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A trilogy of Disney Christmas movies starring Tim Allen.
The first film in the series, The Santa Clause (1994) is sort of a modern take on the Scrooge story but with a twist. Cynical businessman Scott Calvin is divorced and bitter, his ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) doesn't want him to have much contact with his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), and he's more concerned with the company's bottom line than with Christmas spirit. Until one Christmas night, he startles what he believes is a burglar on his roof. The man falls off and is killed. Scott, guilted into trying to be a better father, puts on the guy's red Santa coat -- and this results in him and his son being magically transported to the North Pole, where he discovers that he must now take on the role of Santa. Being a cynic, he blows this off and returns to his life. But before he knows it, the naughty and nice list arrives for him to check twice. Scott finds himself craving cocoa with marshmallows and Christmas cookies. He puts on weight at an alarming rate despite workouts. He finds his hair whitening and a beard that grows back in five seconds, rather than a shadow at five o'clock. His ex thinks he's crazy and tries to have him arrested. The elves must spring him from jail and get him back to the North Pole in time for the midnight ride.
The second is The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause (2002) in which Scott discovers that in order to keep being Santa, the fine print in the magical contract that gives him his Christmas powers requires him to find a wife. So he has only until Christmas to find a Mrs. Claus. He gets a watch with a magical indicator on it that tells him how much Christmas magic he has left; if it runs out, he can't get back to the North Pole. In order to keep the elves in the dark about the problem, a toy Santa is created to take his place. When it goes wrong, the elves try to keep a lid on it so Scott can find a lady. He finds one in Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell) , but when he confesses, she kicks him out, believing he's being a Jerkass. But of course it all ends well.
The third, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), features a North Pole visit from Carol's parents for Christmas. Mrs. Claus is about to have a baby, and Santa must contend with jealous Jack Frost. Played by Martin Short, the harbinger of winter is jealous that Santa gets all the winter attention, and decides to exploit the escape clause of the Santa Clause in order to steal the job from Scott Calvin. Scott is returned to his life before, without Carol, but is made aware of what's gone wrong and has to set it all right before Christmas Eve.
This movie series has examples of the following tropes:
- Actor Allusion: While fighting the toy Santa in mid-air, the real Santa is told "You are a sad, strange, little man."
- Adult Fear: In-universe example from the first movie. Scott and Charlie disappear with no trace around Thanksgiving to work at the North Pole with no warning to Laura or Neil but also no malice or intent to hurt them. But his mother spends an entire month worrying about him and only hears from him on the phone and while he does sound happy, the police cannot get a trace on his location and have no leads to his whereabouts.
- AI Is a Crapshoot: Even magical Christmas elves can't always get it right. In the sequel, the Elves make a toy Santa but it doesn't work out as planned. See below.
- All Myths Are True: Every Santa myth is the truth. Mother Nature is a real person. So is the Tooth Fairy. And Jack Frost. Among others.
- American Accents: Tim Allen's a Midwesterner, which means that he pronounces "roof" as "ruf".
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The Council of Legendary Figures.
- Audible Gleam: Charlie sacrifices a tooth to summon the Tooth Fairy so he can get Carol to the North Pole. When Santa's powers return, so does Charlie's tooth, with a visible sparkle that you can also hear.
- Awesome McCoolname: The Tooth Fairy wants a better name, so Scott jokes "The Molinator" (after the molars).
- Bad Santa: Scott takes the elves up on making a toy subsitute Santa so he can go search for a wife in the second film, but toy Santa takes a turn for the dictatorial.
- Balloon Belly: Comet, after eating a bunch of candy.
- Big Eater: Scott becomes this after assuming the role of Santa.
- Big No: Jack Frost in the third one.
- Brick Joke: In the beginning of the film the first Santa dies after falling off Scott's roof. Later in the film it seems Scott himself has developed a minor phobia of falling off roofs.
- On one of his first visits, Scott sarcastically tells a little girl that he is lactose intolerant after she tells him to have the milk and cookies. A year later, he visits the same girl and she has put out soy milk for him.
- California Doubling: Inverted; most of the film was shot in Ontario. In one scene, a Swiss Chalet restaurant stands in for a Denny's.
- Cassandra Truth: Scott confesses to Carol that he really is Santa Claus. She becomes angry with him, thinking he's mocking her hesitant confession about how much she loves Christmas. Charlie later attempts to vouch for his father, doing his first good deed since the previous christmas in that film, only for her to think the same for him.
- Cavalier Consumption: Scott spends a board meeting taking his time scooping a sundae dish clean.
- Christmas Elves
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bernard is absent in the third film, and it's never explained why.
- Crystal Ball: The magic snowglobe in the third film may qualify.
- Deadpan Snarker: Scott Calvin has his moments of this in the first film, especially whenever the subject of Neil is brought up. A particularly notable example of this is when he's called into the Principal's Office thanks largely to Charlie claiming Scott's Santa Claus. When Neil tries to have Scott recount what happened before bed in Christmas Eve, Scott, in an evidently sarcastic manner, rattles off a list that would not have been appropriate for someone of Charlie's age, such as that they "shared a bowl of sugar, did some shots of brown liquor, played with [Scott's] shotguns, field-dressed a cat, Looked for women" before promptly answering sincerely that he read him a book. When probed further into the subject, particularly what he read to Charlie, Scott, in an even more obviously sarcastic manner, answered flippantly "Hollywood Wives", before sincerely answering in a very irritated manner that it was The Night Before Christmas.
- Defcon Five: Okay, Elfcon, but it's used the same way in the second film.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Carol in the second movie. Turns out she was an ice queen because being warm-hearted had gotten her hurt in the past.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Charlie in the first film, but Lucy in the sequels manages to out-cute him.
- Description Cut: When Scott pulls into a Denny's
Scott: Everybody likes Denny's! It's an American institution!
- Disappeared Dad: Scott always loved Charlie, but the first movie demonstrates how much more focused with business he was. Becoming Santa obviously helps him get his priorities in order. However, in an irony, Scott still falls into this by the second movie - though now because of the workload over caring for all the children of the world.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Elves use one as a gag in the first film.
- Doom Doors
- Empty Piles of Clothing: The only thing left of Santa after he dies is his Santa Suit.
- First Father Wins: Played With; Scott is able to patch up his relationship with Charlie without Neil, the stepdad, having to be screwed over or vilified.
- Invoked in the third movie. In a world where Jack Frost became Santa, Neil tried to be a father to Charlie while Scott was busy at the office. Charlie regardless preferred the absent Scott, which put pressure on Neil's relationship with Laura.
- Fourth Date Marriage: The plot of the second movie is that Scott/Santa has to find a "Mrs. Claus" in one month or lose his powers.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Neil's influence on Charlie in the first film backfires when Charlie declares that Neil is denying his inner child.
- From the second film:
Lucy: You can't stay mad at Uncle Scott forever, Charlie. He's your daddy, and you love him.
- Gasshole: Comet: When first meeting him in the first film, after Scott Calvin warns Charlie that the Reindeer might have "Key Lyme Disease", Comet ends up breaking wind.
- Also, Scott himself ends up getting this during the firsts stages of his transformation into Santa (when he is getting up out of bed, you can distinctly hear a farting sound).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Subverted. A scene ended up deleted specifically because of complaints relating to a phone number. See Executive Meddling.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: One of the prospective women Scott dates is a Christmas freak with a sweater like this. Neil also wears these in the original, and is mocked for it by Scott.
- Who is hilariously forced to wear one himself on his first date because it's the only thing that fits him.
- Also the sweater Scott wears when he visits Neil and Laura's house after the custody hearing is far worse than anything Neil wore in the entire trilogy.
- How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: When the tooth fairy thinks he's caught, he grunts "bicuspids!"
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Santa's bag is functionally empty until one reaches a qualifying house, at which time it produces the requested gift.
- I Have Many Names: When arrested in the first movie, Scott delays his interrogation significantly by supplying a different name for Saint Nicholas each time he is asked for his name. And then Topo Gigo.
- I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: In the first movie, the trucker that sees Scott and Charlie on the sleigh is played by Jimmy Labriola, who had a recurring role as Benny on Home Improvement.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: A ladder in one scene is made by the "Rose Suchak Ladder Co." (as in, "There arose such a clatter" from Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas).
- And in the sequel: "It's the Mrs. Clause." As in the clause that there be a Mrs. Claus.
- Jeopardy Thinking Music: As Scott eats, his co-workers just watch while this plays.
- Jerkass: Neil is a watered-down one in the first movie, portraying his logical psychology as a bad thing when it means you shouldn't believe in magic and wonder.
- Klingon Promotion: Scott first got the Santa job by accidentally killing his predecessor.
- Large Ham: Martin Short as Jack Frost.
- Leaving Food for Santa: Appears, and is used to set up a Brick Joke.
- Legacy Character: The previous Santa dies or retires and the next person to don the suit gets the job. Apparently most Santas die by falling off rooftops, as that's the first thing that Bernard (correctly) assumed happened to the previous Santa when he meets Scott.
- Legal Jailbait: The trope is played with when Scott meets an elf who looks about ten, but is several hundred years old. He innocently remarks about her looks and she is the one who takes it the other way:
Scott Calvin: You know, you look pretty good for your age.
- Let There Be Snow: A variation. Their town isn't in a warm climate, but Scott uses some of his dwindling Christmas magic to make this happen while he's courting Carol.
- Lighter and Softer: The first film is rated PG and the next two are both G. Although the first was just barely a PG, this trope is still present in that both sequels have a more child-friendly tone.
- Marquee Alter Ego: Tim Allen spends a significant chunk of all three movies as Scott and reverts back to Santa in time for the Happy Ending.
- Masquerade Maintenance: Scott keeps shaving and dying his hair (he didn't want to look like Santa), only to have the beard grow back immediately, and the hair to go back to white.
- Medieval Stasis: Played straight and averted hard: many of the elves dress in very old-fashioned clothing and steam trains show up all over the place at the North Pole. Yet the elves also take full advantage of the latest technological advancements, and may even be more technologically advanced in some areas than humans.
- Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer for the first movie had Scott fooling around with a doll and chatting with some guy in front of a children's play area.
- Mrs. Claus: The second film is about Scott having to get a wife.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: The toy Santa in the second film doesn't get Bernard's name right.
- Neither did Scott in the first one.
- Never Land: The elves are ancient but look mostly like preteen children.
- Not Me This Time: Variation: When Bernard reveals that Charlie's on the naughty list, Santa/Scott initially thinks that he's referring to Charlie Sheen, and remarks that he thought he straightened out. Judy then reveals that they weren't referring to Sheen, but to his son, Charlie Calvin.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Inverted in the first film; when people refer to Neil as a doctor, Scott sarcastically replies "He's not a doctor, he's a psychiatrist."
- Obvious Pregnancy: Carol in the third movie.
- Parental Bonus: When Scott's son appears on the Naughty List.
Bernard: It's... Charlie.
- Pre Ribbon Rope Throwing One Liner: "We're your worst nightmare. Elves. With. Attitude."
- Product Placement: Used very effectively. Both Laura and Neil talk about toys they wanted as children that convinced them Santa wasn't real, both actual toys: Mystery Date was what Laura wanted, and an Oscar Meyer weenie whistle was what Neil wanted. Scott finally delivers them at the end of the first movie.
- The second film features it in the sequence where Scott delivers the school staff all their favorite toys from childhood including Toss Across and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
- Pun-Based Title: Blatantly spelled out in the first movie:
Bernard: ...So when you put on the suit, you fell subject to the Santa Clause.
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Lucy is a champion at this. She comes by it honestly, as her parents, Neil and Laura, demonstrate.
- Putting on the Reich: Robo-Santa in part 2.
- Read the Fine Print
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: The elves are very old but all look like adorable children who happen to have pointed ears.
- Running Gag: Neil's ugly sweaters in the first movie. Finally culminates when Bernard greatly admires one and wonders if it was produced by the elves.
- Santa Claus: Natch.
- Santa's Existence Clause: Scott pretends to believe in Santa for Charlie's sake, to the point of trying to explain how the reindeer fly, only to discover it is real.
- Saving Christmas: What Scott ends up doing in each movie, with the help of elves and his family.
- Secret Keeper: Charlie and his mother and her new psychologist husband, and later their daughter Lucy. They all know Scott is Santa but can't tell anyone. Charlie takes this particularly hard for a while.
- Shoot the Messenger: From a elf in the second movie after bringing Santa the naughty and nice list.
- Shout-Out: In part 2 -- a robo-Santa who views everyone as naughty and intends to punish them accordingly?
- Lucy has a Kim Possible picture in her room.
- When Scott Calvin has a smorgasboard of food before a meeting at the toy company that he works at while his coworkers wait for him to finish eating, the theme tune of Jeopardy! is playing in the background.
- Shown Their Work: When Scott and Charlie finish their first run, the sun has already begun to rise. When they land at the North Pole, it's dark. Why? It's polar night! Compare to almost every other Santa film, where the North Pole has "normal" day and night cycles.
- Significant Monogram: Scott Calvin.
- Someone Has to Do It: The world needs Santa, so there must always be one.
- Subbing for Santa: Drives the entire plot of the movie.
- Suddenly Voiced: In the first movie Comet is a normal reindeer who has the ability of flight like the rest of Santa's, in the sequels he is somehow able to speak with a voice reminiscent of Scooby Doo.
- Surprise Santa Encounter: Lucy finds out that Uncle Scott really is Santa Claus and gets in on being a Secret Keeper.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Abby in the second film, for Judy in the first film.
- Taking the Kids: Scott's wife in the first film thinks Scott is an unfit father, and that, once the Santa stuff begins happening, he's crazy.
- Theme Initials: Pointed out by Charlie with regards to Scott Calvin/Santa Claus.
- This Is Sparta: See Pre Ribbon Rope Throwing One Liner.
- Time Travel: Jack Frost uses this to go back to the first film's events and get the coat from the previous Santa before Scott can. He then returns to the present and turns Christmas into a commercialized parody of itself.
- Title Drop: See the quote at Pun-Based Title.
- Took a Level In Badass: Charlie in the second film; puberty can do wonders for a guy.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Subverted. Charlie's actually as normal as any other kid and if anything is probably a genuinely good kid, though the trope was nevertheless invoked by Scott as one of his usual sarcastic quips towards Neil when seeing the principal.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Toy Santa in the second film becomes a Literal Genie dictatorial monster who nearly ruins Christmas when he decides no children are good enough to get presents so they should all get coal. Jack Frost steals the Santa position via Time Travel in the third film.
- Wedding Day: Albeit rushed. It was done at 11:50 on Christmas Eve, on account of the...
- Wedding Deadline: Santa has to be officially married before Christmas Eve turns Christmas Day at midnight or he'll lose his powers and there will be no Santa.
- Fridge Logic: Very surprising, considering the efforts the elves make to to ensure that there is always a Santa.
- Wonderful Life: In the third film, Scott realizes that without his becoming Santa, his entire family ends up a bunch of greedy cynics.
- Written in Infirmity: After horrific skin problems from the prostheses he wore in the first movie, Tim Allen had "desantification" added to the sequel so he could limit his time in the Santa makeup. However, the later addition of a robot Santa meant he had to be in costume even longer than the first movie.
- Wrote the Book: The third movie has:
Lucy: Okay, okay, chill!