PLOT: ‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the yard the Cat in the Hat and his guests partied hard. When the party was over, and the guests all departed one poor baby reindeer was left broken-hearted!
One of the things I’ve noticed throughout this series is that a lot of the specials for children are essential the normal show with Christmas loosely tacked on. The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas is no different. This hour-long special raises provides more questions than answers, and introduces the reindeer version of the one upper. It is educational, but if you remove Christmas from it, nothing really changes about the episode. You could replace it with any holiday and it works well because Christmas is only a supplement to a normal Cat in the Hat episode.
The catalyst for the adventure is the worst reindeer I’ve ever seen gets lost. He essentially misses his stop on the train ends up in the house of the human children that The Cat dropped off. The reindeer is the animal revision of Kristin Wiig’s Penelope, the one upper, from Saturday Night Live. It is especially bad when the kids are learning about elephants and their great sense of smell, and she constantly insist that she can smell better than the elephants. This section, while teaching children a lot, is completely unwatchable as an adult because we all know a person like this and it makes us angry.
I would be remissed if I didn’t talk about how oblivious The Cat is to the meaning of Christmas despite claiming to “know a lot about it”. The goal of the entire trip is to get the reindeer home, and make sure the human children are back in time for Christmas. Yet, at multiple times in the journey The Cat calls out Thing 1 and Thing 2 to start setting up to celebrate Christmas in their current location. This is in complete contradiction to what their mission has been, and what the show itself has preached. It felt like it was played for a laugh so that Thing 1 and Thing 2 could walk away disappointed each time; It was really weird.
The Cat In The Hat Knows A lot About Christmas does a really good job of showcasing love between family and friends during the Christmas season, and since this is a children’s educational show, I wasn’t expecting a romantic love story.
For a special advertising itself as a Christmas special, there a lack of traditional songs and scenes with holiday decorations. This is really where it feels like the Christmas aesthetic is tacked on to a normal episode.
Christmas-ness Score: 3.5 out of 5
The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas is not an awful episode of educational television for kids, but it is a poor Christmas special. It feels like they were trying to showcase the holiday while not potentially offending anyone that may be watching, which meant a lot of the lessons on the holiday were vague and stereotypical. This is definitely one that only your kids will enjoy.