This year fans of the Disney animated series ‘Big City Greens’ have something special to unwrap; ‘Green Christmas’, The Big City Greens Christmas Special. This thirty-minute episode has it all, laughs, heart and what every Holiday Special must have, singing. The creators of the show, Chris and Shane Houghton, two brothers who grew up in the Midwest with a passion for storytelling, set out to create something akin to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’ to which they have succeeded. This amount of heart and level of craftsmanship seen in this tale chronicling the value of family over consumerism is overdue. The Houghton Brothers have brought us a timeless story that kids and parents alike can enjoy on this and future Holiday seasons. The all new episode about the true meaning of Christmas seen through their larger than life characters Cricket, Tilly, Bill, Nancy and the lovable Gramma, is sure to delight even the coldest of Grinches.
To new fans, the characters could be seen as having qualities similar to those associated with The Muppets, especially as some of the main character’s designs are missing noses. And this detail would be intentional as the Houghton Brothers have always loved The Muppets and it comes through not only in the show’s design work, but also their writing, which the Christmas Special is a perfect example.
Cricket (Shane Houghton) desperately wants to ensure that he will get presents from Santa on Christmas morning, but believes he’s on the naughty list, so it’s up to his saintly sister Lilly (Marieve Herington) to help him perform good deeds around town. While this plot feels familiar, we have never seen it done quite this way and it leads to some hilarious musical sequences dressed in a lush Christmas setting. The show knows how to balance its tone and does so with these fun injections of song throughout, including a small, but wonderfully random little homage to the Peanut’s gang dancing. While Cricket and Lilly are off on their own Christmas adventure, Nancy (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Gramma (Artimas Pebdani) have other problems as Bill (Bob Joles) tells them that they are going to love their presents this year, however they haven’t’ gotten him anything. This allows for a hilarious sequence of events involving Nancy and Gramma trying to gain privacy to discuss the hiccup, including a chat in the bathroom with a Christmas plunger being the centerpiece.
The comedy is only ratcheted up when things take a downward turn for all of our characters as all of their worst nightmares come true, in song form. The arc Cricket goes through is one we can all relate, as he quickly realizes doing good is not as easy as it sounds, but continuing his destructive ways are so he turns to the dark side. However, in doing so it brings his sister down to the naughty list with him, who had been good all year. These stakes are firmly felt, and you are rooting for the kids to learn their lessons and come out on top, but it’s not easy and only a Christmas miracle can bring Cricket back to the side of good. When Santa actually appears voiced by none other than Christopher Lloyd, it becomes clear that this is an episode of television that deserves to become an annual tradition.
With these philosophical arguments visually being made in comedic fashion, we are able to empathize with their struggles, but also laugh along with their slapstick antics. Then came the snowstorm, which lead to all of their problems shrinking and allowing what matters most to shine through; family. With strong comedy writing and relatable plotlines around the season of giving, it’s easy to see how ‘Green Christmas’ will be a benchmark for this year’s family viewing.
Green Christmas airs December 7th.