waynepygram.com: Ray and Mike's Christmas Cheer, Blatantly Ripping Off GirlMeetsWorldReviewed

waynepygram.com: Ray and Mike's Christmas Cheer, Blatantly Ripping Off GirlMeetsWorldReviewed

After reading Christian and Sean's Christmas Cheer post (which is linked) I've decided to just go ahead and do my own with the same system and hope Mike can join me, and hey, if we ripped off "Episode Grade" and "MVP" from them we might as well rip off their rating system too:

5 Golden Rings: Hey, the Olympics are on in like a month or so. The Olympics have 5 rings, but they're not golden, depending on whether or not they make them multi-colored or not.
4 Calling Birds: They'll call out if an episode is more than kinda Christmas-y or not.
3 French Hens: 3 French Hens are only kinda-sorta Christmas-y because they're too busy running away and surrendering from Ze Germahnz.
2 Turtle Doves: Turtle Doves are only a little bit tiny Christmas-y to reflect their own species status. Are they Turtles? Are they Doves? Which are they?! WHY CAN'T THEY MAKE UP THEIR MINDS!
And a Partridge in a Pair Tree: A non-Christmas Episode passed off as a Christmas Episode? Why, that makes as much sense as a strictly ground-burrowing animal being stuck up in a tree traditionally associated with non-wintery climates!

Since Christian and Sean covered all the Boy/Girl Meets World eps for us, naturally it only makes as much sense for us to cover other Disney Channel Christmas specials. Since it's post-Christmas now a lot of them aren't going to be shown anymore (although they still might be available OnDemand and Watch Disney/Disney Now but meh) and for shows Disney would rather just bury now like A.N.T. Farm, Shake it Up and...well, Girl Meets World, good luck even then, and since I've literally seen them all I'll just be recalling them from memory.

And since Disney Channel loves Christmas DCOMs I'll cover them in a separate post (which means Good Luck Charlie will get to be in two this time)  doing just the episodes has proven to be pretty tedious, I don't want to have to go back and rewatch/struggle to remember every Christmas DCOM, and Nostalgia Critic is doing it for me so yeah, forget it. I'll only cover two, the two that I mention below: Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas! and Twas the Night, specifically because they're my favorite Christmas DCOMs (I'll cover GLC below with the episodes, and Twas the Night will get its own post)

Oh, and full disclosure: As a general rule, I freakin' hate Christmas episodes. Mostly because they've been following the same damn pattern since...I dunno, since I've been alive. I'm not going to go so far as to do the new hip Millennial trend of saying Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie, although I'm really tempted to and it's mostly driven by my hate of being forced to belong to these freakin' Millennial hipsters I detest with all my black Grinch-like heart, but one of the reasons why I do like It's A Wonderful Life is because it's super-effective at getting at what the Christmas spirit means without being hopelessly tied into Christmas tropes. You can watch It's A Wonderful Life any time of the year - I could watch it on my birthday in the literal middle of May and it will have the same seasonal feel as it does Thanksgiving or Christmas. I also like the classic animated Grinch because it's so well-done, and I even like the Bass-Rankin stuff because for all their age-related wonkiness they're charming, have legitimately creative yet classic plots and narratives and I just love clay-mation and heck those movies might be a big reason why I'm so in love with Maker-culture. I guess as a bit of a spoiler for the DCOM version of this post, Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas and Twas the Night are some of my most favorite DCOMs of all time (Twas the Night deserves special mention that very few people bring up, not even Nostalgia Critic, that I'll also get into). But most TV show episodes, especially on the mainstream broadcast networks...it's like all they do is string up a cheesy banner that says Merry Christmas, and insist that every minute going forward on that episode has to be a sight gag involving that banner.

So yeah, don't be surprised if the better the Christmas score, the worse actual qualitative rating the episode gets.

So let's just go on down the line starting with, eh why not, Jessie

Christmas Story: One of my "favorite" parts about Christmas Story (and a lot of other Season 1 and even Season 2 through 4 episodes, although it's the Christmas special itself that gets to be the biggest offender), is that the episode wants to keep insisting that Jessie, again played by Debby Ryan who at least at the time many people (including myself, I suppose) considered to be one of the best-looking actresses on the network, is so hideous people literally can't look at her. Other than that, all the episode is is a 24-minute long string of "Worst of A.N.T. Farm"-quality sight gags revolving around holiday tropes that were starting to feel shopworn probably sometime before Nixon resigned from office.

Episode Grade: D+ At least it's better than the one time Jessie got groped and then insulted for being ugly. Yes, this actually happened on a Disney Channel show involving a character played by someone who isn't just known for having a large bust size but is also a real sex abuse survivor. Way To Fucking Go There. The episode in question, BTW, is Capture the Nag which of course is a Season 4 episode (to run down the stats of that episode: Episode Grade: F minus minus, MVP: eh Debby why not). 

Episode MVP: Debby Ryan because why not.

Christmas Rating: Five Golden Rings, Like The Ones Painted on the Side of the Hindenberg, a giant Nazi airship full of gas that exploded and killed a bunch of people And this just tends to prove my point exactly why I tend to hate Christmas specials. Again, it's just 24 minutes of people standing around being idiots with equally stupid, groan-worthy jokes incorporating the word Christmas.

Austin & Jessie's All Star New Year: Yeah the title says "New Year" but the episode blatantly starts out during Christmas and there's a bunch of other reasons why I'm going to say it counts that I'm going to be too lazy to get into (not to mention it originally aired well within the Christmas season, December 7 2012 [wow already half a decade ago], a date I remember because 1.] it's Pearl Harbor Day and 2.] that was the date my dad let the family know he's decided it was time to go into retirement mode and not extend his employment contract beyond the few years remaining on the current one [in fact I got the phone call just a few minutes after the Disney Channel premieres that night]). Anyway, the first half of the episode (written by the A&A team, I'm just going to assume Kiefer and Sopalope) is 24 minutes of the A&A team being stuck on a plane, with all the entertainment value that brings to the table. The second half (written by the Jessie team, I'm assuming either Pammy O'Connell or some of the worst writers the series has to offer, I dunno, Ahren and McLaughlin or example) is about how Jessie, yet again as a reminder played by Debby Ryan who is also a real-life songwriter and singer, is such an untalented (and unattractive) hack she literally has to plagiarize off a little kid. 

Oh, and the big Ross Lynch solo that was promoted for this movie (which was also promoted for the Shake it Up: Make Your Mark special that aired back in the fall of that year, only the second and as it would turn out very last one) is one big giant sexual entendre.

Fun Fact: this would be the very last time each half of a crossover would be treated as an individual episode under production codes and even given individual titles, with the Austin & Ally half being Big Dreams & Big Apples, and the Jessie half being Nanny in Miami. From that point on both halves of a crossover would only be referred collectively under the crossover's name - if they had individual titles for either half of Good Luck Jessie for example, they've never publicly released them as far as I can tell. It's also only the second and so far second to last crossover where each respective half of the episode actually takes place in the locale of the other half (the Austin & Ally half takes place in NYC, the Jessie half takes place in Miami). The only other ones to do that is way back to the first mega-crossover, Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana where the entire crossover took place on the SS Tipton, including the WoWP and Hannah Montana portions, and then most recently in...Monstober '15 *shudders* even though that was more of an incidental crossover (though for Liv and Maddie and Best Friends Whenever the crossovers actually ended up being integral to the plots). In Good Luck Jessie, the GLC portion still takes place in Denver (at least partially) and the Jessie portion takes place entirely in NYC; in Jessie's Aloha Holidays it takes place entirely at a "neutral" location in Hawaii, and as for Spider-Man's Halloween Night at the Museum, well both series take place in NYC which was enough of a justification for that crossover I guess.

Episode Grade: C- I remember being really excited for this crossover like you wouldn't believe when it was announced all the way back in mid-late September '12, exactly at the time when I was just getting into these shows by a month or so. I remember liking it on my first viewing much more than as time went on, and even then a part of me felt like I was ripped off. Really, the only reason why it's getting a higher grade than Christmas Story at all is 1.) if I may be allowed, Debby really is extremely lovely in this episode (honestly if this doesn't come off as too predatory the thing that impressed me most about that episode was just how damn beautiful she was in it, and the more I think about it it's still one of the things that most impresses me about it) 2.) the duet between her and Ross Lynch is equally lovely, and I wish it was a thing that was allowed to happen now and 3.) I really liked the helicopter scene, as much as the rest of the episode wants to dump on her it was one of Jessie's best shining moments and one of the best shining moments for whoever the hell the A&A writers for this were.

The Jessie and A&A writers aren't as good as I enthusiastically remembered. I still insist they had way better episodes and more of 'em than people insist (especially in Jessie's first season when Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire and Phil of the Future veterans Tim Maile and Eric Tuber were around, the first season of Jessie ending up being their very last work for the network), but what had been the first major Disney Channel crossover in three years wasn't it (well it was Jessie's Season 2 already so that figures). 

Episode MVP: Eh, Debby again because why not. Well, because of the duet and helicopter scene. And Ross for being the second part of that duet, and Raini for again the helicopter scene.

Christmas Grade: Two Turtle Doves winked out of existence because Darwin insists they're an impossibility. They can't be doves AND turtles at the same time! Yeah, I know I spent a bunch of words justifying it as a Christmas episode and then went on bloversharing about personal stories but the fact of the matter is...eehhh, this doesn't really have a lot to do with Christmas or The New Year (if it actually had more to do with The New Year it'll get a bump in Christmas Grade to reflect that, as we'll eventually see later on this list). It's mostly just an excuse to have, as I noted, the first major crossover for the network in three whole years, back when it involved that other show Debby was on (and she got to win at Tug-o-War with Selena Gomez!)

Good Luck Jessie! NYC Christmas: Ugh. What better way to display the discrepancy between the Jessie and Good Luck Charlie writing staff and even the GLC-written portion still stunk. On the face of it it's actually a pretty decent episode (referring strictly to the first half) even if Jessie and Zuri are in it for like three minutes and Gabe, PJ and Bob (I don't know about you but they're some of my favorite GLC characters...well, they also make up a good chunk of the cast so) was in it for about the same time, and they all didn't even necessarily interact with each other spending the first half separated by several blocks or in some cases over a thousand miles! And then we get to the Jessie-written portion (which I know for a fact is written by Old Nanny Pammy) which is complete and utter garbage through and through. For reasons I will probably never, ever understand, they decided to ripoff and parody an R-rated film that had already fallen out of cultural favor to that point because as it turns out Hangover 2 is the most the world can tolerate of this. And we only got to see Teddy and PJ. And they insult my hometown which, from the perspective of this reviewer, is a surefire way to earn a high grade.

Oh, and fun fact: that University of Denver thing that PJ and Skyler say they're going to is a real thing. I know because as of this past summer I'm a post-grad alum from there (that thing I had mentioned where I said I'd probably be too busy to have a lot of posts this past July). Yeah, um, I don't think PJ and Skyler would be able to get past the entrance exam, sorry.

Episode Grade: D-. Just like with Austin & JESSIE & Ally, I tried my best to basically just trick myself into liking it when it first aired, but now that we're a whole four years removed from it (actually four years and one month since it aired as basically Disney Channel's Thanksgiving special), and even after a whole half decade after Austin & JESSIE & Ally I recognize it has some flashes of quality, right now I can only recognize Good Luck JESSIE as being utter garbage. This, like much of Seasons 3 and especially 4, encapsulates much of exactly what made those two seasons stink. The GLC portion was entirely phoned in and barely featured anything presentable as actual entertainment, and that was the best half of the crossover. The actual Jessie portion just illustrates how badly Old Nanny Pammy lost the plot and whatever touch she had, and ultimately was a sad, chilling and disturbing precursor to what Bunk'd would end up being. Literally the only redeeming qualities was Jessie's song at the end, and the GLC portion gives us resolution and an actual good ending to the PJ/Skyler ship which believe it or not was actually pretty popular with fans. Oh, and the reveal of Jessie herself was nifty, the only other credit this episode deserves.

Episode MVP: Debby, Bridgit and Samantha Boscarino because I say so. And because Debby was insanely hot as Chick Santa. If you have a problem with it, file a complaint in the comments below (no, seriously, I invite you to do so if you actually find this problematic). Oh and Bradley Steven Perry because at least I liked the Gabe part.

Christmas Grade: Three French Hens rushing to the German border to surrender as they're horrified by the ghastly sight of exactly half a calling bird, the top half, just enough to allow the calling bird to perform its duties heralding the garbage-ness of Good Luck Jessie as a warning of the garbage Armageddon that is to come, known as Bunk'd. The first half was pretty shallow, mostly just focusing on the commercial aspects of Christmas, although it did have good albeit very short lessons on what true Christmas spirit is, and why it's so important to not forget that especially when you're inevitably stuck in holiday traffic, whatever form that traffic takes. The Jessie half was...Cartoon Christmas, Hangover-style, but it counts for something I guess.

It counts for exactly the fact that that poor calling bird got mangled into a half-living mess. You're a bird murderer, Old Nanny Pammy!

Jessie's Aloha Holidays with Parker and Joey: The best (and last) Jessie Christmas special by far, even if also by default, and yet it continues the tradition of Jessie Christmas episodes being massive disappointments (not even John D. Beck and Ron Hart can save it, I guess). That's assuming they even wrote it, although I feel it's a halfway safe assumption because narrative-wise it's actually pretty decent, go figure. The *real* disappointment was the fact that Dove Cameron couldn't make it, likely because of then-commitments to Descendants (if you ask me what I'd prefer, Descendants or Liv and Maddie and Jessie, I think the choice is pretty clear given that I largely agree with Jezebel's review of Descendants, although hey it did give us Sofia Carson so it's not like I can complain). In fact when I was looking back on the TVTropes article for this (under the Jessie main article, under the Trivia tab, under "What Might've Been") I think it's pretty clear they just quickly rewrote the script to introduce Maya Mitchell's character reprisal to fill in for Dove, given that both her character and Liv are actresses (I wonder how Maddie would've fit in, but I'd be willing to wager a guess that Maddie probably would've been largely absent regardless but still!) Anyway, yeah, pretty decent episode. They characters aren't stupid (in fact they're actually written as characters), the plot borrows from damn near literally every other plot from every other KidCom to visit Hawaii (seriously what's with this obsession with taking rocks?) but it's still good, and hey Joey even gets to team up with Emma so what's not to like?

Oddly enough this is technically a Season 3 episode (in fact it's the Season 3 finale), which means Season 3 has two Christmas specials to make up for the fact that Jessie wouldn't last on the schedule long enough to justify one for Season 4 (which many including myself anticipated would be the incorporated into the series finale somehow, not the garbage we got for real that ended up buried and forgotten under Girl Meets Network Force Fed Love Triangle, but that's an entirely different rant if not several). And since like the first one it's also a crossover, it means Season 3 has three crossovers (remember, Jessie also crossed over with, of all things, Spider-Man for Halloween, and that reminds me next year I need to do one of these for Halloween which is a much more badass holiday than Christmas, fact).

Episode Grade: B-. Yeah, that's still the best it's gonna get. 

Episode MVP: Joey Bragg and Peyton List

Christmas Grade: A Partridge taking refuge in a Pear Tree to escape the horror of what Jessie Season 4 would end up being And given that this is the best of the Jessie Christmas episodes, I think this proves my point that the more Christmas-y the episode is, the more awful it is (sorry Spongey). It's much more about vacationing in Hawaii than it is about Christmas, more a fact that most people would just want to vacation in Hawaii during the dead of winter precisely to escape winter than in the summer when the weather's actually good back home anyway. Plot-wise, it's much more about Jessie overcoming her own anxieties as a struggling actor and trying to find herself, and Joey obsessing over the fact that he's in a relationship with a girl he knows is way out of his league which...well, those are pretty damn standard KidCom plotlines, not really Christmas ones.

Whew, that's Jessie, I guess I'll move on to Austin & Ally. We're already a third of the way done since we already covered Big Dreams & Big Apples with Jessie.

Mix-Ups and Mistletoe: ...this episode was garbage (yeah I know I use that word a lot but if the shoe fits....) Like with many of the Jessie specials, it's emblematic of how Season 3 in particular ended up being a very low point, with slapstick humor plucked straight from the mind of a three year old so embarrassing it would make A.N.T. Farm Season 3 blush. The entire plot revolves around Austin Moon dolls having massive defects, so Austin and Ally decide to be their own two-person Grinch-based recall notice with hijinks ensuing. Yeah. And the B-plot is a Dez and Chuck one so...yeah.

Episode Grade: D-

Episode MVP: I dunno, Laura Marano? Raini Rodriguez?

Christmas Grade: Four Birds Calling For the Writers To Quit Being A.N.T. Farm Season 3-Level Hacks. I mean, yeah, it's Christmas-y AF, but...again, it's lame. It entirely focuses on the most commercialized aspects of Christmas (yay I get an Austin Moon doll!) with some lip service to what the season's really supposed to be about tacked on at the very end.

Santas and Surprises: This one was much better and more getting at the "true" spirit of the season, in terms of families trying to be together and people working hard to unite those families even though they're absolute strangers for the most part.

Episode Grade: B-

Episode MVP: Uhhh Ross and Laura again why not

Christmas Grade: Five Golden Rings ringing out the fact that this is actually a decent episode for once Again, complete strangers working their asses off to reunite a family is pretty Christmas-y af.

Whew, we're already done with Austin & Allly, I guess we might as well do Good Luck Charlie especially since again we already have one episode covered thanks to Good Luck Jessie. Snow Show doesn't count because while it's actually a pretty decent episode, it's Christmas Grade is an absolute zero and since I can't express absolute zero in the musical terms of the 12 Days of Christmas, that's an automatic disqualification. A Duncan Thanksgiving is also disqualified as it's a Thanksgiving episode (practically the only one on the network since they do Christmas episodes instead) and really the only reason why they even did a Thanksgiving themed episode is because of the DCOM, so....

Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas! Especially notable in that so far it's the very last of what had been up to that point a very proud and stable Disney Channel tradition: the series DCOM. Both Shake it Up and Jessie were supposed to have their own DCOMs but sadly those never came to fruition: Shake it Up's got reformatted into a multicam 90 minute extended episode special, Made in Japan (basically a pretendo-DCOM on the extreme cheap) and Jessie's just evaporated entirely without a trace (as the TVTropes article mentions, it was probably canceled so early in the process they probably didn't even hammer out any real plot details yet anyway). It's possible the Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex vs. Alex special was also meant to be a full-on DCOM, which would've made WoWP the only series to have two; I heard officially the reason why it was just an hour-long multi-cam special was because Selena's schedule was only able to accommodate that, and that's certainly a real possibility. But it does coincide with shrinking DCOM ratings all across the board starting in 2012 which is probably why the SiU and Jessie DCOMs got scaled back or canceled entirely.

But anyway, we're here to talk about the GLC DCOM, and not only is it far and away my favorite Christmas DCOM (again, I'm sorry but as a general rule I hate Christmas specials) but it's also one of my favorite series DCOMs and just favorite DCOMs period. Like the series itself, it's just generally overall well-written and a good mix of outright comedy (including slapstick moments) and "genuine" moments.

Going back to trivia for a bit, it's also only the third series DCOM period to have confirmed implications and consequences for the canon of the parent series, as this is where we find out Amy's pregnant with who'd end up being Toby, officially joining the cast (naturally) roughly nine months later. All the other series DCOMs would have at best nebulous canon status or even strictly be non-canon, yes including the WoWP DCOM since, well, I don't know where the heck that's supposed to fit in without causing pretty major problems (likewise the Suite Life Movie - incidentally the second-to-last series DCOM ever - which outright freakin' breaks the canon, and the Phineas and Ferb DCOM which is explicitly non-canon by having everybody's minds erased at the end, although that un-canonization was more or less undone when they did a sequel episode to the movie, one of the very last episodes of the series). The only exceptions besides GLC would be The Even Stevens Movie, and there it's somewhat of a moot point as it also serves as the official series finale; and the Kim Possible Movie which was also intended to be the series finale, except Disney Channel sprung a surprise renewal on them (as well-deserved as it is) and they ended up just building the canon and the fourth season off from the movie instead of just trying to ignore it (and ended up with a very fine season all the same, in my opinion).

DCOM Grade: A-. Again, it just hits all the right notes and unlike a lot of the specials we've already covered, perfectly encapsulates what made GLC great. We might go ahead and revisit this one again in its own dedicated post after all, especially since I still have it on my DVR as of this writing.

DCOM MVP: I really have to give it to the entire principal cast since they do a really good job of bringing value to each of their segments, something the main series really struggled with at times. It just goes to show that the A-B-C plot structure's very hard to do under the constraints of a 24-minute long multi-cam (that's just 8 minutes per segment total, assuming equal distribution, which indeed is what GLC did for the most part - to put that in perspective a single plot thread of a typical GLC episode is roughly equal in time length to an average round-trip from the very spot I'm sitting writing this to my mailbox). If you're going to force me to pick one I'm picking Bradley Steven Perry because I thought the final run in that FPS scene was badass af.

Christmas Grade: Four Bird Calling Out In Joy For Actually Being In Something Good For Once It's not outrageously Christmas-y as some other specials - no Santa Claus, no anything that isn't totally, absolutely grounded in reality (well, real-life recreations of first person shooters by eccentric game developers aside, which one, isn't Christmas-y at all and two, is completely unrealistic for a single guy to earn gobs of cash from a single video game as opposed to having all that cash go straight to a soulless corporation who will then insist on putting loot boxes into that game in order to make even more money and turning players into payers) but again it really goes at the heart of what the Christmas spirit ought to mean, without being overly preachy or even boring while at it (unlike, say, Full-Court Miracle which is practically physically impossible for me to watch through because I literally keep falling asleep through it).

And with the DCOM out of the way that leaves only:

A Duncan Christmas: Of the actual episode specials, this might be my favorite just because it manages to be pretty funny. I love the regifting jokes and the recurring thread/joke about how Amy's and Momma Duncan's narcissistic personalities conflict. The Christmas lessons are a bit force-fed with the Super Adventure Land Jail, but are more subtly reinforced once they return home and we get a truly comfy Bridgit/Shane duet to top it all off.

Episode Grade: A-. Although the Super Adventure Land segment is a bit drawn-out and drags the episode down a bit, the jokes alone help earn this grade.

Episode MVP: Bridgit Mendler and Shane Harper for again that super-cozy duet.

Christmas Grade: Five Golden Rings in an episode so good I'm too distracted to come up with even a bad joke/pun in here It's hard to top this level of Christmas-y, in terms of both the actual commercialism and what people want Christmas to be about.

I guess it's time to do Shake it Up now. I only vaguely remember their Christmas episodes, Jingle it Up and Merry Merry it Up. Jingle it Up was a pretty standard Christmas special with CeCe regretting a selfish Christmas purchase, Rocky frustrated over her inability to make a Christmas purchase for someone else (she's trying to buy a robot for Flynn, or something) and Deuce trying to convince Dina to go caroling. From what I vaguely remember...yeah, you've pretty much got the episode right there in the description. Merry Merry it Up is a Ghosts of Christmas format episode and...it was mostly notable for the musical numbers which even given that this is literally a show built around musical numbers, even more than Austin & Ally ever was, is pretty weaksauce.

Fun fact: I've always wanted to go caroling, which the rest of my family (which just includes myself, my parents and my brother and now not even that) absolutely detested, and just the four of us with no musical talent to speak of is a bit on the small side for a caroling group anyway.

Episode Grade: C+ for Jingle it Up, a flat C for Merry Merry it Up.

Episode MVP: Uhhh...it's just about interchangeable for Jingle it Up so I'm just going to pick Bella Thorne, just because I'm sincerely giving Zendaya MVP for Merry Merry it Up because she really did give a memorable song and dance number, so much so that I at least vaguely still remember it a whole half-decade later (it aired very early in Season 3 as like with Jessie the show didn't last long enough to make it to Christmas '13, despite some insane efforts to stretch the season out as much as possible - and they still gave it more respect than Jessie).

Christmas Grade: Four Calling Birds, I can't even think of anything remarkable to joke off of again pretty standard Christmas fare mostly focusing on consumerism in the first episode, and again your very standard Ghosts of Christmas plot for the second. Thanks Charles Dickens, for making that an absolute plot trope.

If we're going to dig into Christmas episodes from the past we might as well dig into A.N.T. Farm then (this and Shake it Up are probably going to be the oldest episodes we'll review with two exceptions, since I've never seen the Lizzie McGuire one, it's been too long since I've seen the WoWP and SLoZaC/SLoD ones, etc).

Again we have only two episodes (for 2012 they elected to do the ChANTs of a Lifetime non-holiday-themed mega-special instead), Season 1's SANTa's Little Helpers and Season 3's SilANT Night. SLH (yeah I'm not doing the stupid capitalization in the middle thing) was...well.... Ok, here's the thing about A.N.T. Farm - at its absolute best it actually had some amazing if not outright brilliant episodes (the aforemetioned ChANTs of a Lifetime special was actually pretty neat, InfluANTces is still one of the network's best Black History Month episodes and probably the best A.N.T. Farm episode period, and I really liked ConfinemANT, SignificANT Other and the original MutANT Farm). SLH...wasn't one of those. At times it was outright tedious if not agonizing (the basic plot is that our hero A.N.T.s are more or less forced to cosplay as actual elves, having to actually make toys for some extremely ungrateful orphans including a very early appearance [or is that appearANTs?] by Francesca Capaldi) but not as outright tedious as SilANT Night which being a part of Season 3 is such horrible garbage we must never speak of any Season 3 episode.

Episode Grade: C- for SANTa's Little Helpers. And since SilANT Night has the misfortune of being a Season 3 episode, it gets an F by default.

Episode MVP: China Ann(e? - don't correct me) McClain for SLH because why not, and a big giant asterisk for any Season 3 episode because it's such an unspeakable abomination it should just be left a big, giant blank space.

I think this is only the second time we've officially left Episode MVP blank due to inability to justify anything worth celebrating about the episode (I don't remember the first time except I think it was a couple months ago, or at least sometime this year while it's still 2017). This, on a blog that's still awarded MVP to episodes we've given F minus minus to, and has done so by awarding it to random actresses who literally have nothing to do with the episode or even entire show in question, to random YouTube stars who've never appeared on actual television, to random talk show hosts who've probably never even seen a minute of Disney Channel in their entire lives or even literally to myself if I have to. 

If you're going to force me to award MVP I'll award it to Uma, the actual character from Descendants 2, just to prove a point. Namely that China and the entire rest of the cast deserved much, much better than *shudders* Season 3. Especially China and Stefanie. I'm literally convinced that Stefanie Scott came out of Season 3 traumatized. I literally believe this. In fact, screw it, I take back all I said and I'm awarding it to Stefanie Scott strictly out of pity.

Hey it's better than at least half the crap our freakin' President actually believes in, including how the Constitution can be at will modified into whatever he says so.

Christmas Grade: Five Golden Rings stuck and interlocked together forming an impenetrable, inescapable prison of pain and suffering I mean, I guess making toys for orphans while cosplaying as elves and trying to help Santa not get killed is pretty damn Christmas-y.

Oh crap did I actually reference a Season 3 episode plot? Damnit!




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