Norman Weiss: "HBO Max's Santa Inc. Is Silly and Salacious, But It Could've Been More Subversive"

Published by Norman Weiss for Prime Timer

Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman's raunchy and satirical animated HBO Max tribute to the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, created by Shrill's Alexandra Rushfield, "is proudly crude and immature without wholly abandoning the holiday spirit," says Daniel Fienberg.

"Often that immaturity comes at the expense of Santa Inc. ever being nearly as subversive as it thinks it is, but I’m not sure anybody involved here is likely to take my wish that the series were a bit smarter and maybe a hair more refined seriously." Fienberg adds: "Still, Santa Inc. works on some traditional levels, especially when it comes to its ensemble.

Silverman’s Candy even resembles her Wreck-It-Ralph character and she plays right into the sort of enthusiastic, high-energy dirtiness that has always been the comedian’s hallmark. Rogen’s Santa boasts the actor’s reliable well-intentioned bluster and Nicholas Braun’s Devin, a frat boy with an internship at Santa Inc., has an obsequiousness that owes more than a little to Succession‘s Cousin Greg.

(Leslie) Grossman and (Gabourey) Sidibe are probably the show’s most consistent sources of laughs, while the TV geek in me enjoyed cameos from such previous Rushfield collaborators as Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett and John Cameron Mitchell, all from Shrill, and Love star Paul Rust."

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