“On the 3rd day of Christmas (because that’s how he roles),
Your Screen Squinty gave to thee…”
A Garfield Christmas Special.
This is a made for TV short animated feature broadcast on CBC in 1987 (and continued to be broadcast until 2000) based off of the original Garfield comics. The story centers on Garfield (Lorenzo Music), Jon (Thom Huge), and Odie (Gregg Berger) visiting Jon’s family farm for Christmas.
This is a short whose strength lies in the characters.
Each character is a certain type that is found in the family farm formula, the aggravated slightly shy brother who stays at home, the mother that takes delight in cooking large sumptuous meals, the crotchety father, and the eccentric grandmother. Jon interacting with his family, and with each other as a family at Christmas, is enjoyable to watch and comes across natural, with a lot of warmth and humour with each other without coming across as sappy.
The strongest of the characters is Grandma (Pat Carroll), who is this amazing athletic extrovert with abs of steel, yet at the same time, in these great quiet moments with Garfield, is a woman who has known love and grief, something felt more keenly during times when family togetherness, or not being alone in general, is so strongly stressed upon. this edition didn’t stray her to far from the wacky grandmother obsessed with Jon Travolta from the comics, which was nice.
The animation itself was decent for the period, especially for a made for television holiday special, and didn’t veer from the comics noticeably in character design, and the voice actors all did an amazing job, particularly Lorenzo Music as Garfield.
The only thing that could be considered a bit of a nitpick is some of the music, which can distract from the mood of the short from time to time, though the yodeling Christmas song was a fun idea and worked with the theme of the family well enough.
In the end, this special is a nice slice of life bit of comedy and a moment or two of nice quietness, well balanced with some decent voice talent and fun characters.
I would recommend giving it a watch this holiday season with a nice mug of hot cocoa or equivalent.