Western Animation: Garfield Specials
These are just the Holiday Specials.
A series of 12 animated TV specials based off the popular comic strip Garfield
. All of them (except the first two, which were animated by Mendleson/Melendez Productions, famous for the Peanuts
specials) were animated by Film Roman
, and all of them were broadcast on CBS
between the years of 1982 and 1992.
The specials use the same voice actors and animation style, at least from Garfield in the Rough
onwards, as the animated series Garfield and Friends
, though there is no official word on whether the specials should be considered to be set in the same verse as the series.
The specials are as follows:
- Here Comes Garfield: Odie is locked in a dog pound, and Garfield must save him.
- Garfield on the Town: Garfield falls out of the car on a visit to the vet, and is reunited with his mother. This special won an Emmy.
- Garfield in the Rough: Garfield, Jon and Odie go camping. Unfortunately, a killer panther is there...
- Garfield's Halloween Adventure/Garfield in Disguise: Garfield and Odie go trick-or-treating, and while doing so, wind up at a haunted house.
- Garfield in Paradise: Garfield and Jon go on vacation.
- Garfield Goes Hollywood: Garfield, Jon and Odie attempt to win a talent show contest for people and their pets.
- A Garfield Christmas: Garfield and Jon go to Jon's parents house for Christmas.
- Garfield: His 9 Lives: An epic hour-long special where we see past and future reincarnations of Garfield (or Garfield's "Lives") . Based off a graphic novel. Has its own page.
- Garfield's Babes and Bullets: A Deliberately Monochrome special that dramatically parodies Film Noir. Based off one of the vignettes from His 9 Lives that didn't make it to the above special.
- Garfield's Thanksgiving: While Garfield is put on a diet much to his horror, Jon invites Liz over for Thanksgiving and attempts to cook the food. It doesn't end well.
- Garfield's Feline Fantasies: Garfield has a imagination sequence Affectionately Parodying The Maltese Falcon.
- Garfield Gets a Life: The final special. Garfield and Jon attempt to add excitement in their life.
The Garfield Specials provide examples of:
- 555: Babes And Bullets uses the "KLondike 5" variation: Tanya's phone number is KLondike5-1234 (555-1234)
- Animated Adaptation: Apart from these being based off the strip itself, many of the specials featured gags and lines adapted from original Garfield comic strips. His 9 Lives is an adaptation of (some of) the original graphic novel, and Babes & Bullets is an adaptation of the originally-prose story from His 9 Lives
- Adaptation Expansion: Some of the novelizations add scenes absent in the cartoons – notably, the Halloween book adds a subplot about Garfield stealing a ring, which explains why he's being chased by ghosts.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A Heterosexual Life-Partners (then again, Odie's seen crossdressed twice in Garfield In Hollywood) version. Garfield recurrently treats Odie shabbily, but Odie himself clearly cares for Garfield deeply as a friend, and Garfield, though he would never care to admit it, is often nice to Odie back; curling up to sleep beside Odie for the latter's comfort when Odie is apparently doomed to be put down in Here Comes Garfield (and then going on to attack the dogcatcher to save him towards the film's end), giving Odie his fair share of the candy in Garfield's Halloween Adventure, and bartering with The Creator to give Odie nine lives back as well at the end of Garfield: His 9 Lives are all prominent examples.
- Bittersweet Ending: The end of Garfield On The Town. Garfield finds his way back to Jon and Odie, but he's been more or less forbidden to ever come near his family, including his long-lost mother, again.
- Bowdlerization: A strip of Garfield throttling Jon, like many others, was animated into a throwaway gag in Here Comes Garfield. However, due to the request of CBS, the throttling was changed to Garfield grabbing Jon's cheeks and shaking them violently.
- Omission example: Some of the more "adult" vignettes in His 9 Lives are replaced.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the very end of Babes And Bullets, Jon interrupts the fantasy, asking "What are you doing in there?". Garfield responds "Getting ready to roll the end credits" and closes the door.
- Garfield also has a Running Gag of saying "nice touch" when something thematically appropriate (Dramatic Thunder upon the closeup of a spooky mansion, for example) occurs.
- Breather Episode: Garfield Goes Hollywood, Garfield's Thanksgiving, and Garfield Gets a Life, all of which are more laid back compared to the rest of the specials. There's no moments that are explicitly Played for Drama or see the characters in genuine danger.
- Call Back: At one point in Garfield in The Rough, Jon turns on the radio set, and after a We Interrupt This Program report about the panther, So Long Old Friend from Here Comes Garfield starts playing.
- Canada, Eh?: According to Lorenzo, the teacher in Garfield Gets a Life, speaking Canadian is easy: You talk like you normally would, but sometimes, you add an "Eh?".
- Captain Colorbeard: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield is dressed as a pirate captain. He calls himself Orangebeard.
- Chekhov's Volcano: The volcano in Garfield in Paradise.
- Cool Old Lady: Jon's Grandma, who appears in both the Christmas and Thanksgiving specials.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The entirety of Babes and Bullets, the Krazy Kat scene of His 9 Lives, and the first scene of In the Rough.
- Dressed to Plunder: The Halloween Special has him and Odie going out Trick-or-Treating dressed as pirates, Garfield wearing a pirate hat and sporting a peg leg, while Odie has a bandana, single earring, and striped shirt, and being who he is, starts off with a peg on every leg. The ghostly pirates they run into later show more of the usual fashion sense, just more dead and decayed.
- Early-Bird Cameo/Marth Debutedin Smash Bros: Binky the Clown makes his first appearance in Garfield's Halloween Adventure, before his debut in the strip or Garfield and Friends.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Here Comes Garfield. It was animated by a different studio than the later specials (Mendelson/Melendez instead of Film Roman); Garfield is drawn in his early-80's style – he rarely walks upright and doesn't have big feet when he does; and it's the only traditionally-animated Garfield cartoon where Jon isn't voiced by Thom Huge.
- Empty Swimming Pool Dive: Occurs in Garfield in Paradise.
- Epic Fail: Doc's attempt at playing "Oh Christmas Tree" on the piano in A Garfield Christmas.
- Escaped Animal Rampage: In Garfield on the Rough, an escaped panther stalks the woods where Jon, Garfield and Odie are camping.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Babes and Bullets heavily implies that Garfield got laid. Twice. BY HUMAN WOMEN. It starts when in typical Film Noir style, the sexy female client invites Sam Spayed to "have a little milk with her", and he reacts much as if she'd invited him in for coffee. At the end, his secretary picks up a pair of glasses and a bottle of milk, sashaying into Sam's office while throwing a few Fanservice poses, inducing an "oh wow" reaction from Sam. Also in Babes and Bullets, Garfield's alter-ego was named Sam Spayed.
- In one scene, Sam says on the phone that Tanya's husband might have been tangled up with another woman, and a shocked Kitty responds by dumping a tray's worth of coffee into Sam's lap. After getting up, Sam remarks "That hot coffee in the lap was enough to give a literal meaning to my last name."
- In Garfield in the Rough there is a character named Dicky Beaver.
- If I Do Not Return: In A Garfield Christmas: "If I'm not back in an hour, send a banana cream pie after me."
- Ignored Epiphany: Flagrant in Garfield's Halloween Adventure:
Garfield: Wait a minute. Am I missing the true spirit of Halloween? Should I share my candy with those less fortunate than me? Naaaaah! Mine! All Mine!
- Is There a Doctor in the House?: In Garfield Goes Hollywood, at the "Pet Search" talent show, there is an old woman who is trying to make her pet bird, which is most likely dead, perform tricks to the audience. After realizing what's going on, the old woman asks this question.
- Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: In Babes and Bullets, Sam Spayed says that Lieutenant Washington's blue boy shot a client in the back for jaywalking.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Garfield. Under that lazy, cynical, self-absorbed exterior, there's quite a golden heart. He deeply cares for Odie and Jon, in his own way — to the point that, in the camping special (Garfield in the Rough), he attacks a killer panther to try and protect them. He's also a really good dancer.
- In Halloween Adventure, Garfield learns too late, after jumping into water, that he is unable to swim, so Odie saves him. Once back on dry land and once they rediscover their bags of trick-or-treating candies, they head home, where, in repayment, Garfield does something he considers "totally out of character for [him]" and "a great sacrifice on [his] part": he gives Odie his half of the candy.
- Literal-Minded: In Garfield's Thanksgiving, the turkey recipe says "Rub skin with butter". Jon then says "I don't know what good that will do, but okay," and rubs his own skin with it.
- Man Child: There's a few hints that part of Jon's nerdy nature is because of this. Most blatant in the Christmas Special; he and his brother Doc Boy love a children's book about Binky the Clown saving Christmas so much that they make their father read it to them each year, despite being grown men, and at one point they try to wake their dad up directly after midnight so they can celebrate Christmas Morning as soon as possible.
- Market-Based Title: The Halloween special isn't sure what to call itself, even in the USA. The cartoon debuted as Garfield's Halloween Adventure, but the novelization was called Garfield In Disguise, suggesting that that was the original title. Depending on the re-release, one or the other (or both) will change. Some prints of the book note on the first page that the title was altered.
- Metaphor Is My Middle Name: Garfield tries to do this in Garfield's Halloween Adventure, but finds it doesn't work very well:
Garfield: Halloween is my middle name! Gar-Halloween-Field... Oh, well.
- Never Send an X to Do a Y's Job: In A Garfield Christmas, Garfield says, "Never send a man to do a cat's job", when Jon has him put the star on the top of the Christmas tree.
- Noir Episode: Babes and Bullets. Wasn't included in the animated version of Garfield: His 9 Lives but was adapted into a stand-alone TV special the following year.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Many of the specials featured a character (usually the villain) drawn in a more realistic style compared to the other characters. Examples include the dogcatcher from Here Comes Garfield, the panther from Garfield in the Rough, and the old man and the pirates from Garfield's Halloween Adventure.
- Not This One, That One: Inverted in Garfield in Paradise. Stranded in a tribal village, the chief calls for his daughter and her cat to meet his guests [Jon and Garfield]. The first girl and cat they see are rather homely, but then the real daughter and cat emerge, both of them significantly more attractive.
- Novelization: All the specials (except Garfield: His 9 Lives, which already was one) were adapted into small graphic novels. The art in them tended to look hurried, even though in many cases the stories became more fleshed out.
- Oven Logic: Shows up in the Thanksgiving special. Jon turns up the oven higher to cook the turkey faster, but ends up ruining it.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: This from A Garfield Christmas:
Jon: Doc Boy! My favorite brother.
Doc: Don't call me Doc Boy. You've probably forgotten I'm your only brother.
Jon: Oh. ...You're right.
- Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Sadly, Here Comes Garfield has Garfield and Odie trapped and alone in such a pound.
- Raiders of the Lost Parody: Garfield's Feline Fantasties had a scene almost exactly like the famous tile puzzle scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Remember the New Guy: Most of Garfield's family appeared only in one week of strips and Garfield On The Town without ever being mentioned again (except for his mom, who showed up in one other strip).
- Running Gag: Every single special has a moment where Garfield turns to the camera and says "Nice touch." These moments occur after some impressive effect that generally helps emphasize the tone of the scene: for example, in Garfield's Halloween Adventure, he does this after seeing the Dramatic Thunder behind the haunted house.
- Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: In Garfield's Thanksgiving, Garfield's talking scale is said to have seen Citizen Kane eight times. (It Makes Sense in Context)
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Garfield and Odie both scream in a very high pitch in Garfield's Halloween Adventure during the song "Scaredy Cat", whenever they come across a trick-or-treater who is not what it appears to be. This also doubles as Hypocritical Humor, because just before making the discovery, Garfield continuously sings that he may be a lot of things, "but the one thing I'm not is a scaredy cat."
- Skewed Priorities: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield is more concerned that he lost his candy and it's past his bedtime than that pirate ghosts are coming to get them. (He also laments losing the boat, but that was a valid worry giving that it was their only mean of escape)
- Shout-Out: Plenty. These are Garfield cartoons, after all.
- In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, while digging around in a chest for costume supplies, Garfield finds balls of string and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.
- Several in Here Comes Garfield:
- There was one in On the Town to West Side Story.
- Frank Nelson spoofing his The Jack Benny Program persona in In Paradise.
- And then, referring to the room that Jon and company have rented, the cheapest, most run-down flea-trap room in the entire hotel as the ... wait for it... "Jack Benny suite."
- Garfield also imagines himself as Don Ho at one point, while the character named "The Cruiser" seems to be a cross between James Dean and The Fonz.
- Even though Jon's car rental is a 1957 Chevy, the red and white colors and trim and the fact that the car is apparently possessed are more likely to evoke comparisons with a certain 1958 Plymouth.
- In Garfield Goes Hollywood, Garfield has a dream sequence in which he imagines himself in The Wizard of Oz, Royal Wedding, and Singin' in the Rain.
- Several to Casablanca in Babes and Bullets.
- The aforementioned Citizen Kane reference in Garfield's Thanksgiving.
- Finally, Feline Fantasies references all sorts of things, such as Casablanca, Vertigo, Goldfinger, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark , and even Airplane!.
- The Show Goes Hollywood: Garfield Goes Hollywood, naturally.
- Sneeze of Doom / Oh Crap Smile: Odie does this in Garfield's Halloween Adventure while he and Garfield are hiding in a cabinet from some pirate ghosts. The sneeze is not only loud enough to attract the ghosts' attention, but it's powerful enough to blow the cabinet doors right open. With sheepish grins, Garfield and Odie close the doors again, and Garfield says, "Maybe they didn't see us..." Cue the Scare Chord as the pirate ghosts come through the cabinet!
- Take Me to Your Leader: Parodied in Here Comes Garfield, as Garfield plays with the food on the table:
Garfield: Take me to your leader, earthling, or I will atomize your face!
- Title Drop: In Here Comes Garfield, Garfield does this when he decides to rescue Odie from the pound:
Garfield: Look out, pound, here comes Garfield!
- Vocal Dissonance: Being voiced by Thom Huge, Jon has a surprisingly good singing voice. It makes his supposed dorkiness particularly during his Wizard of Love act in Garfield Goes Hollywood hard to believe even with the ridiculous Elvis clothes. Then again, his tepid reception was likely because the contest was for his pets (Jon tells his pets that they were great, to which Garfield retorts that Jon was awful), and he does manage to woo over women in the specials.
- Went to the Great X in the Sky: In Garfield Goes Hollywood, after breaking Jon's guitar, Garfield says it "went to the big tuning fork in the sky".
- Why Are We Whispering: Garfield does this in A Garfield Christmas, a monologue variation. "...Why can't they come here where my nice warm bed is? And why...am I whispering?"
- Widely Spaced Jail Bars: In Here Comes Garfield, Garfield and Odie are taken to the pound. Odie is thrown into the back of an animal control truck where the bars are more than wide enough for him to slip through. Later, when Garfield and Odie are in the pound, all the cage bars are wide enough for even Garfield to walk out, but nobody seems to notice.