About Christmas TV History

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Rugrats Kwanzaa (2001)

I enjoy honoring Black History Month (BHM) on my blog because there are so many excellent Christmas episodes, specials and TV movies with exceptional African-American cast members.  There are also many outstanding or touching Christmas TV story lines aimed at black audiences.  In the upcoming month, I'll highlight a few of my favorites.  If you have a particular episode, special or TV movie that you'd like me to discuss here in Black History Month, please comment below and ask about it.  I'll see what I can do

Though the bulk of my writing concerns itself with Christmas-themed entertainments, I have also researched Kwanzaa programs as well.  As I state in the introduction to my encyclopedia, Tis the Season TV which includes Kwanzaa entertainments in its listings, I have chosen to add Kwanzaa entertainments because the cultural holiday, which is celebrated December 26-31 each year, centers on the many of the same themes as Christmas.  Ultimately, Kwanzaa, like Christmas, is about families coming together to celebrate their traditions.  Both holidays reflected in our television entertainments are broadcast in December each year.

The long-running Nickelodeon animated children's program Rugrats is known for it's special holiday programming.  In addition to this Kwanzaa installment, they have also generated several Christmas episodes as well as Chanukah, Easter, Passover, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and more.  There are even two feature-length movies that include the Rugrats babies and two spin-off animated series.

Susie Carmichael with her rugrat friends
In A Rugrats Kwanzaa, the story centers on Susie Carmichael and her family celebrating the cultural holiday.  Susie's  Aunt T has come for a visit and wants to share Kwanzaa with the rest of the Carmichaels.  Because of this special occassion, Susie invites her baby friends over to learn about Kwanzaa with her. 

"I'm no good at being great" cries Susie
Susie misunderstands the purpose of the celebration, fearing she’s not good enough to participate.  As the kids listen to Aunt T’s stories about famous African-Americans and Susie's family members, it becomes clear that this celebration is about honoring the greatness in us all. 

Aunt T (voiced by Irma P. Hall) comes to visit for the holidays and shares her tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa
Not only is this Rugrats episode entertaining but it is informative about the meaning of Kwanzaa as well.  One of my favorite things about this is the exciting voice cast of Susie's family members--characters which we don't see a whole lot of in the regular series.

In the 1980s, Cree Summer played Freddie on A Different World
 Susie is voiced by Cree Summer, an actress who some of you may remember from the 1980s Cosby Show spin-off A Different World.  More recently she has been working as a very successful voice actor for animated series.

The character of Aunt T is voiced by Irma P. Hall, an actress who received great acclaim for her role in the Coen Brothers 2004 remake The Ladykillers.

This Kwanzaa episode is easily available for viewing on the Rugrats: Turkey and Mistletoe DVD.  It is one of the bonus episodes contained on the disc.  I found several copies of this at my local library.  It is also on the Rugrats: Holiday Celebration DVD which is available at Netflix. 

Which is your favorite Rugrat?  I can't help it, I like Chuckie.  Which is your favorite Rugrats holiday episode?

1 comment:

  1. Tommy! But Susie was my 2nd fave - she was a great foil to that mean cousin of Tommy's!