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Roscoe Lee Browne
In this special Christmas episode of the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons, their sidekick Orko accidentally gets beamed to Earth during a test of a new spy satellite. Orko manages to get back Planet Eternia, but brings along two Earth children, Alisha and Manuel, with him. Since it's Christmastime on Earth, the kids are naturally filled with the holiday spirit, but this overflowing goodwill attracts the unwelcome attention of the Horde Prime and Skeletor. Will the combined power of He-Man, She-Ra and the spirit of Christmas be enough to stop them? Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just because you CAN make a He Man Christmas Special doesn't mean you SHOULD!
It is just my opinion but I believe that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was television's first infomercial. It was, you have to admit, a day-in day-out 22 minute commercial for crappy plastic dolls. The animation, used over and over again, makes up about three feet of film and the scripts are best suited to lining the bottom of the birdcage. So what other explanation could there be?
The show was five colors of stupidity thanks to the unremarkable minds of the once powerful company known as The Third Rei . . . er uh . . . I mean Filmmation. To us students of animation, Filmmation did for cartoons what the federal government has done for education, cutting costs until there was nothing left. The studio cut costs by recycling the same cels over and over again. The effect is that characters repeatedly move and talk in the same patterns in every episode and rarely moved or spoke outside a designated set of eight specific body movements. For a similar effect, check out CSPAN.
The show wasn't exactly Shakespeare. I imagine that the scripts weren't discussed in a board room so much as they were conceived in the elevator on the way to the second floor. The stories revolved around He-Man's attempt to thwart the latest evil plan by Skeletor, a muscle-bound mench with a skull-face who none-the-less had expressions. Skeletor's plans ranged from kidnapping to fist fights to book burning (that's not a joke) and they usually got snuffed out by some lame dialogue and a sword fight. The last two minutes of the show were toddled out with some lesson extracted from the day's events. Sometimes when the show presented little more than 22 minutes of fighting, the lesson was given to the old standby - Say No to Drugs?
Even with all this feux ingenuity flapping about at Filmmation the show never-the-less became an enormous hit, lasting three years and selling millions of crappy plastic dolls.
In 1985, in the midst of this popularity came an idea so staggeringly stupid and unbelievable it still stuns me even today - the studio turned out a Christmas special. Not just a Christmas special, but an Hour LONG Christmas special complete with dumpy cute kids, a puppy, a phallic-shaped spy cam and He-Man dressed as Santa Claus. But wait it gets worse.
The story begins when He Man's comic relief sidekick Orko accidentally gets beamed to Earth during a test of Skeletor's new spy satellite. Orko manages to get back Planet Eternia, but brings along two Earth children, Alisha and Manuel. Now, Alisha and Manuel fit right in on Eternia because neither have anything interesting to say, both perspire cuteness and we the viewers just want to strangle the sugary sweetness right outta both of them. Oh, and they brought their cute lil 'ol puppy along with them and he's godda widdiw swedder on! Awwwww, *hack* *cough* *gag*
It was probably not by accident that the two are brought to the planet Eternia just at the same time that Earth is gearing up for the commerce assault known as Christmas time. People of Eternia have no concept of Christmas and why should they even worry about it, they don't even have a mall?
Now, as goofball as this may sound, Horak and Skeletor don't like this Christmastime nonsense and so Hordak orders Skeletor to kidnap the kids so he can do away with them. Alisha and Manuel are so nauseating that my heart welled up a wan hope that Horak would succeed (Hey! Leave me to dream). If he had then I would have been spared a this jaw dropping exchange:
Manuel: `Christmas is lots of fun. We get presents and we do a lot of fun things.'
Skeletor: `You mean you get in FIGHTS!'
Alisha: `No we do FUN things.'
Skeletor: `But fights are FUN.'
Pick your jaw up, you're going to ruin the carpet.
Into this chaos comes a whole batch of new characters, my favorite of which are the Monstroids, knee-high little cyber-cuties that look like mech-rejects from Rainbow Bright. They have blue faces and they fight pretty well (as well as they can with only five cels of animation) and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Filmmation was using them to parade their new toy line.
Skeletor's heart (pause) melts just a bit when he begins to carry that puppy and and dog licks his face. From this bit of germ-spreading exchange, he learns the true meaning of Christmas so much so that he wants to send the kids back home instead of sending them to Hoard Prime. Hordak attempts to grab the kids and pull them onto his spaceship but Skeletor zaps the ship with his staff (the one in his hand) and sends the ship hurtling into the cosmos. The kids go home with all kinds of new toys from Eternia and promply send their parents into a catatonic shock. I know the feeling, I'm still feeling the effects myself.
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