Unsolicited Notes On “He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special”

Original air date: 12/25/85. Special thanks to Kirk Howle for pointing out the video embedding mix-up that initially marred the following commentary.

:10 – The voiceover that starts this circus off, that of Eternia’s King Randor, sounds enough like Paul Giamatti that I immediately had to IMDb it. Turns out it’s a guy named Lou Scheimer who did a load of other voices for “He-Man.” I guess we know who to call now when they make a Sideways cartoon. At any rate, the King and his Queen are discussing preparations for He-Man and She-Ra’s joint birthday. So He-Man was born on/around Christmas? I’m trying to draw the Christ allegory here, but it’s hard. Did Jesus ever wield a sword and fight off a Beast Man in the Bible?

1:00 – I was pretty into the He-Man/She-Ra scene as a kid, but I do not remember this Peekablue character. I’m also having trouble recalling Cary Elwes mustache guy.

1:16 – Eternia’s Queen is from Earth and knows of Christmas? What a strange twist. That means He-Man’s a half-breed and he shouldn’t have been so fucking confused when he arrived on Earth in the live action Masters of the Universe movie. That flick played pretty fast and loose with the He-Man mythology, though, so no points off, I guess.

2:34 – Prince Adam’s speaking voice sounds like someone doing an impression of Mark Hamill at his whiniest. I like it.

4:42 – First bit of evidence that points toward this program’s latent homosexual agenda: “You’re trying to grab more than you can handle!”

5:06 – Second bit of evidence that points toward this program’s latent homosexual agenda: “You know what? These claws need a manicure!”

5:40 – I guess we can count this entire “Force Belt” sequence as Exhibit C.

6:53 – It’s pretty cool that Skeletor employs so many henchmen with speech impediments. For an evil mastermind, that’s pretty progressive. Also, great line read of “What are you doing, Rattlor?”

8:43 – Way to hastily tack on a lesson about seatbelt safety, Orko.

8:57 – How the hell can Orko be cold? He’s like a magical ghost, isn’t he? Ghosts can’t get cold.

0:47 – While it seems a little suspect that these kids would just follow a creature from outer space into its crashed spaceship, as a child of the ’80s I can assure you E.T. made everyone on the planet believe aliens were friendly, benevolent beings who would never consider tearing a human limb from limb if they happened upon one in the woods. Of course, we know better now. If a space creature says he’s a friend of your parents and you’ve never seen him before, don’t let him in the house!

1:31 – …And the show cleverly edits around any specific talk of Jesus Christ. Secular cartoons forever!

5:30 – She-Ra’s horse’s name is Swifty? That doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the mystical names of all the other characters.

6:26 – Holy shit, that horse can talk? That’s a shocking development. That’s scarier than Orko having no face.

7:37 – “What eeeeevil rewbawts!” Indeed, you silly horse. They’re also pretty blatant rip-offs of the cylons from “Battlestar Galactica,” right? I guess Swifty hasn’t seen that show.

8:47 – Uh, those kids are singing “Jingle Bells” wrong. THOSE KIDS ARE SINGING “JINGLE BELLS” WRONG.

9:00 – “Yeah, I know I said I’d take you back to your parents, but first let’s go to my home planet so Skeletor can scare the crap out of you.” Get your head in the game, Orko.

9:42 – Orko claims it’s a long story about his interstellar goof-up, but it’s really not. He got into the space ship, flew it to Earth, and then he kidnapped these kids. Boom, story.

1:09 – What’s this Gozer thing Skeletor suddenly has to report to? Another thing I don’t remember from watching this show in my youth.

3:01 – I think the Christmas song they’re trying to introduce here sounds a little too culty. It needs more of a relaxed Johnny Mathis vibe.

9:00 – To the writer who decided She-Ra’s sword can just turn into a lasso for no reason other than to end the scene: I hate you.

9:15 “What works for my sister works for me!” Latent homosexual agenda bit numero four?

0:09 – These little mechanical people aren’t doing it for me. They’re like less charming Glo Worms.

1:55 – The front of Hordak’s ship is a massive rendering of his own face. That’s pure class right there.

3:47 – “Oh, I’m warm again!” Proof positive all you need to combat hypothermia is a coat.

5:44 – “Fights are fun! I like fights!” Skeletor sounds so earnest when he says that. This entire exchange between Skelly and the kids is the best part of the show, hands down. I’d like to see a spinoff where the kids spend thirty minutes telling Skeletor about other Earth holidays. “You get chocolate from a bunny? How stupid!”

8:10 – Miguel, girlfriend, that puffy coat is doing your figure no favors.

1:10 – A nice slow pan across all the characters whose toy representations your parents still need to buy for you.

2:38 – I want to know more about the dichotomy between Miguel and Alisha’s parents. The father’s clearly let himself go. Is he so sure his wife, who appears still in her prime, won’t leave him? Maybe he makes a lot of money. He is rocking a Cosby sweater.

3:25 – Get ready for the ultimate mindfuck—this whole thing has been a flashback! I guess Orko has amnesia, because Prince Adam is telling him the story of how Christmas first came to Eternia despite the fact Orko was directly responsible for bringing Christmas to Eternia. Unless Prince Adam is speaking to an unseen audience and simply can’t take his eyes off Orko because, even after all these years, he still can’t believe his little magician buddy has no goddamn face.

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