Christmas Movies

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I Rewatched The Santa Clause As A Mom & Scott Calvin Really Phoned It In As A Dad

Scott Calvin is not my Santa Claus.

When The Santa Clause was first released in 1994, the world was in the grips of Tim Allen mania. He was the guy from the sitcom Home Improvement, he was about to become Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story just one year later. He was everywhere, and suddenly he was meant to be our new Santa Claus. Now here we are, 27 years later. The world is a different place. And I can tell you as a mom who rewatched The Santa Clause all by herself instead of putting it on in the background so I could make supper, this is not my Santa Claus. And probably not yours either.

Scott Calvin Is Really Phoning It In As A Dad

Scott Calvin works for a toy company, and this is the last on-brand Santa messaging we will see from the single dad of one. The opening scene of The Santa Clause, which was written by Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti and directed by John Pasquin, sees him hanging out at the staff Christmas party, which weirdly is taking place on Christmas Eve. Despite the fact that he’s meant to spend a few hours with his young son Charlie (played by Eric Lloyd), he leaves late. He lies to his long-suffering ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) on the phone about traffic making him late, and I think we are meant to think it’s funny.

But here’s the thing, Charlie is sitting in the car with his mom and stepdad Neil (Judge Reinhold), waiting for his Christmas to start. Waiting to spend the night with a dad who truly doesn’t seem too concerned about spending time with him. The night goes downhill from there. Scott picks a fight with Laura, who is torn between pleasing him and Neil and shouldn’t really be worried about either one of them.

What Time Is All Of This Happening?

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I don’t want to make a big fuss about the timeline of Christmas Eve here, but Charlie is dropped off in the dark. Scott proceeds to cook and then burn a turkey dinner, which would take a minimum of two hours, then takes Charlie out to Denny’s for dinner. Then brings him home, puts him to bed and half reads him ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas before they have the Santa talk. Which would be around 1 a.m. by my calculations. And this is before the father and son duo begin their Santa Claus adventure.

Scott Calvin’s Night Of Redemption

After Scott knocks Santa Claus off his ladder, he sort of redeems himself for a minute. Not by becoming Santa Claus and delivering all the toys and doing comedy bits with the reindeer. It’s when he just sort of goes along with something he really doesn’t want to do (i.e. become Santa Claus forever and ever) to make his son happy.

He gets a pay off obviously. Judy the elf’s hot chocolate sounded amazing. Plus those red silk pajamas and the huge bed made just for Santa at the North Pole more than make up for Bernard’s sassy attitude.

Let’s Talk About Fat-Shaming Santa

Scott returns from the North Pole with Charlie and promptly forgets that Bernard told him he has a year to get things in order before he fully becomes Santa Claus. This means he grows a white beard that will not go away no matter how often he shaves. He also gains weight, and this is where Scott loses me again. As do all of his co-workers and (sorry Laura) even his ex-wife. The constant comments about his weight. His boss telling him to “eat a piece of fruit for God’s sake” after he eats the most delicious-looking chocolate sundae ever made. His doctor poking him in the stomach and mocking him. No thanks to fat-shaming Santa Claus or anyone.

Bad Santa = Good Dad?

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Scott’s transformation into Santa Claus is really only physical for quite some time, but Charlie’s adoration of him is immediately complete. Neil and Laura get worried, although let’s be honest it’s not really any of Neil’s business, and decide to stop Scott from seeing his son. Which is bizarre because he’s actually pretty good with Charlie at this point. Finally.

On the other hand, Scott is cranky with the children who line up to tell him what they want for Christmas and gets a bit creepy checking out women on the street. Proving it takes more than a beard to make a real Santa. Although his sweater game is pretty amazing.

Let’s Not Forget About The Christmas Kidnapping

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By the end of the movie, Scott turns into Santa Claus for real. It’s all because of Bernard, of course, who becomes an accessory to a crime when Scott fully kidnaps Charlie to bring him to the North Pole. When Laura calls the police I sort of think she’s supposed to be the bad guy but really? Her son went missing, her ex-husband says he’s Santa Claus. Who can blame her?

Yes, it’s lovely when she and Neil both start to believe in Santa Claus. Lovely that Charlie gets to see both of his parents. As a mom, I just wish I could believe in Scott Calvin just as easily. Instead all I see is a man who accidentally got hired for a job he can’t do. I think of the elves, who will have to pick up the slack. Charlie, who will have a very part-time dad for the rest of his life. And Laura, who is stuck being the tough parent for eternity. The only winner here? Scott Calvin.