‘Santa Inc.’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter

Rankin/Bass Christmas Stopover Special, dating back to 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is ingrained enough in holiday traditions that an entire generation has grown up blindly accepting or happily ignoring how messy and restrictive many of them really are.

Are from Jack Frost come Nestor Long-eared Christmas Donkey come The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, specials filled with traumatic deaths, thinly veiled drug trips, and whatever the Heat Miser and Snow Miser are supposed to be.

Key point

Silly and silly, if not enough to subvert.

So when some spectator more specifically consider Santa Inc., HBO Max is an adult homage to Rankin-Bass specials (some are “classic”, some are definitely not), the question that must be asked is: Arthur Rankin, Jr. ., and does Jules Bass avoid the elves’ nipples, exploiting oral sex with Mrs. Claus and the deeply murderous levels of Santa’s rivalry with the Easter Bunny because they don’t believe these Is such a thing seasonally appropriate or because they simply know audiences are decades away from being ready?

Creator Alexandra Rushfield, takes a delightful detour from her work about Shril, definitely hope the answer is the latter, or at least she doesn’t care if it is the former, because Santa Inc. prides itself on being raw and immature without completely abandoning the holiday spirit. Often that immaturity comes at the cost of Santa Inc. used to be almost as subversive as one might think, but I’m not sure anyone involved here is capable of fulfilling my wish that the series is a bit smarter and maybe a subtler haircut in a way. serious.

A Christmas series with more Jewish leads than a Semitic show, Apple TV+ The Next Door Narrows, Santa Inc. focuses on Candy Smalls (Sarah Silverman), the number two executive vice president at Santa Inc., the Arctic-based corporation behind everything Christmas-y. Candy is content with her position working under Brent Robbins (Tim Meadows), the designated successor to Santa Claus (Seth Rogen). When Brent shocks everyone by taking a new job, Santa is left without an heir and Candy decides it’s time for Santa Inc. had the first female (and Jewish) Santa. While the current Santa loves to brag about picking his first Black successor and proudly proclaims himself a “real agent of change,” it’s hard for companies to try to capture progress.

As a corporate satire, Santa Inc. sometimes quite savvy, and it’s here that you can see the connection between the workplace elements of Rushfield’s hit Hulu comedy and this holiday deal. Santa Inc. traditionally an old boys’ club and the series is admirably impressive for its euphemisms and barricades aimed at the women perched in the glass ceiling though they’re trying to get a seat in the boardroom or the White House. An episode in which Candy joins Santa and the Board for a getaway that includes golf, cigars, and dirty jokes while various wives, including Mrs. Maria Bamford) disappointed, not participating in spa based activities is a snapshot. about institutionalized deviance and business hierarchy as one might want from a particular Christmas.

Candy’s best friends are Cookie (Leslie Grossman), rushing back to the office after getting pregnant, and Goldie (Gabourey Sidibe), trapped in a group of Christmas Eve reindeer, who have similar struggles and complement each other in a program that illustrates what’s behind the public-facing interest of even the most beloved of companies being a company.

Through four episodes, Santa Inc. focused primarily on Candy’s struggles as a woman in this masculine space, and the Jewish part is mostly out of mind after that – an initial disappointment for me and has probably dozens of other viewers.

However, on those same lines, I’m guessing that my favorite #MeToo test of sexism here will probably be the least appealing to audiences more eager for stories. laughs about reindeer, elves taverns, and Santa “drop the grain. “As is the case in Sausage Party, also from Rogen and Goldberg’s Point Gray Image, the funniest and most confusing aspect of Santa Inc. unfortunately it’s the most repetitive and also self-satisfied. There’s a lot of pride in what creator and director Harry Chaskin can get when portraying in the animated space – often enough to accept that the mere image of Mrs. Claus pleases. his mate is inherently hilarious without actually doing anything funny with the concept or the image.

I’ll just go to the “A Very Big Mouth Christmas” episode from the current fifth season of Big mouth as a much more successful example of exploiting shock value from the conventions of special cartoon holidays. Nothing in the four episodes of Santa Inc. makes me feel even the slightest shock or even very uncomfortable – not in a world saturated with South Park and Chicken robot permutations and exclusions. Heck, nothing here feels weird like Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.

Still, Santa Inc. operates on some level of tradition, especially when it comes to its populations. Silverman’s Candy even looks like her Muscled man the character and she plays right into the kind of enthusiastic, high-energy person that has always been the hallmark of a comedian. Rogen’s Santa prides himself on the actor’s believably well-intentioned spoofing, and Nicholas Braun’s Devin, a boy friend and intern at Santa Inc., has an indebted humiliation. a little more HeirGreg’s cousin. Grossman and Sidibe are perhaps the show’s most consistent sources of laughs, while the TV geek in me relishes cameos from previous Rushfield collaborators like Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett and John Cameron Mitchell, they all come from Shril, and Love star Paul Rust.

The love for the visual style of those Rankin/Bass specials is over Santa Inc. and if this new comedy works better as a nostalgia kick for those unique things (or a palate cleanser if you’re already indulged) than an annual holiday classic new, then maybe there’s a place for such a thing.

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