Why was it such a misfit?

In 1997, the Target department store chain introduced a snowman character, Snowden, which they hoped to make a Christmas tradition. You would know it was Christmas at Target when Snowden appeared; that was the idea. (So ideally, Snowden would start appearing in September, right?)

To promote the character, Target wanted Snowden specials on the air immediately. A proper, traditional, stop-motion special would take a while, so Target produced a couple live-action specials in '97 and '98 featuring a guy in a Snowden costume dancing with ice skaters. It goes without saying those were lame, overtly sunny and childish.

The stop-motion special would be the last time we saw Snowden. Based on everything else, I never expected to get something like this....

In an out-of-nowhere complete 180, the special was focused on having as much sassy attitude as possible, at all times. No, really.

In this version Snowden was a stuffed snowman whose owner was moving to New York. Their moving van hits a bump and the "stuffed animal" box flies out, leaving the four inside on a journey back home: the aforementioned Snowden, plus Footloose the rabbit, Tiny the anxiety-attack-prone elephant, and Kazooie--I mean, Drummer the surly bear. Instead of gushing about Christmas spirit or how much they love their kid, they sound like drunks in a bar.

"Hey, shut up, stupid!"
"Shut your pie hole or I'll cram a rock up your trunk, you filthy fleabag!"

The "edgy" makeover was very forced and transparent, and left the characters very one-dimensional. Every single thing the bear says is an insult directed at someone, and every time the elephant gets a line, she screams out another annoying panicky statement. As for the rabbit, he knows karate.

Why didn't it fit in?
All Christmas specials that have worked, even the darkest ones, have some kind of a heart. Among those that fail, there are plenty that either poured on way too much heart or smashed in way too much edginess--there's no middle ground on the Island of Misfit Christmas Specials. After Drummer calls Snowden "stuffing butt," Footloose asks "Doesn't it bother you when they talk to you like that, Snowden?"
Snowden says, "Ahh, they don't mean it."
Footloose: "Yeah. They do."
Snowden: "........Oh."

Far from something you could curl up with. The thing is just cold.