Intergalactic Thanksgiving or Please Don’t Eat the Planet (1979)

Cosmic farmers invade a planet inhabited by a civilization that prizes clowning around above all else! What sort of war of the worlds will occur when the humorless Spademinders spend all their waking hours planting crops while King Goochi desperately clings to power trying (and failing miserably) to freshen up his stand up act?

King Goochi though has more to worry about than bombing with his subjects. He rapidly realizes he faces the possibility of being overthrown because his fellow aliens have found someone funnier than him – the Spademinders! Presumably Goochi’s subjects have an appreciation for the bizarre deadpan performance art humor the Spaderminders are practicing when they are tilling the soil and seeding it because they can’t stop laughing at them!

Impeachment hearings at the Improv isn’t King Goochi’s only problem though. His whole freaking planet is about ready to fall apart. Perhaps explaining why the concept of farming is so hilarious to the aliens, they simply get all their food from mining the planet. But they’ve done it for so long, the planet is unstable and on the verge of collapse. Triple worse for the Gooch is that his son (and the Spademinder’s daughter and dog) fall into a hole in the planet’s crust! Who’s laughing now, chuckles?

Trying to understand what the point of all of this was made me feel like I was watching a holiday special from another galaxy. I suppose in its broadest sense, it was a sci-fi version of the first Thanksgiving since it concluded with everyone eating all the stuff the Spademinder’s grew, the roles of the natives and newcomers reversed. But there was no mention of Thanksgiving or even being thankful for anything. What was I supposed to get out of any of this? Don’t destroy your planet by eating it? And if I do, hope that people fall out of the sky to grow gargantuan carrots and beets?

Bonus pain is inflicted by a couple of songs that sorely test that theory about whether anyone can hear you scream in space. There’s also a tiny subplot about the kids becoming friends and the prince longing for something else than just following his father’s footsteps. (Really? Being a king as painfully unfunny as this show whose policies pretty much trashed your planet isn’t an attractive career path?)

Canadian animation studio Nelvana must have seen Star Wars too many times when it came out because during this time the company produced a trio of science fiction flavored animated specials which also included A Cosmic Christmas and Runaway Robots! Romie-O and Julie-8. I remember accidentally watching Romie-O and Julie-8 as a child when it came out and wondering what the hell it was, instinctively knowing I wasn’t seeing the usual Hanna-Barbara, Rankin-Bass or Peanuts specials and feeling cheated that the TV channel was wasting a special on these dopey robot lovers.

Intergalactic Thanksgiving is far worse than those Shakespeare cyborgs with its combination of a story that’s excruciatingly nonsensical and its agonizingly laborious attempts at humor. It’s heavy-handed ecological message about not ruining your planet doesn’t really fit into it’s Thanksgiving theme.  Besides the aliens had no reason to know the damage they were doing and then didn’t even really do anything to fix the problem, simply eating other food someone else grew instead.  It all felt like a bait and switch for those of us coming for some Mayflower-inspired mayhem.

It did make me realize how much I had to be thankful for though. Like how blessed I was to have made it 49 years before watching it.

© 2019 MonsterHunter

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