Ho ho howdy folkses! Welcome to the Twelfth Day of our second annual The Twelve Days of Shitmas celebration. This is it, people! We finally made it! I'd like to think our previous offering made you stand proudly erect and gave you all a leg up over the hump to help you thrust firmly into the dark, dank hole that is today's final Shitmas treat. We won't be having any of that sweet, nostalgic birth-of-Christ religious stuff here, but there sure are a lot of spandex tights, leather harnesses and medieval d-cup fairies, shirtless muscle-bros and even an angry penis dragon, because you can never have too much of too many good things.

Every day is Shitmas if you take enough laxatives.

We've posted a brand new review of a Christmas Special every other day since December third, culminating in what we consider the worst of the bunch on this peaceful Christmas Morn! "Worst" is always subjective, of course, so let's just say I chose to finish out this year's Shitmas with a bang...which may or may not be another clumsy and transparent attempt at a double entendre.

I don't generally believe there's such a thing as a "Gay Agenda" beyond LGBTQ folks wanting the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else and then to just be left the fuck alone, but today's final Shitmas special kinda makes me wonder. The series from which this came has been called the most subversively homoerotic show ever to appear on television, and surprisingly it's also a cartoon that was explicitly meant for children. As I discussed in last year's Day Eleven review of The Glo-Friends Save Christmas (1985), the 1980's were lousy with cheaply produced animated series that were little more than advertisements for toys, but He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-85) was the very first series specifically developed to promote a toy line that already existed.

In 1976 Mattel, Inc. had passed on the opportunity to become the exclusive manufacturer of tie-in toys based on an upcoming film called Star Wars (1977), a decision which conservative estimates show was...well I don't have the exact numbers handy, but it was a legendary fuck-up of biblical proportions. In early 1982, with The Empire Strikes Back (1980) still block-busting box office records all over the world, and Return of the Jedi (1983) soon to be released, desperate Mattel executives needed to find something, anything to break them into the booming action figure market in as big a way as possible. Enter He-Man.

Really, do it. He's totally into it.

Now I'm not gay (No, really. I'm not. Stop asking me!), but I am that one ally who all my gay male friends really wish was...and who can blame them? I'm cute as a button, what with my sparkling eyes, svelte figure and sleek, muscular, of course, dat ass. Yeah, I got buns, hun. Sure they're kinda small, but they're firm and perky like a couple of two day old King's Hawaiian rolls.

Just pop 'em in the microwave for a few seconds and they'll soften right up. It works for the rolls, too.

Not being of the right persuasion, and being only eleven when the toys were released and twelve when the series premiered, all I saw in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a corny, insubstantial adventure show I could waste a half-hour of my day on when I got home from school. Watching it today...yeah, it's like Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove adopted Rehoboth Beach and started a commune on Castro Street in San Francisco.

Let's examine the evidence, shall we? Prince Adam is a muscular pretty-boy with a Prince Valiant haircut and a fondness for lavender tights, fuzzy Ugg boots and pink tunics who lounges around his father's castle eating grapes and generally being "delicate." He dotes on his timid pet cat, has an older mentor with a glans-shaped helmet and a wicked 70's porn stache named Man-at-Arms, a pal named Ram Man who's entire body is shaped like a butt-plug and another friend named Fisto...whose name is fucking Fisto.

Sounds like something I would write but I didn't have to.

In Adam's own words "fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword." Mmm-hmm...and those powers filled him up with a new-found energy and vitality that also spontaneously transformed his clothing into bondage fetish gear.

Perfectly innocent man stuff.

Want more? He-Man's best friend is his twin sister Adora, a tall, blonde, Amazonian fashion plate who also has a secret identity as She-Ra. She's a busty lipstick lesbian who rides a flying unicorn with rainbow wings and whose friends are all pixie-voiced faeries. She and her brother are the only ones who share the secret of their true identities--because they're both in the closet and have no one else they feel safe coming out to.

Except maybe Man-at-Arms. He's very tender and understanding.

When Mattel approached Filmation Studios to make an animated series based on the toys one of the things the studio insisted on was complete creative control, and in fact the comic books that accompanied some of the toy releases reveal a much darker fantasy tone than the series took. Lou Sheimer, who produced the He Man and the Masters of the Universe series (and last year's Day Five offering Fat Albert's Christmas Special) revealed in an interview shortly before his death that many of the animators and other members of the creative team behind the program were in fact gay, and he believes that they may well have had a sort of unspoken "agenda" in steering the program towards the light in which it is most commonly viewed today.

The issue of whether He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special is sly, homocentric propaganda or just a sloppy, slap-dash consumerist cash-grab is up to the individual churchgoer to decide, but it is undeniably awful stuff, with its uncomfortable mash-up of some of the laziest, most derivative sci-fi and fantasy tropes imaginable with only the barest, most superficial trappings of a sacred holiday that has absolutely no justifiable place in the universe in which it takes place. Still, it sold a lot of fucking toys, which is exactly what it was designed to do.

I would caution that if you're easily offended or have delicate sensibilities, well you probably shouldn't read anything I've ever written for this site anyway, but this article in particular features some suggestive language, juvenile humor and a few shocking images you will never be able to un-see. The staff, management and interns of Million Monkey Theater, its non-existent parent company and completly fictional subsidiaries assume neither responsibility nor liability for any injury to your diaphanous, frangible fee-fees.

Y'all been warned. Don't make me make you pick your own switch.

The first indication that this special is going to be every bit as lazy and perfunctory as we've come to expect from this series is the title. Zero effort was made and zero fucks were given coming up with it, and just about anything else would have shown at least a thimbleful of initiative and care. How about Skeletor's Christmas Miracle after the primary villain of the piece, or maybe Christmas on Eternia for the planet on which it takes place? Or my personal pick He-Man and She-Ra: Homo for the Holidays?

So we begin with the great hall of the King and Queen of Eternia being decorated for the birthday celebration of twins Adam and Adora, secretly He-Man and She-Ra whenever they whip out their mighty swords, which is set to take place the following day. Adora's lady faerie friends and members of the royal entourage are there helping to decorate, including Fisto and a metal elephant head-wearing fireman dude named "Snout Spout," all dressed exactly as they normally dress in the show. Man-at-Arms, for example, is never once seen out of his dick-hat and armor in any of the program's 130 episodes, even when he's having a picnic, painting a house or tag-teaming a barely-legal peasant with Ram-Man in the royal guards' locker room.

Snout Spout and his plus one, Dong Face McDonkey Dong.

We learn from the Twins' mother that this is the first time they've been able to celebrate their birthday together, which is a reference to how long-lost sister Adora/She-Ra was introduced into the show's lore so she could have her own spin-off cartoon and sell some demographically-targetted Masters of the Universe toys to girls. The magical lesbian Faeries all have names like "Perfuma," "Flutterina" and "Peek-a-Blue," which other characters announce just about every time they address them, and I can't help but notice that almost all of the characters have names based on their plot functions or personal attributes. It's nominative determinism run amok.

Here's Hearty O'Thongbottom.

King Dad is impressed with the decorations, and Queen Mom says it reminds her of the Christmas preparations that would be going on back on her home planet of Earth. I honestly don't remember if He-Man's mom being from Earth was one of the show's established tropes before it was required to drive the plot of this special, and I'm not going to bother looking it up, but her comment inspires King Dad to ask "Christmas? What's that? An Earth holiday?" and Queen Mom says "a very special Earth holiday."

"Speaking of 'special' I caught Adam watching Todrick Hall on YouTube again."

She wonders aloud where Adam and Man-at Arms might be, and we cut to the show's resident wizard, buffoon and possible exiled Jawa Orko, whose clumsiness and ineptitude will set our pseudo-festive plot in motion. Even as a kid I could never understand why they kept this half-pint moron around. He's nosy and irritating, and his propensity for mis-casting spells and causing accidents repeatedly puts He-Man and company in mortal danger throughout the series' run. He wasn't part of the original toy line but was concocted by Filmation as "comic relief" and added to the line after the series became popular enough to warrant the further investment.

Orko couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel.

We pan away from the hapless wizard to Adam and Man-at-Arms gazing up at a huge phallic rocket ship on a launch platform some hundred yards away. Adam asks if they shouldn't be back at the castle helping with the decorations, but his daddy bear Man-at-Arms, who is clearly the dom in their relationship, says they can go back as soon as they're done work on the rocket. He refers to it as a "Sky-Spy" that will help them observe every move their mortal enemy Skeletor makes.

As they head back to the control room for a quick rubdown and a protein shake, Orko floats over to the rocket to have a closer look. He pokes around the outside looking for a point of egress so he can stick his nose, if he has one, in where it doesn't belong. Eventually he discovers a hatch and heads inside the rocket, dropping the big, useless spell book he always totes around Eternia, which lands down at the base of the launch pad. He floats up to the control room and grabs the steering mechanism, pretending he's some kind of big-time fancy astronaut/race car driver/complete fucking prat. He is actually one of those things.

Adam and Man-at-Arms, meanwhile are in their control room, standing in front of a giant screen and making final checks for the test flight, when Orko pulls the wrong lever and accidentally starts the engines. Worse yet, he pulls the knob so hard it comes off in his hand, which is something that happens quite a lot in He-Man's world if you know what I mean. Adam and Man-at-Arms watch helplessly as their precious rocket takes off and flies away.

"That thing sure has a lot of thrust!"

"Thanks, Adam. So does the rocket."

So the Sky-Spy goes flying off into the air and uber-villain Skeletor, with his apple-dumpling gang of lickspittle minions, spot it from their own vessel and fly in to take a closer look. Skeletor is a big, buff, blue-clad beefcake, with a grimacing yellow skull for a face. His voice is mincing and adenoidal, and he tends to fly off the handle like a temperamental prima donna at the slightest provocation. Some commentators of the series have suggested that his paradoxical features represent AIDS patients of the time, who were given massive doses of steroids that buffed-up their bodies even as their facial features became gaunt and wasted.

"Never bother me while I'm listening to 'Bad Romance!' Never, do you hear!"

Skeletor's pilot is a double-headed goon named "Two-Bad," who's basically there as the villains' own version of Orko's not-even-remotely-amusing comic relief. The two heads constantly bicker and argue with each other and can never seem to coordinate their respective halves of the body, leading to all kinds of epic fails and misadventures. Good sidekicks must be really hard to find on Eternia.

In the control room Adora has shown up now looking for Adam and asks just what in tarnation is going on. Man-at Arms pulls up his codpiece and explains about the Sky-Spy and Adam gets up off his knees to go become He-Man. He unsheathes his mighty sword, holds it aloft and says the magic words "By the power of Greyskull!" and the mystical lightning comes down to transform him into the leather-clad muscle hunk that awoke the sleeping loins of ten thousand pubescent young men in the early mid-80's. This is the very same transformation we see in every episode, and every single time the newly-minted He-Man in his little leather harness holds his sword in front of him with both hands and shouts "I have the power!"

Stop that now...lots of straight men love leather harness-wear.

As He-Man goes off to do big strong manly things Adora says to herself "I have a feeling my brother may need some help!" I have a feeling she's right.

High up in the Eternian clouds Skeletor's ship catches up to the Sky-Spy and Two-Bad tries to grab it with a couple of big lobster claw pincers sticking out of the front of their craft. He man zips up on his little Ski-Doo-looking air sled, hops onto the side of the ship and uses his well-oiled muscle power to bend the pincers back. He quips "You know what? These claws need a manicure!" then whips out his sword again to cut them off.

"See How firmly he grasps hold of our shafts!"

At Skeletor's command a bunch of little metal tentacles shoot out from a hole in the side of the ship and bind He-Man helplessly in heavy bondage, but just at that moment She-Ra appears on her flying rainbow unicorn to release him.

The safe word for today is "trouser-trumpet."

The two siblings team up to disable Skeletor's ship, not enough to make it crash, mind you, because slaying one's enemies outright is apparently considered bad form in the Masters' Universe. They do just enough damage that the evil crew can no longer engage in the battle.

Meanwhile Orko decides maybe he should cast a spell to get himself out of the pickle he's in, and predictably it goes horribly wrong. Instead of transporting the Sky-Spy back to the launch pad it sends it out of the atmosphere towards interstellar space, far beyond the reach of even the two super-siblings. She-Ra and He-Man hop back onto their respective modes of transport and watch the ship first speed up then vanish in front of them in a flash of light, having entered the Masters of the Universe version of either warp-speed or hyperspace.

Skeletor, meanwhile is whining at his crew to go after them, but another of his goons says the controls are damaged and the auto-pilot is taking them back to their lair. Skeletor tosses the guy a parachute, then defenestrates the entire crew from the vessel, leaving them to float back to terra-firma in a hand-to-foot minion-chain and presumably hitch a ride back home with one of the many traveling drag troupes that criss-cross the highways and byways of Eternia.

When the Sky-Spy starts slowing down, Orko thinks he's finally back home, but then he looks out the window and sees an unfamiliar planet before him. He crash lands in a wintry mountain pass somewhere on Earth, and pops out of the cockpit and into the snow. Suddenly he hears a far-off rumbling and a pre-pubescent voice calling for help.

In the distance he sees two kids, an older boy and a younger girl, hauling a pine tree on a sled and about to be buried by an avalanche that he probably caused. He quick summons up a spell to levitate them, sled and all to safety, and miraculously it actually works.

We all float here.

These are Miguel and Alisha, who went out too far into the wilderness looking for a Christmas tree and got lost trying to find their way back home. I'm not entirely sure how they could lose their own tracks in otherwise remote and untrodden snow, but lost they are, and Orko takes them back to the Sky-Spy so they can get warm and hopefully figure out a way to get all of them home.

Back on Eternia Man-at-Arms is just about to activate a tracking device to see if he can locate the Sky-Spy when Adora and Queen Mom come in with Teela, the female captain of the guard at the castle who wears a little tiara and golden boob-armor, and who has definitely been "experimenting" with Adora since she's been back in the bosom of the royal family.

Queen Mom went to Wellesley. She gets it.

It seems they've found the spell book Orko dropped on the launch pad, which must be made of some kind of hybrid super-alloy because it's not even singed from the blast of the Sky-Spy's rocket engines. So now that they know Orko is in the Sky-Spy they figure good riddance. It's more than worth the loss of the ship just to be rid of him.

Actually, no...they redouble their efforts to locate the thing and bring him home, and eventually Man-at-Arms pulls up coordinates that Queen Mom recognizes as being on Earth.

Man-at-Arms is usually referred to as "Duncan," by the royal family. Fans have conjectured that he is named for Duncan Idaho, the House Atriedes military advisor from Frank Herbert's Dune.

Man-at-Arms suggests that his transport beam might be able to bring Orko and the ship back all in one piece, except he needs a special "water crystal" to power it and there are none in Eternia. Adora says they probably have them back on Etheria where she and her hot faerie entourage flew in from for the big birthday bash, and Adam asks if maybe She-Ra can contact Mermista, a mermaid friend back home, who would definitely know where the elusive crystal would be hidden, assuming it exists at all.

Back on Earth Orko has just finished learning everything he needs to know about the Christmas Nativity from the two wayward children. He thinks that's a pretty cool story and all, but didn't somebody mention something earlier about Christmas presents? Sure they did! And now Alisha says she'll tell him all about Santa Claus.

Now we see Adora and Adam saying goodbye to each other out in the courtyard of the castle and Adora does her own unsheathing and transformation sequence now where she says "For the Honor of Greyskull" instead of "By the power of Greyskull," and her magic energy is rainbow-colored because she has a greater respect than her brother for the full, fluid spectrum of sexuality that exists within the LGBTQ community.

She gets a way cooler transformation sequence, too.

So She-Ra hops on the back of her flying unicorn Swift Wind, with whom she has a very close relationship if you know what I mean (I'm not proud, but yes, I went there), and she goes on a side quest for the rare and special secret water crystal that's needed to advance the plot.

We cut to somewhere in her homeland of Etheria where she's asking Mermista the Mermaid about it at the edge of a peaceful stream. Mermista is played with an absolutely abominable French accent, because the producers were betting that it would be just annoying enough to distract from the fact that she's voiced by the same actress as She-Ra. They were wrong.

"We Franch are trays zexually leeberaded, no?"

As it happens Mermista does actually know where She-Ra can get her strong yet soft, supple hands on a water crystal, but she says it won't be easy. It's in a deep pool by some old ruins, she says and it's guarded by the "Beast Monster." Yep. It's called the Beast Monster, because it was five minutes to lunchtime and the writers just couldn't be bothered.

She-Ra asks Mermista if she'd mind helping her get the crystal, promising to keep the Beast Monster busy with a game of canasta or a hula hoop or something while she dives down and gets it. Mermia says oui, she's got nozeeng batter to dieu, so She-Ra flies off and Mermista goes diving into the stream because apparently every body of water in Etheria is connected to every other body of water in Etheria by secret tunnels all the mermaids know about.

The "old ruins" turn out to be some kind of post-industrial wasteland of broken ductwork, rusting pipes and drainage culverts, and I hope She-Ra and Mermista both got their tetanus shots or this special is about to turn into a very special episode of Trapper John, M.D. (1979-86).

It's probably got cholera bacteria and some of those brain-eating amoebas as well.

She-Ra gets to the edge of the pool and says "So this is the pool of the Beast Monster! It looks like no one is home." Then the water begins to bubble and she says "Uh, oh! I guess somebody is home!"

This is how everyone talks in the He-Man universe. Characters frequently tell us what they're about to do just before they do it, then tell us what they're doing as they're doing it and sum up what they've just done as soon as they're done doing it. Everyone also likes to pause mid-action to toss off banal, groan-worthy bon-mots to the audience. Even when I was twelve I knew it was shit.

So the Beast Monster rises from the lake and flies around She-Ra, and She-Ra flies around the Beast Monster, and Mermista takes a dive into the stagnant sewer-water to look for the crystal. She-Ra manages to lead the Beast Monster into the middle of a collapsed building where it gets temporarily trapped.

Yes, Beast Monster is the long-promised Angry Penis Dragon. You're welcome.

She-Ra lands just as Mermista emerges from the pool holding the Crystal. The mermaid hands it to her friend and says "I'm always appee to alp" in a tone of longing and cautious hope that suggests she's not talking so much about finding crystals in lakes as she is about providing intimate pleasure and long-term companionship. That's not even really a joke. It's pretty obvious she has the hots for She-Ra and wants to shack-up, drink wine, watch Disney Plus and have fertility clinic babies together.

"A gerrl can dweem, no?"

Away the lovelorn Mermista swims, back to the pure waters and extensive vibrator collection of her own halcyon stream, and suddenly the earth opens up in front of She-Ra and Swift Wind's path. A bunch of metal tentacles with red lights on the ends emerge and seem to be scanning them.

A giant robot now emerges from the crack and confronts them, and She-Ra helpfully tells us "It's a robot!" Two more rise up from somewhere underground and she adds "Now we have to pass those things to get the crystal back to Man-at-Arms!"

I'm so glad she's here to explain these Byzantine plot mechanics to us.

So She-Ra and Swifty try to fly away but one of the Robots fires some kind of beam that encases them in a big clear bubble. The biggest of the three, clearly the leader, says to the other two "We must go to Monstroid central and prepare to battle!" Monstroids, see...because they're like androids, but they're like monsters, too.

Now Swifty looks up and says "They're changing into other forms!" and indeed we do see them change from robots into vehicles, and I feel like I've seen something like this's as if they're some sort of, for lack of a better term, "Transformers."

Nope. Can't place it.

As the three Monstroids, who just explicitly referred to themselves as Monstroids, depart, She-Ra didactically informs Swifty that they're called Monstroids, just in case we all missed that part. She says she's never seen them before but she's heard about them, that they're very dangerous and that she's sure we haven't seen the last of them.

Now she lifts her sword and says "Sword to flame!" and the things turns into a white-hot, sizzling light saber that cuts through the dome like blow-torch through butter.

He-Man can't do that with his sword 'cause he's got no respect for trans people.

So She-Ra and Swifty escape and we cut to Man-at-Arms' lab, control room and judgment-free gymnasium where with the water crystal now in place he hopes to transport the Sky-Spy and Orko back to Eternia. I can't even tell you how many times I've tried to type "Orko" during this review and typed "Okra" instead...and now I'm dying for a bhindi masala.

Man-at-Arms explains that he once told Orko about the transporter and made sure he understood that for it to work he would have to step into the light it generates. He switches it on saying "It's up to Orko now," which is frankly something you never want to hear in a crisis situation.

Back on Earth Miguel and Alisha are singing Jingle Bells pretty badly and Orko is bop-bop-bopping along to the funky rhythm when a bright, sparkling cloud of light appears in the hold of the Sky-Spy. The children are frightened, but Orko explains that it's just a transporter beam from Eternia, and he tries to remember what Man-at-Arms told him to do if he were ever faced with this sort of situation.

He ponders for a moment then finally remembers to float over and into the cloud, dragging the kids with him so they can then be transported back to their home and family directly from Eternia. As soon as they enter the light it expands to envelop the entire ship, and everything disappears and suddenly reappears back in Man-at-Arms' lab.

Good thing it snagged that Christmas tree, too. They'll be needing it later on.

Maybe it's because there are guests present, but instead of dressing down Orko and maybe even giving him an old-fashioned gang-spanking, they all just hug him and ask who his friends are. As he begins to explain what happened we cut to a glowing asteroid somewhere in outer space.

This is where Skeletor's boss, the evil overlord Horde Prime lives. He says he senses "a great disturbance," and somehow I feel like I've heard that phrase somewhere before, uttered perhaps by some other villain in some other, much better-respected sci-fi/fantasy franchise. Horde Prime says there is "a new spirit of goodness" on Eternia that may threaten his evil power. He sends out an order that both Skeletor, who is He-Man's chief nemesis, and some guy named Hordak, who is She-Ra's principle bete noire, should immediately report to his lair for a war conference and ritual holiday buggering.

Back in the throne room Orko and the two Earth children are brought before the King and Queen and have just recapped the events leading up to this point in our narrative.

It seems the water crystal needs a couple of days to recharge, so there's no guarantee the children will make it home for Christmas. Queen Mom decides that tomorrow's big birthday bash for the Twins should therefore be turned into a big Christmas celebration as well, so the kids will feel at home while they're waiting to return to their heartbroken parents who have probably already been informed by rescue authorities of the avalanche that fell directly where their tracks led and who have already begun making funeral arrangements. Alisha can't seem to think beyond the whole "missing Christmas" thing, however and asks "What about Santa? Will he be able to find us?"

"I want my swag, bitch!"

Adam and Adora turn to each other perplexed and Adam asks "Who's Santa?" Orko acts like he's shocked, saying "Who's Santa? You don't know who Santa is?" and Miguel and Alisha giggle at how petty and mercenary they all are and how few shits they give about their parents' devastating pain.

I'm also thinking maybe Orko should cast a spell to shut himself the fuck up for the rest of the special.

Meanwhile back on Horde Prime's asteroid Skeletor and Hordak have arrived to have their audience and get their instructions.

I think this comparison speaks for itself.

Horde Prime tells them he wants the source of the newly-arrived Christmas Spirit delivered to him so that he may corrupt and destroy it, and Skeletor and Hordak immediately fall to bickering and one-upping each other about which of them will be the one to reach the children first and curry the most favor with their vaporous and dominant master.

Oh, would you two just shut up and kiss already?

Now we cut to a snowy grove, where Perfumia and the children are discussing the finer points of the Christmas Holiday and Hearty O'Thongbottom is idly plucking at a lute. Orko is there, too as is a floating koala/owl hybrid whom my research indicates is named "Kowl." The crack and possibly crack-smoking creative team behind the Masters of the Universe franchise spent literal milliseconds coming up with that one.

After a few not-quite-as-comic-as-they'd-hoped misunderstandings about Christmas tropes and traditions Hearty shares an insouciant little song he's written for the season.

"When there's frost on the windows and balls on the tree-nuss..."

"Sing it, gurl!"

...I'll pull down your stockings and fondle your pee-nuss!"

"We feel wrong."

As Orko and Kowl float and dance, and Perfumia claps her hands and Hearty is placed on Eternia's national sex offenders watch list, Hordak's stainless steel, G-spot-finding helicopter with its 3-speed, four-pattern vibration settings appears in the sky.

$26.99 from, two DD batteries not included.

Hearty pulls out his mighty bow and arrows to try to shoot down the flying steel dildo, but before he can find release a freeze ray incapacitates him. A couple of tractor beams shine down and sweep Orko and the children up into the vessel and into Hordak's evil clutches.

Back at the castle we have a courtyard council of Adam, Adora, Man-at-Arms and the tuneful but otherwise useless Hearty O'Thongbottom, who apologizes profusely for the whole "tree-nuss/pee-nuss" debacle and promises it will never happen again. Man-at-Arms gives a knowing wink, then reports that he was able to track the dildo copter right up until it left Eternian space heading for Etheria.

Adora suggests they go see Peek-a-Blue, an Etherian faerie with a bunch of big eyes on her peacock-like wings who was helping decorate the great hall for the party earlier. Her special power is something called "Multi-Vision," which sounds like a failed mid-80's gaming console but is actually an ability to "peek in" psychically on scenes and subjects at a vast distance (like the alleged "remote viewers" of the CIA's "Stargate" program) hence her nauseatingly cutesy name.

Meanwhile the dildo copter is flying over Monstroid territory on its way back to Hordak's base, and the Head Monstroid grabs it and pulls it down to the ground.

Nice technique. He's obviously handled one of these things before.

Hordak and his minions come marching out of the dildo in a big tizzy now, incensed at this outrageous affront to their villainous sovereignty. It seems the Monstroids are also working for Horde Prime, and being bigger, stronger, better-endowed and with more endurance, they figure they're the ones who can bring his efforts to a successful climax.

Hordak's protests turn to panic when the giants produce a battery of laser cannons and begin a ten-second countdown to his doom, and his whole crew of misfits and miscreants does a Scooby-Doo-style "woo-woo-woo-woo-WOOP!" where they first run in place then cheese-it back to the dildo copter.

Once Hordak has flown away the Head Monstroid tells his posse to lock up the prisoners and await Horde Prime, whom they plan to ambush when he arrives so they may gain his evil supremacy for themselves, which brings us surprisingly close to an actual plot.

No worries, kids. They'll abandon this thread soon enough.

He-Man and She-Ra are back with Peek-a-Blue now, and the dainty fairie spreads her peacock wings to use her multi vision. One by one the little eyes light up, and she receives a vision of "The Fright Zone" on Etheria. She sees that Orko and the kids are prisoners of the Monstroids, and also states that "the little robot people have gone to rescue them...and they'll need help!"

"I spy with my little eye eye eye eye eye eye eye..."

She-Ra correctly surmises that the "little robot people" of which Peek-a-Blue speaks are her half-man, half machine Eternian friends called...well, why don't you all just try and guess what they're called. I'll wait.

Why, yes, they are called Manchines because of course the fuck they are...and if you think the name is bad just wait until you see them.

We cut back to the Monstroid City where Orko, Miguel and Alisha are stuck in a dingy cell. Orko is blaming himself for their predicament, and I'll admit maybe he's got a point there, but on the other hand these two directionally-challenged pre-teen imbeciles probably would have been a couple of Dyatlov Pass-style people-sicles by now if he hadn't run into them back on Earth.

Suddenly they hear a noise above them and see a little blue face peering at them from behind a grate. Orko floats up to talk to the thing and he says "My name is Cutter!" He explains that he's a Manchine and that the Monstroids are their enemies, so the enemy of their enemy is their friend or some such shit, and he's there to rescue them. Miguel asks how he plans to do that, and he says "They don't call me Cutter for nothing!" and cuts the bars with his little snippy mitts.

He's Clamps' third cousin twice removed.

So Cutter removes the bars and pulls the kids up through the grate, and he whistles for his cousin "Zipper," who's waiting somewhere out of sight to help them flee the city. From the name I was expecting a kind of shiny, metal, walking trouser-crotch you could open and close for easy access to the goods, but instead we get a sentient skateboard who talks in a rambling slur like Bill Cosby in an oldJell-O pudding commercial.

"Bring me a Puddin' Pop and some Rohypnal! Ah-yeaaaah!"

So now there's a little chase around the Mechanoid city, with a few close-calls and near-escapes, but eventually the giants surround them. Just as it looks like it's the junk yard for these brave little toasters and their friends He-Man arrives and orders the Monstroids to step away.

One of the Monstroids wheels over and grabs at He-Man with his own little crab claws, but our buff hero takes the stalks and twists them together into a knot, quipping "Sorry to leave you all tied up!" For some reason having its appendages thus bound causes the thing to short-circuit and fall over in a useless heap of scrap metal.

Head Monstroid sends another couple of his boys over to take care of his light work, when She-Ra suddenly swoops in and says "Sword to lasso!" causing her weapon to expand into a long, glowing cord which she uses to trip up one of the robots. Again, as soon as the thing hits the ground it begins to spark and smoke.

He-Man can't do this either, and boy, is he ever jealous.

He-Man figures he can do just as well with his brute strength as she can with her fancy lasso, so he picks up one of the Monstroids throws him, and the things is so ridiculously fragile it breaks into pieces the instant it hits the ground.

These are the lamest fucking battle robots I've ever seen.

Finally the rest of the Monstroids attack all at once and Cutter and Zipper call for back-up from the rest of the Manchines, who arrive like a bunch of misfit metal Ewoks, and basically it's the Battle of Endor all over again with the diminutive warriors taking down the Imperial Walkers, because there's nothing the makers of He-Man won't rip off if it means they wrap up for the day and get an early start on cocktail hour.

What's that thing behind Cutter supposed to be? A barber's chair?

The Monstroids are dispatched in pretty short order for being such big, strong and allegedly dangerous things. He-Man tosses one to a waiting Manchine with a hammer-top head, who bashes it instantly to bits, a couple of the other Manchines stretch a cord across an opening between two towers and trip up three of them at once who all crumple like tin-foil, and She-Ra cuts the final tank-like Monstroid cleanly in half by an arc-welding ray beam she shoots out from her sword. Need I mention He-Man can't do this either?

During the battle, such as it is, a little Manchine puppy walks over to where Orko and the kids are hiding and the dog and Alisha instantly become BFFs. Unfortunately they're not as safe as they believe, as Skeletor has snuck up on them with his own floating Ski-Doo to kidnap and bring them to Horde Prime for the promised reward.

That money's sure going to come in handy. He's still paying off the glute implants he got last spring.

Skeletor lands and fires a paralyzing beam of white, creamy light from his mighty staff, drawing the children to him as Orko watches, unable to intervene. The little dog is also swept up in the beam, and the villain and his prisoners take off on the Ski-Doo into the sky.

When Orko finally reaches his friends to tell them what happened Skeletor is already flying away. She-Ra spots him in the distance, but he uses his magic to make a spiky cage appear around Swift Wind, delaying her departure just long enough to cover his escape.

Skeletor lets out one of his triumphant laughs that pierce my sinus cavities like an ice pick, but his exultation is short-lived. Hordak appears in another of his self-branded airships to take the children for himself. He fires one ineffectual shot at Skeletor's Ski-Doo, and Skeletor fires a shot back, scoring a direct and debilitating hit.

Hordak turns directly to the camera and tells us "That skull-faced scoundrel has damaged my ship!" He further explains that he will now have to leave off the chase and return home because of said damage, but that he will disable Skeletor's vessel first so his rival will be stranded, giving him time to gather reinforcements and return...and damn, do we really need to hear every goddamn character's OCD-inflected internal deliberations all the fucking time?

"I don't always engage in gratuitous expository dialog, but...oh, wait. Yes I do."

So Hordak fires a well-placed shot that forces Skeletor and the kids down into a snow bank on the side of a mountain, and Skeletor tries to force the kids to go on ahead and march, but they're badly under-dressed and it's too cold for them to move. They beg him to be nice for once because it's Christmastime, for fuck's sake.

He, doesn't understand what that means so they explain about the love and joy and caring of the season, which would totally make Skeletor throw up in his mouth a little if his face weren't just an empty skull. Still, he realizes the kids are physically unable to travel further without warmer clothing so despite his evil instincts and joy in watching other people suffer he uses his magic staff to dress them in thick winter coats.

They look like a couple of dolma. I hope Horde Prime likes Greek food.

The kids thank him profusely for his "kindness" and of course that just makes him mad, but it also makes him feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside. He nonetheless orders them to start walking, but they protest that they can't possibly leave Relay, the little half-robot dog behind!

At first Skeletor tells them there's no way that fucking dog's coming along. They have an appointment with the most evil being in the galaxy, and although he's never explicitly discussed the subject with him, he's pretty confident Horde Prime isn't really a dog person. He forces them to start trudging away, but between the mutt's pitiful whines, and the teary, downcast faces of the children he relents, even going so far as to pick up and carry Relay himself.

The Dogchine (See what I did there? I could write for He-Man, too!) gives him kisses all over his bony face, and he pisses and moans and half-assedly complains about it as they stomp off into the snowy wastes. At one point Alisha gets tired of his punk-ass whining and asks Skeletor if he'd prefer that she held the dog, and he says, oh, no it's totally fine. It's not that he likes it or anything, of course, but they'll, uh, go faster if he carries him. Yeah that's the ticket...

Nobody's buying what you're selling, Skeletor.

Okay this really made me laugh out loud, and I've got to go off on one of my infamous tangents here to explain why this seemingly stupid detail tickled me so much.

As I've mentioned in other articles I work at a small non-profit. My boss is a legitimately tough lady, but sometimes she plays the bad-ass card just a little too hard and it backfires.

So my wife and I run a little cat rescue out of our house and my boss, who claims to be a dog person and to hate cats, had basically told me when she hired me that if I ever brought a cat into the building I was toast.

One time when she was on vacation I happened to rescue an orphan kitten out by our parking lot. I had found the mother cat dead and the kitten was in pretty bad shape, extremely anemic, underweight, and needing basically around the clock care and bottle feeding for the entire first week or so. I was therefore bringing her into the center each morning to spend the day in my Director of Development's office. She's a good friend I'd already known for about fifteen years before I started working there, and she was happy to help.

The two of us were conspiring to care for this kitten this whole week while the boss was away, supposedly until the following Monday. Well, I came in with the cat in the carrier that Friday, and who should walk out of her office but the Boss. She'd gotten home early and hadn't bother to let us know. She looked at me, looked at the carrier, looked back at me and asked in a matter-of-fact, I've caught you red-fucking-handed way "Watcha got in there?"

Ten minutes later the kitten was asleep in her lap and she wouldn't put her down for the entire day.

Also my Director of Development friend ended up adopting her.

Sadly we must leave this heartwarming, true-life tale behind and return to finish out the rest of this miserable special.

As they trudge along the kids tell Skeletor more about Christmas, and the more he hears the more he dislikes it...or so he claims. He keeps pooh-poohing everything the say but he also keeps begging for more and more details.

As they walk through a snowy pass a big, furry, abominable white beast suddenly rises up before them. "A snow beast!" Skeletor cries.

What did you think it was going to be called? Margaret?

Skeletor tells the kids to stand behind him and rears up like a protective mother, using another blast from his staff to break the permafrost beneath the monster and send it careening into a canyon below. In keeping with the show's kid-friendly, consequence-free ethos that no one may ever cause a mortal injury to any living thing, the beast simply lands on a slippery snow bank at the bottom and skitters across a sheet of ice and out of view.

The kids thank Skeletor for saving them and tell him how wonderful he is, and for just a brief shining moment he smiles in pride at having done a good turn for someone out of the long-obscured kindness of his heart.

"I feel tingly!"

Alas the moment of wonder ends, and Skeletor assures them he is neither nice nor kind, and says he's still going to deliver them to Horde Prime to be turned into soulless automatons or possibly some sort of spicy kid-bisque he can drink through a straw.

They step beyond the mountains onto an arid, stony plain, and we see Horde Prime's ship in the distance. As the children beg "Mr. Skeletor" not to turn them over to the evil overlord He-Man, She-Ra and Orko arrive.

Unfortunately Hordak and a bunch of his robot minions have arrived as well, looking to claim credit for the special delivery of the two hapless youths. Skeletor fires a beam at Hordak, but it hits his shield and bounces right back at him, knocking him to the ground unconscious.

Orko takes the Children away to what he thinks is a safe distance, and now there's a typically lopsided battle between He-Man and She-Ra and the Robots. The two super siblings make heavy use of their signature "pick them up and throw them" move, and eventually the metal menaces are all in a heap on the field of battle.

This might be a literal cluster-fuck. With He-Man you can never be quite sure.

Just when the siblings think it's over, however, another group of robots appear and surround them. Meanwhile Horde Prime's vessel has assumed the position above Orko and the kids, and a big groping claw emerges and slowly descends towards them. When I say slowly I mean s-l-o-w-l-y. As in they could walk leisurely away and easily escape its grasp, probaby stopping for a slushy and a candy bar on the way, but they all just stand there shivering and mesmerized like rabbits about to be eaten by a python.

Relay, meanwhile has stayed loyally by Skeletor's side, and he licks at his skull face until he wakes up from his stupor. When Skeletor sees what's going on his newfound mama bear instincts kick in and he fires a beam at Horde Prime's ship, destroying the claw and sending the whole hulk of it careening away to crash in the distance.

They just don't make evil overlord spaceships like they used to.

He-Man and She-Ra have meanwhile defeated the last of the robots, so they lift Horde Prime's ship in tandem and throw it back into the interstellar space from whence it came. When they get back to the children they're shocked to find them hugging Skeletor and thanking him for saving them.

Skeletor for his part is kind of befuddled by it all, unable to process what's happening to him and not quite sure how to deal with these unfamiliar, scary, yet strangely thrilling new feelings and desires. He looks longingly into He-Man's eyes, reaches out his strong, manly blue hand and...oh, sorry. I forgot for a moment this isn't supposed to be erotic fan fiction.

He-Man tells Skeletor that it must be the Christmas spirit that's got all up inside of him. He tells him not to worry, though, because Christmas comes but once a year.

Unlike He-Man, what with his compulsive masturbation and all.

Back at the castle the next day the Twins' birthday/Christmas shindig is in full swing. All of the regular characters and a bunch of one-offs from previous episodes are there, including the always-in-demand Snout Spout, who uses his extendible nasal appendage to place the star atop the Christmas tree.

In the depraved pansexual wonderland that is Eternia he's a very popular guy.

Off in an antechamber we see Adam dressed as Santa Claus giving Miguel and Alisha a parting gift of a couple of "flying belts." It turns out the water crystal has already recharged sufficiently to send them back to Earth, and Adora says that although she'd love to have them stay for the rest of the party she's sure their parents must be missing them very much.

Man-at-Arms revs up the transporter and just as he's about to send them back Alisha asks Adora to make sure relay gets home to his family with the Manchines. Man-at-Arms hits the button and the two children disappear.

"I think I hit 'disintegrate' by mistake. Oh, well. No one will ever know."

So the kids end up back home and their parents are all like "We were so worried," and the kids are like "We were on another fucking planet, bra," and the parents are like, "No way!" and the kids are like, "Yeah, way!" and Mom is like, "Should we return the insurance money?" and Dad is like, "Hell, no...I just ordered new gold clubs."

Is it me, or does Dad look familiar?

The parents tell the kids to stop making up stories and go to bed, and maybe tomorrow they can tell them where they've really been. As the Parents walk away Miguel and Alisha turn on their belts and fly past them on their way to their rooms, causing consternation and hilarity that's watched on a monitor back in Eternia by Adam, Adora and Man-at-Arms.

All that's left now is the little tag scene we get at the end of each episode where Adam/He-Man engages in a little moral chit-chat about what we've learned from today's story. Tonight apparently we've learned that Christmas is a time of peace and caring, even though most of the episode was He-Man and She-Ra beating the shit out of robots and spaceships and penis dragons while maybe probably also being gay.

The End.

This is some pretty low-tier, low-fi and low-expectation entertainment. The special was made right at the end of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe's two season run and just at the beginning of She-Ra: Princess of Power's single season, but despite the relatively short-lived nature of the original franchise, it's mantained quite a following in the intervening decades.

He-Man would spawn a poorly-received live action treatment in 1987, produced by notorious shlock-house Cannon Films and starring the affable human brick Dolph Lundgren. It was also briefly rebooted as an animated series in 1990 before being cast out into the wilderness of collective memory for the next eighteen years. An updated version of She-Ra premiered in 2018, renewing interest among older fans and attracting a new generation of viewers, and its success led to the development of a Kevin Smith-produced reimagining of the original Masters of the Universe, which is currently in production and set for release next year.

The toys, too have made a comeback, both in their original "classic" form and through an independently licensed line specifically marketed to adults and especially popular with the gay men who idolized the characters during their own adolescence.

Still, the question remains as to how much of the allegedly gay content of He-Man was intentional and how much was projected onto it by an internet culture obsessed with retroactive pop-cultural reinterpretation. For my part I don't personally believe there was a specific agenda involved in the original program, despite the homo-erotic elements being undeniably present in a willful and purposeful way. I think what we see today is the work of a group of young, bored and underpaid animators who were seeing just how much they could get away with for their own amusement, and who were probably pretty damn shocked at just how far they were able to push that envelope before anyone noticed what they'd done.

I for one heartily salute them...from inside my pants, if you know what I mean.

Yeah, I'm talking about an erection.

I think I've probably gotten maudlin enough in my other Shitmas articles this year, so I'll keep this final message short, simple and sweet: Thank you to everyone who has read our reviews, followed us on social media or attended our screenings this year. I've had the great pleasure of getting to know some of you both online and in person, and I hope to meet even more of you in the year to come. Thanks, also for sharing this end-of-2020 Shitmas journey with us. We know it's been a tough year for everyone, but there are brighter days ahead and we'll be here to share them with you.

Spread the love, people, and come back for more bad movie fun in 2021!

From all of us here at MMT we wish you a very merry Christmas, and a healthy, happy New Year.

That's all folkses!

As always, Cheers and thanks for reading!

Written by Bradley Lyndon in December, 2020.

Questions? Comments? Expressions of disgust? Why not skip the middleman and complain to me directly?

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