The Santa Clauses Season 1 Episode 3 was a bit wobbly, at times proving that the limited series may have been better off as a TV film after all.
While I’m enjoying getting lost in the magic of the North Pole—and being reminded about how unmagical the real world is all of its hand dryers in the bathroom, bills, and C Zone boarding groups—at times, the episode included too much filler material that wasn’t exactly necessary to move the storyline along.
The whole scene with Sandra and Grace wandering off into the woods to chat with the Christmas Witch (La Befana in Italian folklore) was strange and felt out of place, even if the outcome was an important father-daughter lesson that normalized feeling afraid of the unknown. They could have reached the same conclusion without all the extra La Befana scenes.
That being said, the episode also set the stage for Simon Choksi’s Santa Claus takeover, which, inevitably, sent Scott Calvin and his family packing to the Chicago suburbs, far far far away from the North Pole.
Ideally, the best course of action is for the Calvin family to find the magic in the real world, which I’m confident at least Cal will be able to do, but losing Scott as Santa may come at the price of the North Pole and Christmas entirely. Also, how long before they get bored of the mundane and miss all the whimsical gadgets of the NP?
Simon doesn’t seem like a bad candidate on the surface. Yes, he’s a budding tech entrepreneur who is very determined to drive sales, and selfishly, getting an inside look at the mechanics of Santa’s delivery system could be of use to him, but he’s also a father, first and foremost. While his interview as a potential Santa candidate didn’t go very well, Scott saw Simon’s true heart out in the woods as he opened up about his late wife’s passing and how he would do anything for his daughter, Grace. In fact, his decision to accept the role as the new Santa was mostly motivated by his desire to make Grace happy.
As Scott told Sandra, he didn’t feel like he was the right man for the job when it fell into his lap (or rather, when Santa fell off his roof), but when he changed his perspective—and look at it through Charlie’s eyes—the gig was always in him.
And so, Scott hopes the same will be true for Simon; He sees himself in Simon, which is why he decided to offer him the job.
But the truth is Santa’s boots are big boots to fill, and we don’t always get the hiring process right. A job as critical as Santa should have required Scott to stick around a bit to “test out” if Simon truly is a good fit. Simon didn’t even have any time to think it through, or fully understand the impact it would have on his life.
He can no longer prioritize his company, EverythingNow, because his sole purpose in life is to be Santa. Can he let go of the “mortal” world? Or will his ambitions ruin everything?
One clear sign that Simon might not be the right candidate? Santa’s coat resufing to accept the change of hands! The coat literally ran away from Simon—why did no one call that out as a serious red flag?
Even though he did completely change from the man we met in the initial first two episodes when he accepted that he was at the North Pole—his joy upon seeing an elf and finding out he will get a one-on-one with Santa was so pure and heartwarming—his heart may not be in it for the right reasons.
The truth is, the North Pole is likely good in small doses, but it has the potential to erase every single part of your individual identity. Just ask Mrs. Claus, who was all too eager to go back to her old jean-wearing life. She didn’t even care what identity she would assume as long as she had one. I do think she’s been in this role for too long and has stopped seeing it for the magical opportunity that it is. The scene where the elves hugged her goodbye proved that her presence as a nurturer and caregiver was oftentimes more crucial and important than Santa himself. Though, I’m happy for her to get back to what makes her feel truly alive, even if it’s a short-lived break from her norm.
Once you assume the role of Santa, you are stripped of the person you once were and thrust fully into this new responsibility. It’s a huge commitment, and one I just don’t think Simon understood when he agreed to take it on for Grace. There are also plenty of unmentioned changes including his weight and appearance (Scott didn’t look like Santa before!) and the Mrs. Claus aspect of things. Santa has to have one, but Scott conveniently left that part out when selling Simon the gig. Who will his right-hand lady be?
As the energy crackles and surges in the North Pole, Scott and Carol might be back at the workshop sooner than they expected to undo the mess that Simon may inevitably create. There’s nothing like a holiday movie about saving Christmas after all—it’s what Santa does best.
It was nice to see Tim Allen without the creepy Santa prosthetics (including those eyebrows!) for a bit, and seeing the horror on his children’s faces when they saw his transformation into a normal middle-aged male was quite hilarious, as was their joy over the above-freezing temps. As someone who has lived in Chicago her entire life, I can attest to the fact that we really do consider 8 degrees to feel like summer in the thick of winter sometimes.
Other Must-See Moments
- Santa’s “sit on my lap and tell me what you want” shirt definitely won’t work in the real world, but honestly, the adult humor is welcome as it proves the series doesn’t take itself too seriosuly.
- The fact that Simon’s first thought is that he’ll get charged for eating the cookies at the “hotel” is peak millennial. Don’t touch anything.
- Simon telling Cal that he has a cool name is hilarious once you realize the actor that plays Simon is Kal Penn.
- Santa loves NFTs—Nutty Fudge Tea Cakes. I thought that’s what NFTs stood for this whole time. Could’ve fooled me.
What did you think of the episode? How will it end? Will Scott and fam regret their choice to leave this world behind? Will Simon bow out? Or will there be two Santas—double the magic, double the fun!
You can read our review of the first two episodes of The Santa Clauses right here!
The Santa Clauses Premiere Review – Can Tim Allen Bring Back the Magic of Christmas?
’Tis the season to reignite the Christmas magic with a TV spinoff of everyone’s favorite holiday classic franchise, The Santa Clause.
If you’re one of the kids-turned-adults that Santa mentions in the series, the nostalgia of seeing Tim Allen back in the red suit is surely enough to make you believe again.
And that’s exactly what Santa wants. A lot has changed since Scott Calvin took the ropes from the previous Santa back in 1994; this isn’t the same world that it once was, and not even the North Pole is safe from political correctness and “cancel culture” (you can’t put kids on the naughty list anymore, they go on the “misunderstood list”!). While the one-liners might offend some people, particularly with Allen’s personal political beliefs, it’s actually quite funny that the North Pole—so far removed from the real world— is still touched by these issues. Most of us turn to entertainment as a form of escapism, and that’s especially true for holiday films, so the scenes were a bit risky to include, but thankfully, they weren’t layered on too thick and simply included to further along the plot that Christmas spirit is at an all-time low, a problem for Santa who thrives off of the magic of those who believe in him.
Since I watched the original film (and the sequels) as a child with my mom, I don’t recall so many adult jokes stuffed in, which makes me think that despite the adolescent nature of a show about Santa, the series is determined on capturing the hearts of viewers like me—those who grew up with Scott Calvin and Charlie who are now working adults with their own families. There’s a throwback to little Sara, now a millennial still living with her parents who stopped believing in Santa and throws a half-empty bottle of wine at him when he slides down her chimney. Relatable. When Santa falls off the roof—his biggest fear and a telltale sign that change of power is imminent—he questions if he “ripped his sack,” and while I know he’s referring to the red bag filled with toys, I can’t help but let out a chuckle at the other intended meaning. There’s even a reference to Santa being part of the Illuminati and Betty’s “this isn’t the Vatican” crack when suggesting the North Pole be home to two Santas. Those very kids that don’t believe anymore now work for Disney and manufacture the magic. And they know that while kids will surely enjoy this show, it’s the parents who will really get the references and drive the success.
It’s also why the successor that Betty, who, I agree, would probably make a great Santa herself if elves had rights, is eyeing once Scott decides it’s time to retire, Simon Choksi (brilliantly brought to life by Kal Penn). He’s what some might call the modern-day Santa—a mix of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and honestly, any millennial who is trying to find success in the modern-day world of e-commerce. He wants to deliver the gifts, and he wants them done now.
Choksi, however, is also very much like Scott Calvin in his pre-Santa days; he’s disillusioned, overworked, and in desperate need of a Christmas miracle. It didn’t seem like Scott would make a good Santa either at the beginning, but look at us now! Will Choksi make his way to the North Pole and see it through a business lens? Or will he be open to the magic?
The world indeed needs to be reminded of the Christmas magic, but so does Santa, who has seemingly lost his groove after 28 years and feels let down by the changing world around him. How can he spread Christmas cheer when he’s very clearly burnt out? He’s dedicated his whole life to the gig, but at the cost of his family, including Mrs. Clause, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, who feels underutilized in her role and has a valid concern over how the jolly man’s wife is presented to the public. If anyone is a victim here, it’s her—Mrs. Clause deserves to be portrayed as the badass that’s holding it all together behind the scenes. I love that the series wants to include that she’s given up her personal identity to make Scott’s dreams of Santa possible, but she also deserves to find her groove again.
In addition to real-world elements and issues being incorporated, a crucial piece of this show’s success is nostalgia. Millennials love it. It makes us feel happy, whole, seen and reminded of simpler times. And that’s why, it’s so nice to see Eric Lloyd reprise his role as Charlie, Scott’s son.
Charlie is now a father and husband who lives with his family in Florida. When Santa is first informed of the possibility of retiring (a clause in the contract), he dreams up the perfect plan that will allow him to hand over the reins to his son to take on the “family business.” But remember how disenchanted the world is with Santa? Well, that extends to Charlie as well. He’s no longer the starry-eyed boy who thought the North Pole was the best place in the world. Instead, he sees it for the unrealistic chaos that it is, so when his father presents the proposal, Charlie immediately shuts it down, informing his dad that the North Pole is not a conducive environment for raising kids.
And he’s not wrong—the elves are cracked out on candy (as they should be), but there’s zero connection to reality (aside from the dwindling Christmas spirit), which means that the kids grow up kind of strange, as evidenced by Scott’s two children—Sandra and Cal. Sandra only loves animals (she’s the hipster that will fit right in the real world) and Cal is living in an “imaginary world” preoccupied with his VR set… which, in a fitting turn, ends up being his escape to places like Kansas where he can envision a “normal” teen life. Scott realizes the enormous effect his job has had on his family, which solidifies his desire to leave the candy canes, cider, and hot cocoa behind so that he can be the family man they all need. But will they actually like the real world once they get there? There’s not much cheer here!
Naturally, there’s a lot that will need to be done before he can retire, but with Santa on his way out, the very reality of Christmas is threatened. Can the elves and the new jolly old man restore the faith and the belief in magic?
While the world has largely stopped believing in Santa, it’s true that we need him and the magic of the holidays (all holidays!) now more than ever. And that’s why it’s the perfect time to revive this beloved franchise. By turning it into a series, we’re also getting double the magic, and from the first two episodes on Disney+, I have minimal complaints.
Now, where’s Bernard when you need him?
Other Moments That Deserved to Be Mentioned
- Noel is the right-hand elf that Santa deserves. The elves were always a hoot in the movies, but the show is allowing them to become a more integral part of the action, and I love it. They are keeping the North Pole afloat!
- Polly Pocket Potty Party. If you know, you know.
- Calling reindeer “flying livestock” just paints things in a different perspective.
- The elf who wanted the new Santa to be Harry Styles is a vibe. She’s onto something.
- I’m really trying to be put on Santa’s “Eye of the Kringle” diet plan—eat as much as you want and work out by laying on the couch—minimal movement for ultimate success. It didn’t work for him, but you know what I mean.
- Charlie never told his wife Marie that his father was Santa, and honestly, I don’t blame him for not knowing how to broach the subject without sounding like a madman.
- I possibly suffer from Acute Squawk Syndrome.
With Simon and Grace drugged (let’s call it what it is, even if it’s a cute little elf responsible) and summoned to the North Pole, I can’t wait to see how this all pans out. Could Simon be the right man for the very jolly job? It seems like he’s going to make a mess of things initially, but he’s got the toy manufacturing and logistics background, so this could be the wake-up call he needs!
What did you think of the first two episodes of The Santa Clauses titled “Good to Ho” and “The Secessus Clause” on Disney+?
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