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Western Animation / Garfield Specials

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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 and Cathy specials) were animated by Film Roman, and all of them were broadcast on CBS between the years of 1982 and 1991.

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 and series are set in the same universe.

The specials are as follows:

  • Here Comes Garfield: After a series of vignettes introducing our fat cool cat, 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 ends up being reunited with his mother. Won an Emmy in 1984.
  • Garfield in the Rough: Garfield, Jon and Odie go camping. Unfortunately, a killer panther is there... Won an Emmy in 1985.
  • Garfield's Halloween Adventure/Garfield in Disguise: Garfield and Odie go trick-or-treating, and while doing so, wind up at a haunted house. Won an Emmy in 1986.
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  • Garfield in Paradise: Garfield, Jon and Odie go on vacation in the cheapskate's version of Hawaii.
  • Garfield Goes Hollywood: Garfield, Jon and Odie attempt to win a talent show contest for people and their pets.
  • A Garfield Christmas: Garfield and Odie go with Jon to spend Christmas on the farm where Jon's family lives.
  • 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... and when it became by far the most popular vignette of the book version, the animation team decided to give it a dedicated special. Won an Emmy in 1989.
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  • 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 Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Garfield Gets a Life: The final special—Jon attempts to add some excitement into his life, and in the process, meets a woman who he really hits it off with, but this gets Garfield worried.

The Garfield Specials provide examples of:

  • 555: Babes And Bullets uses the "KLondike 5" variation: Tanya's phone number is KLondike5-1234 (555-1234)
  • 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.
  • Adaptation Species Change: In the original prose story of Babes and Bullets that was featured in Garfield: His 9 Lives, all of the characters are cats. In the animated special (which was separate from the adaptation of His 9 Lives), everyone else is human with only Garfield remaining a cat. This is never remarked on, even by his love interests.
  • Agony of the Feet: Garfield's initial plan to get inside the Old, Dark House in Halloween Adventure is for him to kick down the door and have Odie scout the place out. Garfield injures his foot doing this.
  • Aloha, Hawaii!: The main premise of Garfield in Paradise.
  • 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
  • Animation Bump: Garfield's dancing at the start of Here Comes Garfield is a notably more complex and smooth animation sequence than the rest of the special. A Behind the Scenes segment in 1982 promoting the show shows the amount of work put into the dancing sequence as the animators wanted Garfield to move more like a slow, fat person than a cat. This included filming Desirée Goyette and modeling the animation to match her choreography [1].
  • Appease the Volcano God: The volcano in Garfield in Paradise. However, it rejects the usual virgin sacrifice common to this trope when it throws Princess Owooda when she attempts a Heroic Sacrifice. What the volcano really wants is a vintage 1950s car that contains the spirit of the Cruiser, who appeased it the first time.
  • Art Evolution: When watching the specials in order, you can see how Garfield has evolved over the years. The first two specials have Garfield drawn in his early 80's style. He still is for the first few scenes of Garfield in the Rough, then the eyes slowly get larger during the rest of the special. And by Garfield Goes Hollywood, he has the look he has in Garfield and Friends.
  • Aside Glance: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield's Ignored Epiphany prompts one from Odie.
  • Aw, 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.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: In Babes and Bullets, Sam Spayed is torn between his client Tanya, whom he profiles as The Vamp who probably killed her husband, and Kitty, his Nice Girl of a secretary. It's revealed that Tanya was faithful to her husband while he was alive, and Kitty was tempted to lure Professor O'Tabby away from Tanya because she loved him, though she ultimately didn't go through with it. At the end, Tanya tells Sam any romantic relationship between them won't work, and Kitty seduces the detective with milk.
  • 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. Though it's implied that Garfield's mother is checking up on him to see how he's doing.
    • Garfield solves the murder in Babes and Bullets and gets a check that will cover the rent for his office, but Tanya turns him down because she's still grieving her husband. Kitty is also grieving Professor O'Tabby but decides to cuddle with Garfield for comfort. He's fine with that.
    • Garfield Gets a Life ends with Jon forced to break up with Mona because she's allergic to cats, but the two agree to stay friends and Garfield is pleased that Jon still sticks by him.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: In Garfield in Paradise, Monkey, the dumbest of the Ding-Dongs, and Odie fix up Jon's rental car.
  • 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.
    • In the original Babes and Bullets story the murder victim and the jealous co-worker who killed him were both priests, while the special changes them to university teachers to avoid any religious controversy.
    • Also from Babes and Bullets, in the 9 Lives version when Garfield gets hot coffee spilled on him, he exclaims, "Damn it! That's hot!" In the animated version it's changed to, "Gosh, that's hot!"
  • 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.
    • An in-universe example takes place earlier. When Garfield says he hates a clown on TV, the clown himself responds with a shocked expression.
  • 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, and similar to the comic strip and Garfield and Friends, are more gag-focused.
  • Breath-Holding Brat: In Garfield's Thanksgiving, Jon holds his breath until Liz says she'll go out with him. She eventually agrees after Jon faints from holding his breath in.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of Garfield in Town, Garfield is ordered by his grandfather to leave and go back to his own home with Jon and Odie. Before he goes, Garfield's mother does conciliate him that his life with Jon is much easier and more comfortable than their lives in the abandoned Italian restaurant.
  • 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?".
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield as a pirate threatens to kill John, but won't on account of him being the only one who changes his kitty litter.
  • Captain Colorbeard: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield is dressed as a pirate captain. He calls himself Orangebeard.
  • Cargo Cult: In Garfield in Paradise they come across a native tribe that worships a '57 Chevy and its driver, "The Cruiser", who drove into a nearby volcano as a sacrifice.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: In Garfield in Paradise, when the volcano begins erupting, Garfield looks and the camera and smiles while saying "Nice touch."
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Woman rather. Sam Spayed in Babes and Bubbles mentions he hired his secretary a day before the story starts because Kitty makes good coffee. Kitty worked for Professor O'Tabby, it turns out, and quit because she loved him but knew he loved his wife and would never leave Tanya. She reveals she didn't kill Professor O'Tabby, but she provides the crucial evidence that leads Sam to the real murderer.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: The volcano in Garfield in Paradise.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the Thanksgiving special, Jon while prepping a Thanksgiving turkey reads the instruction "Rub skin with butter" as applying butter to his own skin rather than the turkey itself.
  • Cool Old Lady: Jon's Grandma, who appears in both the Christmas and Thanksgiving specials. In the Thanksgiving special, she immediately arrived at Jon’s house to assemble a full meal for him and his date, including her cutting through a frozen turkey and turning it into croquettes.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the original Garfield comic strip, as well as and Friends, are Gag Series with No Fourth Wall, the specials tend to be much more dramatic. Halloween Adventure in particular.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entirety of Babes and Bullets, the Krazy Kat scene of His 9 Lives, and the first scene of In the Rough.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: 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.
  • Disco Sucks!: Jon attends a club and disco dances. A guy yells at him, "Hey, jerk! Disco is dead!"
    Jon: Boy, you learn a dance, and then zango! Fourteen years later, they change it.
    Garfield: (glancing at the audience) Go figure.
  • Dogs Love Fire Hydrants: When Garfield, Odie and the other dogs and cats flee the pound in Here Comes Garfield, one of the dogs at one point stops to sniff a fire hydrant.
  • Dramatic Drop: Kitty spills coffee all over Garfield in Babes and Bullets when she overhears his phone call about Professor O'Tabby possibly being in love with another woman. It clues in Garfield that she knows something about the O'Tabbys.
  • Dreadful Musician: Doc's attempt at playing "Oh Christmas Tree" on the piano in A Garfield Christmas.
  • 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: Binky the Clown makes his first on-screen appearance in Garfield's Halloween Adventure, before his physical debut in the strip (he was first mentioned in March 1985, a little over seven months before the special aired, but wasn't seen until September of '86) or Garfield and Friends.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The two earliest Garfield specials, Here Comes Garfield and Garfield on the Town are a time capsule of the nascent years of the franchise.
    • Garfield is drawn in his early-80's style for both specials – he rarely walks upright and doesn't have big feet when he does. The production of Here Comes Garfield is actually the reason why Garfield's design would change in the comics and later specials - Jim Davis wanted to open with Garfield dancing but the animators struggled because Garfield had been designed with small, cat-like feet. The next special, Garfield on the Town, still used the four-footed art style but notably Garfield is able to stand on two humanoid feet now when necessary.
    • The first two specials were animated by Mendelson/Melendez, who created the Peanuts specials, but directed by Phil Roman. Due to the demands of the studio also working on the Peanuts specials in the same window, it was decided that Phil Roman would form his own studio, Film Roman, to take on the work for future Garfield specials and later the Garfield and Friends TV show. While a lot of the same people worked on the rest of the animated series, there are noticeable changes in the presentation and style of the later specials that make them more in keeping with the look and feel of Garfield and Friends, not the least of which was Garfield's character design shifting to the extremely recognizable look he has to this day.
    • Here Comes Garfield is the only cartoon where Jon isn't voiced by Thom Huge, instead being provided by longtime television actor Sandy Kenyon.
    • The soundtrack is also significantly different - later specials and Garfield & Friends would use combination of synth-classical and synthpop. Here Comes has a swing jazz soundtrack with several songs performed by Lou Rawls. While later specials would always include a Lou Rawls song to open the proceedings, Here Comes Garfield featured multiple songs performed by Rawls. Notably, all of the specials and Garfield and Friends featured the same music team of Desirée Goyette (who performed the film vocals and many of the female voices in the franchise) and Ed Bogas (who was only missing for the last special).
    • A number of the other specials, and G&F, featured unique storylines that didn't overlap with the comic itself, which went on to become its own beast. Here Comes is largely sourced from a number of strips during the early 80s era of Garfield, stitched together to make one story.
    • Additionally, the third act of Here Comes is a lot more melancholy than many other Garfield works, and focuses around the idea that Odie is going to be put down by the City Pound for want of an identified owner (as Jon has no idea how much trouble they're in) and features Garfield reflecting on how they met and comforting Odie while he's cold. The scene feels a bit ridiculous today - obviously Odie isn't getting put under - but in 1982 Odie's Plot Armor wasn't guaranteed and so the sequence worked better. On the Town deals with the bittersweet reunion of Garfield with his family and learning that he doesn't fit in, but it's comparatively much lower stakes than the idea of one of the main cast dying.
    • Garfield himself is not nearly as much of a pun-master as he'd become in later shows, instead being much more of a Straight Man to the goofiness happening around him; there's also more of an emphasis placed, especially by the soundtrack, on him being a "cool cat".
    • For some even earlier installment weirdness, technically Garfied was first animated for a mostly live action special called The Fantastic Funnies in 1980 produced by Mendelson/Melendez, which highlighted several contemporary strips and would briefly display examples of their humor in animated form. In addition to Garfield having a rounder design and Jon having a rounder head and different colored clothing, Garfield is voiced by Scott Beach who gives a very different performance to the rotund feline than Lorenzo Music would bring. Ironically, this was the first time Thom Huge would voice Jon Arbuckle.
  • Empty Swimming Pool Dive: Occurs in Garfield in Paradise.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Is actually a plot point for Jon in Garfield Gets a Life. His failures with women in the first half is due to him trying waaaay too hard to impress them. He's actually quite endearing when he is simply honest and open, which lands him a relationship (albeit a short-lived one) with Mona.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: In Garfield in the Rough, an escaped panther stalks the woods where Jon, Garfield and Odie are camping.
  • Exact Words: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, as the boat gets caught in the current, Garfield tells Odie to "put out the oars." Odie immediately throws the oars overboard.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: In Babes and Bullets, a viewer can figure out the mystery with some thinking once Kitty gives Sam some important information. Kitty mentions that O'Tabby was an insomniac so, in addition to her making coffee for him, she would also fill out his prescriptions for sleeping pills. It contradicts O'Felix and the police saying he fell asleep at the wheel due to exhaustion.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ali Cat from Garfield on the Town can present himself as civil and reasonable when he wants to, but it's clearly just him trying to get what he wants the easy way. When he's refused, he's quick to turn violent.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield is showing Odie that the other trick-or-treaters are just kids by pulling a monster mask off one kid. But the next three turn out to be real monsters, with the third person Garfield unmasks (a long-nosed person with sharp teeth) revealing their mask is identical to their real face, and the fourth person, a Bedsheet Ghost, turns out to be an actual, invisible ghost underneath. Subverted with the second person unmasked - it's a hairy monster, but they're also in a Bedsheet Ghost outfit.
  • Gold Tooth: Ali Cat, the leader of the Claws in Garfield on the Town, has a gold tooth.
  • Groin Attack: In one scene, from Babes and Bullets, Sam Spayed 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."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Garfield in Paradise, Owooda attempts this, but the volcano won't let her, sending her tumbling back down the mountain. Monkey and Odie appear to pull one when they drive the car over the volcano's edge to appease it, but they manage to climb out.
  • Human Sacrifice: In Garfield in Paradise, the island princess (and her cat) are sent to jump into an erupting volcano. Her rather cynical father comments that it doesn't so much appease the spirit of the volcano as it "plugs up the hole." Turns out the volcano is more interested in the convertible Jon rented.
  • I Have a Family: In Garfield in the Rough, Garfield thinks he's being approached by a predator when he encounters Billy Rabbit and makes several pleas to not be eaten. One of his claims is lying about having a wife and nine kids.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Garfield shouts this in Garfield's Halloween Special, when, after Odie puts out the oars in their rowboat (as in, drops them off the boat and into the water), they start drifting downriver.
    Garfield: We be at the mercy of the sea, matey! Topside! Topside! Batten the hatches! Trim the mains! Slip the sheets! Flibber the giblets! I WANT MY MOMMY!!!
  • 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 being too greedy? Should I share my candy with those less fortunate than me? Am I missing the true spirit of Halloween?... Naaaaah! Mine! All mine! Mine, I tell you!
  • Instant Sedation: Somewhat averted in Garfield In The Rough; the park rangers are able to shoot the panther with a tranquilizer dart (just as it's about to pounce on Garfield), but while the sedative does its thing pretty quickly, there is a tense moment when the panther is still able to crawl towards Garfield and come close to clawing him.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Garfield's grandfather bluntly telling him to go home in Garfield on the Town is undoubtedly harsh, but it's not hard to see where he's coming from. The family's restaurant took serious damage in a fight against the Claws to protect Garfield — a fight Garfield didn't participate in. Besides, as Garfield's mother points out, he's just not cut out for their lifestyle and wouldn't enjoy it.
  • 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In Garfield in the Rough, after most of an episode cowering in fear of the escaped panther, Garfield goes into near-Papa Wolf mode to distract it when it menaces Jon and Odie.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield orders Odie to "put out the oars". Odie throws the oars off the boat.
      Garfield: I'd make him walk the plank if I had one.
    • 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.
  • Look Behind You: In Garfield on the Town, Garfield's brother Raoul distracts Ali Cat during a fight by saying "Ain't that Haley's Comet?"
  • Manchild: 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.
  • Monochrome to Color: Garfield in the Rough uses this in its intro, as the title character bemoans how boring life at home is (with a Do Not Adjust Your Set warning).
  • Mr. Imagination: Both Babes and Bullets and Garfield's Feline Fantasies focus on Garfield's Walter Mitty-esque flights of fancy.
  • Mundane Solution: Brought up in Garfield in Paradise after Odie and Monkey's (seeming) Heroic Sacrifice:
    Aw Monkey, what did you have to go and do that for? You could have just shoved the car in.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The real killer in Babes and Bullets is praying for forgiveness when Garfield confronts him. He's almost relieved to have to go to jail.
  • 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. The latter is especially made creepy by the fact that he also has five fingers on each hand, unlike the other characters who have four.
  • Not So Above It All: In A Garfield Christmas, Garfield spends most of "Can't Wait Till Christmas" grousing and snarking, but he eventually gets caught up in the song and sincerely joins in. Upon realizing this, though, he resumes looking sour.
  • 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, and Garfield's Feline Fantasies was adapted into a storybook) 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.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Garfield and Odie each give one after the latter blows their cover with a Sneeze of Doom in Halloween Adventure.
  • 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.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In Garfield in Paradise, to get around the airline rule against pets in seats, Jon makes Garfield wear clothes but otherwise look like himself. It's not even a full set of clothes.
  • Parental Bonus: In Garfield's Christmas Special, there's a scene near the end where Garfield presents John's Grandma with a bundle of letters written by her (now deceased) husband when they were courting. Grandma reads the first letter aloud:
    Grandma: "My darling, if the sea were of ink and the sky of parchment, I could not begin to write my love for you." (laughs softly) "When next we meet-" (pauses, reading silently) Oh... (puts a hand over her mouth, chuckling) Oh, my.
    John's Mom: Well, what does he say, Grandma?
    Grandma: (quickly folds up letter, crossing her arms) It is inappropriate for a lady to talk about her romances, my dear.
  • Parents Know Their Children: In Garfield on the Town, Garfield's mother immediately recognizes him, whereas it takes him a few moments to realize who she is.
  • Plane Awful Flight: Garfield in Paradise opens with Jon, Garfield (and Odie stashed in a suitcase) taking a plane to a tropical island. It's not a pleasant flight, with everything from rude stewardesses (upon finding out Jon is flying third class: "your seat is in the rear with the rest of the slime!") to broken down seats, non functioning safety belts, and turbulence that sends them bouncing into the ceiling. Garfield's thoughts on the matter:
    "Whoever said getting there is half the fun should be dragged out into the street and shot.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Here Comes Garfield has a depressing scene of Garfield and Odie trapped and alone in such a pound.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In Garfield in Town, Garfield's family succeeds in driving away the Claws but at the cost of their home (an abandoned Italian restaurant) being vandalized and broken into and some of the family members having been injured in the battle. None of the cats but Garfield is happy with the results of the battle.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: In Babes and Bullets, Sam finds himself attracted to Tanya, even while he suspects her of having killed her husband. When he solves the case, she gently lets him down because obviously she is still in mourning, and they are too different. Tanya does pay him handsomely for his time.
  • Red Herring: Babes and Bullets shows many suspicious shots of Tanya watching Sam as he's pursued by a huge tough guy. It turns out these are unrelated - Tanya was watching Sam to make sure he was able to do the job she hired him for... and the tough guy was just his landlord looking for back rent.
  • 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.
  • Saving Christmas: One Arbuckle family tradition is Dad reading Binky: The Clown Who Saved Christmas.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: In Garfield's Thanksgiving, Garfield's talking scale mockingly mistakes him for Orson Welles, and claims to have seen Citizen Kane eight times.
  • Saying Too Much: This is how the killer in Babes and Bullets gets caught. Professor O'Felix mentions that Professor O'Tabby probably fell asleep at the wheel, but Kitty reveals O'Tabby was an insomniac and needed sleeping pills to deal with his caffeine addiction. He only would have been asleep if the sleeping pills had been put into his coffee, and O'Felix was making it after Kitty left
  • Scare Chord: Two happen in Garfield's Halloween Adventure when the old man first appears and the pirate ghosts burst through a cabinet after Garfield and Odie. One occurs in Garfield's Christmas when Garfield realizes just how high up he is on top of a Christmas tree. Two also occur close together in Babes and Bullets when a thug who is actually Sam Spayed's angry landlord looking for rent can be seen spying on Spayed.
  • 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 trick-or-treaters who are not what they appear 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."
  • Secondary Character Title: The final special may be called Garfield Gets a Life, but the focus is surprisingly more around Jon. Even Odie gets Demoted to Extra in this one.
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: Invoked by Garfield in Garfield's Thanksgiving, when he fakes the symptoms of vitamin deficiency as Liz lists them off to get her to take him off his diet.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty. These are Garfield cartoons, after all.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: Garfield Goes Hollywood, naturally.
  • 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.)
  • 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!
  • Spiritual Successor: Garfield and Friends tended to avoid holiday episodes (the specials speak for themselves), but in the season 2 segment "Heatwave Holiday", Garfield started a "Christmas in July" trend on a very hot day when he was trying to "think cold". Much later, The Garfield Show's second episode's opening segment was also Halloween themed, though in each case, this was the only segment with an overt holiday theme.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Parodied in Garfield's Feline Fantasies when the untrustworthy "Fat Guy" boasts that his "associate", in addition to being trained in various martial arts, doesn't smoke, drink, eat or sleep. Slobberjob/Odie, in response, has his skills prefaced with how he doesn't think. ("Most impressive.")
  • Stupid Sacrifice: At the climax of Garfield in Paradise, Odie and Monkey have apparently driven the car to their death in the heart of a raging volcano. The Grand Rama Lama points out they could have simply stopped the car, gotten out, and pushed the car in. Subverted on two counts: first, Odie and Monkey actually survive, having apparently bailed out of the car shortly after it started to fall in, second, Monkey mentions "we gotta work on those brakes", suggesting that they had tried to stop the car but couldn't.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In Paradise has Princess Owooda resembling Liz and her cat resembling Arlene.
  • 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!
  • Talk Like a Pirate: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield gladly indulges in this as Captain Orangebeard. Even first mate, Odie the Stupid, tries the growling version ("R-arr!").
  • This Is My Human: In Garfield in the Rough, when a panther threatens Jon and Odie, Garfield goes on the attack and draws claws on it. While it doesn't do much, it gives time for the rangers to sedate the panther. Odie and Jon are grateful and Glomp Garfield.
  • 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!
  • Took a Level in Badass: Garfield between On the Town and In the Rough. A gang of cats he accidentally pissed off attacks his family? He hides. A panther attacks Jon and Odie? It's go time.
  • Unfortunate Names: In Garfield in the Rough there is a character named Dicky Beaver.
  • Villain Song: In Garfield on the Town, the Claws sing a song when they approach the abandoned Italian restaurant Garfield's family lives in while trying to find Garfield with the intent of harming him.
  • 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.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In Garfield's Halloween Adventure, as Garfield rummages through a chest to find costume pieces, among the things he tosses out are "strings, sealing wax and other funny stuff."
  • 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".
  • Who's on First?: In Babes and Bullets, Garfield's alter-ego was named Sam Spayed, leading to this:
    Femme Fatale: Are you Spayed?
    Private Eye Monologue: I never know how to answer that question.
  • 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 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.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When he first meets Tanya in Babes and Bullets, Sam thinks she's the typical Film Noir style Femme Fatale and posits several theories that she killed her husband and is hiring him to take the fall so she can get clean away. However, every time he asks her a question that would confirm one of said theories, it always ends up being wrong.
  • You Are Fat: In the Thanksgiving special, RX-2, the talking bathroom scale from the comics strips, makes its animated debut. When Garfield asks the scale what his name is, the scale annoyingly "mistakes" Garfield for Orson Welles, and claims to be a huge fan and has seen Citizen Kane numerous times. This is definitely a crack at Welles' weight. When Garfield has had enough of the scale, he destroys it, and the scale just says, "Rose... bud..."
  • You Look Familiar: In-universe: in Garfield in Paradise, when Jon and his pets go to rent a car, the car dealer, who looks like Frank Nelson, looks a lot like the motel manager, also looking a lot like Nelson, prompting Jon to say this very phrase to him.
    Car dealer: I have a brother in the motel business.
    Garfield: Racket is more like it.
  • You Won't Like How I Taste: When he encounters Billy Rabbit in Garfield in the Rough, Garfield assumes that he's run into a predator and pleads not to be eaten. One of the things Garfield claims to avoid being eaten is that he is high in cholesterol.
  • Your Mom: Garfield Goes Hollywood begins with Garfield trying to tell jokes while standing on a fence. After getting hit in the face with a pie, he yells "Your mothers wear army boots".
  • Your Television Hates You: At the end of Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield is too wired to sleep and opts to watch TV. He sees the old man from the island hosting an all-night pirate movie festival. Turning off the TV, Garfield suddenly decides he's very tired and turns in.


Video Example(s):


Garfield on the Town: Shadow

Cornered by a group of alley cats, Garfield's shadow is the first to run for it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / LivingShadow

Media sources:

Main / LivingShadow