Original Air Date: December 1, 1992
It’s got singing, evil inventors out to ruin snow days for everyone, and a group of kids helping Frosty bring back the magic of winter. What more do you want?
Let’s get this out of the way: Frosty Returns has nothing to do with the original Frosty the Snowman. Now that we’ve shattered your dreams, they won’t weigh you down as we make our way through this early 90s special.
WARNING: Not affiliated with the Frosty most of you remember
While the original was produced by Rankin-Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town), Frosty Returns was done by Broadway Video, whose logo some might recognize from the end of Saturday Night Live episodes. That’s because Broadway Video was founded by Lorne Michaels, creator of SNL, in 1979 to handle any post-production work on SNL. In the end, Michaels’ company ended up handling the production of this almost-sequel.
Because that face just radiates Christmas spirit
Michaels’ company heading up the project explains the characters voiced by SNL alumni: Brain Doyle-Murray (from the “let’s get Bill Murray’s brother on the show because he’ll be just as good, right?” era of SNL) plays the villain, Mr. Twitchell, while Jan Hooks (also of SNL) voices the character Lil. If you want to get technical, Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) voices the lead character Holly, and she recently divorced current SNL performer Fred Armisen. Also, John Goodman voices Frosty, and he’s totally hosted SNL before, so there’s another link for you.
This is what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps
Of course, we also need to mention that the special was directed by Bill Melendez. If your happy boner didn’t just pop, then go watch any of the Charlie Brown Christmas Specials – they’re his handiwork. As for the music, it was written by Mark Mothersbaugh. Yes, that’s the guy who founded Devo. So now that you’ve all got an “uncontrollable urge” to get on with this special, let’s “whip it” up. [Insert other Devo song pun here.]
The special opens with the narrator, played by Jonathan Winters (It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World), a man so freakishly small, he apparently lives atop a single snowflake.
And seems to be very terrified of this fact
He tells of his love for winter, which is exactly when Frosty Returns is conveniently set. He then descends to the town of Beansboro, where school is canceled due to a large snowfall. This bothers the adults of the town, but the children sure do love it.
In typical Christmas special fashion, a great musical number kicks in.
The Great Snow Riot of 1993 soon followed
We then meet Holly, who tends to be a bit of a loner. Then her only true friend, the science geek Charles, shows up. Though Charles just wants to make a fertility goddess out of snow (seriously), the duo start rehearsing their magic act for the annual Winter Carnival.
While practicing, Holly’s hat blows off her head and out the window. She chases it down the street, bumping into Mrs. Carbuncle, the schoolteacher. Mrs. Carbuncle loathes snow, and she makes it a point to rant about it in front of Holly.
“And my husband just won’t pleasure me any more!”
When Holly’s hat finally lands on a snowman, it comes to life as Frosty. Frosty introduces himself to Holly, and tells her how excited he is to attend the Winter Carnival.
Holly’s mom comes over and hands her a can of Summer Wheeze, a spray that completely melts snow. It’s the brainchild of the evil Mr. Twitchell, who wants Summer Wheeze to become popular enough to get him crowned King of the Winter Carnival.
Twitchell also loves to appeal to accountant Hitler
As Summer Wheeze grows more popular, Holly has to find ways to keep Frosty safe from melting. This includes stuffing him into a fridge…
This screen shot could have just as easily come from The Sopranos
…and keeping him in the Ice Castle built for the Winter Carnival.
The same Ice Castle 50 Cent stays in, apparently
In between, Holly attends school and hears Charles’ science presentation on the importance of snow. Strangely, the kids all turn against him, ranting about wanting summer vacation over more snow.
This is also when most viewers realize Charles’ hair resembles the Pringles guy’s mustache.
The fun don’t stop with Charles
Also during this time, Frosty sings Holly a song about coming out of her shell. This song, titled “Let There Be Snow,” is easily the best number in entire special.
Frosty uses the opportunity to show Holly the creepy, hollow chamber that is his chest.
One of those hearts is Jackie Vernon’s
In the end, Frosty sings to the townspeople about the greatness of winter, and their icy hearts melt (hey, that was a snow joke). They pick Frosty as the King of the Winter Carnival, and Frosty gives the prizes over to Mr. Twitchell to make him happy.
Ghost-ride that whip, son
Nonexistent. That’s not an atheist joke.
Also nonexistent. Are there Sant-atheists?
If you count snowfall, then the Christmas spirit is literally sprayed away. Of course, Frosty does give the Twitchell the “gift” of the Winter Carnival prizes. Eh, we’ll call this one a draw.
Despite any festive shortcomings, Frosty Returns is worth your time. At just over twenty minutes in length, it won’t even take that much of it.
PRODUCT INFORMATION (Shop Amazon through us- it helps!)
Grab both Frosty Returns and the unrelated Frosty the Snowman in The Original Christmas Classics on Blu-ray. It also contains Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. For more Frosty goodness, pick up Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, starring Andy Griffith as the narrator, and the more recent The Legend of Frosty the Snowman.
MORE CARTOON CHRISTMAS SPECIALS!
YESTERDAY’S XMAS SPECIAL
BEDTIME FOR SNIFFLES
LAST YEAR’S DEC. 10th XMAS SPECIAL
THE FIRST-EVER RUDOLPH CARTOON
2010’s DEC. 10TH XMAS SPECIAL
A CHIPMUNKS CHRISTMAS
2009’S DEC. 10TH XMAS SPECIAL
ROBBIE THE REINDEER