Ruby Gloom: Happy Yam Ween (2007)

Man, when December rolls around, it’s hard out there for a kids’ show not set on Earth. You want to have a holiday episode, of course you do, but if it’s totally unbelieveable for your characters to celebrate Christmas (or Hanukkah, etc.) what do you, the writer do?

You could shoehorn Christmas in there anyway (See: He-Man and She-Ra) and you might get some camp value out of that, but even most kids’ll see the excuse for what it is.

Or you could make up your own original holiday that just so happens to resemble the winter-gift-giving-season we all know so well.

Now, sometimes this works really well, sometimes it sort of works, sometimes it’s just pathetic. Sometimes it’s just, well, strange. Enter: YamWeen.

Ruby Gloom takes place in an undefined Halloween-esque dimension, with a bunch of supernatural characters who are also kids. It’s not at all scary, just a little gothic in its aesthetic. One of the kids is a cyclops, one a skeleton, one friend is a talking raven and one a bat, etc. Under this surface stuff, though, it seems to often follow pretty standard kid-show scripts. Their holiday celebration (Yamween) is about friendship. Ludicrous decorations, gift-giving, food, and friendship. Okay. I guess when none of your characters have any known family to speak of, there’s really no place else to go with this. The origin of this holiday is pretty spectacularly dull, and the complications of the episode pretty standard (one character is worried that no one will get them a gift, one obsessed with every detail of the celebration, one embarrassed that they messed up something for the party, etc.) The resolution is fine, I guess, but it didn’t really leave a lasting impression.

If you need to watch holiday stuff with some kids and are bored to tears of other things, Ruby Gloom is at least visually unique. Other than that, I’d say you can safely skip this one.