Thoughts on DOAWK: Cabin Fever

Honestly, a solid 6.5/10 lol. I didn't watch the animated Rodrick Rules special, but the first one of these just kinda felt watered down compared to the live-action film... admittedly, it's hard not to compare them! Especially when the original live-action film TRILOGY was so good and captured the characters so perfectly.

This special really benefits from having no other adaptation to compare it to. I thought it was very cute and fun. But also, I'll probably forget about it in a week, you know? These animated specials are really meant just for the kids, and that's okay. A lot of the extra cheesiness is also forgivable, because that's just the nature of Christmas specials. And Cabin Fever always felt like it was written to be a Christmas special.

I kinda wish the Manny twist wasn't... kinda downplayed the way it was? They made it so cartoony (well, it IS a cartoon... I just think DOAWK is funniest when it feels a little real). But it was still fun seeing the family get so dysfunctional leading up to it lol. Felt true to the books in that way.

On that note, they also added/changed some stuff, and I think the whole thing about the snowball ruining the lawn is actually from the first book? Correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a hot minute. Changing Alfrendo from a creepy baby doll to an elf-on-the-shelf type of thing was really interesting, I feel like it tied the story together where it was necessary.

There's some stuff from the original 8 books that plays so much on themes of gender norms and stuff, and the original Alfrendo was kinda part of that lol. That's one of the unexpected ways that DOAWK books dated themselves. I don't even think it's necessarily bad that that stuff is in the books, because even though the joke is that Greg sometimes doesn't play into it, it also, even today, is kinda real in the way other people react to it. And it fits into Greg's character and how insecure he really is.

But yeah, there probably wasn't really any room anyway for the original Alfrendo bit, so that's why they transformed it lol.

So maybe I'm kinda biased because this one had never been adapted before, but I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I thought that its sympathetic portrayal of Greg was reminiscent of the OG film trilogy. It just ends up missing some of the signature humor and on point actor portrayals/dynamics that have made those films untouchable in quality.

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