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Film Roman produces this Christmas Special back in the days when it was more than a post-production company.
It is a nice special and I actually only got to see part of this on a very badly aged VHS. I thought the piano music in the beginning was synthesized!! But I was able to rewatch the entire thing.
It is about a large townhouse duplex where a journalist father and her daughter and cat named Noel. The other half of the house is bought by a singer named Leslie Lee and her dog named Nick. There is a mouse named Barnaby that escapes detection from the humans and is friends with the pets. He lives between the townhomes, almost similar to the "Catty Cornered" cartoon.
The neighbors occupations clash with each other and this causes tension. Additionally the dog and cat do not get along. But they must work together because the daughter only wants her mother who passed away a year earler, to come back...especially to be together for Christmas. Nick & Noel decide to find Santa Claus to see what can be done. And then they look for a mother figure to become a stepmother to the girl.
It is not that difficult to figure out what happens, and who becomes the stepmother.
You should dig up this special and watch it. It contains the very sappy family films, but at the same time it is VERY well written and this makes up for the sappiness. The dog and cat keep insulting each other, it is also very cute when they go off to search for Santa and find a theme park instead. And then it is even more adorable when they search for a mother and then they find a pig. She says "Shouldn't you be looking for a human mother?" which is hilarious. They then search for human women that are mothers but then they decide that this idea is far from perfect. There is a scene where Noel gets run over by a train and they don't show her after the train passes by.
The pets are gone and the girl misses Noel. Ms. Lee begins singing to the girl and the song and the entire moment is just beautiful. Later, she is still worried but then Nick and then seconds later, Noel both reappear.
I won't tell you the ending because it is exactly who you think it is that becomes the stepmother. It is a beautiful special and you should watch it.