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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 (October 25, 1982): 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 (October 28, 1983): 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 (October 26, 1984): Garfield, Jon and Odie go camping. Unfortunately, a killer panther is there... Won an Emmy in 1985.
  • Garfield's Halloween Adventure/Garfield in Disguise (October 30, 1985): 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 (May 27, 1986): Garfield, Jon and Odie go on vacation in the cheapskate's version of Hawaii.
  • Garfield Goes Hollywood (May 8, 1987): Garfield, Jon and Odie attempt to win a talent show contest for people and their pets.
  • A Garfield Christmas (December 21, 1987): Garfield and Odie go with Jon to spend Christmas on the farm where Jon's family lives.
  • Garfield: His 9 Lives (November 22, 1988): 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 (May 23, 1989): 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. Has its own page.
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  • Garfield's Thanksgiving (November 22, 1989): 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 (May 18, 1990): Garfield has a imagination sequence Affectionately Parodying Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Garfield Gets a Life (May 8, 1991): 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.

All twelve were issued on four DVDs and three book collections in 2004 and 2005:

  • Garfield as Himself: Collects Here Comes Garfield, Garfield on the Town and Garfield Gets a Life.
  • Garfield's Holiday Celebration: Collects Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Garfield's Thanksgiving and A Garfield Christmas. The book edition was originally released in 1997 as Garfield's Jolly Holiday 3-Pack.
  • Garfield's Travel Adventures: Collects Garfield in the Rough, Garfield in Paradise and Garfield Goes Hollywood.
  • Garfield Fantasies: Collects Garfield's Babes and Bullets, Garfield's Nine Lives and Garfield's Feline Fantasies. Unlike the other collections, it was released on DVD only and did not have a companion book release.

The Garfield Specials provide examples of:

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  • Animated Adaptation: Apart from these being based off the strip itself, many of the specials, especially the early ones, 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Garfield in the Rough deserves its own mention, especially since this applies to both Odie and Jon. Garfield, a chubby house cat usually too out of shape to even hunt mice, leaps onto the back of an escaped panther, biting and clawing it in order to protect Jon and Odie from harm. Garfield doesn't take down the beast (in fact, at best he just made himself the panther's target), but he ultimately bought time for the park rangers to arrive and tranquilize the panther before any real harm was done.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Garfield 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, and similar to the comic strip and Garfield and Friends, are more gag-focused.
  • 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.
  • Digital Destruction: The 9 Story DVD releases all suffer from severe deinterlacing artifacts that make the video jittery and pixellated. They are also strangely re-edited to put the opening credits before the scenes that lead into them and cover the edits with awkward fades to black, making mush of the opening scenes.
  • 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 Garfield 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.
  • 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, and demonstrates it a few times.
    • In 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Novelization: All the specials (except Garfield: His 9 Lives, which already was one, and Garfield's Feline Fantasies, which 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty. These are Garfield cartoons, after all. See the individual folders for details.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Here Comes Garfield 

  • Animation Bump: Garfield's dancing at the start 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].
  • Bowdlerization: A strip of Garfield throttling Jon, like many others, was animated into a throwaway gag. However, due to the request of CBS, the throttling was changed to Garfield grabbing Jon's cheeks and shaking them violently. Jon's line "I'm so happy to own a cat, I could just throw up", is also shortened to just "I'm so happy to own a cat".
  • Dogs Love Fire Hydrants: When Garfield, Odie and the other dogs and cats flee the pound, one of the dogs at one point stops to sniff a fire hydrant.
  • Kick the Dog: Hubert, after getting annoyed by Garfield and Odie, calls the pound on them, leaving out the key detail they are his neighbour's pets. He essentially sentenced Jon's animals to be euthenised out of petty spite.
  • Pilot Episode: Effectively. It was the first outing of Garfield as an animated enterprise with an eye toward doing more if the public was receptive, and as a result, there's a lot of the weirdness one would expect out of a pilot, as detailed in Early Installment Weirdness in the previous folder.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: There's a depressing scene of Garfield and Odie trapped and alone in such a pound.
  • Shout-Out: Several:
  • Take Me to Your Leader: Parodied, as Garfield plays with the food on the table:
    Garfield: Take me to your leader, earthling, or I will atomize your face!
  • Title Drop: Garfield does this when he decides to rescue Odie from the pound:
    Garfield: Look out, pound, here comes Garfield!
  • Widely Spaced Jail Bars: 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.

    Garfield on the Town 

  • Bittersweet Ending: The end. 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.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end, 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.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ali Cat 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.
  • Gold Tooth: The leader of the Claws, Ali Cat, has a gold tooth.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Garfield's grandfather bluntly telling him to go home 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.
  • Look Behind You: Garfield's brother Raoul distracts Ali Cat during a fight by saying "Ain't that Haley's Comet?"
  • Parents Know Their Children: Garfield's mother immediately recognizes him, whereas it takes him a few moments to realize who she is.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: 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.
  • 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).
  • Villain Song: 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.

    Garfield in the Rough 

  • Adaptation Expansion: The comic adaptation adds a few extra scenes.
    • During Garfield's meeting with Billy and Dicky, an additional sequence has Garfield actually giving them his name, and the trio get into a discussion on what foods are around to eat.
    • After the panther is dealt with, Garfield meets Billy again, who suggests he stay at the lake, but Garfield declines.
    • The final scene takes place after the main cast returns home, where Garfield and Odie play-attack Jon when Jon suggests going camping again the next weekend. It's followed by Garfield hearing scratches at the front door and opening it to see what appears to be the panther, back for revenge... but it turns out to just be a tiny kitten. Finally, Jon asks what they thought about the trip, only to get play-attacked again.
  • Call-Back: At one point, 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.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The special opens with one of these, saying it isn't necessary — the color has just really gone out of Garfield's life.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: An escaped panther stalks the woods where Jon, Garfield and Odie are camping.
  • I Have a Family: 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.
  • Instant Sedation: Somewhat averted; 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: 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.
  • Monochrome to Color: The special uses this in its intro, as the title character bemoans how boring life at home is (with a Do Not Adjust Your Set warning). It switches to color when Jon suggests that they go on vacation.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The panther was designed with more realistic features as opposed to the more cartoonish look of most animals in the franchise.
  • This Is My Human: 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 Group Hug Garfield.
  • You Won't Like How I Taste: When he encounters Billy Rabbit, 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.

    Garfield's Halloween Adventure/Garfield in Disguise 

  • Adaptation Expansion: The Halloween book adds a subplot about Garfield stealing a ring (which is why the ghosts chase him down to the docks per the cartoon), and then adds a bit where they appear at his house to chase him some more until he returns it.
  • Agony of the Feet: Garfield's initial plan to get inside the Old, Dark House is for him to kick down the door and have Odie scout the place out. Garfield injures his foot doing this.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: After telling the story of the pirates and seeing that Garfield doesn't believe him, the old man tells him to "Believe it, my friends!", then adds that "The pirates had a ten-year-old cabin boy. I was that boy."
  • Aside Glance: Garfield's Ignored Epiphany prompts one from Odie.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In-Universe. When Garfield says he hates Binky, Binky responds with a shocked expression.
  • The Cabin Boy: The only living member of the pirates who buried treasure a century ago is the former cabin boy, now a hundred-and-ten year old man who lives in a creepy manor.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Garfield as a pirate threatens to kill Jon, but won't on account of him being the only one who changes his kitty litter.
  • Captain Colorbeard: Garfield is dressed as "Orangebeard the pirate captain".
  • Dressed to Plunder: The special has Garfield 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, 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.
  • Exact Words: As the boat gets caught in the current, Garfield tells Odie to "put out the oars." Odie immediately throws the oars overboard.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: 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.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Garfield shouts this, 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!!!
  • Ignored Epiphany: Flagrant:
    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!
  • Literal-Minded: 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.
  • Market-Based Title: The 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, but finds it doesn't work very well:
    Garfield: Halloween is my middle name! Gar-Halloween-Field... Oh, well.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Garfield and Odie each give one after the latter blows their cover with a Sneeze of Doom.
  • Really 700 Years Old: If the old man was telling the truth about being there when the pirates hid their treasure, he'd be 110 years old.
  • Scare Chord: Two happen when the old man first appears and the pirate ghosts burst through a cabinet after Garfield and Odie.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Garfield and Odie both scream in a very high pitch 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." They do it again in the haunted house when, after warming themselves by the fire, they look behind themselves, see the old man and realize they aren't alone.
  • Shout-Out: While digging around in a chest for costume supplies, Garfield finds balls of string and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.
  • Skewed Priorities: 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: Odie does this 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!
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Garfield gladly indulges in this as Captain Orangebeard. Even first mate, Odie the Stupid, tries the growling version ("R-arr!").
  • Waxing Lyrical: As Garfield rummages through a chest to find costume pieces, among the things he tosses out are "strings, sealing wax and other funny stuff."
  • Your Television Hates You: At the end, 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.

    Garfield in Paradise 

  • Adaptation Expansion: The comic adaptation adds a couple of extra scenes, including the High Rama Lama calling "Wanda" to bring food to everyone during his first talk with Jon, and a scene where Pigeon calls that the waves are really good, leading to the High Rama Lama calling for a beach party, including hollering for "Wanda" to bring food again and scolding Monkey and Odie when they try to join in on the surfing instead of working on the car.
  • Appease the Volcano God: The volcano. 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.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In the climax, the ghost of the Cruiser and his car emerge from the volcano and drive into the sky towards Heaven.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Monkey, the dumbest of the Ding-Dongs, and Odie fix up Jon's rental car.
  • Call-Back: A trumpet version of the song "So Long Old Friend" from Here Comes Garfield plays after Odie's Disney Death, causing Garfield to start saying the lyrics.
  • Cargo Cult: 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. When they learned English, it was from beach movies.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: When the volcano begins erupting, Garfield looks and the camera and smiles while saying "Nice touch."
  • Chekhov's Volcano: The volcano, which rumbles menacingly during the group's drive and then threatens to erupt in the climax.
  • Disney Death: Odie and Monkey in the end, when they drive Jon's rental car into the volcano, leading to everyone thinking they're dead and mourning them... until they climb out a minute later, much to everyone's delight.
  • Empty Swimming Pool Dive: Occurs, albeit unintentionally — Jon's laying on the diving board over the empty pool, and said board breaks underneath him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: 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: 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.
  • Mundane Solution: Brought up after Odie and Monkey's (seeming) Heroic Sacrifice:
    High Rama Lama: Aw Monkey, what did you have to go and do that for, ya big galoot? We could have just shoved the car in.
  • Not This One, That One: Inverted. 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.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: To get around the airline rule against pets in seats, Jon makes Garfield wear clothes but otherwise look like himself.
  • Plane Awful Flight: The special 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.
  • Plug the Volcano: When the Paradise World volcano starts erupting. The village chief's daughter decides to sacrifice herself (and her unwilling cat) to prevent the island from being destroyed, and Jon asks the chief if it's to Appease the Volcano God.
    High Rama Lama: "No. Uh, plugs up the hole."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Frank Nelson spoofing his The Jack Benny Program persona.
    • 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 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.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: At the climax, Odie and Monkey have apparently driven the car to their death in the heart of a raging volcano. The High 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: The special has Princess Owooda resembling Liz and her cat resembling Arlene.
  • You Look Familiar: In-universe: 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.

    Garfield Goes Hollywood 

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the comic adaptation, the Lemon Sisters (a set of singing chickens in the "Pet Search" national finals) have bright yellow feathers, fitting their name. In the cartoon, they have white feathers instead.
  • Adapted Out: The comic adaptation leaves out a sequence with another contestant at the "Pet Search" national finals, "Miles the Jazz Canary". He places fourth, while the Lemon Sisters are fifth (in the comic, they place fourth and no fifth-place contestant is named).
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: 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.
  • Shout-Out: Garfield has a dream sequence in which he imagines himself in The Wizard of Oz, Royal Wedding, and Singin' in the Rain.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: Naturally.
  • 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 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: After breaking Jon's guitar, Garfield says it "went to the big tuning fork in the sky".
  • Your Mom: The special 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".

    A Garfield Christmas 

  • Dreadful Musician: Doc's attempt at playing "Oh Christmas Tree" on the piano in the 1991 version of the special. The rest of the family visibly cringes, and Grandma knocks him out of the way to spare them after less than a minute.
  • Dream Intro: The special starts with Garfield waking up on Christmas morning to Jon in an elf costume, leading him to the tree with a trail of lasagnas, and presenting him with a gift-giving machine that can read his mind and generate whatever he's thinking of, followed by the opening credits. After that, Garfield wakes up for real and finds Jon telling him it's the day before Christmas and they're going to the family farm for the holiday.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Garfield has a little taste of Mom's sausage gravy, unaware that Grandma secretly put chili powder in it. Fire inevitably flares up from his mouth, but Garfield thinks the gravy is perfect anyway.
  • If I Do Not Return: When Garfield's taking the star to the top of the tree, he tells Jon "If I'm not back in an hour, send a banana cream pie after me."
  • Not So Above It All: 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.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: This:
    Jon: Doc Boy! How's my favorite brother?
    Doc: Don't call me Doc Boy. And you've probably forgotten I'm your only brother.
    Jon: Oh. ...You're right.
  • Parental Bonus: There's a scene near the end where Garfield presents Jon'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.
    Jon'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.
  • Saving Christmas: One Arbuckle family tradition is Dad reading Binky: The Clown Who Saved Christmas.
  • Scare Chord: One occurs when Garfield realizes just how high up he is on top of a Christmas tree.
  • Why Are We Whispering?: Garfield does this, a monologue variation. "...Why can't they come here where my nice warm bed is? And why... am I whispering?"

    Garfield's Thanksgiving 

  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Liz puts Garfield on a diet that includes lettuce. Cats are obligate carnivores, so lettuce wouldn't be healthy for him.
  • Breath-Holding Brat: Jon holds his breath until Liz says she'll go out with him. She eventually agrees after Jon faints from holding his breath in.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jon while prepping a Thanksgiving turkey reads the instruction "Rub skin with butter" as applying butter to his own skin rather than the turkey's.
  • Literal-Minded: 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.
  • Oven Logic: Shows up. Jon turns up the oven higher to cook the turkey faster, but ends up ruining it.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Garfield's talking scale mockingly mistakes him for Orson Welles, and claims to have seen Citizen Kane eight times.
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: Invoked by Garfield, when he fakes the symptoms of vitamin deficiency as Liz lists them off to get her to take him off his diet.
  • Shout-Out: The Citizen Kane reference, where the talking scale utters "Rosebud..." as it dies.
  • You Are Fat: 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..."

    Garfield's Feline Fantasies 

  • Banana Slip: The main fantasy revolves around searching for The Banana of Bombay, the first banana to be used in this gag.
  • Mr. Imagination: The special focuses on Garfield's Walter Mitty-esque flights of fancy.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: The special had a scene almost exactly like the famous tile puzzle scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Shout-Out: The sepcail references all sorts of things, such as Casablanca, Vertigo, Goldfinger, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even Airplane!.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Parodied 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.")
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: At the start of the main fantasy, Fat Guy and Lance Sterling/Garfield each have a half of The Holy Ankh, which contains a map to The Banana of Bombay, and meet in order to join the halves together. As soon as the Ankh is whole again, Lance takes it and runs.

    Garfield Gets a Life 

  • Canada, Eh?: According to Lorenzo, the teacher, speaking Canadian is easy: You talk like you normally would, but sometimes, you add an "Eh?".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The special 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.
  • 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.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Is actually a plot point for Jon. 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.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The special features Garfield having a nightmare that spurs him to try and break up Jon and Mona — as he pictures what life would be like if Jon and Mona got married and had kids, he also pictures their infant son pursuing Garfield with a nasty look on his face before finally catching and biting his tail.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: The Show Within a Show Garfield watches features a Mountie that looks and sounds almost exactly like Dudley Do-Right.


Video Example(s):


Garfield's Previous Life

The Garfield we know is on his eighth life. In one of the bleakest moments of the franchise, we find that his seventh traumatized him, and the art style changes to make it clear just how real things have gotten. The segment only gets darker from here.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnexpectedlyDarkEpisode

Media sources: