In 1979, husband & wife country duo, Elmo Shropshire & Patsy Trigg Shropshire released a novelty song titled, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” The song is obviously about a grandmother who gets hit by Santa’s reindeer along with his sleigh. A music video will help you understand visually. Look it up on YouTube. For no apparent reason, an animated Christmas Special based on the song somehow got approved to air on former television station, The WB. (now replaced by The CW)
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer In 2000. The special was panned by critics. Despite negative reception, it continues to air every December. I’m gonna be brutally honest, I used to watch this every December since I was a kid.
The following review contains SPOILERS. If you’ve never seen it, read at your own risk. Does it still hold up? Well let’s find out shall we?
Nice & Naughty Aspects
Nice: Elmo Shropshire himself, voices The Narrator & Jake’s grandpa.
The only joke that made me laugh is when someone said “So if the bear fits, you must convince.” A reference to O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, Johnny Cochran’s quote, “If it fits you must’ve quit.”
Is it me, or does a policewoman sounds an awful lot like Frances McDormand’s as Sheriff Marge from Fargo? I would’ve given this an Extra Point if she said, “A funny lookin’ fella?” I’d rather watch The Coen Brothers’ film or FX series.
Naughty: The entire special’s narrative is nonsensical lacking a compelling Three Act Structure.
Animation for the special sometimes loses focus making some shots foggy as well as the motion can be somewhat stiff. Did the animators smoked dope after attending a Cypress Hill concert?
Musical Numbers pop up randomly. They have nothing to do with the plot just random shenanigans. Grandpa has his own song dressed like Elvis Presley.
I swear to god fellas, I’m totally not making this up. The family’s surname is “Spankenheimer.” Is this supposed to be Christmas Special for families or did that name belong in a rejected Austin Powers Holiday Special?
The family store is named, “Spankenheimer.”
The Spankenheimer’s inflatable Christmas tree looked like something Dr. Evil designed as in his rocket from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Mel is Jake’s “cousin.” She’s old enough to be his aunt. In real life, cousins are roughly close to the same age, not twenty years older. Throughout the special she’s called “Cousin Mel” rather than “Aunt Mel.”
Mel’s lackey is named “I.M. Slime.” It’s really her name. Were the writers high along with the animators?
Another pointless song shows Mel & I.M. singing and dancing about their evil scheme. Can you imagine if Alan Rickman’s character, Hans Gruber from Die Hard singing a musical number while conducting a heist with his henchmen?
At the 12:00 mark, Grandma doesn’t have any toes. It’s an animation error because the people forgot to add some white to make it look like Grandma is wearing socks.
The title song plays in the background with some characters obviously quoting lyrics after the singer states what’s going on. In the words of Wade Wilson/Deadpool, “Well that’s just lazy writing.”
Jake eavesdrop Mel’s get-rich-quick scheme. What does he do, he proceeds to laugh. Who laughs when somebody is going incognito? Did Jake ripped a silent fart? James Bond or Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible can do better stealth than this twerp!
Jake is a moronic brat who doesn’t realize that Mel managed to persuade his grandpa by signing a contract that’ll earn their store worth millions.
It’s difficult to emphasize Mel & Jake’s goals. Mel wants use an amnesiac Grandma to sue (literally) Santa. Jake on the other hand, attempts to prevent Mel from winning. I never cared about them.
Hearing Jake say “and” can be irritating. Nostalgia Critic already mocked his voice so here’s my jab. “It’s as if Chaz/Chasity Bono (Cher’s daughter turned son) got a kick in the “jingle bells” only to retain his feminine voice.”
The Climax of the special is a blatant rip-off of “Miracle On 34th Street.” Natalie Wood must be rollin’ in her grave.
The Final Verdict: F, FOR FAKER!
Besides The Star Wars Holiday Special, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is a nonsensical Christmas Special that doesn’t deserve to exist. As a kid, I used to watch it. Now that I’m older, I’m shocked by its stupidity. If I were you, don’t waste your spare time during the holidays. If you want a better animated Christmas Special, go watch some good ones such as “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” (original stop-motion) “Frosty The Snowman,” “Shrek The Halls,” “The Madagascar Penguins In A Christmas Caper” & “Ed, Edd N’ Eddy’s Jingle Jingle Jangle.” The latter three are my personal favorites.