I’ll be honest… I don’t like this one much– it’s at #8 because it’s an actual Christmas special (and #9 was my stretching the truth a bit), and it’s one of my brother’s favorites (Merry Christmas, kid). And it was the only special we weren’t able to replace when the 20+ year-old recorded off TV VHS tape bit the dust two years ago. So… here’s Garfield.
The special opens with the fat cat dreaming about the perfect Christmas– unlimited lasagna and gifts. Plus Jon in an elf costume, but let’s not dwell on that. He wakes up just in time to pack up and drive to the farm where Jon’s parents, grandmother, and brother live. Jon and Odie are bouncing with excitement. Garfield is, well, you know…. They arrive at the farm and meet the family: Mom, Dad, Doc Boy, and Grandma. Grandma was always my favorite part of the special. She’s just awesome– she got the show’s touching moment, and all the double-entendres. The look on Dad’s face when she tells him “I’m eatin’ for two, now, dear.” (She’d been feeding the animals under the table.)
But what really makes the special, I think, is the scene in which she reminisces about her late husband. It’s sentimental, but not too much, and more than that, it’s the type of quiet, moving scene you don’t really expect out of Garfield. They even go back to it later when he discovers an old packet of Grandpa’s love letters to Grandma from way back when. This also leads to the special’s raciest joke– the letter implies that lots of hot sex will follow Grandpa’s return (I always got the impression he was in WWII or Korea). And let’s face it, that’s part of Christmas, too; September is the month that has the most birthdays.
Anyway, the songs are a little lame, but the animation is nice, and the story itself is pretty sweet. It knows when to put the cynical jokes away and let the Christmas magic do its thing. I guess it deserves a spot on the Top 10 list after all.