Remember 2012? I almost do. It was the year of the London Olympics, Facebook’s IPO, Gangnam style, Obama Part 2, and most importantly, the year the world met a sour-faced little Siamese Snowshoe cat named Tardar Sauce. The internet knows her, affectionately, as Grumpy Cat. The meme exploded during April of 2012, and it wasn’t long before the internet, merchandisers and Grumpy Cat’s family figured out what a cash cow the cat could be. Following in the footsteps of her spirit guide, Garfield, Grumpy Cat’s face has been plastered onto calendars, mugs, shirts, and alarmingly, a brand of cappuccino (I wish I was kidding).
Even two years later, (a virtual eternity in internet-time, which is measured in nyan-cats), Grumpy Cat’s fan base is alive and strong. The meme is still incredibly popular and the merchandise is still selling. Although it may not seem like the most natural step at first brush, Grumpy Cat will now be made into a film, albeit a made-for-TV one. Strange yes, but the first Garfield movie grossed $200 million worldwide, so technically this movie makes a lot of financial sense.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever will debut on the Lifetime Network on November 29th. Aubrey Plaza will be voicing the ill-tempered anti-hero, which potentially just gave the oddball cat men of the internet semi-hard-ons. You’re welcome? It’s a smart casting move, choosing an actress known for her dour persona as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, as well as her cultish internet following, a bit similar to Grumpy Cat’s own fans.
So in a sense, I get it. America really loves a captious feline, and ostensibly the movie doesn’t have to be pop culture garbage. But I think it probably will be.
My first issue is with the premise. Why, oh why, does it have to be a Christmas movie?? I know I’m Grinch-ing a Grinch right now, but it makes no sense. Christmas movies HAVE to end well, especially the made for TV ones. Especially the made for TV ones that air on Lifetime. There’s an adorable tweenage girl in the promo pictures. There’s mention of an daring rescue in the teaser. There will be hijinks and shenanigans galore. There will be merriment for Christ’s sake.
Does anyone want to see Grumpy Cat being less cranky? NO! That’s the point! That’s why the meme is funny! The cat is always in a bad mood! It doesn’t have a heart to be warmed! If you want to see something cheering, then go look at the punny Husky Puppy. And if they are trying to remake The Grinch, that’s a plainly stupid move. The animated TV special of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, voiced by Boris Karloff, will never, ever be improved upon.
My second issue is with the timeliness. As I mentioned earlier, 2012 was a lot of nyan-cats ago. Doge didn’t even exist in the collective internet consciousness yet. We had never seen a twerk fail. So much has changed. Grumpy Cat has a solid fan base, but she’s still old news and frankly the schtick is wearing thin. Why make this movie now? Is the Grumpuccino doing that poorly? Is Lifetime that desperate to connect with the selfie generation? (They just remade Flowers in the Attic with Heather Graham and Keirnan Shipka so…ya I have no idea what’s happening over there).
I have a lot of questions for the creators of Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, and they aren’t the good kind. There’s so much I don’t understand about the internet, but the desire to take an entity that is so wholly particular to it and try to attach it to the old media is something that completely confounds me.
(For extra fun- see how many synonyms I used for grumpy in this article! Answer to be posted never.)