When Richard runs over a hobo, the family – sans Nicole – becomes convinced that he is actually Santa Claus and try to do whatever they can to get back in his good graces and save the holiday.
This marks the second holiday special for The Amazing World Of Gumball, with “Halloween” being the other. Unfortunately, both episodes were at standard length despite being specials, which I felt limited their scope. “Halloween” managed to handle that reasonably well, but I can’t help but feel that “Christmas” could have been a whole lot better if it had more time to work with. It started out well enough, as Richard runs over a hobo and becomes convinced, along with the kids, that the hobo is actually Santa Claus. But once the hobo regains his memory and reveals that he actually is Santa Claus, things just felt rushed. It was as if there should have been a second act that just wasn’t there. Anyway, Gumball and Richard’s antics on his sleigh were visually impressive, and certainly kept me interested, but it also didn’t help that it started feeling like so many other Christmas specials, seeping in saccharine goodness and even complete with Santa Claus delivering an overdue present to somebody who had lost faith in him.
I understand that the crew put a lot of effort into this thing, and their effort is evident. Brian Blessed, who was brought on board as a guest star in this episode, did a great job and was a lot of fun as the hobo, at least before he turned into Santa Claus. I also liked the overdramatic montage in the middle of the episode. When Nicole told her children how she came to learn that Santa Claus wasn’t real – which turned out to be an error on her part – the kids spiraled into depression and began to ruin the holiday for everybody. Ben Locket did a great job with the song that was playing during those scenes. I just feel that more could have been done to make this episode truly stand out, and in season three I hope that any specials will actually be treated as such and be given a full half-hour so that they can make the most of their plots. If Adventure Time and Regular Show can have half-hour Christmas specials, then why not Gumball?