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Category Archives: Niiice!

a very special christmas special: “Frosty The Snowman” (1970)

Every Christmas special I’ve reviewed here, I’ve been able to find something to like.  Even Alf’s Special Christmas, which bothered me on several levels – I can appreciate what they were trying to do, even though it was completely wrong.   But, see, Alf’s Special Christmas was wrong in the same way that the restaurant screwing up your order is wrong – like if you ordered pizza with pepperoni, and got green peppers instead.   I don’t like green peppers, but green peppers are at least edible.  But there are some things that are just wrong, like, ordering a pizza with pepperoni and instead getting a broken lightbulb and a used syringe.

There’s no other way around it – I do not like Frosty The Snowman.  I’m not proud of this, because so many other people love ol’ Frosty and that hat of his.   I love Rudolph and The Year Without A Santa Claus and The Little Drummer Boy and all the other Rankin/Bass classics.  I’ll sit through A Garfield Christmas even though I don’t like Garfield anymore, just because his old TV cartoons aren’t bad.  I’ll watch The Star Wars Christmas Special all the way through and moan and groan like everyone else but I will get through it.

After watching Frosty The Snowman, I was shocked to learn that it was only a half an hour long.

I don’t know what it is about Frosty.  Maybe it’s the fact that the story has no meat to it whatsoever.  Maybe it’s the fact that the “Frosty The Snowman” song is just annoying and cloying.   Maybe it’s the fact that the animation is terrible.  And not charmingly terrible, either.  But – ok – I sat down and watched this thing, and here’s 10 things I noticed.  Take ’em or leave ’em.  If you love ol’ Frosty, feel free to send hate mail.  I stand by my position: Frosty The Snowman is bloody awful.

Watch it – if you must – and read my 10 things – below the cut.

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niiice!: Reading Rainbow on the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989)

This episode’s book was something called The Bionic Bunny Show, though the YouTuber here cut that part out in order to focus on the real meat of the day: ruining Andy’s childhood fantasies.

Ha ha, no, I’m just kidding, of course, I never thought Star Trek: The Next Generation was real, per say.  Really, I didn’t.   When I learned that the transporter was actually a camera trick mixed with a shot of glitter in a glass of water, I was fine.  I was.  Fine.

But, seriously, though: this was a pretty awesome thing to see as a kid.  It was the making of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  It was how they put together a TV show, with full behind the scenes access provided by our friend Levar Burton, who just happened to be on both shows.   Even non-Trekkies remember this one (at least the transporter glitter thing).  For slightly nerdier children, it was nerdvana.

Here’s part two, where we learn that the crappy containment device from that crappy episode “Home Soil” was actually about two feet tall and made of stuff Rob Legato had left over after building his model planes.  Also, the real Enterprise is like six feet long.  Sorry about that.

Stay tuned for exclusive bloopers near the end.  There is a TNG blooper reel, from the beginning of Season One, where you can actually hear Levar Burton saying the “S” word! You might like that as well, but you don’t have to take my word for it!

(da-dum-DUM!)

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2009 in nerd riot, Niiice!, nostalgia, tv

 

niiice!: NKOTB, “Games”

Perhaps you remember the New Kids on the Block.   They were a “funky” band of Boston kids from the early 1990s, and may very well be the first “boy band.”  They were huge, but like anything else, then came the fall.  Like any phenomenon, the backlash wasn’t far off, and people started hatin’ on them.

Me, I actually used to dig them.  I made fun of them at the same time, of course: I remember Christmas of ’89, I got Hangin’ Tough on tape and first heard the hi-larious tune “New Kids Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”  There was no shame, not yet, in liking something and realizing it was also sort of dumb.  I was a very mature 10 year old.

This is the New Kids post-backlash single, and you can tell.  First, they’ve changed their name to the more “street” sounding NKOTB.  Secondly, the song’s all about tellin’ the haters where to go, even if its done in the name of “positivity” and no one in 1991 knew what a “hater” was.   Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2009 in boston rock city, Niiice!, nostalgia

 

geekUSA is brought to you by: McDonalds: good time, great taste, and a clown with iiiice skates…

This was made back in 1984, I think, and wound up being played for years. It’s the strangely touching tale of a  little boy who can’t ice skate and feels left out by all the mean older kids and then Ronald McDonald shows up and everyone’s like “Hello, Clown! It’s so normal you’re here, in the woods, with a bunch of kids!” and Ronald shows the little boy how to skate, and the modern viewer is reminded of the really horrible joke with the blood in the clown suit.  Or maybe that’s just me.   Merry Christmas, everybody!

McDonald’s and Christmas are two things that have very little in common, at first glance.  However, if you think about it, it makes sense.  Both are things you loved and looked forward to as a child, and both are things that usually disappoint you and give you indigestion as an adult.   Both things make you fat, and both are things where, when you’re young, you’re really there for the free toys.

Also, sometimes, when you’re young, you find yourself dragged along for Christmas shopping trips with Mom and Pop, and at the end of the day, you wind up there.  Mom and Dad, by this point, have probably spent as much money as they’re willing to spend, and yet are too worn out by the holiday shopping experience to cook anything at home.  So, sometimes, you end up at McDonalds.  It’s a nice reward for behaving yourself when you’re seven, especially if they’re serving eggnog shakes.

Ohhhhh how I miss you, eggnog shakes…

Next up: it’s not a bad tree, it just needs a little encouragement.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2008 in Niiice!, nostalgia, tv, War on Xmas!

 

a very special christmas special: “Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952)” (or: Chipmunks are Mean-Spirited Little Turds)

plxmas2Where exactly do Mickey and Pluto live?  You’d think California or Florida, except they’re obviously someplace with snow and pine trees.  And chipmunks.   Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ch-ch-ch-Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers.  Except here, they’re nude and can’t speak English.  This is obviously before The House of Mouse undertook the White Man’s Burden of civilizing these poor tree-dwelling savages.  Sure, it’s a stretch, but I’ll take any chance I can get to tie Disney to the Age of Imperialism.

OH, COME ON, ANDY, THAT’S NOT FAIR.  “PLUTO’S CHRISTMAS TREE” IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE ANIMATED SHORTS OF ALL TIME, AND YOU KNOW IT.

Fine.  You caught me.  Watch and learn why, below the cut:

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a very special christmas special: A Wish For Wings That Work (1991) (or: Mommy, Why Is The Penguin So Mean To The Kitty?)

Bloom County.  Outland.  The Opusverse, we’ll call it, or the Bloom Count-inuum.  Whatever it is, that’s one of my natural mental homes.  I’ve already talked in these pages about how much Berke Breathed’s skewed heartland aesthetic and lovably neurotic characters affected me and how I think about the world, and now that he’s retiring, we’ll miss him.   Maybe one day there’ll be another Opus and Bill TV special.  Maybe.  But probably not.

There was one, though, in 1991.  It’s an adaptation of the picture book A Wish For Wings That Work.  I’ve posted the full movie below.  I haven’t seen it in years, and I’ve always… sort of liked it.  Some people swear by it.  Some people swear at it.  You’ll see what I mean after the jump.

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a very special christmas special: Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search for Santa (or: Who Killed Mindy Cohn?)

I did this last year and people seemed to like it, so I’m doing it again.  For the next month or so, I’ll be reviewing Christmas specials of days gone by, including some Very Special Christmas Episodes and Christmas movies.  If you have any suggestions of beloved holiday classics you want to see me eviscerate lovingly scold, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

awnbckids2

We’ll start off this festive season by getting obscure.  Real obscure.  So obscure, in fact, that even I have no memories of this special, and I’m a guy who remembers Hi, Honey, I’m Home.

Back in the 80s, NBC had a serious TV line up.  It had Cosby.  It had Cheers.  It had LA Law and Silver Spoons.  It had Knight Rider.  And oh did it ever like to strut its stuff (peacock-like, of course) by presenting its galaxy of stars in a series of Special Presentations.

Yes.  Let’s all be there.  NBC was the cock of the walk in those days.  Strut strut strut.  Case in point: Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search for Santa. Oh yes, we’re very obscure today, folks.

I don’t think this is the complete special.  If anyone has it, or has access to it, then God yes I want to see it.  Especially if there’s more crazy shenanigans from the NBC kids.   Oh, those crazy NBC kids.  Always getting into trouble with their DUIs and breast reductions and such.

This is, of course, before all that.  This is from 1985,  a simpler time, a time when you could play on the audiences nostalgia of an even simpler time by dragging out friendly Andy Williams and his friendly sweaters and having him sing to a gaggle of adorable anklebiters.  Especially if the adorable anklebiters are, in this case, highly paid tele-brats.

Witness the magic for yourself below the cut.

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