The Santa Clauses
The Santa Clauses Review – Scott and Bernard Take a Trip Across the Yule-Verse (105)
The penultimate episode of The Santa Clauses was one of the best installments to date mainly because of Bernard’s (David Krumholtz) return.
Say it with me now—BERNARD! Oh, it’s good to see you old friend.
As most of us guessed, Scott Calvin’s OG right-hand elf arrived in Chicago (and froze his family) in hopes of convincing the former Santa to go back to the North Pole and save Christmas from Santa Simon, whose flawed Christmas Every Day plan was backfiring and destroying the meaning of Christmas.
However, to convince Scott—who was under the impression (as were we) that he became Santa by sheer accident—he needed to tell him the whole truth: he was the first human hand-picked to carry the torch.
Cue a trip to the Yule-verse. I know everyone protested the name, but I’m with Scott–it’s clever and catchy and truly encompasses what he saw while over there.
To make Scott believe again, Bernard pulled a stunt straight out of The Christmas Carol, taking the former man in the red suit on a little eye-opening journey to have a little face-to-face with all the Santas of the past.
While there’s something to be said for all those who believe The Santa Clauses should’ve been turned into a movie, the format may not have allowed writers to explore some plots in-depth, like the trip to the Yule-verse, which was a fun use of time and an unexpected way to incorporate Bernard back into the magical storyline.
The question on everyone’s mind was Bernard’s sudden aging since elves are supposed to be immortal, and he revealed that he gave up being an elf and assumed a human body after falling in love and marrying Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave. Why not have a little fun with it, right?
It’s also special that Bernard is the one taking Scott on this soul-searching journey because he was the first one to introduce Scott to his new life as Santa and help him get acclimated. It needed to be Bernard to help reignite the fire… not to mention their back-and-forth banter was priceless and truly missed.
Noel is fun and all, but he’s no Bernard, and I wish the series was able to keep him around for one additional episode so he could assist Scott in reclaiming the North Pole. We all know Scott could’ve used the help. When he arrived back there, all the elves, including Betty, disappeared, and within moments, he found himself locked up in Simon’s prison after falling for the old Santa trap. Typical Scott.
But before we got to the activities of the North Pole, we have to go back to the Yule-verse, which truly felt like stepping into the History Channel. Scott finally met Santa 17, the jolly man he replaced after he fell off of his roof, and realized that it was all part of a carefully calculated plan to carry on the mission of Saint Nicholas and meet the challenges of the time. The other Santas had to deal with things like the Great Depression and world wars, but Scott’s reign started when technology began replacing the magic. And technology has only become more prevalent since his takeover in 1994; it’s now the very thing threatening the very sanctity of the holiday.
Santa is often portrayed as a fun and silly character, but the series acknowledged the history that is important to remember—Santa is a sign of hope during the dark and trying times. Times may have changed since the days when Santa gave out oranges, but the need for hope and optimism remains just as necessary.
Bernard succeeded in his mission of reminding Scott of the true meaning of Christmas—beyond the presents—and the importance of Santa, the one that embodies and represents all the ones that came before him.
It’s not just an accident that he was chosen for the role either as a flashback scene to when Scott was a child proves that Santa deemed him worthy of making the world a better place and helping people believe again. The episode also serves as a prequel to The Santa Clause film, and I don’t hate it. It’s nice to see what came before Scott.
And since he’s such a special figure chosen to deal with this very crisis, it’s why he’s the only person that can stop Simon from his destructive plan (aside from Grace, I’m sure).
One of the exciting developments that came out of the Santa meeting in the Yule-verse was that part of the plan included Santa having human children who would hopefully have special powers after being born at the North Pole.
Everyone laughed it off initially except for Sandra, who was very much aware that she can talk to animals—both in Chicago and in the NP. And soon enough, it’s revealed that Buddy Calvin also has powers that allow him to see the vortexes unleashing the drones. Basically, the series is teeing up for Buddy to take over the gig and become the next Santa when it finally is the right time for Scott to retire.
Scott’s family didn’t seem interested in heading back to the North Pole initially as they’ve built quite a life for themselves in Chicago, including Carol, who is proud of her new title as Principal, but once Scott emphasized that they were picked specifically and that elves were disappearing as Christmas spirit dwindled, everyone was more than eager to head back.
Since Scott wasn’t sure of the dangers lurking back at the North Pole, he decided to err on the side of caution and traveled back with Noel, leaving his wife and children behind. It wasn’t his best idea considering they’ve always done everything as a family, but I admire his decision to keep them safe.
They, however, figured out a way to get there all on their own, with Sandra convincing Butter the horse that if he just believes in himself, he can fly. Have you ever seen a horse pull a sleigh? Butter is giving the reindeer a run for their money!
Their arrival at the North Pole triggered intruder alarms, so Simon has definitely been alerted.
Up until now, he’s been rather indifferent about the fact that the North Pole is literally falling apart under his rule, but that will soon change when his delivery machine stops working considering it needs some Christmas magic. From my understanding, the only person still keeping it afloat is Grace. In fact, she seems the be the only person with any Christmas spirit left, which means there’s a huge chance she’ll be able to help them salvage whatever is left while convincing her father to stop being a Grinch.
Simon doesn’t seem like a bad guy on the surface, but he’s also not fit to run the North Pole. He’s just an entrepreneur that so laser-focused on making his business a success that he doesn’t see the effects it’s having on the real world. He took the job as Santa for the wrong reasons… for selfish reasons, but the flashback to when his wife was still alive proves that he wasn’t always this man. He made a promise to her that he would give Grace the world, and I think he’s gone a little overboard making good on that promise. Will Grace’s reminder that their mother wouldn’t approve of Christmas Every Day force him to rethink everything?
How do you think the final episode of The Santa Clauses will pan out? Will Scott Calvin be reinstated as Santa? Will they find a way to bring back Christmas spirit, and thus, the elves?
And will Riley actually see Santa come down her chimney? Buddy trusted her enough to tell her the truth, which she naturally dismissed, but she might get in on the festive family business one day if she just starts to believe again!
The Santa Clauses
Will There Be a Second Season of ‘The Santa Clauses’?
The Santa Clauses wrapped up its six-episode run on Wednesday, Dec. 14—you can read our review here—so naturally, fans are already wondering if more episodes are on the horizon (or tucked in somewhere in Santa’s bag of goodies).
The good news is… yes! Shortly after the finale aired, Disney+ announced a season 2 renewal for the Tim Allen-led series.
Better yet, both Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell have signed on to reprise their roles as Scott Calvin/Santa and Carol/Mrs.Claus, respectively.
“This franchise has had a lasting impact for so many families, truly becoming part of their annual holiday traditions,” said Ayo Davis, president, Disney Branded Television, per Deadline. “Bringing it back as a series has been a true gift, and I’m grateful to our producing partners at 20th Television and, of course, Tim Allen and team, that we have yet another reason to celebrate this holiday season.”
While some fans and critics felt as though the limited series should’ve been a movie instead, there was a joy about waiting for weekly episodes to see how things would pan out. As holiday magic dwindled around the world, would Scott Calvin be able to save Christmas from Simon Choksi?
There was also a nostalgic aspect to the series, which was largely geared toward ’90s kids and fans of the 1994 original film, The Santa Clause, also headlined by Allen. Mitchell first appeared in the 2002 sequel The Santa Clause 2.
The festive first season, which premiered on November 16, is currently available in full on Disney+ for those who haven’t seen it. You can read all of our reviews from S1 right here.
It’s unclear if we’ll get more guest appearances from original stars like Eric Lloyd (Scott’s son Charlie) or David Krumholtz (Bernard the Elf), but we can expect to see Scott’s children, Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick) and Cal (Austin Kane), to reprise their roles as well.
No premiere date has been announced for the second season, though it would make sense that it would arrive sometime next year, just in time for the holidays again.
The Santa Clauses
The Santa Clauses Season Finale Review – A Christmas to Remember (106)
Scott Calvin is back where he belongs—at the North Pole, and more importantly, in the Santa suit.
The Santa Clauses wrapped up its six-episode run with a rather joyous episode that reignited the magic of the holidays at the North Pole and around the world.
But before the celebrations could truly begin, Scott and his family had to stop Simon Choksi from ruining everything… unintentionally, of course.
Simon, who was hand-picked as Scott’s successor, was totally unaware that he was the bad guy in the narrative. You would think that the disappearance of all the elves and Christmas cheer, in general, would’ve been a red flag, but he was so laser-focused on making Christmas accessible to everyone all the time that he lost sight of the true meaning. He didn’t feel the elves’ absence because he’d already replaced them with drones!
While the series made an effort not to label Simon as the bad guy—he was just a dad who lost his way—Simon was kind of embracing his inner villain by the end when he unleashed the “foot soldiers” to stop the intruders, shooed Grace away because he was on the brink of getting everything that he’s ever wanted, and tried to light the Santa coat on fire. I mean, his behavior was borderline unhinged, but thankfully, seeing all the pain and hurt that he caused through the eyes of his daughter snapped him back to reality.
Simon never meant to cause so much destruction, he simply didn’t recognize it for what it was until it was almost too late and the Christmas spirit orb turned pitch black signaling the end of times. Okay, that was bleak, but it didn’t bode well for operation save Christmas.
Scott didn’t point fingers at Simon—though he did question how he managed to remain convinced he was “the nice guy”—but instead, took the blame onto himself for shirking his responsibilities in the first place when things got tough. Instead of stepping up to the plate when things got hard, he stepped down. And Santa himself let go of the Christmas spirit, how could anyone else hold on?
The scene underscored exactly why Scott was the right fit for the role; his priorities are in order and he understands the true meaning of Christmas that goes beyond the gifts and the presents. It’s about the spirit of giving and spreading hope and joy, which gave him the idea of what might reignite the Christmas spirit around the world.
If it wasn’t for Scott’s experience in Chicago, he likely would’ve never been able to step back and reflect or see that the way out is through. But by distancing himself from the North Pole and the responsibilities that come with the red coat, he was able to appreciate it all and see it through a new lens.
It’s almost like Scott Calvin was feeling burnout, which is normal in any job. We’re human—we don’t always get it right, but when we’re reminded why we do what we do in our chosen field, it helps us reset and see the necessary steps.
His family also felt the burnout, so the break also gave them a new perspective of just how lucky they are to have this connection to the North Pole. When the coat found its way back to its rightful owner, Carol, Sandra, and Cal couldn’t be more supportive of Scott’s decision to re-embrace the role. After all, it’s why the coat hid itself from Simon as it never wanted to make this change permanent.
This might be a good time to suggest that Santa and his family be allowed to take a vacation from their version of Christmas every day. Maybe they can write that in as a new clause in the contracts now that the North Pole and the elves, including Betty, are loosening up on the rules a bit?
During Scott’s hiatus as Santa, the Calvin family also realized that they aren’t just bystanders at the North Pole—they are crucial to the whole ecosystem. Carol finally embraced her role as Mrs. Claus when she singlehandedly took down those life-size nutcracker foot soldiers. She went from a timid, “unknown” character to an action-movie heroine. And she’s right, it is the Chicago way.
Sandra found that talking to animals came with a handful of benefits, including learning that the reindeer don’t actually like their given names.
As for Cal, his magical powers manifested in a similar way to his father’s, which means that when the time finally comes for Scott Calvin to retire, he’ll be able to pass on the coat to his son. Cal may not be the brightest, but he has a knack for this Santa stuff! Did you see the way he connected with the drones who truly opened up when you got to know them? And hopefully, through his Santa-in-training apprenticeship, he’ll only get better.
With the Santa business becoming a full-blown family affair, Noel decided to hang back and spend time catching up with Betty while Scott and his family got to work on Christmas Eve. It was the first time that they spent Christmas together as a family in 20 years, and it couldn’t have been more special. And honestly, it’s how it always should have been. No offense to the elves, who do a fabulous job keeping the whole thing afloat, but since the holidays are all about families coming together, it only makes sense that Santa’s little helpers for the evening would be his closest family.
Disney+ may have only planned for a limited series run, but I think there’s potential here for an additional few seasons—within reason, of course. We don’t want to burn out the concept, but there’s definitely potential into making this something that generations to come can look forward to. When Tim Allen no longer finds the joy in this, audiences will already be primed to accept Austin Kane as his successor.
The last stop of the night was Riley’s house where Cal could prove to her that he wasn’t lying about his father being Santa. The poor girl’s reaction was sheer disbelief, but when Cal handed her the gift for her brother and her favorite flower, a poinsettia, it was clear that he was telling the truth. And that kiss leads me to believe that we may have found our future Mrs. Claus!
As for Simon and Grace, they both got the best gift of all—each other. All Grace ever wanted was her dad, and all Grace’s late mother ever wanted was for Simon to be present in her life. Simon lost sight in his attempt to give Grace, and himself, the world, but when he was finally shown her favorite Christmas memory that hinged on togetherness, he realized that he had gone slightly overboard.
Though the North Pole’s protocol has always been to erase the memories of outsiders, it definitely seemed as though they allowed the father-daughter duo, who are now like the Calvins’ extended family, the keep theirs intact. Honestly, since it helped Simon turn over a new leaf and reign himself in from his dreams of taking over the world, it’s probably for the best. This is a Christmas that they’ll always remember.
In the end, Scott, er, Santa, and his family needed to infuse the world with a little Christmas magic, leaving everyone on the nice list a snow globe that, upon shaking, unearthed their favorite Christmas memory. The only way to help someone remember is to remind them through a personal connection—just like the series did for all the ’90s kids!
- There’s a little Le Befana in all of us, especially when it comes to soup season.
- I also loved her outrage upon finding out that the Yule-verse was a boys-only club.
- Scott has been at the North Pole for 20+ years and he didn’t know that the jail cell bars were made of licorice? Oh, boy.
The series received mixed reviews, but I think we can all agree that while there was never any credible threat to the North Pole (it was obvious that a solution would be reached before it was too late), it was nice to catch up with the Calvins and go on yet another adventure with them. No sequel or limited series will measure up to the innocence and playfulness of the original 1994, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.
In the end, the whole point was to sprinkle in some magic through nostalgia into our everyday lives—and that it did.
The Santa Clauses
The Santa Clauses Review – The Shoes Off the Bed Clause (104)
Now we’re getting into the action!
Two things became abundantly clear on The Santa Clauses Season 1 Episode 4: Scott Calvin was not meant for the real world, and Simon Choksi was absolutely never meant for the North Pole.
The North Pole is in turmoil as there are real and dire consequences to Simon’s actions. When the Santa Claus coat went missing from his room, it was a bad omen and sign of things to come, and you can’t exactly hold it against the elves for not accepting Simon as Santa when the coat never accepted him either.
While some of the elves were interested in his “Christmas Every Day” idea, the main elves that keep the North Pole running flawlessly knew immediately that it was a bad idea. What makes Christmas special is that it comes once a year—wanting to make every day “special” just makes it ordinary.
Simon, unfortunately, failed to realize this, and the moment he figured out that he could use the North Pole’s delivery system and pair it with the Everything Now algorithm, he became power-hungry.
The elves, and even Grace, called the look “crazy eyes.” Simon was not to be stopped, even when it was obvious that his new idea was siphoning Christmas magic and making the elves disappear. The longer this went on, the darker the snow globe got, and remember, once all the light is snuffed out, Christmas, and thus, the North Pole and all of its inhabitants, will cease to exist.
There was obviously a problem with Christmas when Santa Scott was still in the red suit, and a solution was necessary, but it wasn’t the one that Simon was providing.
His plan proved that he never truly understood what the holiday was actually about, so there’s no way he could be the Santa that the North Pole needs and the one to inspire and remind all of those that may have lost their belief and magic.
Betty was very lenient and lax when letting Santa Simon find his groove, but the moment she witnessed two of her best elves disappear while trying to point out the underlying issues plaguing the North Pole, she had to put her little elf foot down.
And that’s when Simon did the unthinkable—he fired her as Head Elf. How dare he?
Another issue, aside from his tunnel vision and a deep desire to be successful and dominate the delivery market, is that Simon doesn’t have any respect for the North Pole and how it’s run. He didn’t take the time to get to know the rules and protocols since he thought he knew better, and his ignorance, in turn, made it all worse.
Once Betty was let go, she turned to La Befana for help, which is where she found the Santa coat, hiding out safely until someone “fixed” the Simon problem. La Befana assumed she wanted to get in touch with Santa Scott, but Betty needed someone else to undo the mess…. and I’m guessing this is where our good friend and beloved OG elf Bernard comes into play.
In the final moments of the episode, Scott, who was just finding his way around the real world, er, Chicago, saw his family frozen right in front of him, a sure sign that something was awry. A hand reached out and grabbed him, which, again, is likely Bernard coming to deliver the news that I think Scott actually wants to hear: the North Pole needs him back ASAP.
We’re in the thick of the action on The Santa Clauses—if this was a movie, it would mark the halfway point—and the conflict is getting juicy.
I’m glad that despite the Calvins’ exit from the North Pole, we’re still seeing what’s going on over there because human life in Chicago is quite dull, as expected. It’s a lesson being hammered home for Scott, who is struggling to assimilate and find his purpose in the real world away from his role as Santa. In Chicago, he’s just a regular middle-aged dude, while his family is thriving–Carol in her new role at a charter school, Sandra with her new horse girlfriends (human girls who ride horses, just to be clear), and Calvin with Riley, the girl who he met on his first day of school and sparked a connection with. Scott, meanwhile, tried to be a delivery driver for EverythingNow and got fired from the gig.
It’s not surprising that Scott is struggling so much considering he was once the most beloved man in the world. He’s not used to being the man with all this time on his hands. He finally has time to spend with his family, but now, they all have responsibilities and things to do. The tables have been reversed, and now he’s feeling what his family felt all those years as they sacrificed their happiness and freedom for him.
He’s also now seeing what it must have felt like for Carol to give up her whole identity—it’s a struggle that he never understood until now.
But that’s also why it would be selfish of him to ask her to make the sacrifice again, so I don’t know how they are going to reverse this Simon mess. Maybe Santa Scott will be able to appeal to the part of Simon that arrived doe-eyed and enchanted by the North Pole at first? And maybe they can figure out a way to share the role? There’s no denying the North Pole could benefit from some modern-day changes, and maybe being Santa 24/7 isn’t healthy for anyone, but with a few tweaks that don’t come from a selfish and self-serving place, it could be the chocolate-oiled machine it once was when Christmas spirit was at an all-time high. Simon has a lot to add to the operation, but for now, he’s just coming at it too recklessly and thus, destroying Christmas in the process.
I also think that Grace is going to be the key to getting through to her father. Noel was onto something when he told Simon that there was a reason he pushed Grace to the side because she’d never allow her father to act this way. Betty needs to get Grace on Team Elves to save Christmas!
Other Sugary Thoughts
- That barista speaks for every coffee shop employer working during the holiday season. Scott–stop it.
- What’s going on with the timeline? When the Calvin family arrived in Chicago, the teens went to play in the snow, but all of a sudden, it was Memorial Day. Have they been there for several months already?
- Buddy Calvin had a point questioning why we have picnics for fallen soldiers.
- Sandra can still hear animals talk, including the horse who was running away from a bee. What’s the point of this subplot? Is she supposed to be Santa?
- Simon stooped to a new low when he threw out Noel’s letter to Betty. He’s such a grinch Christmas fun-sucker. Bah humbug.
What did you think of The Santa Clauses Season 1 Episode 4? Are you excited about Bernard’s arrival?
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