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The animated special:
- Adaptation Displacement: Of the original book. Most notably, the Grinch's green coloring was an invention of the special -- a somewhat necessary one, as Seuss' original illustrations were in black and white with red accents (at the time the book was published, color printing was still rather limited).
- Awesome Music: "The Villain Sucks" Song is a classic, and is easily the most famous part of the special.
- It Was His Sled: The Grinch doesn't steal Christmas after all.
- Memetic Mutation: "You're a mean one, Mister Grinch!"
- Nightmare Fuel: The face the Grinch made when he got his "idea" is not very child-friendly...
- And when he sneaks into the bedroom, that creepy Slasher Smile he makes at the sleeping kids before he steals their candy canes. That smile still makes me and my mom shudder to this day whenever we watch that scene. It was even edited out in broadcasts for some time.
- Remember, stealing childrens' candy canes while they're sleeping is NOT a euphemism for anything. *cough*
- The Woobie: Max gets treated pretty badly by the Grinch for much of the story, almost bordering on Kick the Dog.
- Critical Backlash: From the half of the audience who liked it. It's nowhere near among the greatest Christmas films of all time, and it may have been stretched out too long for some people, but to others, it's not a bad film adaptation of the book and mostly maintains the spirit of it. And not to mention, it's far better than the following film based on a Dr. Seuss book. It helps that Ron Howard defended the film as more variations on a theme than a straight adaptation.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Martha and (arguably) Cindy Lou do this for the Grinch, Martha since she's got a crush on him and Cindy because she wants to believe that if there's something wrong with him and he can change, then so can she since she thinks something's wrong with her.
- Jerkass Woobie: The Grinch due to his new backstory. He was a borderline sociopath as a kid until one Christmas he put all his heart into embracing the holiday and being good... and wound up traumatized and an outcast in the end. Then at the Whoobilation, he starts getting into the holiday again... until the Mayor yanks his chain and reinforces his previous cynical view of it.
- The Problem with Licensed Games: This trope is both played straight and averted by the movie's video game adaptations. The version released for PS1, PC and Dreamcast was critically thrashed for clumsy controls, weak graphics and being way too confusing and frustrating, especially for its target audience. However, the Game Boy Color version was praised as a fun little stealth-puzzle game that's like a cross between Pac-Man and Metal Gear.
- Retroactive Recognition: Cindy Lou grew up to be Jenny Humphrey.
- Squick: At one point, the Grinch gleefully tricks the sleeping mayor into rimming Max. No, really.
- Straw Man Has a Point: The Grinch's little rant after the aforementioned yanking is not entirely without merit.
- And strangely enough, Augustus' complaints about the Grinch as well. While it was his cruel gift and proposal to Martha that set off the Grinch's rampage, the Grinch still caused a major explosion in the town and decided to steal everyone's Christmas items. Those aren't the actions of someone you normally want to be part of your celebrations.
- Tear Jerker: The Grinch as a little kid, standing there on the mountain, shivering and alone, after everyone has finally, completely broken him mentally into thinking nobody in the world loves him. Just... just... "sniff".
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