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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Frosty Returns

Welcome to Day #17 of the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR!  I can't believe that Christmas is almost here and that the 5th edition of the calendar is almost over.  I'm going to have to come up with some big surprises for the upcoming week.

Well, as I look outside, do you want to know what I see?  Here...have a look.

Snow.  LOTS and LOTS of snow.  I guess that Winter Storm Warning that we had last night came true.  I guess the one thing that I can see as being a positive about snow around this time of year is that if the temperature remains about the same for the next eight days, this means a white Christmas for us here.  And, for some reason I find Christmas much more enjoyable when there's a little bit of snow on the ground.  It sure beats last year where it was 30 degrees warmer than it should have been, or the year before where we had a Christmas Eve thunderstorm.

I can guarantee you that kids are loving this kind of weather right now.  They see it as endless fun of making snow angels, building snowmen, hiding in snow forts, and trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue. 

I can also guarantee you that most adults hate this weather right now.  Shoveling snow, driving on slushy roads, having to bundle up with dozens of layers...yeah, you get the drill.

Well, today's television special is one that has both worlds colliding in a huge way - and how one magical snowman with a corn-cob pipe, a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal got caught right in the middle of it.

Unfortunately, it also happens to be a television special that wasn't exactly well received.  Truth be told, I don't like it as much as the classic 1969 television special "Frosty the Snowman".  But, the positives of the show are that it had a great voice cast and a fairly decent plot - even if it wasn't quite executed that well.

Today we're going to look at the CBS television special "Frosty Returns", which originally aired on December 1, 1992 and has been broadcast annually on the network ever since.  This time around, John Goodman voices the role of Frosty, and this was one of the first projects for Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss, who plays Frosty's sidekick, Holly.  Jonathan Winters also serves as the narrator for this special, much like Jimmy Durante did for the first Frosty special.

The story begins on the last day of school before Christmas vacation in the tiny town of Beansboro.  The town is famous for its winter carnival that is held during the Christmas holidays, and with there being so much snow, it's almost a guarantee that it will be a huge success.

But for Holly, she's struggling to find her Christmas spirit.  She only has one friend - a geeky kid named Charles who happens to be obsessed with the weather.  She thinks that if she performs a magic act at the carnival, she'll be able to enjoy the season more, and make some new friends in the process.  But while she is practicing some of her tricks with Charles, her magic hat blows off of her head and lands on a nearby snowman, transforming him into Frosty.

And then the three sing a song about how snow is awesome.  Okay, so the song selections aren't that brilliant, but Mark Mothersbaugh does all the musical scoring for this show, and I've liked him ever since he was in Devo.  So, I'd say it's sort of hit and miss.

Well, one person who doesn't think snow is awesome is a man by the name of Mr. Twitchell (Brian Doyle-Murray).  He's really the most eccentric man you could ever find in a Christmas special.  One might say that he's a bit of a nutter - that's Britspeak for crazy.  He hates everything to do with snow, and he plans to make it all go away.  And he also plans on using his hatred of snow to become the King of the Winter Carnival...which sounds like the most ironic thing ever, but just go with it. 

How he plans on doing this is with a new invention he calls "Summer Wheeze".  The name may not be attractive, but the product certainly is for those people who hate snow.  One spray, and the snow melts away permanently.  This means that all a person needs is one can of spray and their lawns will remain green all year long.

Needless to say, his sales pitch seems to work, and Beansboro quickly embraces the new product.  Soon after, Beansboro goes from a winter wonderland to a place where the streets are covered in greenery.

But of course this means big trouble for Frosty.  In a world where Summer Wheeze reigns supreme, he finds himself on the verge of extinction forever.  And while he does have allies like Holly and Charles to keep him from fading away, there's not a whole lot of time.  Can the three of them convince the townspeople that snow can be a good thing in hopes of saving Frosty from a watery grave?

Well...I don't want to spoil it...there may be the rare person out there who hasn't seen it.  But given how most Christmas specials have a happy ending wrapped up in a big red bow, I'd say that the odds are good for Frosty.

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