The Santa Clauses
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+?
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 – 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!
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