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Top 10 Worst Cartoon Specials

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Allen-Michael Harber These are the cartoons you'd want to keep clear of your children. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Cartoon TV Specials. For this list, we're counting down animated television specials that were not received well by audiences and/or are just plain bad. Special thanks to our user roxy for submitting the idea at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Worst Cartoon Specials


These are the cartoons you'd want to keep clear of your children. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Cartoon TV Specials.

For this list, we’re counting down animated television specials that were not received well by audiences and/or are just plain bad. To qualify, the show must be entirely a cartoon or animated, so shows like “The Star Wars Holiday Special” and “We Wish You a Turtle Christmas” don’t count because, even though they have animated moments, they are mostly live action. Also, we aren’t saying that these are the worst cartoon specials ever, but we can see why people don’t like them.

#10: “The Night B4 Christmas” (2003)

The first of several Christmas specials on this list, “The Night B4 Christmas” follows Elvin, an elf who works in Santa’s Workshop that decides he wants to become a rapper. While he learns the pains of the music industry, Santa and his elves catch a cold, which means that Elvin must escape the record label and save Christmas. Despite how “interesting” the plot may seem the delivery falls short. Strange animation, annoying voices and very little substance are just a few things on the list of problems plaguing this special.

#9: “The Christmas Tree” (1991)

In this special, a heartless woman known as Mrs. Mavilda runs an orphanage. Because she keeps all the donation money to herself, the children are always miserable. When Mrs. Mavilda acquires a new assistant named Judy, she, along with Santa, try to finally give the children a very merry Christmas. Let’s see if we can’t check off all the clichés here. Greedy adult and miserable children? Check. Someone new comes along and helps the children? Check. Appearance from Santa Claus? Yep, it’s all here and it’s all nothing new.

#8: “Shrek the Halls” (2007)

It seems DreamWorks has a habit of giving their most successful franchises a Christmas special and “Shrek” is no exception. “Shrek the Halls” is your standard Christmas tale about someone promising his family a great Christmas, but then things go wrong and it ruins the holiday spirit. That is until people find the true meaning of Christmas and everything is happy again. It’s not a bad story, but with the way the “Shrek” franchise has cleverly retold fairy tales, you would think they could have put a new and more entertaining spin on this tale in this special.

#7: “SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis” (2007)

Of all the people to discover the fabled city of Atlantis… when Spongebob and the gang discover an ancient medallion in this made-for-TV special, they are whisked off to the lost city, so they can see the oldest bubble ever blown. Even Plankton tags along so he can steal an Atlantean weapon or two. Despite the grand adventure setting, their trip to Atlantis is a bit underwhelming, with forced musical numbers and a silly plot. But at least it’s more exciting than getting trapped in the Krusty Krab’s air ducts and having a flashback episode like the Bikini Bottom residents do in “SpongeBob’s Truth or Square.”

#6: “Frosty Returns” (1992)

The original “Frosty the Snowman” cartoon was a lighthearted tale about a snowman brought to life by a magical hat. However, in this not-really-a-sequel-sequel, which was produced by a different production company and features different characters and voice actors, things aren’t so lighthearted. “Frosty Returns” sees Frosty team up with two kids named Holly and Charles to stop the evil scientist Mr. Twitchell from taking over the town. He tries to accomplish this by inventing an aerosol spray that melts snow and winning over Beansboro with his invention. Remember when Frosty was just about kids having fun in the snow? Apparently the people behind this TV special don’t.

#5: “Barbie in the Nutcracker” (2001)

It seems all you need to make a Christmas special are familiar brands and one of the many holiday-inspired stories. When Barbie’s friend Kelly is having trouble practicing her ballet dance, Barbie tells her the story of “The Nutcracker” and how a human girl helps a prince reclaim his throne from the Mouse King. That’s pretty much it: the computer animated and motion capture film is just Barbie reciting a tale we’ve heard many times before. Sure, they use some of the classic songs we know from “The Nutcracker,” but that’s what the real stage show is for.

#4: “Grandma Got Run Overb y a Reindeer” (2000)

If you’ve heard the song, you pretty much know the plot. Grandma gets hit by a reindeer, Santa takes her to the North Pole to help her recover and an evil cousin tries to take over the family store and sue Santa Clause. We guess you have to take a few liberties if you’re trying to create a plot around a song. But despite a couple of catchy tunes, including the one about suing Saint Nick, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is a bland story that is quickly forgotten.

#3: “Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue” (1990)

There’s nothing wrong with informing kids about the effects of drugs, but how you go about it can make or break something like this. In “Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue,” Corey discovers that her brother has been smoking marijuana and goes on a quest with different cartoon characters like Winnie the Pooh and Bugs Bunny to get her brother to change his ways. It sounds like a good idea on paper, but due to the end result, we have to assume that someone was on something when they actually made this.

#2: “Christmas Comes to Pac-Land” (1982)

Many video games got the cartoon treatment in the ‘80s and Pac-Man is no exception. Due to the success of the animated show, it was only a matter of time until Christmas showed up in Pac-Man’s hometown. In this special, Pac-Man and his friends must save Santa after he crashes and discovers his toys have been stolen. The cartoon is pretty standard fare with Santa not knowing Pac-Land existed and Pac-Man not knowing about Christmas, and everybody learns a lesson in the end. And what’s the lesson in question? Find a better Christmas special to watch.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable, or in this case, dishonorable mentions.

“A Chipmunk Christmas” (1981)

“A Cool Like That Christmas” (1993)

“Monster High: Fright On” (2011)

#1: “He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special” (1985)

When children become stranded on Eternia, it is up to He-Man and She-Ra not only to protect the children, but also to make sure that they have the perfect Christmas. What at first sounds like the best Christmas special ever quickly falls flat when you realize that it’s just another holiday cash-in on an already famouscartoon. We expected He-Man and She-Ra to fight bad guys, not to teach us the spirit of Christmas. Make them fight a giant robotic Santa created by Skeletor; that’s what we want for Christmas!
Do you agree with our list? What cartoon specials do you hate the most? For more entertaining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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