After doing write-ups for the two cartoons inspired by Jim Carrey films from 1994, you must have figured I’d do the third today! Just as Carrey stormed the cinematic gates with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber in ’94, the television world followed suit in ’95 with an animated series based on each of those three films. While the first two were made for CBS to air on Saturday morning, Dumb and Dumber went a different route. Still proving that anything relating to Carrey was worth investing in, Dumb and Dumber found itself on another broadcast network, in this case ABC. Thematically and visually, it didn’t really fit-in with the whole One Saturday Morning vibe the network was rolling with, so it’s probably no surprise to find out it wound up on Cartoon Network.
And that’s where the show probably belonged as this is a Hanna-Barbera produced toon. In the mid-90s, ABC was under the Disney banner so it was odd to have a non-Disney developed cartoon on ABC, where as Cartoon Network was owned by Turner which owned Hanna-Barbera. This ended up being the final Hanna-Barbera cartoon produced to air on a broadcast network for a Saturday morning block, an interesting little factoid since Hanna-Barbera was once the king of Saturday morning cartoons.
Because this series went a different direction, it has no affiliation with the other two cartoons we looked at so if you were hoping Harry and Lloyd would meet Ace, I regret to inform you it never happened. Dumb and Dumber probably wouldn’t have survived long enough to pull off that trick any way, since only 13 episodes were produced. Once ABC had seen enough, Cartoon Network was willing to take the re-runs, but not commission more episodes, so it’s safe to say this one was a flop.
The cartoon basically picks-up where the movie left off. Harry (Bill Fagerbakke) and Lloyd (Matt Frewer) are back home after their adventures in Aspen along with their dog-shaped van. Joining them is a new pet, a beaver they think is a cat, and each episode is split into two segments where Harry and Lloyd wind-up in some odd misadventure owing to the fact that they’re a pair of men with very limited intelligence and observational skills. As a mid-90s Hanna-Barbera production, it has a familiar art style to those who were watching the various cartoons premiering under the What a Cartoon banner. The character designs here remind me a lot of Dexter’s Laboratory, only with a touch more ugliness. Even though Harry and Lloyd had pretty similar builds in the film, for the cartoon it was decided to make Lloyd tall and lanky and Harry short and stocky. They’re both rather ugly, with Harry a walking mess and Lloyd a collection of sharp angles and teeth. While one can certainly argue this wasn’t a show that should look like The Mask or Recess, it’s still understandable to not be particularly taken with the visuals here.
The eighth episode of the series is the one to feature a Christmas plot. The first segment is dedicated to the holiday via “Santa Klutz.” The episode begins with Harry and Lloyd out and about with Kitty in their van. They’re both confused to see Kitty cutting down a Christmas tree and slapping it on top of their van, even though they refer to it as a “Christmas tree” and not as an evergreen or pine tree. Harry panics and wonders if Christmas is in December again, and quickly confirms that they’re only three days away from Christmas! Both men need to get a present for the other, but both are also faced with the problem of not having any money to get that present. Neither wants to admit this fact to the other, so Lloyd casually suggests they head to The Big City and look for a part-time job just because.
The two arrive at Big Department Store and head in seeking employment. Along the way, Lloyd fantasizes about buying Harry a space shuttle for Christmas, proving he has no idea how much a part-time job around the holidays pays, or that he has no concept of how much a space shuttle would cost, or maybe both? Lloyd ends up with a 2 dollar-an-hour job handing out perfume samples, while Harry stumbles upon the store’s Santa who is fed up with the job. He hands over his costume to Harry and he immediately gets sent into the fray.
Harry is seated in front of an impossibly long line of customers barely looking the part. The costume comes without a beard, it would seem, and Harry has trouble remembering the line “Ho Ho Ho.” His first child turns out to be homicidal, while the second is a degenerate gambler. Meanwhile, Lloyd finds out women don’t like being sprayed with perfume at random. The men don’t either, and when Lloyd angers a large male customer the two grapple over a perfume bottle until the top pops off. It is apparently now a grenade, and as it bounces away Lloyd does the noble thing of falling on top of it. Though since it’s perfume, it explodes rather tamely leaving Lloyd with a pleasant taste in his mouth.
As kids cry on Harry’s lap or sneeze on him, Lloyd attempts to sell some perfume to an old woman (Ed Asner per the credits, though it sounds nothing like him). She immediately takes offense to anything he says, even though it’s all innocent. When she informs the manager (Harvey Korman) that Lloyd accused her of smelling of cheap perfume, he asks if she’d like the man fired and she does. Lloyd them imagines a Christmas in which his space shuttle gift is repossessed by an army general (Ed Asner) leaving him despondent.
Lloyd takes a walk over to the Santa area and spies Harry seated on the throne. Upon seeing his friend dressed as Santa, he comes to the totally reasonable conclusion that Harry IS Santa! And he has been this whole time! He then tries to go have a chat, but finds out from security that Santa is reserved for children. After a couple of failed attempts to sneak up, Lloyd dawns a disguise. I already said this show visually reminded me of Dexter’s Laboratory, but seeing Lloyd in his costume really drives that home as he’s basically in the same outfit as Dexter’s sister, Didi.
Upon reaching Harry Claus, Lloyd tells him he wants Santa to bring him a bunch of money so he can buy his best friend Harry a gift. Harry sees through the disguise which leads to a confrontation as Lloyd is angry with Harry for holding out on him. The two get into a fight and the store manager shows up. He reminds Lloyd that he already banned him, and fires Harry for good measure. Despondent outside the store, the two men hang their heads in shame. Only Lloyd hasn’t given-up on Harry as Santa, so Harry does the only reasonable thing he can to convince Lloyd he’s not who he thinks he is – they take a ride to the North Pole.
The two arrive at Santa’s Work Shop on Christmas Eve. The only problem is Santa isn’t there since it’s, duh, Christmas Eve! They have that confirmed to them by an elf (Scott Menville), and Lloyd sees this as proof that he’s right. The two then head back to wherever they’re from to have a little camp out. Harry is hopeful they’ll be able to catch the real deal in action. Sure enough, he does indeed show up, but Lloyd still isn’t convinced. In fact, he had the foresight to assume Harry would try something like this so he called ahead for Officer Doohickey (Harvey Korman) who shows up and arrests Santa on the spot.
Santa (Asner) is pretty surprised that anyone would mistake Harry for him, so Lloyd asks him to prove he’s really Santa. He uses some magic to get out of the police cuffs, which magically appear on Doohickey who remarks “This happens more often than you think.” Still not convinced, Santa whips out his portable PC to check his naughty list. He looks up Doohickey and finds him on the naughty list for lying to his wife about his doughnut habit. Doohickey declares he’s the real deal and scrams leaving Santa alone with the morons. He then asks the two what they want for Christmas and both gleefully whisper into one of his ears.
The next day, Kitty is opening his present from his car seat while Lloyd tells Harry he asked Santa for a gift for Harry. Harry confesses he did the same for Lloyd and the two trade identical boxes. Inside are identical gifts: best friend in the world trophies! Kitty also got a log with a plaque that reads “Best Kitty in the World.” Lloyd then declares there can be only one best friend in the world, and it’s Harry, as he tries to hand over his trophy. Harry does the same, and we zoom out on the two arguing over who is the better friend.
“Santa Klutz” is short and sweet. While I think very little of the art style, I can’t say I hate this. Maybe it was the fact that it’s only around 10 minutes, but I think I’d rather watch that again than either of the specials from the past two days. The humor is not as slapstick as I expected as it’s mostly derived from the two not correctly reading a situation or just getting into arguments stemming from the fact that they’re both stupid. Lloyd mistaking Harry as the real Santa is a bit clever as most shows aiming for such an error would have Lloyd tricked by the costume. Instead, he just thinks his best friend has been lying to him this whole time. It goes for a happy ending when I actually expected it to be a bit darker. If this were a true Farrelly brothers production, Santa probably gets victimized in some way instead of just mildly inconvenienced.
Even though I didn’t hate this, it’s not at all surprising to see a show about two grown men of limited intelligence failed as a cartoon. It’s basically 2 Stupid Dogs, but with humans instead, and how is that any more fun? I don’t think anyone walked out of a viewing of Dumb and Dumber wanting an animated series, but that didn’t stop folks from trying! If you want to check this out, it’s mostly been discarded by Hanna-Barbera. You won’t find it on Boomerang and it also isn’t on HBO Max with some of the other Cartoon Network shows. Instead, you can purchase it through Amazon and Apple if you want to stream it. Warner Bros. did make it available in a manufacture-on-demand release back in 2015 on DVD. Because of that format, it’s never really come down in price, though there also isn’t enough demand to cause it to go up. Even so, I doubt very much anyone would stumble upon this and decide they needed to spend 25 bucks on this cartoon, but in the event one person did, at least you have that option.
Can’t wait until tomorrow for more Christmas? Check out what we had to say on this day last year and beyond:
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Dec. 18 – I Am Weasel – “Happy Baboon Holidays”
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Dec. 18 – Bob’s Burgers: “Christmas in the Car”
Among the Fox programs airing on Sunday nights, Bob’s Burgers has become the one most likely to deliver a good Christmas special year in and year out, especially now that American Dad has fled to cable. It also still feels like a relatively new series to me, but it’s now in its eighth season. Bob’s…Keep reading
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