Merry Madagascar is a Christmas special first broadcast on the NBC network on November 17, 2009 which starred the characters from the Madagascar film series. The story appears to take place sometime between the first and second film. It features many of the same voices from the film (except Sacha Baron Cohen, who was replaced by Danny Jacobs, who voices Julian in The Penguins of Madagascar TV series), including Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith. Carl Reiner provided the voice of Santa Claus.
As the story begins, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria attempt to escape Madagascar and return to New York using a hot air balloon they built, only to be thwarted by the lemur population, led by King Julien, who mistake them for the "red night goblin" that visits every year at this time, the 24th of "Julianuary". Immediately after that, the “red night goblin” appears and begins showering the island with coals. Evading the barrage, Alex manages to shoot it down, but the four friends discover that the “red night goblin” was, in fact, Santa Claus, it becomes very clear that Santa was merely throwing coal at Julien for obviously being naughty. Unfortunately, upon meeting Santa, the group realizes the crash has left Jolly St. Nick with amnesia, unaware of his responsibilities. Julien comments around this time that he has “another hat on,” indicating the large bump on his head.
Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria huddle together and come up with a plan: deliver all the presents for Santa and then use the sleigh to get them back to New York. Unfortunately, the reindeer refuse to take orders from anyone other than Santa, and it is revealed that they have a rivalry against the penguins. The penguins accuse the reindeer of hijacking Santa and his workshop, which had originally been at the South Pole. Before the two species can fight, Private falls in love with Cupid, a female reindeer. Skipper slaps him out of his daze. The team is then forced to use the penguins, who use Santa’s magic dust to enable the otherwise flightless birds to take wing. They take off and leave Santa behind with the lemurs, who are presenting gifts for Julien in celebration of Merry Julianuary. As Santa searches for a gift, he discovers his ability to make toys, much to the amazement of the lemurs. He soon crafts gifts for all of them to enjoy, much to Julien’s anger since the focus is supposed to be on him, and decrees that all of the lemurs' gifts are now his, much to the lemurs' disappointment.
Meanwhile, the animals make their first attempt at a delivery and manage to make a mess of everything – getting stuck in chimneys, breaking windows, getting lost. Realizing the full scope of the task at hand, they decide to instead drop the toys off at the post office and make their way back to New York. However, after crashing into an apartment and unintentionally bringing joy to a little girl, they reverse course and continue the deliveries.
Back on Madagascar, Julien is quietly going through his mound of gifts alone in the crashed plane, feeling depressed. Santa shows up to apologize for his earlier “behavior” and suggests that giving someone a gift might change Julien’s mood. After giving one to his friend, the dead co-pilot, whom Julien calls Amelia on the plane, Julien discovers that is indeed the solution. As a result, he hands out gifts to all the other lemurs. However, all the gifts are coconuts.
As the night nears its end, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria discover that they and the penguins only have enough magic dust to make one last trip, either back to their home in New York or back to Madagascar, where Santa remains stranded. Putting aside their personal wishes, they return to Madagascar, crashing onto the beach and running over Santa by mistake. However, the crash also has the effect of restoring Santa’s memory, and he thanks the animals for making his deliveries for him.
Santa discovers one last bag meant for Liechtenstein and, to make the delivery in time, switches to a reserve tank of magic dust that the animals had overlooked. He flies away with his reindeer leading the charge before the animals can manage to ask for a ride to New York, in addition to telling Julien that he's off the "naughty list," which angers Julien, who says "I am the naughty list", but he is also confused by this and asks Maurice what the list is. With the holiday spirit filling them, the animals decide to make the best of the situation and create their own Christmas along with the lemurs on Madagascar. However, Julien hits Alex with a coconut, causing a large lump on the lion's head. When his friends ask if he's all right, he asks, "Who's Alex?" The special ends with Mort yelling "Merry Christmas and happy Julianuary everybody!" and Mort is hit with a coconut.
- Ben Stiller as Alex the lion
- Chris Rock as Marty the zebra
- David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria the hippopotamus
- Danny Jacobs as King Julian the ring-tailed lemur
- Tom McGrath as Skipper the penguin
- Chris Miller as Kowalski the penguin
- Christopher Knights as Private the penguin
- Carl Reiner as Santa Claus
- Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice the aye-aye
- Andy Richter as Mort the mouse lemur
- Nina Dobrev as Cupid the reindeer
- Willow Smith as Abby
- Jim Cummings as Donner the lead reindeer
Note: Rico the penguin appears, but John DiMaggio recorded no lines for him.
Merry Madagascar was nominated for six Annie Awards and won one award for Storyboarding in a Television Production.
- Nominated: Best Animated Television Production (DreamWorks Animation)
- Nominated: Character Animation in a Television Production (Kevan Shorey)
- Nominated: Character Design in a Television Production (Craig Kellman)
- Won: Storyboarding in a Television Production (Robert Koo)
- Nominated: Voice Acting in a Television Production (Danny Jacobs, Voice of King Julien)
- Nominated: Voice Acting in a Television Production (Willow Smith, Voice of Abby)
Merry Madagascar was released on DVD in the United States on November 18, 2009, exclusively at Walmart stores, and it was widely released on October 11, 2011. The special was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 30, 2012, as part of the complication titled DreamWorks Holiday Classics. It was re-released on DVD on October 1, 2013 along with Shrek the Halls, Kung Fu Panda Holiday, Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury, and The Croods.
In 2011, as part of a strategic partnership between DreamWorks Animation and Gaylord Hotels, Merry Madagascar was presented as the theme of the ICE! exhibit at Gaylord's hotels in Nashville and Maryland. In this presentation, the plot of the film is told through a series of ice sculptures that visitors walk past.
- The voice for Abby, the girl whom the gang unintentionally brought joy to coming into her house, was the second "Madagascar" role for Willow Smith, the first being her mother's character as a child in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
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