It’s the holidays and the Greens are ready to celebrate their Christmas traditions in a very special and beautiful episode of Big City Greens.
First and foremost, “Virtually Christmas” seems like a once-in-a-lifetime event, bringing the family back to town from the country, where the Greens currently live at this point in the series, though that confirms my belief that they will be from back in town at some point. Maybe sooner than you think.
Cricket is ready to forgo Christmas Eve traditions with his family so he can play Outpost Infinity, a highly immersive VR game, with Remy. After debating with his dad, Bill, about whether or not he should stay home on Christmas Eve, an arrangement is finally made that Cricket can go to Remy’s house for a little while while he’s back in town. time for traditions, especially the trimming of the Christmas tree, which Cricket has been doing since its very first Christmas.
When Cricket is at Remy’s, it’s time to step into the virtual world of gaming. Together they don their glasses and kick off the episode with a new twist on the theme song, but also take the episode into a fully animated world in 3D that looks straight out of a video game, and to get into some technical elements, it’s even animated using video game engines and software. The opening montage serves to show how much fun Cricket and Remy are having together, but when they take off their glasses, the blizzard has hit and Cricket is now stuck in the Remington house and can’t get home! They even show us the Remington family helicopter freezing, so Cricket doesn’t really have a viable option to get home and spend Christmas Eve with his family.
Bill, of course, isn’t reacting well to this news…but wait! Remy suggests that they can return to the virtual world and hang out together in Outpost Infinity! How? Cricket lacks the expensive VR system. Luckily, Remy got the Green family’s one for Christmas and Vasquez had previously (broke?) into their house and placed a full set under the tree. The entire Green family can now connect and be together in the video game. Outpost Infinity is a building game, and the family rebuilds Gramma’s house (remember, we’re back in town for this episode), in the game and for some reason are heavily armed with combat weapons. Strange, if this game is only for building and crafting things to play with in a virtual world.
Together, the gang duplicate Gramma’s house in the game and they can recreate the lore. While participating in the first, they can hear Remy screaming in the distance. Keep in mind that at this point he and Cricket are keeping the true nature of this game secretly for the family to celebrate Christmas Cricket style without protest. What actually happens is that a wave of monsters is approaching the game to destroy virtually everything the Greens have built and eat the human survivors. Hence the weapons, and also the box of downloadable add-ons, Mr. Extras (voiced by guest star Alfonso Ribeiro) who befriends Tilly trying to get her to improve her experience for most of the episode.
It’s during the traditional fruitcake hunt, where Bill camouflages the fruitcake, making it almost impossible to find, that Cricket realizes they’re running out of time. remy echoget the feeling and they try to speed up the traditions before the family gets upset that their Christmas is about to be ruined by a horde of monsters. So, Cricket replicates the hidden fruitcake in an options menu and runs to show his dad so they can move on to the latest tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with Cricket covering it with the star, while the family sings a lovely Christmas song.
Cricket, even though his grandmother advises him not to, tries to rush his father. Finally, they arrive at the star at the top of the tree when it’s too late, and Remy bursts into the house and tells them that a wave of monsters is coming. The jig is up and Bill is furious. We’ve seen crazy Bill before on the show, but this MIGHT be a new level. Or, it’s the beautiful animation of the special episode that adds to that. Together the family must now fight all the monsters to protect the house and the tree and there is a magilla of a monster lurking outside that the family will need more power to deal with. More power than even a hidden fruitcake Gramma found can deliver. Luckily, Tilly has become friends with Mr. Extras and calls on him and a special Christmas cannon.
Remy buys the festive weapon using all his XP (and he plays this game A LOT), and Cricket, eager to salvage his family’s traditions, jumps and shoots, missing the monster, while explaining that there is no only has one shot in it. Now they have to wait for it to recharge and protect it from destructive monsters. The family works together to protect him, who ironically landed in a cascade of events under the tree. Bill is the one to save the day and fires a Christmas cannon orb through the giant monster’s torso which collapses into the house and destroys the virtual residence.
Turns out the family had fun and are ready to rebuild. Remy explains that this game is about building things with waves of monsters coming at them, but Bill says maybe it’s time to add a new tradition to the Christmas list: fighting monsters! You would think that would excite Cricket, but he seems passive. It turns out that when he couldn’t put the star on the tree, he became sad and has now taken off his glasses to find a way home in the snow. That means we’re now back in the 2D world of Big City, as it takes part of Remington’s Christmas decor on a dizzying journey across town back home in the snow. He does so, surprising his family and explaining what the traditions mean to him. The Remingtons are not far behind and they join the Greens for Christmas Eve traditions. When the end credits roll, again, it’s the Big City version of the roll.
I love when Big City Greens ventures into these kinds of special episodes, and the Christmas one has enough charm to make it a staple of holiday viewing in homes around the world, including my own. The animation in this episode is absolutely stunning and it made me want a Big City Greens video game even more than I already do. A G-Rated Grand Theft Auto-An open world game would be awesome. Come on, Houghtons. Oh and also, we’re back in Big City, at Grandma’s, with the whole family… Where’s Gloria?!
This episode of Big City Greens is now available on disney channel and the DisneyNOW app. You can also catch up on previous episodes and seasons at Disney+.
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