Lizzie McGuire

Season 2 Episode 20

Xtreme Xmas

Aired Unknown Dec 06, 2002 on Disney Channel

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
31 votes
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!

    The next to last episode produced for the series. While filmed at such a late date, one does not see any ‘revelations’ in regards to *any* long term story threads in this one. Nor is it a growing episode. No, this is a typical ‘filler’ episode, which is not to say it is anything but good. I inevitably find that my favorite episodes of any given series are ‘filler’ episodes, AKA: *normal* episodes. There are a lot more ‘normal’ episodes in any given series than ‘growth’ or ‘story advancement’ episodes. In fact, it is the abundance of ‘normal’ episodes that make the ‘growth’ and ‘story advancement’ ones stand out. If the ‘growth’ and ‘story advancement’ episodes are the organs, then the ‘normal’ episodes are the blood.

    The first thing one notices is how one *doesn’t* notice Miranda’s being gone in this episode. In fact, her absence isn’t even explained. But then, when we are talking about one episode no explanation is needed. She could simply be out of town, or home sick. It’s interesting that they didn’t mention the reason, but ultimately it’s not necessary.

    An interesting feature here is that the subplot is not of the typical ‘Meanwhile with Matt’ variety that we usually see. The entire McGuire family (plus Gordo) is active in it. So the question comes up: Is Nobby supposed to be a delusional old guy who by some means knows Steven Tyler? Or is he actually supposed to be the chief elf of a Santa who happens to be able to turn into Steven Tyler? The episode seems to lean toward the latter. And Steven Tyler isn’t listed as ‘Himself’, but rather as ‘Santa’, so I guess that Nobby really *is* Santa’s chief elf. To quote Steven/Santa, “Righteous!”

    This episode is also chalk full of guest characters. We get to see Kate in a minor role (who looks better in this episode; no puffy face). We get to see the return of Kate’s cousin Amy, who while not really doing anything is still there. We also get a dose of Tudgeman. Plus Sam’s reoccurring softball buddies. All that *and* Steven Tyler and his kids! Then, to top it off, we get another look at Sam’s cousin ReRe and his friend Stucco! Man, talk about plenty of extra “Lizzie McGuire” members to spend the holidays with.

    It’s good to see that the fact that Gordo is Jewish is not forgotten. And he, like most other folks, gets tired of potato pancakes real fast. And it’s good to see that Gordo sees no dichotomy between Christmas and his own chosen religion.

    And while on that matter, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the series did not shy away from the religious origins/meaning of the Christmas holiday. We see Sam setting up a nativity scene, we see various Christmas decorations depicting the ‘Three Wise Men’ in the background of shots, and Matt as Linus even related the birth of Jesus Christ and evoked God. It’s good to see that Disney didn’t go the ‘PC’ route and not allude to the true meaning behind the holiday. It is what it is and shouldn’t hide that fact. Kudos.

    One also can’t turn around without being hit upside the head by a pop culture reference. Be it Christmas themed (like the entirety of Lizzie’s dream sequence) or otherwise (Tudgeman’s ‘A Death Star Christmas’). But I have to say that while the references are well meant, some come off looking bad. Though, Gordo as the I-want-to-be-a-dentist elf from the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” with the high squeaky voice *is* funny. The references are well placed, just badly acted out. It’s especially jarring with Matt’s turn as Linus from the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. His delivery of the ‘Christ Child’ speech is flat, with none of the simple profoundness of the original performance all those years ago. But the very *presence* of that bit makes its delivery marginal. It’s earnestly presented, if not well acted. And that’s all that matters. It’s not the wrapping, but the gift itself. A truly Christmas-like ideal.

    This is a good fun little episode. Lizzie must learn the ‘True Meaning of Christmas’, and in true “Lizzie McGuire” style she does. And it’s one of those rare episodes where the main plot and the subplot are intertwined. It works on all levels. We get a moral, we get a holiday special, and we get guest characters. We get it all.

    And really, who *can* cut through a fruitcake? Good bit of realism there. ;-)

    Overall, I’d say this is a great episode.