of the witch. Merry Christmas, kids! Here's a stocking chock-filled with trauma that will haunt you for the rest of your lives!
So after a moment of intense terror at the sight of the witch, the girl finally collapses from fright. The boy, on the other hand, turns and smashes a boy-shaped hole through the wall as he runs jibbering out of sight, hoping that he'll be able to escape during the time it takes the witch to devour his sister. Don't you wish you had a brother who cared just as much about you? But of course, the witch wouldn't do such a thing, and instead dials 911 and sends for the dogsled ambulance to ride this girl to the shock trauma ward. Just kidding! They really leave her there on the floor with no help whatsoever. They do learn from this experience, however -- back on the roof, Pokey gives the witch a Santa Claus mask so that she doesn't scar any more children for life during the remainder of their holiday jaunt. Then the three of them laugh like the sick bastards they are.
That about does it for this installment, dear reader -- tune in next time, when Scary-Crayon's Christmas with Gumby review continues! By the way, episodes three and four do feature Gumby, so apparently he escaped the holiday rush alright and didn't end up picking cotton for some giant kid. In case you were wondering.
-- Wes --
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