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Michael Jackson's Halloween, on CBS
Halloween Specials Wiki; IMDb; Paramount+; Wikipedia

Caution: spoilers.

This animated special first aired in 2017, eight years after Michael Jackson died. Which is kind of weird. But trust me, the special itself is even weirder than the timing. There's a young man named Vincent, who works in a family-owned grocery store, and whose father wants him to eventually take over the business. But Vincent would rather be a DJ. Elsewhere, there's a young woman named Victoria, who is an intern at some mega corporation, but who wants to be a dancer. On Halloween, Victoria's boss, Mrs. Grau (Christine Baranski), makes Victoria take care of her dog, Ichabod, for the night. (Victoria soon decides to call him "Icky.") Meanwhile, there's a talking chimp named Bubbles (Brad Garrett), who makes an order from the grocery store, which Vincent has to deliver. So, while he's out on his bike trying to find the address of the delivery, a bat flies around him and makes him lose control of his bike, which starts hurtling downhill into the woods. There, he runs into Victoria, who's out walking Icky. Then Icky runs off, and the two of them follow him to a weird hotel that had appeared out of nowhere, which just so happens to be the address Vincent was looking for. Going inside to find the dog, they're surprised to find that the grocery delivery was for a talking chimp. But he points them in the direction that Icky had run off, so they continue looking for the dog.

As they travel through the surreal hotel, they meet various odd creatures, including a pumpkin-headed scarecrow named Hay Man (Jim Parsons), a giant spider security guard named Generalissimo Meriweather (Alan Cumming), and a mad scientist cat named Franklin Stein (Diedrich Bader). They all work for a witch named Conformity (Lucy Liu), who has forbidden music and dancing for some reason. And anyone who breaks that rule, she turns into a zombie. It seems that her employees want to rebel against her, but Conformity blames Vincent and Victoria for inciting this rebellion, even though all they were trying to do was find Icky and get the heck out of there. But the employees also seem to see them as the inspiration for rebellion, and eventually Vincent and Victoria come to feel they have a responsibility to help oppose Conformity. Throughout all of this, there are occasional Michael Jackson songs that seem pretty random, and in the background there's occasionally some familiar Michael Jackson imagery (though not explicit images of Michael himself). And predictably, the ultimate showdown is set to "Thriller." And um... Michael does eventually appear, but while it's never explained or even questioned how he could be alive, there is an indication of... eh, something. I mean, none of what happens in this special makes the slightest bit of sense, but I suppose it's not meant to. It's all just meant to be bizarre, and at that it succeeds quite well. Of course, there's also a lesson about following your dreams, which was the whole point of Bubbles setting Vincent and Victoria up to find this place.

Anyway... it's not a great special, but it was interesting, I guess. I liked the animation (and I thought Victoria was pretty and even Conformity was kind of sexy, when not being a dragon). And there were definitely some amusing bits. And it's always nice to hear familiar voices, though somehow I only managed to recognize Baranski and Garrett's voices. And anyway, I do tend to like weird things. Sometimes. So I'm glad to have seen this once, but it's hard to imagine ever wanting to see it again.

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