The Happy Elf is a 3D-animated family holiday special, which first aired December 2, 2005 on the NBC television network in the USA. It was based on Grammy-winner Harry Connick, Jr.'s original song of the same name.
The story centers on the lovable Eubie the Elf (Rob Paulsen), whose quest is to bring Christmas joy to an entire town of naughty children in a gloomy little town called Bluesville.
Bluesville is a dark miserable town completely surrounded by cliffs on all sides, completely blocking the sun so that it only shines on Bluesville for a short time, when it's directly over the town. Because the town is so dark and gloomy, people never smile, and are put off by seeing Eubie smiling all the time, as his optimistic happiness makes him stick out in the gloomy town. Because people are so miserable in Bluesville, nobody knows how to tell a joke properly. Most of the people work at a place known as "The What Factory", where all the world's question marks are manufactured (this has resulted in confusion when people ask each other where they work). Also, at the Bluesville school, recess only lasts for one minute (the bell that signals recess' end rings the moment all the children are outside).
Eubie talks to the mayor about what is wrong with Bluesville, he explains everything in a song. Eubie asks the mayor if there's anything about Bluesville that makes him feel proud, to which the mayor replies that Bluesville is the world's largest manufacturer of non-flammable coal, which children enjoy throwing at people. The mayor then makes a deal with Eubie: if he can find another use for non-flammable coal, he'll put a Christmas tree up in the town square.
Eubie's first plan on getting the kids to help him make Bluesville a happier place is having them gather on a busy street and start a pie fight, but that only makes all the people angry. To search for more help, Molly (Mae Whitman), one naughty 10-year-old, takes Eubie to downtown Bluesville, the most miserable part of Bluesville, for a meeting of a group called S.L.O.B. (Smile League Of Bluesville), which only has one member of its group. While there, Molly and Eubie meets up with Curtis (Candi Milo), who is there because he brought along his foreign friend, Yope, who doesn't speak English, but is happy to be there. Molly soon decides that Eubie's plans are hopeless, and tells him to just take all his big ideas home. At the mention of that, Eubie gets another idea, and is about to implement it when the lights in the room go off and Eubie disappears. Unbeknownst to Molly and the other kids, he was taken back to the North Pole.
In his bid to get Bluesville off the Naughty List, Eubie violated several rules in one day. As punishment, Santa had Eubie turn in his hat, which, at the North Pole, meant his Christmas happiness and powers were taken away. When Gilda (Carol Kane), Eubie's friend, learns of this, she motivates him to go back to Bluesville to finish his job, and gives him her hat to restore his powers and happiness. He then returns to Bluesville and explains to the kids his plan, and why they should do it in the form of a song, they get to work. That night, they give the mayor of Bluesville a bottle of anti-snore medicine in his sleep, while Eubie spends the night waxing all the cliffs surrounding Bluesville. While he is doing this, Derek, another friend of his, notices Gilda doesn't have her hat on. He soon figures out what is going on and, trying to follow the North Pole rules, he notifies Norbert, one of the higher-ups.
When Eubie has finished waxing the cliffsides of Bluesville, he says to himself that he has one thing left to do, but before he can do that, the same elves who took him back to the North Pole the first time come back to retrieve him again. This time, both he and Gilda are punished, by being sentenced to clean up the toy factory, with both their hats taken away. Derek, now alone at the Christmas office party, is both sad and mad with himself for betraying his friends, and confesses what he did to them. They forgive him, but it only makes him feel worse about himself, considering what he did to them. While wondering what he can do to make it up to them, they have him do the one thing Eubie intended to do to finish making Bluesville a happier place.
When the sun shines over Bluesville again, people once again expect it to only last it usual four seconds, but after it disappears over the cliffsides again, the light reflects of the freshly waxed walls, making the whole town of Bluesville experience more sun than ever before, making them feel happier than they had ever been in their lives. At the What Factory, the machine had been tampered with, so rather than grey question marks, the machine now produced different-colored exclamation points of all shapes and sizes, which pleasantly surprises the factory workers. At the school, when recess starts, the bell has an elf's shoe placed over the ringer, blocking it from ringing the bell, which makes the kids ecstatic that they can continue playing. Molly comes out of the school, where Derek [the one whose shoe covered the bell] meets her. He tells her to find the mayor and give him a jar of wax, and a piece of non-flammable coal that was squeezed into a diamond (implying that Eubie stuck the non-flammable coal squeezed into diamonds to the waxed cliffsides), and gives her a joke book, and tells her that Eubie was sorry he couldn't say goodbye. Molly happily goes to leave the schoolyard to find the mayor, but stays for a while to allow Curtis to tell a joke that's actually funny. Molly finds the mayor and shows him the items in question, showing the mayor that there was indeed another use for non-flammable coal, the mayor remembers back to when he was a child and the town had a Christmas tree with a star on top that shined just like the coal. The mayor makes good on his word to Eubie, putting up a Christmas tree in the town square.
That Christmas, Santa decides to make Eubie, Gilda, and Derek his sleigh crew that year for bringing joy to Bluesville, which has now changed its name to Joyville, as explained in the end of the film.
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