The Secret World of Santa Claus is a 1997 French/Canadian cartoon series that originally aired under the title Le monde secret du Pere Noel.
It chronicles the adventures of Santa Claus and his three elves, Thoren, Jordi and Guilfi, as well as the polar bear Balbo, as they make preparations for Christmas and help children in need. Their efforts are frequently stymied by Gruzzlebeard and his henchman Dudley, who try to sabotage Santa and ruin Christmas.
Of course, this is a Christmas show about Santa, so the bad guys never succeed for long: they usually end the episode caught up in whatever trap they've tried to set for our heroes.
The Secret World of Santa Claus contains examples of:
- Acrofatic: Despite his trademark jelly-belly, Santa is more athletic than he appears. He is shown working out from time to time, and the elves occasionally comment on how good in shape he is.
- An Aesop: While the show as a whole broadly teaches the importance of being good boys and girls — it is about Santa, after all — some episodes teach more specific lessons:
- In "The Lucky Charm" a figure skater girl loses her lucky charm and believes she can no longer skate competitively. When Santa and the elves can't find her charm, Santa gives her a copy. After the girl wins the competition, Santa reveals to her that the charm was a fake, and the girl learns to believe in herself.
- In "The Magic Wand," a girl is made bullied because of her long nose. She gets a defective magic wand from Gruzzlebeard, which she uses to shrink her nose. She immediately dislikes her new nose and the wand causes lots of mayhem. When Santa and the elves break the spell, she learns to like her old appearance and gets the confidence to befriend a boy whom she likes.
- In "The Boy Who Wished To Be Little Again", a boy is jealous of his baby sister because she seems to be getting all the attention of her parents. He wishes to be small again, and Dudley wishes to be tall. So they use a machine that fullfills both their wishes. However, the boy shrinks to the size of an ant, while Dudley becomes a giant. After Santa sets things right again, the boy comes to realize his parents still care about him — it's just that his little sister needs lots of attention right now.
- Badass Normal: Guilfi is the only elf without magic powers for most of the show, Until the final episode where he finally awakens his telekinesis powers. He is still a great help to Santa.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "The Return of Santa Claus", after cutting the wire on Jordi's teleportation device, Gruzzlebeard runs out in glee shouting "From now on, this is MY TV show!"
- Catchphrase: Santa has two that is repeated many times throughout the series: "Upon my beard!" and "With Santa Claus, nothing's impossible."
- Christmas Episode: Given that the entire series revolves around Santa and his efforts to deliver presents to all the boys and girls, pretty much every episode qualifies.
- A Father to His Men: Santa is this to the elves, serving as their mentor and confidant. The analogy is reinforced by Santa being a kind old man, and the elves looking like children.
- Forgetful Jones: Despite being a genius when it comes to inventing, Jordi seems to frequently forget his magic powers.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Jordi always comes up with new toys and gadgets for Santa. They often malfunction, but they are also often a great help.
- Happy Ending: Every episode ends with Santa, the elves and Balbo succeeding in helping a child and stopping Gruzzlebeard's shenanigans. They always end with the main characters watching the child opening his or her Christmas present via Santa's magic computer.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite serving Gruzzlebeard, Dudley sometimes helps Santa and the elves discover Grizzlebeard's plans. That said, he still often acts like a real jerk, just like his master.
- Older Than They Look: Most main characters are much older than they actually look.
- Santa himself seems to be very old already. While it is never said how old he is exactly, he is shown to have brought gifts to Mozart, Da Vinci and King Arthur.
- The elves seem to be pretty old as well, despite looking like children. Guilfi, while being The Apprentice, is shown to have helped Santa in his mission to bring king Arthur a gift, and is thus probably the oldest of the elves.
- Gruzzlebeard is also shown in the episode with king Arthur, and is thus pretty old as well.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Dudley severely dislikes Gruzzlebeard and only helps him because he is forced to.
- Santa Claus: The protagonist of the show. He is just like children imagine him: a just and kind old man with a big belly and a big white beard. He thinks that every child deserves to get a present for Christmas, and he loves milk and cookies.
- The Smurfette Principle: Thoren is the only female elf, and the only recurring female character.