Cartoon Review: Rugrats “The Turkey Who Came to Dinner”

Posted: November 25, 2010 in Cartoon Review, Holiday, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay, just an update on what’s going on. I appear to have been kidnapped. I seem to be in a small cell with a computer and limited access. So far I’ve been beaten a few times, mainly because I balked when told that I’ll be doing holiday reviews again. This worries me slightly, because I’m kind of getting the idea that these won’t be good specials. Every time I ask what I’ll be reviewing, they just sort of laugh. What I really balked at (I like the word balked) is that I’m supposed to review commercials as well. So, yeah, sort of worried. Let’s see what they’ve assigned me to watch today…


Rugrats: “The Turkey Who Came to Dinner” (First Broadcast 21 November 1997 Nickelodeon Dir. Rick Bugental & Jim Duffy)

Hey! Rugrats, who doesn’t like Rugrats? Okay, don’t answer that one. Some people really don’t like this cartoon, which I can sort of understand I suppose. I like it though, and as such, I’m going to review the Thanksgiving episode. Over packed November schedule be damned! Let’s do one more thing so December will seem like slim pickings by comparison! This is an episode from ’97, so it’s back from before the show jumped the shark by including new babies. Before that though, I actually liked Rugrats. You must remember, when the show was new, so was the idea of winking at the adults with jokes that would go over the kid’s heads. Everyone does it now, but this was one of the first places I can remember it happening. So, yeah, I liked the show. Let’s se how this Thanksgiving special stacks up.

She’s decided to eat the children… just now.

So we begin with a fairly typical beginning for a Rugrats episode. Stu and Didi Pickles are hosting a Thanksgiving party at their house, with their friends and relations coming over with their kids. The kids are what’s important here, but the parents all have their own storylines and subplots. Mostly the men are trying to hook up multiple satellite dishes in order to watch every football game simultaneously. The women argue about food preparation, because this show takes place in 1943 according to the evidence of these stereotypes. Speaking of which, the kids are wearing headbands with fake feathers in them to be Indians. Because… yeah! Cultural sensitivity demands we call them “Native Americans” but doesn’t require that we stop boiling their entire way of life down to a piece of headgear. Oh and the big mispronunciation joke is that they call it “Hanksgiving”. Yeah, even the mispronunciation joke is sort of half-assed. Thanksgiving don’t get no respect. First the Garfield Special, now this. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil; being our heroes, decide to have a “Hanksgiving” celebration. However, since they don’t understand what that is, I suppose it’s going to devolve into a Lord of the Flies style murder fest pretty quickly. Chuckie is going to be the first to die, bank on it.

Pull the strings! Pull the strings!

Grandpa Pickles announces that he won a turkey and that it should be delivered by 4 o’clock, which leaves me to wonder a few things. Who gives a turkey away for a cribbage competition? Who delivers a turkey by 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving when the preparation takes hours? Why did no one bother to make sure that they had a turkey before now? Shouldn’t that have been attended to? Do you know if said turkey will be fresh, frozen or even dead? Why is there only the one wimpy guy helping with the food? Why isn’t Muppet Babies available on DVD? How the hell does Zeist fit into the continuity? Whose brilliant idea was it to have Roy Burns pretending to be Jason? Why don’t the eagles just fly the ring to Mount Doom? Who actually killed the Sternwood’s Driver? How was a bag of sand heavier than a gold statue? How could the nurse have heard him say Rosebud when she came in after he dropped the snow globe? Does the Russian still have the falcon or what? Okay, so, not all of those questions can be answered here. Got a little carried away, I let things get to me again. Sorry about that, but I have questions and no one will answer them. All I get is dragged out of this little cell, beaten for not reviewing commercials, and then thrown back into the cell. Oh, yeah, FYI… I was kidnapped last week. Did I mention that? I’ve been chained to a desk and told to review things. If there are commercial breaks, I have to insert a commercial and review it. If I don’t they unleash some angry, angry dogs on my ass. You guys could send rescue or something… just sayin’.

I can feel his power, the force is strong with this one.

So while the kids are assembling a dinner, Angelica decides that she wants to hold a Thanksgiving parade. Actually, she wants a parade to celebrate Angelica, and she demands help. They decline to help, citing the earlier stated feast idea. Angelica takes this surprisingly well considering she’s the Darth Vader of this series, and even strikes a blow for humanity by telling them to take off the feathers. They do, but soon more feathers are entered into the mix via a live turkey. Yeah, the turkey that Grandpa won is a bona fide live turkey. Because that happens, right? People get live turkeys delivered to them on thanksgiving… right? Look, the rest of this special won’t work if you don’t go with this. I mean, if you’re having trouble here, I shudder to think what you’ll say when the turkey explodes out of the box and falls in love with their dog on first sight. Yeah, that happens. The turkey decides to chase the dog around the back yard in an attempt at cross species rape. COMEDY!

When the cocaine runs out, you always end up in a pile on the floor.

So while the women are shopping (1943) and the men are arranging football, Angelica does her best to fake a parade. During this period, Tommy attempts to distract the turkey by asking it to come to their Hanksgiving dinner. When Angelica finds them, she pulls the normal Angelica thing by blackmailing the babies into helping with her parade. They agree, knowing that any deal made with Angelica will end in tragedy, but also knowing that they have no choice. You know who else doesn’t have a choice? The NAZIS! Sorry, it’s me! I don’t have a choice. I have to review a commercial now, because we’ve hit the commercial break in the cartoon. It’s not a problem. I’ve been given a few commercials to review. They aren’t exactly current, but that’s okay. Let’s see what we’ve got here…

My bigoted stereotype, let me show you it.

So let’s go with the most appropriate things we can find. This commercial for Kent Cigarettes is sort of… giving the earlier bigotry a run for its money. It goes on about what people in different countries are supposed to love. A Frenchman loves the Eiffel Tower and the Irish love leprechauns it seems. They don’t appear to have updated their view of the world since about 1912 or so. While going on about what people around the world love, a smoker only has allegiance to Kent cigarettes. More taste and fine tobacco replaces all sense of patriotism or allegiance according to these people. Evidently, once they have you hooked, they can make you do whatever they want. Next thing you know, they’ll make smokers over throw the government. I knew smoking was dangerous, I didn’t know they were planning to destroy America. See it here!

Not helping your case here guys. I guess I should be glad he’s not drunk and Riverdancing.

Aaaand, we’re back! So we return from that and find that the kids have put together a parade for Angelica, with the turkey as one of the floats. Sadly, the turkey gets a look at the dog and ruins the parade. This leads to Angelica telling the kids that she’s going to get the adults to murder their friend and that she’s going to help kill him. While that’s going on, the “adult” males have built some sort of pyramid to celebrate closeted homosexuality, i.e. a tower of TVs showing football. Grandpa is looking for the turkey, and not having much luck because he clearly suffered a closed head injury during the war. The women come back from shopping in 1943, and rationing is clearly on because they could only find a few things. Seems that they had NO food for the big day and were forced to buy up whatever they could find.

Ya see? That’s how you cornhole someone! (Yeah, I went there. I thought about not saying it, but screw it, my mother probably won’t read this and we’re all adults here)

This whole thing is sort of insane. The grandfather tries to get the turkey, the babies try to launch the turkey with the teeter-totter, which results in madness. The turkey is launched, but knocks down the satellite dishes, the microwave catches fire and explodes, and everyone blames the turkey. The babies protect the turkey, forming a barrier of life around him, reading their weapons and clanging their swords against their shields. When the adults take a step too close, Chuckie looses it and cuts off their legs. He then goes off the rails, kills Angelica and wears her face as a hat. After that, he sets up an autonomous state, ruling like a 4th Century king, killing any who disobey him. Okay, all that really happens is Didi gives a “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown” speech. My version is better, there’s more blood and action in it.

It’s like an altar built to worship Best Buy. I am profoundly disturbed, on about six different levels.

Everyone agrees that Thanksgiving is awesome and decide to eat Reptar cereal instead of the turkey. Seriously, they had NO food at all? They’re reduced to breakfast cereal? Are these people all mentally deficient? This is going to end with a Donner Party style smörgåsbord, isn’t it? I can see the news reports now, and the trial, and the tell-all books. Sad really. They seemed like such nice people too. I never saw this episode back in the day, so I can’t say if I would have enjoyed it more when it was fresh. As it stands, it’s harmless as worst and mildly amusing at best. It’s not bad exactly, but you’re not going to pull it out every year and gather the family around to watch it.


Official Score:
26 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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