I'll admit, the first time I saw 'A Christmas Cruella' was not on Toon Disney, but my Amazon-purchased '101 Dalmatians Christmas' tape. It offers a creative satire on Charles Dickens' classic 'A Christmas Carol' and I've made it a personal tradition of mine to start watching it sometime before Christmas in December.
'A Christmas Cruella'--Cruella is being a royal pain to her employees on Christmas Eve, and Anita only wants to spend a nice Christmas at home with her family. Once Roger stands up to her, Cruella fires Anita. After taking a blow to the head, Cruella starts taking a look at her Christmas Past, Present and Future, courtesy of Cadpig, Rolly and Spot.
I have been familiar with the story of 'A Christmas Carol' since I was in grade school. Many forms of media cropped up to satirize it, including The Muppets, The Flintstones, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Mickey's Christmas Carol, and so forth. They vary in terms of quality, but 'A Christmas Cruella' is something important in my upcoming Christmas, and it's not simple blind fanboyism. In a way, I may prefer this holiday episode to some of the others due to the fact I really like the writing in this episode.
Cruella is cast in the Ebenezer Scrooge role, who, in this episode, we learn that she had been wanting her parents to be with her for Christmas, while pining for a puppy that she never got. This gives Cruella a little background, indicating that she wasn't born evil. This makes her more believeable a character, because no one is evil for the sake of being evil.
As the Main Pups go, Cadpig is cute as a button (like always) and in my opinion, she got the best bit part as Cruella's Ghost of Christmas Past. Rolly, as usual, got the least interesting part as the Ghost of Christmas Present, but it was helped by establishing the miserable Christmas the Dearlys were having (No thanks to Cruella firing Anita on Christmas Eve). Tripod, Wizzer and Two-Tone established that their Christmas was a bust though the presents that no one would be able to keep. Spot was a little better as the Ghost of Christmas Future, and got one terrific line.
One immediate thing I did not like was, while Cadpig, Rolly and Spot all got a major speaking part in this episode, Lucky took the role of Tiny Tim and...he said nothing. Beyond a grunt, he had no lines at all in this episode. Just like his character in the original animated movie...little characterization. That's the only thing that made me dock this episode's score by a few points.
Beyond that, 'A Christmas Cruella' is a wonderful holiday themed episode of the series that would make anyone's Christmas. The writing made it quite humorous and heartwarming at the same time. Watching it before Christmas morning has been a personal tradition of mine since I first got my tape.
"Don't make me use special effects."
--Cadpig toying with Cruella's imagination...yipes, 'A Christmas Cruella'