The Santa Clause franchise has never had good villains. Toy Santa was the weakest aspect of the second movie and Jack Frost was a waste of Martin Short’s talents as a comedic actor. The man can play good villains, go watch The Princess and the Pauper for an example.

 

Last year The Santa Clause franchise was expanded into a six episode television series and well Christmas TV shows are very hit or miss. You know the complaints that people have about the MCU shows feeling like bloated movies, that is very much the case with season one of The Santa Clauses. This could’ve been a fourth movie in the franchise and told the story in a shorter amount of time. I don’t know if I’d say it’s bad but there are certainly some cringey moments that I’d rather not get into but they left a sour taste in my mouth.

 

The idea for the show is solid enough but I feel it takes it’s time to get going. In some ways, the TV show felt like they took ideas we had seen in previous entries and remixed them a little bit.

Actor

Kal Penn

 

Kal Penn is good in the show playing an overstressed dad who only wants to give his daughter everything. We will discuss this more as I talk about Simon’s personality, he’s not a bad guy but rather misguided. Having said this, there is something that bugged me about this story pitting a White Santa Claus against a POC antagonist. Something about just felt wrong and even more so when we get and episode where Scott Calvin meets all the past Santa’s and they are all White except Krampus but well…

 

Now being fair his race is not an issue in the show but it’s not hard to think about and there is an uncomfortableness to this considering how many people believe Santa should only be White as they base their view of Jolly Old St. Nicholas on the classic Coca-Cola design.

 

Whereas personally I believe the idea of Santa is best treated as what we heard Miles say in the first Spider-Verse. “Anyone can wear the mask”. And well this show kinda backtracks on the whole idea of the first movie of “You put on the suit, you’re the guy”.  And turns it into a Chosen One narrative as it’s revealed that Scott was destined to become Santa and the Santa that fell off his roof planned for that to happen. I find that to be a rather dumb change personally as it undermines the whole idea of the original movie.

 

First Appearance

We first see Simon in the first episode as Santa makes his rounds and at first it seems as though he is a non-believer but that quickly changes once he sees his house all decorated up for the holidays.

 

The idea here is rather sound as the overworked dad is a common trope and in some ways it felt like with Simon, they were attempting to parallel Scott’s journey in the first movie but instead of Simon being a divorced dad like Scott, he’s a widowed father whose wife died from I wanna say cancer but the show is rather vague on that. This is a more interesting idea than the previous two Santa Clause villains honestly as Simon isn’t a bad guy but rather someone who gets in over his head.


Personality

Again, it’s key to understand that Simon is not inherently bad but rather he makes bad decisions that he believes are for the good of people. Namely his daughter Grace. You see in the show Santa Scott is starting to lose his magic and have issues and decides to hire a successor and this is where Simon comes in as we see Santa Scott interviewing prospects including a cameo from Peyton Manning.

 

 

 

But this is also where a larger issue comes in as the Suit is now sentient and it can sense that Simon is not fit to be the next Santa Claus and runs away to the house of The Christmas Witch.

Okay, I’ve got one big question here, why didn’t the suit run away before Jack Frost could put it on in the third movie as he used the suit for far more nefarious purposes than Simon did.

 

Jack Frost truly was a bad person unfit to be Santa Claus yet the suit never acted against him, the way it did Simon. Making the suit sentient this late into the franchise’s history raises a lot of contradictions that are rather hard to ignore. Again Simon is an antagonist yes but an unintentional one who unlike the previous villains believes he is doing the right thing and is inadvertently destroying the magic of Christmas. He is a man that wants to prove himself as while he was successful in the toy and video game industry, he’s been struggling with the transition to e-commerce and being chosen to be the next Santa has gotten to his head yes but again he’s not a bad person yet going by the show, his actions are destroying Christmas magic such as causing the elves to disappear.

Okay I go back to what I asked before how did this not happen when Jack Frost turned The North Pole into a tourist attraction. Yes, both Simon and Frost attempted to industrialize The North Pole but The North Pole seemed to have a stronger reaction to what Simon was doing than what Frost did.

Much like how I felt the need to criticize the third movie to try and say it’s wrong to commercialize Christmas considering the Disney Parks, I feel similar issues here with how season one presents Simon’s company Christmas Everyday an online ordering system as ruining the spirit of Christmas when Disney themselves have an online shopping presence that people can use.

This type of criticism coming from a company as large as Disney is nothing but empty words and hollow gestures. I love Disney movies and shows but they are a large company that in trying to deliver a message such as this is something they shouldn’t be attempting to tackle.

Grand Desire

Simon’s greatest desire is rather noble as he promised his late wife that he give their daughter Grace everything and we see that taken to a grander scale as he turns The North Pole into an online delivery system a la Amazon but again, this feels wrong with what the show is trying to say as by saying people immediately ordering what they want is ruining the magic of Christmas almost feels like an outdated message at this point and judgmental as so many people use online shopping for the holidays and it isn’t always about buying for themselves. Some of us use it for family members as they may have lists and it makes it easier to know what they want by going online. And furthermore for some people shopping online is less stressful than going to a brick and mortar store during this time of year considering how crazy the customers can get and take it from me, this can lead to people to shut down and not want to participate in festive activities if they are forced into environments that make them uncomfortable. So I don’t think shopping online makes someone ungrateful but rather it is just another tool to get holiday shopping done. Yes, I understand what the show is saying of how the magic isn’t in the getting but rather the giving but shopping online is a tool that can be used to help to give.

 

 

Most Evil Deed

I imagine the show might argue that Simon destroying Christmas magic is his evilest deed and there is an argument to be made for that and he does go full villain in the finale to the point of releasing the toy soldiers that Toy Santa used to help take down the Calvin family.

And while that may be valid, I think it makes morse sense to focus on the why of his actions. He is doing all of this for his daughter and I do believe that to be true but at the same time in doing all of this, he is neglecting the person that he cares about most as he becomes obsessed with the power that being Santa would give him. Again, he is not a bad person but rather just misguided.

Defeat

 

He comes to his senses after attempting to burn the Santa suit as his daughter gives him a snow globe showing her favorite Christmas memory and it’s the year after his wife passed away as they celebrate the first Christmas without her and that makes him realize he had gone too far. He relents the suit back to Santa Scott. And Simon and his daughter are dusted forgetting any of this ever happened and are sent back home in time for the holidays.

 

Is Simon Choski A Good Villain?

 

Frankly, he’s not really a villain. Sure, he might be an antagonist but as I have tried to emphasize throughout, he’s more misguided than outright bad. He’s one of the more interesting antagonists in this franchise as he is a rather sympathetic character and you can understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. We aren’t done with this show quite yet as I’ll close out my look at Disney Christmas Villains by looking at this show’s take on an evil Santa as I take a look at…

Magnus Antas/Mad Santa

 

 

 

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1 thought on “A Look at Disney Christmas Villains Profile: Simon Choski (The Santa Clauses Season One)

  1. I tend to agree with pretty much everything you said about Simon. He’s not really a bad person, just someone who doesn’t understand what he’s gotten into.
    .
    As for the reveal of Scott being chosen by his predecessor, that actually made more sense to me than the initial premise. The Spider-Verse comparison feels off here. Spider-Man and most of the other Spider-people are mostly people who got their powers by accident, by merely being in the right place at the right time, and who have to learn to use their powers responsibly while at the same time trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life. That core concept works for Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Gwen (Spider-Gwen) Stacy, and a whole host of others.
    .
    But Santa Claus is different. Santa Claus is an ideal, an image of devoting one’s life to giving gifts to others and spreading joy and good will. Therefore, with the idea of Santa being a ‘legacy’ character that’s passed on to different people, whoever picks up the mantle has to show they understand what Santa is all about.
    .
    A Cracked dot com article from 2014 (if I recall correctly) noted the problems with the premise of the original Santa Clause movie’s premise that just about anyone can become Santa if they just put on the suit. It pointed out the questions raised by it. Among them “If a woman puts on the suit, does Christmas magic give her a sex reassignment without her consent?” And the far more troubling “What if a serial killer offs Santa and then puts on the suit?” (To be fair, the first movie DID raise the possibility of someone offing Santa to get the suit, but that’s only mentioned in one line of dialogue – “so if my dad wants to be Santa, all he has to do is push your dad off a roof? – and then never brought up again).
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    So yes, abilities like Santa has (traveling the whole world in one night, knowing who’s naughty and nice, flying through the sky with magic reindeer, and so on) are ones that shouldn’t just be given to some random stranger who stumbles onto the suit. Santa is also the custodian of the magic of Christmas, and things can go wrong if someone’s not a good custodian.
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    So the retcon that Scott Calvin was actually chosen by his predecessor and Bernard makes a good deal of sense. But yes, it is a bit unsettling about how the rest of the Santas seemed unambiguously white males in the ‘Yule-verse’ scene. Carol/Mrs. Claus brings it up briefly at the end of Season six, but like the line about the roof in the first movie, it’s just brought up for one line of dialogue and never mentioned again.
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    I do agree that the whole idea of the suit being sentient and rebelling against people not worthy of it seems to contradict the whole Jack Frost scenario of the third movie. It seems the events of all three movies are still canon in the world of ‘The Santa Clauses’, but some parts seem to have been forgotten about or ignored by the writers. I guess there wasn’t a way of saying the Jack Frost thing was another secret test or something like that without slowing the story down by rehashing the events of the third movie.
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    Yes, it is strange that big corporations would present media questioning or satirizing the ways of big corporations. It’s not just Disney that’s done this, either. Certain messages about the dangers of unfettered capitalism and big corporate dominance tend to get a little muddied when the same corporations that engage in the practices being questioned or satirized are the ones who produce the movies and shows. One wonders if the business side knows what the entertainment side is doing, and vice versa.

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