Fox debuted the Christmas TV cartoon Olive the Other Reindeer on December 17, 1999. Whether you remember the special first airing or if you ever just wanted a direct blast of pop culture from exactly fifteen years ago, simply click the video to experience turn-of-the-century entertainment as embodied by supremely of-the-moment celebrity voices, burgeoning CGI animation, and gentle ironic humor that would someday bloom into hardcore hipsterism.
Olive is a Jack Russell terrier who gets wind that Santa’s reindeer Blitzen is injured, so she travels to the North Pole to help out. Along the way, Olive meets various colorful folk and gets nicely rewarded for her generosity. The animation itself looks like construction paper cutouts come to life, and that’s charming in and of itself. It’s also fun to marvel over how this technique could only have been okayed by a network in 1999.
Drew Barrymore–cresting on her alterna-decade “It Girl” status–voices the title role. Olive’s other stars include Jay Mohr, Tim Meadows, Joe Pantoliano, and REM’s Michael Stipe (who also sings a song). Swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy supply a rousing wrap-up anthem titled “Merry Christmas After All.” Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was executive producer (and, oh yeah—Dan Castallaneta, aka Homer Simpson himself, plays an angry mailman).
If all that isn’t late ’90s enough for you, perhaps you need to invest billions in a dot-com startup, wander the woods in search of the Blair Witch, and really start sweating it out over Y2K…