Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My reflection on "Christmas in Tattertown" (1988)


I'm almost 100% certain that "Christmas in Tattertown" takes place in  the same doodle world as "Cool World". I wonder if there's been a hidden shared-universe within the Bakshi animated movies that I haven't noticed as of yet. Ah well, whatever.


"Christmas in Tattertown" is a nearly forgotten annual Nickelodeon event from the late-80's and 90's. I have a vague memory of catching it on CBS Kids as part of their lineup of cartoons, but I might be confusing this special with "The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse". The story concerns a girl from the real world named Debbie who is sucked into a portal through a book into the land of Tattertown, a run down junk filled place where all lost items end up. Apparently this was supposed to be a pilot for a television series, but it was warped into a Xmas special instead. It's a shame too because I would have adored this if it was a series. 


Sherry Lynn as Debbie is my favorite, her voice just music for me. I mean it's no surprise, she was also the voice of Sasami Jurai in the "Tenchi! Muyo" series. And Jennifer Darling as Muffet the Merciless is inspired. I had no idea the voice of Irma from "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" could pull off a voice like this; I couldn't even recognize her. 


What falls flat for this story however is how no lesson is learned. Not really anyway. All the junk people of Tattertown learn some sort of meaning for Xmas, but Debbie is still trying to force Muffet to be her dolly again, where Muffet just wants her freedom (and to take over Tattertown). Because this special was a vague pilot for a would-be series, there's no resolution. 


In  the beginning where Muffet realizes that she is alive and proclaims "I'm not just a dolly, I'm my own dolly!" is actually kind of moving. 

I don't think it's any surprise that despite the flaws and what feels like a rushed production, I really like this special. There was a lot of potential with these characters and I'm sad they never had a chance to really shine. Apparently Ralph Bakshi still owns the rights to this, so maybe we can hope for an official release or reboot of this. I kind of feel like the youth of today needs the grittiness of a Bakshi cartoon now more than ever. 

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