During my childhood, “Santa Claus” reigned supreme for many Christmas seasons. In the year Not long after Tim Allen’s 1994 film about magic, divorce and the acceptance of both realities, my vision of the North Pole became one and the same, with its glittering sparkles and famous hot chocolate, happily pushing Santa off the roof to try myself. But now I’m a grown woman who spends half my time reviewing comics, movies, and toy shows from my youth that quickly become frustrating rather than magical.
Still: Coming to Disney+’s “Santa Claus,” Allen returns to work with Elizabeth Mitchell’s Mrs. Claus on Christmas and his new family, his open mind. After all, half the point of “Santa Claus” is how rousing it can be to get adults to believe in something extraordinary, no matter how cheesy or childish it may seem. With this spinoff series, which premiered in two episodes on Nov. 16, Disney+ hopes to capture the attention of kids and adults like me who grew up knowing Santa as “Scott Calvin” and David Krumholtz as World’s Weak. To keep him in one piece. Instead of making another sequel under the guise of 2002’s “The Santa Clause 2” or 2006’s “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,” Disney’s Santa Clause cinematic universe should really have been a six-part sequel. After all, I was a movie.
The basics of “Santa Claus” are as follows: 28 years after running as Santa Claus, 65-year-old Scott (Allen) finds himself at a crossroads. His wife Carol (Mitchell), a once ambitious school principal, is restless and boring in the more anonymous role of Mrs. Claus. Their teenage children, Buddy (Austin Kane) and Sandra (Allen’s daughter, Elizabeth Allen-Dick), are growing up alone and “weird,” never knowing a world other than the North Pole. Then Chief Elf Betty (Matilda Lawler of “Station Eleven,” doing the best she can with what she has) finds a new loophole clause that gives Scott the option to retire. Reluctant and resigned, Scott picks it up and moves his family to Chicago, handing the keys to single dad Simon (Cal Penn), who immediately sees the North Pole as more of a business opportunity than a responsibility.
As seen by Jack Burditt (shows with plenty of adults like “30 Rock” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), there are some interesting threads woven into the series’ relentless Christmas cheer. Simon’s commitment to delivering a global drone that anticipates customer demand echoes Amazon Prime’s continued dominance to an uncanny degree, and Mitchell at least capitalizes on Carol’s horror at the prospect of giving up her entire life and persona to Scott’s service. Other ideas are extremely half-baked, like the world of growing bells being low on Christmas spirit, and therefore, in danger of turning completely on itself. (”””””””” 「」「」」「」 「」「」」「」 “”
And so the show ends up dragging in more than one sense of the word. It works really hard to fill six episodes – a full three hours of article #content! – He ends up just dragging his feet. Scenes that should be just a few minutes long become too long for many. Plots that can barely stand on their own do their best to make whole episodes pointless. Trying to watch more than one episode, let alone six, feels like holding a hot cup of cocoa rather than crashing on a sugar high.
It’s frustrating, but there’s a constant sense that the show is trying to be everything to both the kids and their parents, and it’s not to either. More than once, I found myself thinking back to the scene in “John Mulaney and Zach’s Lunch Bunch,” where Mulaney, as part of a studio executive, sat down with a focus group of kids and asked if they had seen the cartoon. He liked jokes about “fake news” or recognized Jeremy Renner’s voice. What is the point of joking that Santa is “into the NFTS — nut, fudgy teacakes”? Children don’t get it and adults don’t laugh, so who does bexactly?
If “Santa Claus” is “Santa Clause 4: Santa Claus,” its tendency to indulge the silly and saccharine can be forgiven. Like the Disney+ Original Series, it’s a little more nutty fudgy teacakes than simply chewy.
The first two episodes of “Santa Claus” premiered Wednesday, Nov. 16 on Disney+.