Saturday, December 5, 2015

The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries: The Nutcracker Scoob (1984)

The Nutcracker Scoob is notable for being the final episode of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, which is primarily significant for being the last time the character of Scrappy-Doo was inflicted on audiences as a series regular.

As such, it was a tad anti-climatic. At the very least, they could have re-enacted the resolution of Old Yeller than turned on the laugh track. Now that would had gotten some ratings.

Instead, they told a relatively straight-forward Scooby-Doo tale centered around a Christmas pageant at a children's home. Of course, the place is in danger even before the faux ghost shows up: a cruel, oddly Victorian businessman named Winslow Nickelby is trying to force them to sell him the building on Christmas Eve. It would be easier to feel for the owners if there was some indication the home contained anything other than a theater.

Pretty soon, the monster of the week shows up. This one is called the "Ghost of Christmas Never," and she's cloaked in white with creepy eyes and a raspy voice. And... okay, the episode sucks, but I thought the ghost's design was a little creepy. At least she was when the show wasn't devolving into comic relief.

Cue a series of generic chase sequences, bizarre investigations, and dumb costumes. You know, the stuff that ties every incarnation of Scooby-Doo together. When the show's being done well, this stuff can come off as charming and funny. Otherwise, it comes off like this.

The actual culprit is Nickelby's French maid, who's trying to get the emerald for herself. Oh, yeah: there's a emerald. It's hidden somewhere in the theater, which is why the villain wants the place. In the end, the gang catches the maid and finds the gem. Then the bad guy's cat gets stuck on the ceiling, and the equally Dickensian "Tiny Tina" saves it. This, of course, melts Nickelby's heart, so he flips to good.

The whole thing is full of altered and original Christmas songs that tie with Tiny Tina for being the most annoying aspect of this episode. Yeah, I know - I'd have bet money Scrappy was going to walk away with the ribbon, too. But those songs are the stuff of sugarplum nightmares: they're awful.

We caught this on a DVD compilation called "Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Holiday Chills and Thrills." If you actually want to see this for yourself, go ahead and track it down.

Spoiler Alert: You do not want to see this for yourself.

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