The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982)

grinch grinches the cat in the hat poster 1982 special
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Short and sweet

Not as developed as other Grinch specials

TV Special Info

TV Special Name:  The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat

Studio:  Marvel Productions/Dr. Seuss Enterprises/DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE)

Genre(s):  Animated/Family

Release Date(s):  May 20, 1982

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

grinch grinches the cat in the hat evil mirror

You are evil!!!

When the Grinch feels his Grinchiness is threatened by a slightly positive mood, he sets to reaffirm himself as the Grinchiest Grinch around.  Unfortunately for the Grinch, he might have just met his match in the Cat in the Hat who believes that no one can be that Grinchy…even the Grinch.  Now the Cat in the Hat is out to determine what makes the Grinch tick and how he can melt his frozen heart.

Directed by Bill Perez, The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat is an animated TV special.  The special aired on ABC on May 20, 1982 and won Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program and Outstanding Individual Achievement—Animated Program.

grinch grinches the cat in the hat psychoanalysis

Don’t you psychoanalyze me!!!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is of course a classic and airs repeatedly every year around the holiday season…It was appointment viewing.  I wasn’t really aware of Halloween is Grinch Night, but I found it entertaining when I did learn about it.  The Grinch makes his third appearance in the special The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat.  While it doesn’t have any nostalgia factor for me, it is a nice and classic animated special that kids (and even family might enjoy).

The show isn’t drawn out.  It is a short half hour special and that probably is best.  A lot of Dr. Seuss is wordplay, and there is wordplay here…but a lot of wordplay can get tiring after a while.  The special finds a nice balance between this and seems to realize it can only hold its target audience for so long.

While I enjoyed The Cat in the Hat books, I never particularly liked the Cat in the Hat character…he kind of stressed me out.  This continues in this special since you have an eternal optimist meeting an eternal pessimist.  While the Grinch is actively attacking those he sees as happy (which isn’t right), the Cat in the Hat decides he has to fix the Grinch.  I don’t like what the Grinch does, but he has a right to be an ass (plus, the Cat in the Hat goes all in on “you’re momma” type attack at the end).

grinch grinches the cat in the hat grinchs machine

This sequence was good…I wish more of the special had the psychedelic feel

The animation is in the style of Dr. Seuss, but it doesn’t quite have the pop of the original Grinch special.  The framing and set-up of that show is perfect and this special is good, but not as good though some of the color choices and animation tied to the Grinch’s machine are fun…I just wish more of the special was like it.  It feels like it needs that extra spark and heart that the original has.

The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat is no great animated special, but it is a tolerable one.  It is pleasing and pleasant without being obnoxious.  Of course, the Whos in the original Grinch story lived on a snowflake and had a microscopic world…does that mean that the Cat in the Hat is also microscopic?  What does that mean for Horton…can Horton hear a Cat in the Hat?  Some mysteries will never be solved until we get a Grinch Universe series of films.

Related Links:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Halloween is Grinch Night (1977)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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