Cartoon Review: Garfield’s Thanksgiving

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Cartoon Review, Holiday, Reviews
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Garfield’s Thanksgiving (1989 Dir. Phil Roman)

You know what? I’ve discovered recently, I hate Garfield. It’s really sad when the best part of your cartoon is that Lou Rawls sings the song over your credit sequence. It’s doubly sad because I always sort of saw that as an attempt to copy the Peanuts Specials with their use of Vince Guaraldi’s jazz music. Of course since Garfield was a cynical and calculated attempt to cash in on what had gone before, it pretty much measures up. I hate to be really nasty, but it is true that Garfield hasn’t been funny in 20 years and these specials pinpoint that fact. There is a joke in here that shows up in all three of the specials on this DVD, pretty much at the same time in each one too. It’s pretty sad to see how little effort went into each of these cartoons.

I kind of hope he’s signed up for the Big Sleep.

We start with Garfield waking up Jon by playing marching music through a boom box. See, Garfield wants breakfast and not just breakfast but a huge breakfast. See, that’s funny because big G is fat and he’s fat because he eats too much. That’s funny because… well it isn’t funny actually. Another thing not funny “About those pancakes? Next time a little less pan a little more cake.” What the hell does that even mean? Are we to understand that Jon, in a desperate attempt to free himself, decided to scrape up some of the Teflon coating from the pan to poison Garfield? Are we to also understand that Big G not only knows, but laughs at Jon’s try at murder because he can’t be killed? What is going on here?

Hey kids, I’ll haunt your dreams. You’ll never be free of me. Give in to madness now! Only in insanity will you find refuge.

Anyway, lets gat back to the story. Garfield notices that the calendar, which strangely has the day but not the date or month on it, says that Jon is to take Garfield to the vet. We are then treated to a not very funny mental run through about why the vet is bad because she prescribes what’s good for him, which he believes to be bad. Only bad things are good, all good is bad, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. Garfield is so comically afraid of the vet that he decides to remove Wednesday from the running and make it be Thursday. He yanks the day off the calendar and rams the day down Odie’s throat. Poor Odie seems to almost choke on the hate leveled upon him.

Now none of those pesky orphans or widows will have ANY food.

This leads Big G to see that Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. He then explains the Garfield view of thanksgiving. “That’s the day people celebrate having food by eating as much of it as possible.” As this was aired November 23rd 1989, the 80s and their excesses weren’t quite over yet. Song likes like “The more you eat, the more grateful you will feel” weren’t quite embarrassing yet, but it was near. The special almost never got played after this one year because everyone was kind of embarrassed by Garfield in the 90s. It’s also never shown outside the US and Canada, not because we’re afraid of shoving our holidays down the throats of other cultures, but because we feared the backlash that might occur if we showed that this is how Americans treat this holiday. So disastrous was this cartoon, that they never made another Garfield Holiday cartoon again! In fact there were only two other attempts to do Big G on TV at all after this. Anyway, Garfield tries to convince Odie that eating a lot on Thanksgiving is a tradition and then asks us to remember how he loves tradition. The problem is if you saw the Christmas episode the year before you would note he hates tradition. Not only is he not funny, now he’s teaching children to lie.

They are smug in their evil.

Garfield gets so excited he runs to Jon and shows him the calendar, hoping Jon will remember to get lots of good things to eat. Jon actually says that they had better go to the grocery store to get lots of good things to eat. Who the hell talks like this? Even in a cartoon? Lots of good things to eat? Could you make that a little more vague? Maybe, lots of things that you can get at the grocery store? Why say it like that? Not “I’ve got some things to pick up.” Or “I’ve got to go get the turkey.” Or “I’m a useless pimple on the face of humanity I’d better blow out the pilot lights, turn the stove and oven all the way up and light a match.” No! None of that, lots of good things to eat. And then the opening credits start. Yeah, we’re only 3 minutes into this show so far. I should probably pick up the pace. It’s hard when they give you so many things to complain about though in such a short space of time.

Man found dead with can of pie filling stuffed up his nether regions!

So anyway the credits end and Jon has bought more food than I’ve ever seen anyone else buy like ever. I drive a Mini Cooper and my car has never been as stuffed as his car is in this cartoon. He also took his cat to the grocery store, which had to violate some health codes. Big G babbles about all the wonderful things there are to eat, putting an ingredient to Jon when he mentions it, despite Jon trying to drive. Instead of taking his cat to the vet to be put down for being such a pain, he takes the cat to the vet for a check up, and to check out Liz the hot vet he likes.

Secretly, she delighted in their dual tortures.

Liz Wilson, the long suffering veterinarian has to try and give a cat an examination while this idiot sexually harasses her. He begs for a date, acts like a moron, and then holds his breath until she agrees to go out with him. She leaves him to hold his breath and tells him about how Garfield needs to go on a diet. This brings in a lot of not funny comedy, all while Jon is turning red. When Jon finally collapses Liz inexplicably agrees to go out with him, instead of calling for security or something, which is only encouraging negative behavior. Jon then announces that it’s wonderful and he’ll serve her Thanksgiving dinner for them. Does Liz have no family? No friends? Not even a co-worker who takes pity on her and invites her over? She has to go to stalker-boy’s for thanksgiving dinner? I ask again, what the flipping hell?

Told you not to eat that hot pepper.

Now we get a lot of not funny “comedy” about Garfield having to be on a diet. Things like, he only getting half a leaf of lettuce and crap like that. Never mind that such a crash diet would lead to the cat’s death within days. After that, the filler starts. Odie has a whistle to tell when Big G is going off his diet. This isn’t funny, but it kills time. Murders the time actually. Big G weighs himself on a talking scale, who mistakes him for Orson Wells. HA! Because Orson Wells was fat, you get it? Do you get the subtle humor? Then there is this truly messed up bit. Garfield decides to get some cookies, so he walks to the cookie jar to get some cookies. But Odie is in there with his whistle. There isn’t enough room for him in that jar, but his head pops out and he blows the whistle. So Big G goes for… flour? He decides to just eat flour? Some kind of gluten deficiency or something? Odie is in there too. Then he proves to be in the salt and sugar jars as well. Where did the salt go? Did Odie just cut out holes in the table to mess with Big G? And why after blowing, when Garfield isn’t trying to get anything does he then pop up blowing the whistle? It makes no damn sense. Nothing in this show is making sense. It’s like the cartoonist are challenging me!

If my weight goes down, that means I’m not depriving the poor of enough food.

They don’t even have an agenda. They’re just daring me to watch the whole thing. They have such contempt for their evil masters and the viewing public that they’ve decided to turn in a product that is completely unwatchable. People talk about bad, but they have no idea until they’ve been forced to watch this. They’re sneering at us and laughing as they sit in their unlighted cages, unable to see the sun or ever know the love of another human being. These are horribly twisted up people, the monsters that made this. They scratch all day, just putting whatever ideas come to them in their delirium and animate it, in hopes that someone will notice and come rescue them. I wish I could reach them, either to save them or put them out of my misery. Sadly, they continue to this very day and I have to watch the results. I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Clearly his smack is kicking in. Also, where are his legs?

Anyway, after a commercial break we come to the morning of Thanksgiving Day. Big G is cranky, Jon is creaming his shorts. We learn that Jon is not only a jerk, but he’s a frickin’ incompetent too. I can stand many things, but a person who doesn’t know you’re supposed to thaw out the damn turkey is just not to be borne. He rubs butter all over his arms when it says “rub skin with butter” because he’s just that dumb. He stuffs the frozen bird into the oven and turns up the oven to the top. This would lead to several kinds of poisoning kids, don’t try this at home… any part of it. Don’t even watch the special, you’re not trained like I am. He puts all the vegetables into one pot, not sliced or anything, into a pot and pours water over them. How does he manage to dress himself on the first try every morning? This is supposed to be funny I think, but all I can think of is my wish to get a dimension-jumping device so I can go to where ever this place is and shoot Jon in the back of the head, execution style. Even cartoon food deserves better than this. So then Big G decides to cover the veggies in garlic powder, which I think is supposed to display evil on his part. The problem is that at this point it might actually help the situation rather than hurt it. That bit doesn’t even go anywhere, it will never be mentioned again. The next time we see the kitchen that is completely forgotten. This cartoon is the most hateful thing ever done in the name of Thanksgiving.

It is through will alone that I set my mind in motion.

We then get Jon changing into a dozen different outfits, including a gorilla costume. The whole show is like this, just sight gag after sight gag in a row. This thing was padded to within an inch of its life. I can only imagine that the script was only about four pages long. He then forgets to wear his pants and we see him with sock suspenders. SOCK SUSPENDERS? IN 1989? NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!! I do not accept this! Anyway, he goes and answers the door in his undies, and then runs back to put on pants. It’s humiliating just to watch, it’s just too much. Jon goes and checks the food in the kitchen, and during that we learn just how incompetent Liz is. She decides to explain to Big G all the problems a person has when they crash diet. Each symptom she mentions is instantly displayed by Big G in order to get her to think he should be allowed to ditch the diet. Seriously, how stupid do you have to be to accept that when you tell someone who doesn’t want to have the treatment you prescribe the side affects and the watch them have them all as you describe each, to then accept that! To believe that he’s having all these symptoms at once, she must be an idiot. Maybe that’s why no one wants her over. I can accept her talking to the cat, most people talk to pets.

He honestly thought this was the best way to tell Liz how he feels about her.

Anyway, she nixes the diet and Big G remembers what a pig’s ear Jon has made of the meal. They then decide to call Jon’s Grandmother, which takes some difficulty because they needed to pad out the episode. So they get grandma over, who rides a motorcycle like all grandmothers in TV do. It’s supposed to be shocking and strange, but we’ve seen it so many times its cliché and hateful now. Everything in this special is hateful though, so I’m not sure why I’m pointing that one instance out. While grandma comes to save the day, Jon recites the encyclopedia entry on Thanksgiving for Liz. See, he never tells her that Grandma is cooking, so he has to pretend that he’s doing it all. See, lying is okay if you’re doing it to bed a good-looking vet, it seems. He doesn’t suffer any evils for this deception, he’s allowed to win. No morality in this story, just evil heaped upon evil. I’m pretty sure after the show is over Jon and his pets follow Liz home and sacrifice her to Satan or something.

Jon has been lapse in his evil. Big G saw him not kick a puppy the other day.

When they show the dinner table laden with food, Big G turns to the camera and says “Nice Touch” which he says in every show at about the 20 minute mark. Every! Single! Time! I hate this cat. So they have the meal, choking on their bitter resentment of each other and the knowledge that they are all hateful monsters. A bit of useless music is sung, and the food turns to ashes on their tongues. The song is really, really bad. Like so bad that if you torrent this, the copyright holder comes to your house and punches you for spreading the vile creation. Liz leaves after dinner fortunate not to have been killed for nearly discovering Jon’s house of cards that would be quick to collapse if examined. I’m pretty sure that a Liz becoming a skin suit is only a matter of time anyway. Jon has that look in his big glassy eye. He’s already thinking of making love to her severed head. “Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me.”

Oh look, an old woman who rides a motor cycle! I’ve never seen that on TV before. Mostly because I only heard about TV 15 minutes ago.

The end of the show is so hateful that I can’t even bear to talk about it. No evils are punished, no frauds are revealed, the liars and the cheats win! The Republicans were in power when this was made and that probably says everything you need to know. At the next election, Clinton won. I can only think that the country needed a change after this despicable attack on our most beloved of all holidays. I really hate this thing, it’s pernicious and should have been wiped from the face of the earth by glorious and revelatory fire. But it wasn’t, which means the atheists are right and there is no god.

There is no hope, you will all be eaten.

Official Score:
-40 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

Even Garfield can’t believe he’s in this stupid special.

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  1. Ginger says:

    You know what makes me sad? That Garfield’s idiot fans hate on poor Nermal–whom I love. 😥

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