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YMMV / The Santa Clause

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: A fan theory for the films is that Scott's boss in the first movie and Father Time from the sequels (both of whom were played by the late Peter Boyle) are actually the same person, and that Time secretly manipulated events from behind the scenes during the first film to help Scott embrace his destiny since he knew he would go on to become the best Santa of all time.
  • Angst? What Angst?: None of the elves seem to care that the previous Santa died when Scott takes over.
    • Fridge Brilliance: The previous Santa gave a little wave to Scott right before disappearing, and the Santa Clause says that he who puts on the suit must do the job until no longer able to, "by accident or design." Perhaps that Santa was ready to pass the job on, and gave the elves plenty of advance notice that he intended to go out with a bang and that someone else would be returning from his flight that year (or maybe that little wave meant "I'm done for. Good luck, new guy.") Any angst the elves felt would already have been worked out by the time Scott showed up at the North Pole.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Many viewers found the premise of the first film disturbing since Scott was forced against his will to take the role of Santa Claus, which caused him to physically and mentally change to fit the role and give up his entire life. The third film mitigates this by revealing that there is actually an escape clause that he can initiate that will allow him to change the past so he never becomes Santa. He's just come to enjoy the job out of his own free will so he doesn't bother.
    • Possibly touched upon in the second film as well, where he seems to have managed to keep in touch with his family and is very close to his niece Lucy, with whom he has apparently had regular contact as she recognizes him at once without his usual guise as Santa. Plus he is familiar with Charlie's principal, all implying he has managed to find time for a normal life between holiday seasons.
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    • of course, the second film raises a whole new problem in requiring that Santa have a wife, meaning some woman out there would be forced to give up HER life and live at the North Pole, which the 3rd film touches upon.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The very premise, in which Santa Claus falls off some random guy's roof and ultimately meets his demise, right in front of a child who had just got done second-guessing his very existence! The whole scenario is so absurd that it comes back to being Actually Pretty Funny.
  • Designated Villain: The cops later in the film are seen as trying to ruin Christmas by arresting Santa, but from their perspective, they're just holding someone who kidnapped a young boy.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Bernard the Head Elf. Full stop.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The adults all remember the toys they really wanted for Christmas, and the ones who were disappointed ceased believing in Santa and subsequently have no sense of magic or wonder in their lives. (So don't disappoint your children, parents, or else...)
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The Charlie Sheen quote from the second movie, where Scott believes that he "straightened out". Can be weird to watch knowing what Sheen has been up to as of late.note 
    • A featurette on The Santa Clause 2 DVD is hosted by Spencer Breslin, in character as Curtis, who continually remarks how much contempt he and Bernand have for each other, and even claims he feels Bernard is worried because he knows it's only a matter of time before Curtis takes over his job as Head Elf.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Scott takes Charlie to Denny's where aside from a Japanese party, only a few single fathers are seen eating with their children. By The New '10s, eating out at Denny's or Applebee's on Christmas Eve isn't that unheard of as many chain restaurants are open and have holiday-themed specials.
    • In The Escape Clause, Jack Frost manipulates Scott into invoking the Escape Clause, so he can become Santa instead of him, which ends up with Scott back as himself and Frost taking over Christmas. Four years later, an animated movie would have another Manipulative Bastard tricking a protagonist into throwing his live away.
    • Also in The Escape Clause, Scott uses a pen with a recorder built into it; which he uses to trick Frost into invoking the clause. Another Disney film would have a protagonist use a pen recorder 10 years later.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: From the second film, when Charlie ends up on his father's naughty list.
  • Idiot Plot: The elves at the North Pole do a remarkably poor job of preparing Scott for his job as the new Santa, even sending him back in a way that makes him think the whole thing was a crazy dream. He doesn't even believe it actually happened until he has to go back up to the North Pole, 11 months after the incident occurred. The entire system in which the Santa is chosen seems like it is doomed to eventually bring about the end of Santa.
    • From the second film; you'd think that in the eight years to have passed since the events of the first film that somebody up at the North Pole would stop to inform Santa about the Mrs. Clause when he still had ample time to find a wife, instead of waiting until it became a serious threat to his duties as Santa to break the news to him. Even with Curtis' own negligence taken into account, somebody else, like Bernard, shouldn't have completely overlooked this for as long as they did.
  • Memetic Mutation: It is now pretty much customary online to refer to the third film not by its actual title but instead as "Tim Allen and Martin Short get Mad $$$$$$ for Christmas".
  • Narm: Jack Frost's defeat in the third movie. Lucy gives him a hug. A magical hug. 'Cause she's "warming his heart." And he says "They said it could never be done!" Who's they?
    • All of the third movie, really.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Curtis in The Santa Clause 3. Not exactly hated, but the general feeling is that he's no Bernard, who was a fairly popular character due to his Deadpan Snarker tendencies whereas Curtis took the job way too seriously at times. The fact that he let slip to Jack Frost the method with which he'd take over the North Pole just because Frost prodded his ego a bit didn't help at all.
  • Sequelitis: One reviwer put it best when he said Tim Allen "did the first one with enthusiasm, the second one with affection, and the third one for a paycheck." Tim's heart obviously isn't into it come 3, and he's upstaged completely by Martin Short. It also didn't help that in 3 one well-liked character was Demoted to Extra and another disappeared entirely with no passing mention. Heck, this trilogy's Rotten Tomatoes pages even provide the page image.
  • Special Effect Failure: The reindeer in the first film, as well as the elves pointy ears. CG has come a long way since 1994.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Laura and Neil are not wrong to be concerned about what they perceive to be Scott's erratic behavior. In real life, if someone began acting like Scott was, they would want to get him as far away from Charlie as humanly possible.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The third movie's sequence where Scott never became Santa takes up far less screentime than one would think. Details over how things are worse for his family (such as Neil and Laura's break-up) are glossed over. Carol doesn't even appear during this sequence.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: The title of the film is a pun. However, since many 90's kids weren't quite old enough to appreciate a joke about a contractual "clause," it was just assumed that Santa spelled his name that way. To this day, the better part of the English-speaking population (younger generations in particular) is a little confused on which spelling is correct, to the extent that the joke-spelling is arguably more familiar than the actual one.

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