Showing posts from July 3, 2016

Phineas and Ferb: S'Winter (2008), I, Brobot (2008), Phineas and Ferb's Family Christmas Special (2011), and Phineas and Ferb Save Summer (2014)

It shouldn't be entirely surprising that Phineas and Ferb is a treasure trove for the "Christmas in July" trope: with more or less the entire series set during summer, they've found numerous excuses to play with holiday and winter tropes over the years.

A few of the episodes I'm looking at are admittedly a stretch - there's a reason we've only done one of the episodes below to date - but together they offer a surprisingly comprehensive look at the range of different approaches to the "Christmas in July" premise.

S'Winter (2008)

S'Winter is one of the earliest episodes of Phineas and Ferb produced. It's typically combined with "The Magnificent Few" to fill a half hour. But "The Magnificent Few" has jack to do with the holidays, so we'll just shove that aside.

I've been wrestling with this episode for several years. There's a argument it could count as a Christmas episode, but it falls just short of the li…

Christmas Presents in July!

What's Christmas without presents? A bunch of micro-humanoids singing around a tree while floating on a mote of dust through an unforgiving jungle? Screw that! I'm here to make sure your July is merry and bright. And to do that, I'm offering you the chance to download any or all of my books FREE this weekend.

That's right: FREE. Just click on the links below to be whisked off to the magical world of Amazon, where you'll be able to buy my novels for the extremely generous price of $0.00.

I'm practically giving them away! And by practically, I mean literally. And by literally, I mean the official definition of literally prior to 2015, when dictionaries were forced to acknowledge lingual drift meant the term had become synonymous with its antonym, figuratively.

You know, I'm concerned I may be wandering off topic. Here are the damn links:
A Count of Five (The Citadel of the Last Gathering, Book 1)Tide of Ice (The Citadel of the Last Gathering, Book 2)For Love …

Camp Lazlo: Kamp Kringle (2007)

With no information about this show other than this episode, I can tell you it’s a Cartoon Network production about a boys’ summer camp, in which all the characters are animals and the humor is very broad. Lots of fart jokes.

Given that it isn’t really our style, we were surprised how much of this we kind of enjoyed.

The episode begins with the campers on a bus going up a mountain to watch a meteor shower. They’ve passed the snow line, so when the bus breaks down, the kids jump out to play. They almost immediately run across a decked-out holiday village, complete with surly elves.

Santa then appears and welcomes them in for a visit. (He explains that he moved his operation to this mountaintop because the polar ice caps are melting.) Santa’s workshop is quiet, however, because they’ve all worked hard to be done early so that Santa can have an overdue vacation.

Of course this is when a stray meteorite destroys all the toys.

Santa declares that he’s not giving up his holiday, so he’ll …

Transformers: Rescue Bots: Christmas in July (2012)

Picture us sitting on the couch, trying to figure out what in the heck we’re watching. It’s ugly flash animation, it’s hard to follow, the writing seems to have been dashed off by a middle schooler pressed for time.

I don’t have any huge historical fondness for Transformers as a franchise, and even I can tell something is terribly wrong. Apparently this is a series about the loser bots who couldn’t make the cut, and Optimus Prime found a backward town to dump them in so they could learn to be subservient to humans.

It’s funny because I wrote that as a joke, but I just looked up the premise of the show, and it’s basically that.

So in this episode, the kid (there’s always a kid) is teaching the robots about seasons, because they’re space-faring life forms that somehow don’t understand orbits and weather. It’s summer and very hot, and one robot asks why they can’t have snow in the summer.

Cue lightbulb. The kid goes to visit a guy who is apparently the local mad scientist? There are a…

It's Punky Brewster: Christmas in July (1985)

I'm following Wikipedia's convention and using the series's unofficial name to differentiate this from Punky Brewster. In the vein of Star Trek: the Animated Series, this is actually a sequel of the live-action series in which the main characters reprise their roles. Like many cartoons, each thirty-minute block was divided into two fifteen-minute chunks. We're only covering the half that relates to Christmas, obviously.

The episode opens on a hot day in July. Punky Brewster and her friends stop to admire a skateboard in a toy store window. Punky muses over whether or not she's going to get it for Christmas, and she laments that she won't know for months. Fortunately, Glomer, the 104-year-old magical half-gopher/half-leprechaun in her backpack reveals that he's friends with Santa and might be able to help her find out.

Maybe I should pause for a moment and give you a moment to review the opening credits to this show, which offer a tad more context:

I kind o…

Misadventures in Romance Reading (Christmas in July)

When we decided to tackle more Christmas in July media, I did a search for books. The main one that came up when I searched was a romance: Christmas in July (A Christmas, Colorado, Novel: Book 2) by Debbie Mason.

Romance isn’t a preferred genre for me, but sometimes I like it, and this book was available through my local library, so I decided to dive in.

At the beginning, I was intrigued. The book (and, I imagine, the series) takes place in a town called Christmas. The main character, Grace, is a baker. Her signature dessert is a Sugar Plum Cake with a “wish” hidden in the decorations. Her husband, Jack, was in the army, but he’s been MIA for over a year, and she’s finally decided to move on.

So far, a nice dash of holiday theme and an interesting premise.

Of course, this is the moment when her husband and his crew are found alive.

But he has amnesia, and doesn’t remember her, and he’s been attracted to this other woman in the meantime. And all of that could actually have been an …

Merry Fourth of July

May you get everything on your list.
[Photo collage from Holiday 2015 Balsam Hill Catalog and July 2016 Toys'R'Us Catalog.]

Camp Candy: Christmas in July (1989)

Camp Candy was, apparently, an animated series where John Candy voices a character based on himself at a fictitious summer camp he runs. I don't recall ever having seen or heard of this series before in my life, though if I still remember this episode an hour from now, I'll be both surprised and disappointed.

The Christmas in July episode opens the same way Wikipedia assures me every episode in this series starts, with Candy trying to teach the kids a sport, leading to a flashback of something that happened earlier in the summer. This is portrayed as a story being told by Candy, though it's unclear why he's telling the kids about an adventure they were present for. It's also unclear how he's able to provide descriptions and commentary for other characters' dream sequences.

Actually, this episode features dreams within dreams within a story. But don't get excited: it was all crap.

Once we're firmly entrenched within a flashback, the kids and Candy d…