‘Tis the season to rewatch old Christmas movies — and there’s nothing quite like 1994’s The Santa Clause and its 2002 sequel. (We don’t talk about the third one here.) What about those movies is so compelling? No, not Tim Allen. It’s Bernard, the charming elf played by David Krumholtz, who sparked many a crush in the young’uns who grew up watching these Christmas movies.
Bernard’s absence was sorely missed in the third movie (which we will just say was not good), but thankfully, Disney Plus’ new miniseries The Santa Clauses brings him back. It’s the best Christmas present ever. The miniseries follows Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) on the precipice of his 65th birthday, when he decides it might be time to think about retirement. That’s all fun and good, but we’re here for one reason and one reason only: Bernard.
Each Wednesday, we’ll tune in to The Santa Clauses and keep an eye out for Bernard. It’s our duty — nay, our honor — to report to the masses just what our favorite elf is up to in the great Santa Clause cinematic universe. We aim to bring you only the best in Bernard news, and we’ll update this post weekly.
“Chapter 1: Good to Ho”
Premiere date: Nov. 16
Bernard watch update: Despite the sexy episode name, Bernard does not appear at all.
“Chapter 2: The Secessus Clause”
Premiere date: Nov. 16
Bernard watch update: Bernard is briefly mentioned by head elf Betty, who says he left behind a magic orb that allows the elves to measure Santa’s magic, based on how many people believe in him. So Bernard exists! But where is he? Where did he go? We do not know. We hope he is well.
“Chapter 3: Into the Wobbly Woods”
Premiere date: Nov. 23
Bernard watch update: Bernard is not in this episode, nor is he mentioned. Guess we don’t all get to feast ahead of Thanksgiving, huh?
“Chapter 4: The Shoes Off the Bed Clause”
Premiere date: Nov. 30
Bernard watch update: Another week, another Bernard-less episode. Woe is me. Only two more chances for Bernard to appear!
Correction (Dec. 7): Oh my goodness, wait just a second! His hand actually appeared in the last possible moment of the episode?! I am so sorry for failing my loyal Bernard watch squad. I was so heartbroken that he did not appear this last episode (which was on my birthday), that I exited out early and did not hyper-analyze the mysterious gloved hand. This one is on me, folks. I will do better.
“Chapter 5: Across the Yule-verse”
Premiere date: Dec. 7
Bernard watch update: It’s him! It’s HIM! The mysterious hand on Scott’s shoulder is none other than Bernard’s! He looks a little older, but as he explains to Scott, he met a human, fell in love, and then gave up eternal youth to be with them. (Revealed later to be none other than renowned actress Vanessa Redgrave). I don’t even care that he found love in the arms of someone else, because he’s back!
Anyway, he tells Scott that he needs to get his shit together and save Christmas. In a very Christmas Carol vibe, Bernard brings Scott across memories of Santa past. Mostly Bernard just nods along as Scott meets old iterations of Santa who try to remind him what the important part of being Santa is. Scott insists on calling it the Yule-verse, which annoys Bernard... till he eventually gives in. Much like his previous iterations, Bernard’s here to offer snarky comments and make fun of Scott. We also learn some #deeptruths about the Santa Clause universe, which actually kinda undermines a lot of the movies, but whatever! It’s all delivered by Bernard who gives a big pep talk to Scott and calls him the best Santa he ever met.
“You’re as irritating as usual,” Scott says to Bernard as they part.
“I didn’t enjoy a second of this either,” Bernard says. And they embrace.
Bernard ends this episode by complimenting Krampus’ horns. What a guy! He stepped out of retirement to help his friend and the mission of Christmas with that signature Bernard snark. I hope he and Vanessa are very happy together. And I also hope that we get to see them sitting around the fireplace in the last episode.
“Chapter 6: A Christmas to Remember”
Premiere date: Dec. 14
Bernard watch update: Alas, no Bernard to tie up the show. Sad! He was probably too busy spending time with his Oscar-winning wife.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. There were highs and lows. Mostly lows. But at the end of the day, Bernard is happy and he is alive. What more can we ask for?
New episodes of The Santa Clauses hit Disney Plus on Wednesdays.