Tooncrap #46 - Frosty Returns

Snow Doubt About It! This Is Awful
Broadway Video: 1992

Written by: Raymond Gallant

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and more than likely by now, you've seen several of the classic holiday specials air on television. Maybe it was Rudolph, with it's mean spirited reindeer, and utter asshole Santa. Maybe it was the Grinch, with the wonderful narration of Boris Karloff, and the questionable meals of roast beast and Who hash. Maybe you watched one of the billion Christmas Carol related cartoons, or that Shrek special that sucks an ogre's ass (and this coming from somebody who liked the first couple Shrek films). But if you're like me, you anticipate one special. And that's the Rankin-Bass classic, Frosty the Snowman.

Heaven help me, I love this snowy moron.

I really doubt I have to go into much detail on this special, but for those who may have missed it sometime in the last 41 years, the story tells of Karen and her friends, who build a snowman. However, thanks to the help of a magic hat owned by terrible magician, and all around lanky prick Professor Hinkle, the snowman, named Frosty, comes to life. He marches around, sings, and has all sorts of fun shenanigans. However, because heat and snowmen don't get along, it's up to Frosty, Karen, and Hinkle's rabbit Hocus Pocus to book it to the North Pole. All while Hinkle gives chase, trying to get his hat back, instead of giving the snowman life. Even going to the point of locking Frosty and Karen in a greenhouse, causing Frosty to melt.

Hinkle blows. Also, I'd like to see his credentials. I highly doubt he's a professor.

But, Santa comes to the rescue, restoring Frosty, and putting Hinkle in his place, so that's a plus. It's a better job than the Santa from Rudolph, who would insult Frosty for even being alive, and serving no worth to him.

Seriously, go back to that special if you haven't in years. He's easily the cruelest Santa of all time.

Frosty the Snowman is an instant classic. It has great music, wonderful animation, likable characters, even the villain. And the story is classic, giving plenty of humor, excitement, and drama from start to finish. It's everything a true holiday classic can hope to be.

And then, 20+ years later, a sequel was made. Despite a few specials, there was never really a true sequel to the original. And in 1992, Frosty returned in... well... Frosty Returns. Did it retain the spirit of the original?

Hell no!

Frosty Returns, released not by Rankin-Bass, but by Lorne Michael's Broadway Video, is a half hour snowball to the nutsack. An awful main song, lame and dated (even by 1992) humor, political and environmental overtones, and, to be honest, If you didn't include a talking snowman, I'd swear this was some half assed Peanuts special judging by the animation (done by Bill Melendez Studios, so that's why). It's a cold hearted cash in literally lacking in the Christmas spirit.

So, let's not waste any more time, and look at this animated equivalent of yellow snow. Let's review this thing.

We open our tale with falling snow, and our narrator, a miniature Jonathan Winters, riding a snowflake to a really terrible animation effect. Well, he's no Jimmy Durante, but he'll do. But the question I've always had is, I know he's the narrator, but what is he? An angel, a conscience, the worlds shortest midget? Help me out here cause it's really not explained. He's just known simply as the narrator. So, all narrators are an inch high?

After the opening credits, we head to the town of Beansboro, which according to Micro-Winters, holds an annual winter carnival. The town is covered in snow, which means it's a snow day. But sadly, it's not the forgettable Nickelodeon movie Snow Day, it's the one where rejected Peanuts kids sing about the greatness of snow, and where the adults bitch about how snow is an eyesore, and heart attack enducer.

From there we meet our protagonist Holly, and her friend Poindexter... I mean Charles. Despite the two not being invited to play with the other kids, Charles suggests making "snow fertility goddesses" (Because either Angels is too religious for this special, or Charles is a smartass). Holly has other ideas, and instead decides that the two should rehearse their magic act for the winter carnival.

Their act including sawing the brainy little toad in half.

However, after opening the window, Holly's hat flies away. She gives chase, until it eventually lands on a Snowman. The Snowman, as expected, comes to life.

Oh boy, Frosty's alive! I wonder if his first words will be something cute like "Happy Birthday"

"Whoa no you don't. You wanna take somethin', take the tie. Unless you think I need it. How do you dress for this winter carnival anyway? I mean, I don't wanna underdress. But I could get away with a tank top or something more cas?"

No... Just... No.

Oh goody, we went from simple and friendly, to annoying talking entity. I honestly doubt anybody was looking for a wise cracking Frosty. And nothing against John Goodman, who is clearly just reading the material and getting the cheque.

Holly and Frosty get formally introduced. He dances around, sings opera (why? I don't know), until Holly's mother shows up with a spray can. The stuff's called "Summer Wheeze", and has the power to dissolve snow with one spray.

Cut to our villain, Mr. Twitchell, at a board meeting. One of his lackeys suggests hanging a banner at the winter carnival, which leads to Twitchell revealing his true motives. He wants to be the king of the winter carnival. That's right, his big evil plan is to be a "king" of some stupid holiday festival. Then again, it's not as bad as getting a whole town to go after a kid with HIV.

Realizing Frosty's two squirts away from being history, Holly tries to hide Frosty in her fridge as she goes to school. However, she soon realizes that Charles appears to be the only other person concerned about the impending death of Winter. She ditches school, and meets up with Frosty, who didn't like staying in the fridge because it game him freezer burn. The two converse, as people pass by, not caring that a snowman is ALIVE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! We then get the main song of the special "Let there be Snow", as Frosty sings about all the things snow is good for. This is then sequed into what is easily the worst rap I have ever heard in my life, as coincidentally at this very moment, Twitchell is rapping to the exact same song about how much he's glad that there will be no more snow, and how he'll be king of the winter carnival. Seriously, this harbors dangerously close to Gottfried bad.

Charles meets Frosty. And being the skeptical little douche he is, refuses to believe a talking, walking, unfunny snowman is in front of him. However, Frosty's dancing jackassery catches the attention of Twitchell, who sends his cat to chase after them with a can of Summer Wheeze.

Doesn't exactly get the job done, but still sends a convincing message.

The big day of the winter carnival arrives, as Twitchell arrives, with evil in his heart, and a can of Wheeze in his hands. However, Holly approaches him, and scolds him about how Summer Wheeze is dangerous. They then unveil Frosty..

Who's alive and well despite not wearing the hat. *Cough*Continuity*cough*

Frosty and the kids sing "Let There be Snow" again, as Twitchell tries to run them over, only to end up falling into a frozen lake. The town, not calling the news, or filming the miracle of a talking snowman, decide to make Frosty the king of the winter carnival. The trio take a toboggan ride, until they find Twitchell. feeling sorry for the old fool, they give him the crown and cape, along with their toboggan ride. Frosty, deciding that this place is boring, leaves. The end.

And that's Frosty Returns. It's a lackluster special. Its story is stupid, the characters dull, Frosty tries too hard to be funny when he isn't, the main song isn't catchy, and it's just forgettable. The polar opposite of the special it's leeching off of. It's also arguable if this is a Christmas special or not, since it doesn't mention the holiday at all, and the story involves the Winter Carnival. But despite that, it still gets regular airtime every holiday season alongside the original. And yet a far better special like "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" goes on forgotten. 'Tis a shame.