The Rugrats Chanukah Special (1995)
Still I read more- in hidden, forgotten books and scrolls to which my new vision led me- and pushed through fresh gateways of space and being and life-patterns toward the core of the unknown cosmos.
I know, I know, I should have done this last week, since Chanukah is over now. I didn't check my calander when I put these together, please forgive. Now if you don't know the Nickelodeon Show Rugrats, it's a show were babies have adventures while the adults are doing their own thing. There is a lot of winking at the adult in the room along with humor for the kids, only the winking at the adult went downhill as the show went on. It's normally presented in two shorts of about 11 minutes each making a 22 minute program (a broadcast half hour) although there were a few specials that filled the entire 22 minutes with one story. This special about Chanukah is one of those. This special is mainly intended to explain what Chanukah is to little kids and gentiles who might be interested.
Soon as I can pronounce it, I'm gonna scream "Die you Greek M.F."
We actually start in ancient Israel, and a voice over explaining the Greek invasion. They put Tommy Pickles into the place of Judah Macabee, and as is par for the course the details are tilted just slightly. Tommy claims to be a Macababy and their version of the Torah is a pop-up scroll. We don't get any further in the story because as it turns out it was Grandma reading the kids a book and she has to stop when Didi asks for help in the kitchen. Actually I think we don't go any further so they can skip the whole war thing, which isn't really appropriate for a kid's show. In the kitchen we learn that Grandpa Boris is putting on a play at the synagogue, we also learn that his long time rival is the one who got his picture in the paper.
Monster + Tree in the mouth = COMEDY!
The babies discuss how things are strange at the moment, the adults are making pancakes in the night time, there is a thingy on the TV with lots of candles, and Tommy gets a present every night. The babies decide that it might be his birthday, but Angelica explains that it's really for Chanukah, which she explains is the time when the best Christmas specials are on. Then we're taken to Drew, but his part in the show is uninteresting so forget him. His mission it to take a monstrous Menorah he's built to the synagogue, but we only get to see him a few times and it's not very good.
Charge of the Light Brigade. Because he has a flashlight see? It's a pun!
So they take the kids to the synagogue, to see Boris in his play about the meaning of Chanukah. The babies of course misunderstand and think that Boris is complaining about the Meany of Chanukah, and that in order to save the day they need to put the Meany down for a nap. When they see Boris's friend/enemy being the wicked Greek King in the play they assume he's the Meany and storm the stage. This gets them put into nursery with Angelica who was also locked up there as well. When they explain their problem to Angelica she explains that the best way to put a grown up down for a nap is TV. She just wants to use them to get herself to a TV.
The ancient and horrifying ritual of nose fights is seen here.
The play then descends into chaos and the two principal actors end up shouting at each other on the stage until they storm off. Sadly we see that the main problem between Boris and his old chum Shlomo is that they were jealous of each other, Boris was always talking about his kids and Shlomo always talking about his business. As it turns out though the reason Shlomo threw himself into his work is because he and his wife were never blessed with children as he puts it. Shlomo hangs his head and decides to leave, explaining he has no one to share traditions with anyway.
"That's right." Tommy thought. "Just reach for the book and when your guard is down I'll snap your neck."
When the kids get the TV, Angelica takes off with it so she can watch her specials. She runs into Shlomo who is leaving and the TV breaks. This causes her to cry and cry, and of course since he's never dealt with children he doesn't know what to do. The babies come up with a plan to try and get Shlomo to go to sleep, deciding to read him a story. Tommy approaches with the book they were reading before and Boris comes along to explain that the babies want Shlomo to read to them. It's here that we finally get to the end of the end of the Chanukah tale, explaining the miracle. They then also show how the tradition is celebrated now. As the story is told, Shlomo falls asleep, and the kids agree that they've saved the day because Boris and the Meany are now playing nice.
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn." Yeah, it's a lame joke I've used three times now, but I'm running low.
There isn't much else to say about this really. It's sort of half educational and half entertainment. If you've seen Rugrats, then you probably know how the format of the show goes. It comes on a disc that has two Christmas specials, a Thanksgiving special and a Kwanzaa special as well. What I bought also comes with a disc full of Halloween specials to get everything from October through December over in one set. I'm not going to review the rest of the stuff on the disc, because I don't have room and I don't want one group to be too heavily represented. It's good though, you should buy this set if you want cartoons about the holidays.
And we leave with a final cover shot.