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Western Animation / Prep & Landing

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"Have you ever wondered how it all gets done? How Santa gets in and out of millions of homes all in one night? Let's just say he has a little help... Our mission statement is: Get in. Get out. Never be noticed. I'm part of Prep and Landing, an elite unit of elves getting houses ready, around the world, for the big guy's arrival."

Prep & Landing is a 2009 computer animated half hour Christmas Special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, which spawned animated sequels also released in succeeding holiday seasons.

It is a story of two holiday elves, part of an elite unit known as Prep and Landing, which arrives at each house ahead of time and prepares for Santa's arrival.

Wayne is an old pro who's been working on Prep and Landing for over 200 years and is finally hoping to receive a promotion. After being turned down, he is teamed up with a new recruit, Lanny. The two head off to Timmy's house to prepare for Santa's arrival. But with Lanny's inexperience and Wayne's new defeatist attitude, things go wrong real quickly, and the house is not prepped in time. And with the threat of a terrible snow storm, it appears that Santa has no choice but to skip Timmy's house that year. Realizing the error of his ways, Wayne only has a limited amount of time to make things right.

It has been followed by a seven minute short for the 2010 holiday season titled "Operation: Secret Santa" featuring Betty White as Mrs. Claus (a role she had previously played in two other holiday specials) and in 2011, "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs Nice" about Wayne's enstranged brother and the lists being tampered with by a child who got a hold of elven technology. 2012 was the first year a Prep and Landing special or short was never released.

It is also the first Disney property to cross over with Marvel in the comic story "Mansion: Impossible" in which Wayne and Lanny must prepare the Avengers Mansion for Santa's arrival. This ran as a backup in The Avengers (Vol 4) #19 and two Marvel Adventures books.

Prep and Landing provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual:'s official website contains information and backstory about the characters not revealed in the special itself.
  • Benevolent Boss: Santa full stop. Not only did he not fire Wayne despite having full reason to do so, but he addresses the fact people do go to the naughty list every once in awhile, gives him a gift as a reminder to why their job is so important, and even offers him a promotion (though Wayne turns it down).
  • Better as Friends: Wayne and Magee according to the website.
  • Blackmail: Wayne threatens Magee by saying that if she doesn't patch his call through to Santa, he's going to tell everyone "about you and Tiny!" It works.
  • Blatant Lies: Wayne when stating he was happy that his former partner Peterson got the promotion he was after.
  • Brick Joke: A somewhat literal one, involving a heavy brick-shaped fruitcake. It gets forgotten early in the show only to resurface for the finale.
  • Broken Pedestal: Lanny has one towards Wayne after he realizes how apathetic and cynical the latter has become about his job. It is quickly rebuilt.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lanny's a clumsy rookie, but when the situation gets critical, he proves just why he was his class' top student.
  • The Cameo: The Labrador that gets sedated at the beginning is a recolor of Bolt.
  • Chaos of the Bells: "Carol of the Bells" plays during the climax as Wayne and Lanny struggle to lay down landing lights for Santa Claus during a snowstorm.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Christmas decorations Lanny points out after landing on the house.
    • All of the elves' gadgets demonstrated in the first sequence.
  • Circling Birdies: Substitute 'birdies' with 'Christmas lights'.
  • Code Emergency: All over the place.
  • Company Cross References: Wayne watches Mickey's Christmas Carol on TV.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The entire Prep And Landing elite force. They have a device and protocol for every problem that might arise. Except for disgruntled elves who fall behind schedule. But even then...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tiny's hat suddenly shoots straight up when Wayne threatens Magee about "telling everyone about you and Tiny."
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: Wayne gets a soot-covered fruit cake from the coal elves. He promises them to enjoy it, but then passes it on to Magee. In the end, it gets passed on to Lanny, who is the only one overjoyed about receiving it.
  • The Faceless: Santa is only ever seen from the shoulders down. Tiny, on the other hand, is so short (even by elf standards) that only the top of his hat gets seen on-camera.
  • Funny Background Event: When Magee pours out her drink into a tiny potted pine tree, a few seconds later, the last of the pine needles falls off.
  • The Grinch: Wayne considers his Prep and Landing duty as his "job" and nothing more. But after getting passed over for a promotion (his only motivation for continuing to do good work for 200 years), his ego has become deflated, his enthusiasm for the job is gone, and he becomes lazy and goofs off (during a mission) instead of fulfilling his duties. He even acknowledges it with an aside: "Yeah, I'm being naughty."
  • Hot-Blooded: At least two of Santa's team of eight reindeer seem to tackle every emotion they express to its extreme.
  • How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: The premise of the special (and as discussed by Wayne in the Opening Narration) is that an elite team of elves is sent out on Christmas Eve to prepare every house for Santa's arrival and ensure he can deliver the gifts as quickly as possible.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Non-alcoholic version. Magee drinks egg nog lattes whenever she's stressed out.
  • Instant Sedation: The elves carry around ornaments that explode into magic dust that causes anyone affected to instantly fall asleep.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: After 200 years doing the same job and having the person he trained get promoted ahead of him, Wayne does have a right to be a little bit angry.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thrasher, Dasher's cousin, who threatens Lanny on their first meeting. The "heart of gold" part is that he's a good friend of Wayne according to the website.
  • Leaving Food for Santa: One of the duties of the eponymous team is to check the milk and cookies to see whether they're up to standards. When Wayne is passed for a promotion, he takes it out on a Santa cookie and tries to bite its head off (although it's a little tough for him).
  • Lilliputians: All the elves in the specials are just a few inches tall.
  • Mission Control
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Wayne, when he realizes his lack of effort might had just cost Timmy his Christmas.
  • NaÔve Newcomer: Lanny
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted. As even the simplest moves show the hair move.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Timmy does this to Wayne when he's talking in his sleep.
  • Only Six Faces: Actually averted despite being a CGI cartoon, quite impressive for a 30 min show.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Wayne was expected by nearly everyone to be promoted to Head of the Naughty List, only for his partner Peterson to get the job instead. He's not happy about it. It later turns out that Santa just wanted to keep Wayne on the Prep and Landing team for one more year so he could train Lanny in the field before promoting him to the Head of the Nice List. Wayne ultimately turns it down so he can keep working with Lanny.
  • Saving Christmas: Wayne and Lanny must do this for one little boy.
  • Shout-Out: To almost every Christmas carol in the English language — the Prep and Landing force uses dozens of easily-recognized Christmas phrases as slang terms AND code names, such as "figgy pudding" for a house that must be skipped because it wasn't prepped for Santa to land there.
    • Also: the codename for the sleigh itself is Rosebud.
    • In the French dub, it's instead "The Red Line", in a clear reference to the famous Red Telephone.
    • The scrawny little tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas is on a shelf behind Magee's desk.
    • When Wayne is goofing off, the first thing that pops on the TV is Mickey's Christmas Carol.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Lanny calls Wayne out on this. Wayne dismisses it at first, but gets better.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: Wayne (re)learns this eventually.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Seeing how excited Timmy is for Santa reminds Wayne just how important the Prep and Landing team's work is.
  • Under the Mistletoe: Implied with Lanny near the end; he has mistletoe hanging from his Christmas tree hat, and has three lipstick kisses on his face.

Operation: Secret Santa provides examples of:

  • Daydream Surprise: As Lanny and Wayne sneak into Santa's office, Santa wakes up, sees them and puts them on the Naughty List, then kicks out Lanny, who ends up living in an igloo in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, it all happens in Lanny's head.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Noel from Naughty Vs. Nice can be seen with the other elves at the end.
    • Nessie from "The Ballad of Nessie'' short can be seen in Santa's secret workshop.
  • The Faceless: Like her husband, Mrs. Claus is only shown from the shoulders down.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff:
    Magee: Good luck. And if something happens to you I just wanted to say... Iím claiming your snowmobile.
    Wayne: I cancelled the insurance.
    Magee: Okay, bye!
  • Mythology Gag: One of the items displayed in Santa's secret workshop is a green coat.
  • Spit Take: Lanny stops himself from doing one after being informed that the mission is to retrieve a box inside Santa's office.

Mansion: Impossible provides examples of:

Naughty vs Nice provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: Grace
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Carol, from Christmas Carol's seems to have a thing for Lanny.
  • Accidental Misnaming: The old coal elf at the bar keeps calling Wayne "Dwayne". In the end a newspaper headline misspelled Wayne's name the same way, and the elf gloats about being proven right.
  • The Ace: Noel.
  • Badass Adorable: Grace the Hacker. Can take on the best the North Pole has to offer, and to quote from Lanny...
    "You're so adorable".
  • Always Someone Better: The reason Wayne resents his brother.
    • This is also why Wayne was so set on becoming director of the naughty list. He would have been Noel's boss.
  • And Show It to You: Noel tearing out the toy rabbit's battery.
  • Bear Hug: Holiday Hug!
  • The Big Damn Kiss: "Come here, you nerd!"
  • Big Little Brother: Noel.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Noel.
  • Brawnhilda: Carol the bartender. Lanny mistakes her for a man until she gives him her name and phone number.
  • Brick Joke: An old elf keeps calling Wayne "Dwayne". Come The Stinger where Wayne's name is misprinted as Dwayne, the old guy thinks he was right.
  • Broken Pedestal: Noel suffers one after Wayne stated he never wanted him.
  • Cain and Abel: Wayne and Noel. And Wayne is the Cain.
    • To get in detail, Noel's bio and the teaser show that he loves his brother, but that same teaser and the poster show that it's really not reciprocated.
      • It's actually a nasty case of jealousy.
    • Bash Brothers / Sibling Team: After they reconcile.
  • Catchphrase: Noel's "Jingle BAM!!"
  • Child Prodigy: Grace, the hacker.
  • Continuity Nod: Timmy is the first kid to be seen on one of the monitors.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Grace, who set up her entire house to be able to take on the elves. Even wearing a large helmet and using a robotic dog so the sleep grenades don't affect her.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: After Lanny accidentally lets his sparkle grenade go off on him, he spends his next few scenes acting intoxicated.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Nessie from "The Ballad of Nessie'' short can be seen as one of the toys suggested for a good girl right before the power goes down for a bit.
    • As well as a toy under the Hacker's bed.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Lanny mentions the "magic word" when the hacker is demanding the password to the Naughty & Nice database. What magic word? "Please."
    • Turns out to be a bit of Fridge Logic that an unfairly labelled kid would know it. Truly naughty kids never say "please." Though it could be a combination of the child in question's young age and not believing the password could be that simple.
  • Freak Out: When Wayne learns that Noel could become Elf of the Year instead of him, he completely snaps.
  • Freudian Excuse: Grace, the hacker, is acting out because she thinks she's The Unfavorite.
  • Freudian Slip: The "Nerd" Elf Mr. Thistleton seems to keep accidentally calling Magee "baby".
  • Funny Background Event: The kid behind Grace waiting for Santa makes an odd look on his face as she is dragged off before she could talk to Santa.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The hacker demonstrates a wide array of technological skills.
  • Gatling Good: While Prep & Landing elf teams carry grenade-like Christmas ornaments ("sparkle") to help deal with detection, Coal elf teams carry multi-barreled "sparkle" guns to do the same.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: All the JINGLESMELL1337 hacker wanted to do with the stolen device was simply transfer themselves from the "naughty" to "nice" list (which they do). But due to a technical hiccup in the process, the device starts transferring everyone else onto the Naughty list....
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Wayne, regarding Noel, who always tends to come out ahead of him regardless of the subject; Noel is not only more popular, he tends to insert himself between Wayne and Wayne's desires without really meaning or even trying to, like when Noel was late to their emergency meeting because he was buying a limited luxury snowmobile that Wayne would have purchased himself if he hadn't been interrupted by the emergency in question.
  • Happy Dance: Grace does one after she successfully removes her name from the Naughty List.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Noel.
  • I Call It "Vera": Noel has a pet name for his sparkle gun: Little Miss Sweet Dreams.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy: Grace's motivation.
  • Insufferable Genius: Mr. Thistleton seems to have signs of this, where Magee instantly cuts off his communication after he tries to add something about his genius into the conversation.
  • Leet Lingo: JINGLESMELL1337
  • Life of the Party: Noel, where he's liked by pretty much everyone is one of the main reasons Wayne feels like he is Always Someone Better to him. He's so popular, he's even good buddies with the fearsome reindeer Thrasher.
  • It's All My Fault: Grace realizes that not only her actions had jeopardized Christmas, but every child on Earth is being put on the Naughty List.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: Soon after Wayne, Lanny and Noel enter JINGLESMELL1337's house, Wayne says that stealth is his middle name.
    Lanny: (whispering to Noel) I thought it was Francis. (Noel nods.)
  • Mirror Character: Wayne and Grace, in their relation with their respective brothers.
  • My Card: Carol slips Lanny a card with her name and phone number.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Grace has one when she realizes that her actions might have caused the end of Christmas.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Grace introduces herself as Goodwin, Grace Goodwin.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Magee and Tiny aren't dating anymore.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The password for the naughty list is "please".
  • Samus Is a Girl: The hacker turns out to be a girl.
  • Saving Christmas: And this time, for the whole world.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Still Sucks Thumb: Lanny sucks his thumb when he falls asleep on the front steps of Grace's house.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Grace's baby brother is "voiced" by those baby sounds. You know the ones.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: While the Prep & Landing teams are equipped with a couple of sparkle grenades for the occasional Creature that's Stirring, the Coal-Elf Brigade members tote a 7-shot launcher. Why? Because Naughty Children are more likely to be still awake when Santa is due to come by.
  • Through His Stomach: Carol gives Lanny a much bigger drink than she gave to Wayne.
  • Tomboy: Grace
  • Under the Mistletoe: When Wayne is angry at Noel, the latter asks if it's about his sharing a kiss with Wayne's old sweetheart Dolores under mistletoe. In Noel's defense, he didn't notice the mistletoe.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Carol has a beautiful singing voice in contrast to her appearance.
  • The Voiceless: Carol the bartender of Christmas Carol's until The Stinger where it is revealed she actually has a very nice singing voice.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The technology is recovered, the hacker realizes the error of her ways, Wayne and Noel reconcile... And all of a sudden, Christmas is endangered for THE ENTIRE PLANET!!