- Year: 2002
- Director: Colin Slater
- Starring: Walter Emmanuel Jones, Paige O’Hara, Jodi Benson
Today I’m looking at a special that for a time was thought to not exist, which is strange because it only aired in 2002. I guess it’s hard to believe that a special with animation this bad could air on network television. Well, in 2015 someone finally uploaded a copy of the thing to the internet, and now everyone can watch the infamous atrocity that is Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa.
Surely, the animation can’t be as bad as The Christmas Tree, right?
What am I watching?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
This is without a doubt the absolute ugliest animation I have ever seen. This is the first time that I’m positive I could make better animation with a computer program and a few hours’ time. I already need a palate cleanser, and we’ve just started.
So you know the Rapsittie Street Kids right, that beloved franchise? Remember that time they… um yeah, no one has ever heard of them before. Why does this have a title like it’s based on an existing franchise? It’s not Believe in Santa with the credits saying “Introducing the Rapsittie Street Kids.” They just assume you’ll be like “Oh I’ve never heard of them, but they must be famous.”
Sure, you remember all the Rapsittie Street Kids, why there’s Ricky…
His crush Nicole who’s in the same grade but looks twice his age.
His best friend Scarf-face.
Alright, they call him Smithy, but this scarf never leaves his face. Seriously. They are so cheap that they keep this scarf in front of his face for almost the whole special so they don’t have to animate his mouth moving.
Nicole’s friend, Phoebe from Hey Arnold (called Lenee here.)
Of course there’s three threatening bullies.
The kids all attend Rapsittie St. Elementary, where they strive for “excelence.”
How did no one catch the irony in this? So we know the animation is downright awful, but how’s the story? Well after a short opening credits sequence written in Comic Sans…
It’s like the special is daring us to hate it more. Comic Sans is an intentional choice, people. Stop making it. The opening theme also is eerily similar to Danny Elfman’s Scrooged theme, and I can only assume he didn’t sue because it would require acknowledging this special’s existence. There’s also a theme that runs through the film that resembles John Carpenter’s Halloween, because why not ruin all the holidays while we’re at it.
Ricky is a wannabe rapper who speaks in rhyme, and he has a crush on Nicole, the popular girl. In what looks like some weird techno music video, Ricky dreams of giving Nicole a teddy bear his dead mother gave him (before she died).
Of course, Nicole doesn’t care about it, because she only likes things that are bought at malls (a fact she re-iterates many times over) and throws it away. However, when she later learns what it means to him, she travels to the dump with Lenee and Scaf-face to get it back.
Meanwhile, Ricky goes to his great-grandmother (Honestly, the dialogue is so awkward that I can’t tell if it’s actually his mother’s grandmother or his grandmother who he thinks is great.) and has a conversation with her about Santa… I think. It’s impossible to tell, because she only speaks one coherent word every three sentences. I’m not kidding.
She just rolls her head and mumbles and ends it all with the word “Christmas.” She’s taking that old singing tip of the audience only remembering the beginning and ending of your performance way too far.
There’s a subplot (sort of, it takes up a lot of time) about Lenee losing her belief in Santa. Her dad tells her all she has to do is believe and Santa will never die. It’s kind of weird that this special clearly wants this to be a subplot when even the title is about believing in Santa. This also leads Lenee and family to sing one of the worst songs I have ever heard.
Daddy will you try and help me understand/Daddy are you sure that he’s a special man
And there will always be a Santa/If I believe in Santa
Daddy tell me you believe in Santa too
And if we all believed in Santa/There will always be a Santa
Santa alive inside of me and you
Because we all believe in Santa/There will always be a Santa
Santa alive inside of me and you
“Santa” rhyming with “Santa,” how clever. The song is a duet between the father and daughter, but the father is constantly half a note behind the daughter. It’s like she is making it up as she goes along and tries to get him to follow along. It’s painful.
For a special I was hoping to be downright terrible, it has a plot that is surprisingly pedestrian. It’s just about friends going through a slice of life and a girl believing in Santa. Riveting. It could have been any Christmas episode of any Nickelodeon cartoon from the ’90s. Why can’t someone get electrocuted? Why can’t there be a trial with forced references to movies kids have never seen? Make me care about how bad it is!
For a special with such horrendous animation, you may notice that some of the voices actually sound familiar. That’s because, unlike The Christmas Tree, Rapsittie Street Kids actually features some real voice actors. Nicole is voiced by Paige O’ Hara, who voiced Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Lenee is voiced by Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. That means this is the worst animated crossover between two beloved characters since…
We’ve also got Luke Skywalker himself Mark Hamill as Nicole’s father. Seriously? Is Mark Hamill the key to a bad Christmas special?
Realizing the thing needs to end, the kids get what they want for Christmas, including Ricky’s generic unbranded video game system.
Hey it comes with no controllers and no games, so have fun Ricky. Who knows? It could be a DVD player.
I want to be angrier at this thing, but it’s all just kind of meh. The animation is absolutely atrocious, but the story is just plain white bread. I wanted it to do something really truly stupid, and aside from the great-grandmother’s mumbled lines (and Ricky’s response that she always knows what to say), almost every issue is with the animation. Is that one aspect alone enough to make it the worst special I’ve seen?
No. These other specials have so many aspects that are wrong, while this one has a run-of-the-mill cliched story, hit-and-miss voice acting, and just happens to feature the worst animation in the history of mankind. I can’t put it in the worst slot for that alone. If you do, I get it. It’s just far less offensive than Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas and far more watchable than The Star Wars Holiday Special.
Oh you’ve got to me kidding me. This thing ends with a James Bond-style sequel hook. Thankfully, this sequel never got made, but oh that’s so pretentious. Where does it fall?
I’d much rather watch The Christmas Tree again first. We’ve got just one to go before my final thoughts, and it’s a classic… sort of.