The Grinch vs. The Cat in the Hat

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(intro music) Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don’t have to. And welcome to another addition of ‘WTR’, AKA: “Was That Real?” This is where we look at TV that was forgotten by some but remembered by other by how strange they were. With that said, we all love Dr. Seuss’ timeless characters of the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. So much so, that some people even watched this bullshit. But did you know there was a time when they actually did a crossover? It’s called by a couple of names over the years “The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat”, “The Cat in the Hat gets Grinched” Which… both sound like children’s intros to sexual harassment. But what everyone called it when I was growing up was “The Grinch versus the Cat in the Hat”. Because really, that’s what it is. It’s two popular characters in the same universe, finally meeting up and… well, surviving each other. This seems kind of strange for Dr. Seuss, who didn’t really do crossover battles. That kind of stuff would usually be associated with something like, say… a Marvel production. Well, funny you should think that, because this actually was made by Marvel Productions. Yeess, soon the Lorax and Sam I Am are going to fight over the warring nations of the Sneeches and the Whos! With the cameo by Spiderman we’ve all been waiting for. This was advertised everywhere when it came on TV, and to its credit, it’s really not a bad idea. It’s kind of like Batman versus Superman. Yeah.. you’re funny. There you go. Where there’s two seemingly opposite protagonists, who also seem to have a lot in common. Both are agents of anarchy- they like to disrupt the status quo and take people out of their comfort zones. The reasons, though, is what makes them enemies. One does it to lighten the mood and open up possibilities, while the other does it to ruin the mood and limit possibilities. Even the lessons have a different spin. With the Cat in the Hat, he’s the one dispensing the moral; with the Grinch, he’s the one learning the moral. So it seems like there was just enough in common and just enough different to make this really, really good. Right? Well, as much as I’ve praised Seuss in the past, even I have to admit, not everything was perfect. Nothing was awful, but some ideas were better as just that: Ideas. And for what it’s worth, this does seem to have a lot of ideas, especially for kids. It just didn’t seem to have a lot of focus. Again, a tough combination as “Cat in the Hat” was a somewhat random and archaic story, where “Grinch” had a very solid beginning, middle and end. Which makes this a very tricky combination. The Grinch, as well, was already used twice: With a Halloween special after the Christmas debut, but didn’t exactly get the strongest reaction. So was tough to figure out if he could work in other tales outside of his first one. The story? The Grinch wakes to the voice of the Schmucker’s Jelly guy describing the morning. (Grinch whistling) Narrator: “Never before has this nasty, old guy left out of his bed with a smile in his eye and whistled, ‘Hello!'” (NC imitating the voice) Well, I could kill kids with a pitchfork and you’d still love my voice. However, the Grinch goes back to his evil ways when his mirror yells at him. “I see nothing to whistle about!” Yeah, like I said: kind of odd. ‘Mirror’ convinces him to go out and cause trouble & this is where he literally bumps into the Cat in the Hat. Who makes the apparent mistake in calling him “green face”. “Any inconvenience out of these that I may have caused you Mr… Green Face.” “Mr. Green Face?” That is our word. So, the Grinch decides to chase him down, create a machine that messes with reality and… just, kind of annoy him. It’s… kind of a downgrade compared to his other adventures. First, he wants to rob people of the joys of giving, then he want to terrify the world with fear from hellish looking monsters. Now, he’s just… kind of a troll. In fact, you could argue that he’s literally the world’s first internet troll. Think about it: He uses his computer to hack your everyday life to mildly annoy you, and he’s the only one that finds it funny at all. Guess he’s sort of a pioneer of obnoxiousness when you think about it. “And that brings about (Max barks) the most horrible things!” I’ll admit, it’s a little odd to see the Cat in the Hat constantly duped and get more and more frustrated as it goes on. It’s kind of like seeing Groucho Marx get mad, or Radical Edward get mad, or the Road Runner get mad. There’s just some creations you always think are gonna be comfortable and in control of their world. Which makes it a little off-putting when you see they don’t always have the smart answer. (scoffs) It really cracks me up when he straight out calls the Grinch a psychopath. “That Grinch! That psychopathic Grinch!” How funny is that? There’s a Dr. Seuss story where somebody uses the word ‘psychopath’! That’s insane! Or… psychopathic, I guess. To be fair though, only a psychopath would change the pronunciation of words to make them rhyme. “The sounds that you make are the sounds of my choice. I can make you sound better or make you sound wo-yus (worse).” CHEATER! “Are you feeling pretty goot, Mr. Cat in the Hoot?” Goot and hoo- why were you changing that? They already rhymed. This all comes to a head when the Grinch uses his machine to mess with a resturaunt for really no reason than to give Seuss an excuse to say he took LSD for inspiration. (zany trumpet instrumental) Yup, this is another Dr. Seuss ‘trip out’ scene that doesn’t connect to much but… Who cares?! It’s a Dr. Seuss trip out scene. I will totally endorse getting a minor drunk if it leads to another ‘Pink Elephant’ sequence. (slams) Screw priorities! I want a trip-out, man! Look at this, he’s going against the lesson of his own books! Green eggs are okay, but polka dot eggs? Chuck that shit! But to be fair, maybe the Cat in the Hat’s frustration ties into the “kinda-sorta” message. Yeah, even the moral is a little hard to grasp but I still can’t say it’s really wrong in any way. Amongst his frustration he finally realizes the way to win is not killing by anger but killing with kindness. He goes to the Grinch’s house and reminds him of his mother. “Even a Grinch had a mother, who taught him of love” (singing) Thank God he happened to have a good relationship with her, because it eventually softens him up and makes him good again. He even has an inner monologue with her which… the more I think about, strangely happens a lot in this. Half of the special is technically is just people talking to themselves. Everyone’s a psychopath! So I guess the message centers around… Power of motherhood? To always bring family into everything? That a person’s weakness is in their heart- It’s confusing. Nevertheless, It is still a kinda nice, albeit, unfocused scene leading to a relatively harmless ending. And that’s really the best way I can describe this special: Nice, unfocused but harmless. It’s certainly not Seuss’ strongest work and truth be told, it could have been a bit more interesting. But it’s still neat seeing two of his most famous characters meet and interact off each other. While the story’s not the best, it still feels like this is what the characters would do and say if they did run into one another. So, it’s kind of fun to watch if only for that reason. Yeah, it’s pointless. Yeah, it doesn’t always make sense, but sometimes that’s okay. It’s still creative, still strange & still unmistakably Seuss. You can still get it on DVD and witness all the goofiness, or psychotic, tendencies yourself. Give it a buy and see one of the most surreal crossovers ever devised. I’m the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don’t have to. Coming next week, it’s Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed- the death of Alicia Silverstone’s career. But you can see it now under Vessel’s ad-free early access. Just $3 a month to see tons of people’s videos early as well as a bunch of other extra features. Check it out and get the early scoop. (outro music) Hey, Doug Walker here, doing the charity shout-out. This week we’re doing one that you might not think about that much but is still very, very important. The Guide Dog Foundation. This organization has been around since 1946 and their mission is simple: to provide guide dogs in training, free of charge to people who are blind or visually impaired. For 70 years the Guide Dog Foundation has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide increased independence, enhance mobility and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision or have other disabilities. Once they make the decision to get an assistance dog, applicants become a part of the foundation’s open and welcoming community. They’re supported with a compromised commitment from highly empathetic and certified trainers. They pair each student with a dog that’s right for them, and the power of their bond makes the strongest friendships. Crossing the street independently becomes a moment of liberation and trust. Traveling alone becomes a welcome adventure. Embracing new experiences becomes an everyday occurrence. It cost over $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place one assistance dog. However, all of the foundation’s services are provided at no charge to the individual. Funding comes from the generosity of people like you, corporations, foundations, businesses and many more. So, definitely take a look, watch some of their videos and see how you can help sight to someone who needs it the most.

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