Holiday Triumphs: “Low Tidings”, the Flapjack Christmas Special

flapjack2.jpgAs previously stated, I love Cartoon Network’s The Misadventures of Flapjack. It is one of the craziest, visually innovative, and funniest kids cartoons in existence today. But my love recently transformed into MEGA LOVE, because The Baby and I watched the Flapjack Christmas special, “Low Tidings”. It may be the greatest Christmas special of the last 10 years. For real.

In the Flapjack universe (which I explain a bit in that link above), every winter they celebrate the miracle of Low Tide Day, when the waters beneath The Docks recede and children hang their boots over the side in the hopes of getting presents from Poseidon if they’ve been good. But the bad kids get “sacked”: thrown in a sack by a gang of angry, muscly mermen and tossed around violently (kinda like a maritime version of Krampus).

Bubbie the Whale (who does double duty as Flapjack’s mother figure and house) always leaves The Docks during Low Tide season because she needs water to live. Captain K’Nuckles (Flapjack’s adventuring mentor and negative role model) always leaves because he’s rotten and doesn’t want to get sacked. He still harbors childhood trauma from his own youthful sackings. But Flapjack wants to see what Low Tide Day is like (and sings many badly rhyming songs to this effect), so Bubbie leaves him and K’Nuckles behind.

Flapjack marvels in the wonder of the season, while K’Nuckles desperately tries to find a hidey-hole so he can avoid a merman beatdown. Unfortunately, much of The Docks’ hiding places are already occupied by other miscreants. In his effort to avoid a sacking, K’Nuckles engages in more bad behavior that makes a sacking even more likely than before.

I don’t want reveal too much about how the plot resolves itself. Suffice to say, Poseidon rethinks the whole “pummeling people with sacks” thing and decides to change many features of Low Tide Day, thus resulting in a more Christmas-y holiday .

“So it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad anymore?” cries one desperate Dock resident.

“Nope, pretty much everyone gets a present now,” Poseidon nonchalantly explains, and spirits himself away.

I’ve never seen a special that so captured the wonder and mystery of the holidays while equally depicting the sadness and weirdness of them. Maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas, although in a very different way, of course. Flapjack even managed a subtle poke at religion, via Poseidon’s benign but totally arbitrary rules for his followers.

As much as the show seems to aim jokes and references at parents, kids
love it. At least my three-year-old does. I realize she may not be the
best barometer of what all kids will like, since she has a fondness for
The Simpsons, Predator, and destruction. But I say, if your kid doesn’t like Flapjack, just write him/her off. You know they’re never gonna be cool.

This special is nothing short of genius. I demand the entire world watch it and prepare a 500-word essay on why it’s the greatest thing ever.