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    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The "Santa's a Dick" Edition

    I'm sure everyone's familiar with this 1964 Rankin/Bass Christmas classic. It's been on TV every year since i can remember. And despite the singing, i always enjoyed watching it each December as a kid. A couple of years ago, i bought Rudolph as part of a DVD collection of other children's Christmas classics and watched it again for the first time in several years. It was during these later viewings that i realized something very obvious - Santa's a dick.

    In point of fact, just about everyone in Christmas Town is a dick.

    Well, Mrs. Donner, Rudolph's mom, is not a dick. She's just weak and ineffectual. The kind of person who willfully ignores things so that they can continue in the fantasy that everything's fine. Her reaction to Rudolph's nose?

    Mrs. Donner: We'll simply have to overlook it.

    But back to Santa and his uber-douchbaggery.

    Rudolph's father Donner is horrified and embarrassed that his offspring would exhibit traits that deviate from the norm. What is Santa going to think! He nervously reassures Santa that his son's not a total freak and will surely grow out of it.

    Instead of chuckling merrily, patting Donner on the back reassuringly, and telling him that superficial physical appearances mean nothing to Santa for he loves all children, Santa reveals appearances mean everything.

    Santa Claus: Well, let's hope so, if he wants to make the sleigh team someday.

    Thanks for stopping by to meet our new baby, Santa. Dick.

    Having done his duty of spreading anxiety and shame to the reindeer, Santa moves on to crushing any feelings of self-worth his elves might have.

    The elves are all in a tizzy to perform their newest number for Santa and Mrs. Claus. They've been practicing all year! Santa is openly impatient and makes it very obvious he's got better things to do.

    Santa Claus: Well, let's get this over with. I have to go down and look over the new deer.
    Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Santa let's get this over with


    Slouching grumpily on his throne, Santa sullenly listens to their concert. As soon as the singing stops, he quickly makes for the door saying,

    Santa Claus: Well, it needs work. I have to go.

    And leaves without a backwards glance. Dick.

    A few months later, Rudolph and Donner prepare for Rudolph's debut at the Reindeer Games. Donner, though fingerless, has managed to make a covering for Rudolph's nose.

    Rudolph isn't too keen about having to wear it, but his father sets him straight.

    Donner: There are more important things than comfort: self respect! Santa can't object to you now.

    How can you possibly have any self-respect if you're born with a light up nose? How? And more importantly, we can't let Santa see that nose! Santa's approval is worth any discomfort.

    Well, it's all for naught. His false nose falls off. Santa sees it and,

    Santa Claus: Donner, you should be ashamed of yourself. What a pity.
    Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Donner you should be ashamed of yourself

    That's right, Donner. Shame on you.


    Not surprisingly, Rudolph runs away and teams up briefly with Hermey, an elf who should be ashamed of himself for wanting to be a dentist. They meet one of the greatest Rankin/Bass characters of all:

    Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Yukon Cornelius

    Yukon Cornelius. Wahoo! (look at those dogs!)


    After some time (perhaps a year?), Rudolph inexplicably decides that running away from those who mocked and hated him was wrong, and he ought to go back home.

    Rudolph returns to his parents' cave only to find it empty. Santa shows up to tell him they left to look for Rudolph months ago but never came back.

    Santa: I'm very worried.

    Wait, they've been missing for months, but Santa's done nothing to actually find them. Just how worried is he? Well, ok, let's give him a little credit. He's actually thinking about someone other than himself for a change, right?

    Santa: Christmas Eve is only two days off and, without your father, I'll never be able to get my sleigh off the ground.

    Ok, mebbe not. Dick.

    In the end, when Santa realizes that he needs Rudolph in order to deliver presents in the fog, he does a complete 180, lavishing Rudolph with all the approval and acceptance he's been yearning for the entire show. Suddenly, it's a "wonderful nose" and not only is Rudolph going to get a spot on Santa's sleigh team, he's going to lead it! And Santa's being totally sincere. He wouldn't lie about something like this just for his own personal gain.

    So, what have we learned, boys and girls? Santa is a grumpy asshole who hates anything outside of the norm and can't be bothered with the social niceties of being polite to his employees, but if he needs something from you, he isn't above pretending to be your friend.

    Oh, and Santa's a dick.



    Extra Awesome Sauce

    This movie was also full of strange, but wonderful things.

    1. Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mrs. Claus  Mrs. Claus has this vaguely Eastern European accent and is dressed a bit like a governess, with her hair pulled back in a tight bun, so she's kinda threatening and not the loving matronly figure you might have come to associate with Mrs. Claus. She spends the entire movie pushing food on Santa.
      Mrs. Claus: Papa, you haven't touched a morsel. I'll have to take this suit in. Eat!

      Santa Claus: I'm busy, Mama. It's almost Christmas.

      Mrs. Claus: Whoever heard of a skinny Santa? Eat. Eat!

      Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cowboy riding ostrichShe's obsessed with feeding him. Woman, what is your problem?



    2. Rudolph and friends end up on the Island of Misfit Toys at one point. So, all the toys introduce themselves and exclaim "Who would want a ___ that's ___?". Most of them made sense. Nobody wants a boat that sinks or a train with square wheels (how did this get passed Quality Control?). But one of the misfit toys is a cowboy riding an ostrich. Who the hell wouldn't love that toy? That toy is awesome! It's a cowboy riding an ostrich!


    3. Mrs. Donner wants to go with Donner in search of Rudolph. Well, think again, woman!
      Donner: No, This is man's work.

      I suppose we should all be grateful that he didn't tell her to "Get in the kitchen, bitch".


    Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Hermey    Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer elves

    Incidentally, i can't help but wonder if this whole "dentist" thing is a metaphor for "gay". I mean, Hermey's the only male elf with a lush head of blond hair and a cute, pink, rosebud mouth. The rest of the guys are bald with a line where their pie hole should be. And everybody keeps saying "dentist" with an extra dose of drama. Just saying.

    By min | December 22, 2011, 9:36 PM | TeeVee


    Comments

    I like Cornelius, but he's got a lot of competition for greatest Rankin/Bass character with the Winter Warlock and just about every character from Life & Adventures of Santa Claus in the running.

    that's true. the Great Ak does have the most awesome hat. but neither he nor the Winter Warlock have a Dachshund and a poodle pulling their sleds.

    Yukon Cornelius: Fog as thick as peanut butter.
    Hermey: You mean "pea soup."
    Yukon Cornelius: You eat what you like, I'll eat what I like.

    damn skippy!


     
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