A GOOF TROOP CHRISTMAS (syndication, 1992)
Why was it such a misfit?
Beginning in 1990 with TaleSpin, Disney started including seasonal episodes as part of their 65-episode orders for The Disney Afternoon. They stopped with Bonkers, so only four were made...and "Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas," the Goof Troop edition, was the only one broadcast in prime-time, as "A Goof Troop Christmas." It was expanded to an hour by adding two vintage Disney Christmas shorts and a behind-the-scenes look at the movie "Aladdin." Bop-bop-a-loo-bop! Yeeeah.

Here's something to think about tonight. Have you ever wondered what animals Goofy and Pete are supposed to be? The answer is, Goofy is a dog (original name: "Dippy Dawg") and Pete is a cat who got his start chasing Mickey, though never to eat him. Pete's wife Peg looks more like a dog, therefore Pistol and PJ have to be...blasphemous cat-dog hybrid cogs.

If that wasn't surprising enough, look at their pets. Goofy owns a cat and Pete owns a dog. They own each other's species as property! No wonder they can't stand each other.

Goofy and Max are setting up their outside Christmas decorations, but Goofy's doing about as well with the setup as he usually does with any task larger than three steps. "Hurry UP, Dad, I'm freezing my tinsel off!" gripes Max. What will the ladies think of Max then? Get a move on it, Goof!

Goofy gets his head stuck in a giant plastic Santa, trips over some reindeer and winds up catapulting the thing across the sky. Pete's hyperactive daughter Pistol witnesses the event and immediately thinks it's Santa. Her suspicions are confirmed when Goofy ends up landing right through Pete's chimney. "Here, Santa! You caught me unprepared, so all I could find were bacon chips and guacamole!"

Fade out, cue actual introduction -- it was just a quick gag. We never find out how Goofy got out of the chimney. I don't know what purpose it served other than to pad time.

Pete is decorating his ugly artificial tree, and wrestling the string of tree lights away from the family dog's jaws. Pistol remarks that the pine cones look more like toilet brushes, and ponders why they can't have a real tree.
"Because that GOOF next door has a real tree," Pete growls, "and I don't wanna be anything like 'im!"
"Well, don't have a cowbell, man," says Pistol in response. You know why she would tell him not to possess a farm instrument? Because Pistol is played by Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson. When she said it, her voice sounded more like Bart than Pistol...likely on purpose.

The doorbell rings and it's Goofy and Max. Goofy brought one of his many light-up yard snowmen as a donation. "Thought your yard could look a little more FESTIVE!"
"Plug it in? Don't mind if I do!" Goofy plugs it in. At first it works fine, but after he leaves Pete tries yanking the cord out, and the resulting electrocution shorts out his house.

Pete is so fed up with Goofy's antics that he's hauling himself and his entire family on a Christmas vacation in Asprin, Colorado (not a typo) right now! Max asks PJ if he can come along. Where there's Max there's Goofy, so Pete yells back "I'D RATHER EAT CAT LITTER!"

Max would much rather be in Asprin this Christmas than helping his father set up gaudy light after gaudy light in the shivering cold. But there's no convincing Pete, who cruelly drives off. Max goes with a different approach....he begs Goofy to take him there instead. Goofy isn't sure he wants to break tradition, but after looking into his son's puppy eyes, he can't refuse him.

Off they go, and you just know they're going to pick a cabin right next door to Pete's. What you don't know (and neither does Max) is that all that "camping gear" is actually Goofy's Christmas decorations. There is of course no point in putting up that stuff where nobody can see it, but that's Goofy for you. Max won't be able to escape the stupid things, but at least he's got different scenery.

Goofy and Max arrive at their cabin in Asprin. There's a hungry bear around the area, and when he sees Goofy's car approach, he thinks they should have plenty of food with them. Or they'll suffice as the food; whichever. He hides in their living room as the only thing he can disguise himself as, which wasn't a super idea as Goofy immediately sits on him. "Hmm, this rug is kinda lumpy." Goofy pounds the bear, and he doesn't appreciate that very much....

The bear has him cornered on the fireplace mantle! "GRAB THE GUN, DAD!!" Max shouts, pointing to the rifle below the mantle. But there's also a mop lying in the same place, so of course Goofy grabs that instead and tries to fire it. As the bar's jaws close around the bristles.....Goofy manages to fire the mop. I don't get it. But it worked, somehow, and the bear runs off coughing smoke all the way down the hill.

Goofy starts setting up his decorations while singing loudly. Pete, in the cabin up the hill, gets angry and yells out the window, "QUIET, WHOEVER YOU ARE! THIS AIN'T NO OSMOND SPECIAL!!" That's when he falls out the window and rolls into a snowball, which gets bigger and bigger until it crash-lands next to Goofy's cabin.


The next morning, being buried in snow has given Pete the chills. The doorbell rings -- Goofy again -- and Peg gets the door. Goofy wants to take Pete's family out for sledding. "Forget it!" Pete scowls. "I'm stayin' HERE, where I'm SAFE!" That's Goofy's cue to say "Suit yourself" while he turns around and knocks Pete out with his toboggan.

Everybody except Pete goes sledding together. Pete's instincts were correct -- he really wouldn't have liked this trip, which consists of several dozen physical gags that don't lend themselves to a written review very well. Through a series of mishaps they get the bear involved, and he tries to eat them again, but winds up taking a plummet off a cliff.

Goofy and company go off a different cliff, but the toboggan's aerodynamics cause them to glide right into and through the roof of the cabin where Pete is about to place the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle is instantly unsolved, and so is the table it was resting on. Pete yells at Goofy again.
Goofy: "Did IIII do thaaaaaat??"
Pete: "321! 123! WHAT THE HECK....IS BOTHERING ME?"

One thing I'm noticing now, that I didn't before, is that Pete is blaming Goofy for a lot of things that aren't Goofy's fault. It was Pete that yanked the electrical cord that started all of this, which safety experts tell you not to remove that way. And this time it was pure chance that ruined Pete's puzzle; Goofy was just along for the ride.

But if you think Pete's a jerk now, wait'll you see this....

"I know what'll cheer ya up!" Goofy says to Pete. "But it's a surprise! Follow me!"
Pete can't take one more "surprise" but he's talked into it anyway, as the rest of the family is going.
"Owwwl right, y'kin open your eyes!" Goofy shouts.

Everyone looks and...WOW! Goofy has used his Christmas decorations to electrify a 100-foot fir! It looks gorgeous! Seems like he did something right for once....oh, wait, no....

Faulty wiring again. The tree catches fire and falls onto their cabin, which falls onto their car! Goofy manages to save Max's Christmas present, but other than that, everything's gone -- their food, their shelter, and their only way home.

Peg is the nicer one and can't let this stand, especially on Christmas Eve. She invites the Goofs inside Pete's cabin.
"Oh gawrsh! How kin I make it up to ya?? I know -- I'll cook y'all dinner! A-hyuck!"
Pete whimpers, "HE'S making DINNER? I'm gonna spend Christmas in the emergency room...."

It might happen, but not to Pete. As Goofy is preparing the feast, he leaves the door open, and the bear enters. And THIS time, he's not taking any more punishment!

Goofy continually just misses seeing him, and inadvertently hits him over and over. That just makes him angrier. Pete enters the kitchen to explore what all the noise is about. He freaks out and drags Goofy out of there.

"Aw, a-hyuck, we don't have to worry," Goofy assures Pete. "He'll leave th' kitchen after he eats all the food."
"ALL the food??" The family groans. The only thing Goofy saved was the pressure cooker, which he places into the fireplace to keep it going.

"Looks like we need sumpin' ta do. I know! How about--"
Max knows where he's leading. "No, Dad! Not THAT!"
"......the REINDEER DANCE!" Goofy slaps on the radio, puts fake antlers on his head and does a bizarre shimmy, while Max slaps his forehead in embarrassment.

Maybe Goofy should've been keeping an eye on that pressure cooker, hmm?

That was just what Goofy didn't want to hear. "R-Really, Max?"
Max can't respond, but he can't deny it either. His look says it all.

"It's....gettin' kinda....stuffy in here......think I'll go get some fresh air...." Goofy says quietly. He pulls on his Santa hat, pulls on the cat (which he thinks is his coat) and exists sorrowfully.

Pete is instantly cheered up now that Goofy's outta there. "What say we all open our presents, HMM?" Pistol got a horned barbarian hat. "Woooo, I'm Conan's girlfriend!" she shouts. I think O'Brien has a little classier taste than that.

Max opens his present, the one Goofy rescued, and....it's a photo of him with his dad. It's too much for him to take. He has to head out into the snow after him. And so does everybody else -- especially Pete, or there'll be no lovin' from Peg.

The blizzard outside is getting so thick, Goofy steps right off a cliff (there seem to be a ton of them in Asprin). Elsewhere, the family is searching and Max hears Goofy's trademark "YAAAAA-hoohohooeyyyy" in the distance. "THIS WAY!" he points.

The gang discovers Goofy upside-down in the snow, with only his shoes and socks sticking out. They dig him out, drag themselves to a cave, and warm up by a makeshift fire.

"Are you okay, Dad?"
"Well..........it gets harder and harder to make Christmas special for you, Max."
"Like when I was a kid?"
"Well......I'm growing up, Dad. But I still love Christmas. And I still love you." He gives his father a hug.

"Y'know, Christmas isn't in a tree, or in a lightbulb....It's in A BEAR!!!"
"A bear?"

AAAH! It figures this is HIS cave. Well, he invaded their homes...turnabout is fair play, right? ....Try explaining that to him.

The ursine nightmare has them cornered! "NOOO! I'M TOO HANDSOME TO DIE!!" Pete shrieks. He lifts Goofy up and yells, "TAKE HIM!!"

Suddenly, Goofy and Max get an idea. Remember the Reindeer Dance? Turns out it was important to the plot. The Goofs' nonsensical soft-shoeing distracts the bear from chomping off Pete's head. Then everybody starts joining in, even the bear! It's weird, but it works. They're all friends now, thanks to the power of the Reindeer Rhumba!

A happy ending for all! ....Except the original voice of Max is now dead.

Why didn't it fit in?
Pretty much for the same reason Goof Troop itself didn't fit in. After years of adventure-based serials, Disney figured there was no harm in trying something different, and made an animated family sitcom instead. The result was The Disney Afternoon's first big decline in ratings. In most markets Goof Troop was time-slotted against Batman: The Animated Series, where Goofy didn't stand a chance. This did push them into making Gargoyles, though, so....we the people won out in the end.

As for the special itself....you could pick worse things. I think it's fairly good. At least watch it for the great animation from Disney France. But one word of warning, though....you will NOT be able to get Goofy's song out of your head.

Ayyyy Carumba, doin' the Reindeer Rhumba!
Ayyyy Carumba, doin' the Reindeer DANCE!