Day 4! In what seems like the blink of an eye, we’re onto the next day of this countdown already. Technically speaking, this is the newest “Random Episode Rambling” given the content of this piece, so you’ll be able to find it under the “Episode Reviews” page after today.
Show: Codename: Kids Next Door
Episode: Operation N. A. U. G. H. T. Y.
Studio/Year it debuted: Cartoon Network, 2005
So, here’s a franchise I haven’t visited for a while. After two of the first three days in the countdown were spent on classics, this one’s a bit of an off-the beaten path pick, but might strike some resonance with those harboring fond memories of the early to mid 2000’s. Long-time readers may recall I wrote a KND review back in the spring of 2017, and suffice to say, it was another favorite of mine growing up. What a wildly inventive show it was! You can tell Tom Warburton and his team had a ton of fun making it, and the product shows, with increasingly high stakes, an expansive cast of characters and ever-more ludicrous inventions made from household items and junk (the “2×4 technology” the KND swear by).
Like most successful Cartoon Network franchises, there was in fact a Christmas special that was aired roughly in the middle of the show’s lifespan- and like anything else with this show, it was zany and action-packed. As with a good many KND episodes, there’s a plot by Sector V’s archenemies- The Delightful Children from Down the Land- in which disguised as the good guys, they perform a sting on the North Pole in order to frame our heroes and set a diabolical gift-hoarding scheme in order. And this special has it all- over-the top action, a hilariously high tech and over the top interpretation of how Santa’s workshop operates, elves that have some serious martial arts skills(in particular, Wintergreen, a parody of Wolverine), and of course, something akin to “storming the castle” by our main heroes of Sector V.
So critically, what do I think of Operation NAUGHTY? It plays out mostly as a normal episode with the Christmas theming, and stays true to the show’s style, building a Kids Next Door episode with a Christmas wrapper, as opposed to a Christmas story that has the KND in it. And I think it works, although you’ll be sadly disappointed if you wanted more traditional fare. Santa Claus puts in an appearance as well, but most of the episode’s heavy lifting is done by the usual suspects from the show and the big man’s own special elves. Overall, it’s one of the Cartoon Network holiday-themed episodes I recalled enjoying the most back when I was a kid, and even now it retains that same wackiness and adventure I knew the series for.
Therefore, this special is likely to be remembered fondly by KND fans and those who watched plenty of Cartoon Network during this era, though it really best described is an extended KND episode in addition to the Christmas theme. Working alongside the nefarious plot of the Delightful Children, the subplot of the entire episode juxtaposes Numbah 3’s generosity towards her teammates against the oblivious Numbah 4’s ham-handed approach to the spirit of giving. This character side story runs up against the main plot when Santa’s “Reindeer System”- a highly automated process of doling out the world’s presents from a top-secret inner sanctum- is hijacked by the Delightful Children, only to turn them into Grinch-esque monsters from their greed. In the end, Numbah 3 attempts to take this system over, which after a similar power rush overwhelms her, only Santa’s guidance to Numbah 4 about giving her a gift pays off.
Is it silly, zany and convoluted? For sure. That said, it’s a fun bit of nostalgia from that time period and a solid special that stays true to the spirit of both the holiday and the Kids Next Door-style of storytelling, and rather than hearing it from me, check it out:
Don’t forget, this season’s all about giving to others. And through it all, that might be the biggest takeaway from here. See what’s in store tomorrow! And check out below previous days if you haven’t already!
Like what you see? Big fan of this special or Codename: Kids Next Door? Leave a comment!