10 Things We Learned From ‘Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever’
Ah, Christmas: It’s a time of year for peace, love, and pop-culture artifacts that cash in on people’s willingness to watch, buy, or listen to anything remotely Christmas-related — which explains Lifetime’s latest made-for-TV movie/pop trend cash-in, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. One of the Internet’s most famous and profitable memes, the sour-faced kitty (given name: Tardar Sauce) stars as a curmudgeonly talking feline voiced by Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza. It’s ostensibly a caper-cum-heartwarming holiday story; alas, it doesn’t hit either of those marks, and is instead an occasionally entertaining, mostly befuddling mess of a movie.
Here are 10 of the takeaways we got from watching Grumpy Cat in action.
1. If you’re an Internet sensation, people will try and cash in.
Much of the credit for Grumpy Cat’s swift rise to Internet stardom goes to her “meme manager,” Ben Lashes (credited here as a co-executive producer). After a photo of Grumpy’s adorable scowl blew up on Reddit, Lashes started working with the family that owns her, and the rest — Grumpy Cat-branded tees, books, coffee drinks, and this movie — is history. In 2013, New York reported that Grumpy Cat Ltd. was worth about $1 million, and the cat-as-brand has remained extremely valuable, particularly in the currency of the Internet (#WorstChristmasEver was trending nationally on Twitter within the film’s first half hour). Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever may be an easy grab for cash, but it’s also likely to be a successful one.
2. There is such a thing as being too meta.
The movie begins with Plaza-as-Grumpy deadpanning, “You don’t have to watch [the movie]…but I know you’re going to.” And the self-deprecation continues from there: There are winking references to making Grumpy the “most famous Internet meme” of all time and appearances from fellow Internet-famous felines Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat — both of whom, conveniently, are also repped by Lashes.
And then there’s this:
It’s like the producers wanted to show how in on the joke they are, but the constant breaking of the fourth wall comes off as cynical rather than knowing and funny. (The constant exhortations to buy Grumpy Cat products or to tweet about the movie — using, yes, #WhyAmIWatchingThis — don’t really help.)
3. Grumpy Cat is either an extremely patient, or an extremely tired, kitty.
Although Grumpy spends most of her time on screen sitting and scowling, the lady has her moments: She drives a car à la Toonces the Driving Cat, gets dressed up in elaborate costumes, and is made to dance around to Christmas carols. (Leading Plaza to mutter, “Please…stop…making me dance.”) Cat owners know that most felines won’t submit to even one of those things without putting up a claws-out fight, so Grumpy’s “willingness” speaks to either her remarkable patience — or, more likely, that she’s just tired and truly does want people to just leave her alone.
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