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Cartoon Hell #31 – “The Snow Man”

January 7, 2010

 Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome. 

Warning, there is no snowman resembling this one in the short.

Snowmen sucked where I grew up. Seattle weather didn’t lend itself to thick, rollable snow. If it fell at all, it carried too much moisture to make a snow man that didn’t look like a slouched, misshapen derelict. The snowmen of my childhood looked like they’d sooner stab you than give a proper smile. As bad as this cartoon is, it reflects those awful snowmen surprisingly well.

 The Snow Man starts off with an Inuit sending his seal off to it’s own little seal-house igloo. Considering what Inuit usually do to seals, this seems a bit dishonest. The seal complains until the man hands it a hot water bottle, which would only satisfy someone who’s never tried that. 

How hard would you have to turn a gear with that kind of timing?

Back inside his igloo, which looks suspiciously like a normal lodge created by someone with no interest in finding reference material, the man says prayers to his heathen gods, and then sets his clock to wake him up in six months. Apparently them Eskimos hibernate like bears.

 We watch the hands pass through the months with an urgent voice whispering “tick tock” in a way that felt too intimate for the setting. The scene doesn’t change to skeleton in a parka as I would have expected. At this point I wish I could travel back in time and tell the animators, “You realize Eskimos aren’t bears, right? Even the fattest one couldn’t sleep through the winter.” 

You will never look this happy, because you are sane.

The unnamed man comes outside, and when he summons his seal, it comes out alive and well inexplicably joined by a pack of baby seals and a pelican. I think cartoons are best when their nonsense is playing off of a certain reality. The makers of this cartoon don’t seem tethered to much of anything. An eskimo frolicking with seals and pelicans borders on nonsensical. 

Burpin', bouncin' bears!

This motley crew encounters mice bouncing off a burping walrus’ stomach. I don’t know why, but several of the entries I’ve reviewed lately have characters scandalously close to Mickey Mouse. Was it out of laziness, or were they trying to capitalize on the famous character? It took several minutes for me to realize that they were supposed to be bears. 

Everyone loves snowmen with depression and lower back pain.

Several minutes pass with the usual space filler of dancing and pointless wackiness as the group builds a snowman. The results are surprisingly creepy. Who decided to give a snowman a pronounced slouch, leering smile, and a mammoth gut? If I saw this snowman looking through my window I’d scream.

 And guess what they do with the snowman? If your guess is anything but dancing, you’re dead wrong, and you should have learned by now.

He's a snow man of action!

When the snowman comes to life, it actually becomes intentionally evil. What’s ironic to me is that the ghoulish snowman, with his pointy fingers and fanged mouth, projects less menace than before he came to life. The Inuit flees on his kayak, the snowman following, smashing through igloos and eating fish with a sinister cackle. 

Work that snow ass!

None of his behavior troubles me in particular, but the level of definition they gave his ass is a bit odd. Most people credit Ren and Stimpy for really kicking off the trend of defined buttocks on cartoon characters, but clearly they weren’t the first. The snowman moves his rounded ass towards a magical ice castle when he hears singing. He interrupts what looks like a penguin glee club run by a walrus. Instead of chasing the animals, the snowman roughly bangs out a sinister tune then tears apart the keys like a rock star. So far the snowman seems less like a force of evil and more like a really aggressive jerk. He decides to eat a baby deer, I guess just because he wondered how it would taste, but the Inuit interrupts with a paddle slap.

 While giving chase, the snowman is tricked by one of the bear cubs, who manages to stab him in his rounded buttock with a icicle shiv. After that it becomes one long sequence of animals fleeing from the snowman intermixed with the Inuit smacking his head on ice cubes while trying to rescue them. Almost any gag in this cartoon gets looped two or more times, which gets maddening. 

I knew by this point you'd be craving snow man on deer action.

The Inuit flies out of his boat, sliding along a series of ass-poking icicles (a reoccurring theme) and falls on a polar bear, which helps him ride to the rescue. He reaches a special chamber and moves a gigantic lever which fires up the Northern Lights, which are toxic to the common snowman, a fun science fact you can take with you. 

Somehow he's turning into Bruce Vilanch.

A surprisingly gross animation is used to show the snowman dissolving into a puddle. Guess what the Inuit and the animals do around the puddle? You’d better believe they dance!

 The end features the only genuinely funny moment, with the fish who spent all that time trapped inside the snowman giving the same signature cackle as we fade to black.

 UNPC Moment:

 How did the Inuit avoid the truly mean-spirited racism alloted to natives further south? Old cartoons consistently portrayed Native Americans in their own country as blood thirsty, scalping savages, and yet the moment you mention Eskimos, they get images of adorable parka wearing igloo people hanging out with polar bears and penguins. What’s the disconnect there?

 Rating: Nearly Unwatchable

 This is just another dancing animals cartoon, one lacking even a spark of creativity for the most part. These are so much harder to watch than the cartoons that excelled at being tasteless and awful.

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2 comments

  1. i remember watching this cartoon as a small child. It was pretty strange then, and i love your break down of it here. now we dance!


  2. I also remember watching this cartoon when I was a kid, and the snowman terrified me! I continued watching, though, because I knew at the end the eskimo would reach the lever for the northern lights and melt the evil snowman. Then I’d laugh and dance with them! I must have been about 5 when I saw this cartoon.



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