Rudolph the Red-Nosed Doormat

POSTING BY JB MADDAWG

“Oh, NOW you need me. Assholes.”

If there’s one universal theme that is central to Rankin/Bass’ 1964 classic children’s television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, it’s conform.  Conform, or be exiled to the harsh gulag of society’s outer circle, which in this particular case, is an island of freak toys that are ruled over by some kind of flying lion thing.  Not good.

Obviously the creators of one of the most viewed holiday specials in the history of television didn’t set out to prove that point, but alas, there it is.  Rudolph is supposed to represent one’s ability to overcome personal short comings and become useful and productive amongst society.  In short, Rudolph’s unique gift ends up making him one of the most revered protagonists in history.  Of course, this is all after his father made excuses and attempted to cover up his own unbearable embarrassment of his only son.  Look, when the one and only Santa Claus is getting pissed off at your kid because his nose is a different color, reason goes out the window.

Obviously a show written almost 50 years ago is going to get a bit dated, but as a parent, I think even back then someone would have had the stones to stand up and say, “you know, maybe we could throttle the ‘whole world hates you’ message down a bit”.  We get it.  Nobody loves Rudolph.  Everyone is united in the global hatred of Rudolph…that is until a giant abominable snowmonster captures the whole family for dinner.  And Santa Claus has to cancel his Christmas run because he wasn’t a forward enough thinker to expect a blizzard in December.  Sure, no Christmas presents will irk more than a few folks, Kringle. The reindeer with the off-color nose not looking so bad now, eh?  It all comes back home to Rudolph.  They bullied, ostracised and exiled him right up until everyone up in Christmas town realized he was the only guy with a shred of common sense.   Reminds me of the old saying, “be careful who you step on as you climb up the ladder, you’re gonna face the same people on your way back down.”  Rudolph should have sat his furry ass in the snow and watched as the big, crazy yeti devoured the town.

Obviously, the show is based on the classic song of the same name but all that compares here is the fact that Rudolph wasn’t allowed to join in any “reindeer games” whatever the hell those are.  The whole business of Rudy’s dad and Santa knocking him was completely an angle of the t.v. show.  Not to mention the reindeer coach that sounds like Don Adams on helium that goes apeshit when he finds out Rudy isn’t “normal”.  Let’s face it.  The only thing holding the poor guy together is the fact that Clarice, the little girl reindeer,  finds him cute.  Even she’s got a bit of an attitude, however, telling Rudolph “I don’t mind” in reference to his odd nose.  Well, good to hear his physical affliction won’t inconvenience you in any way, little girl reindeer.  And your rendition of “There’s Always Tomorrow” is a bit pitchy, just a heads up.

All this may seem like minor nit picking, but the best message for everyone (after cutting through all the bullying) is how Rudolph is only fully accepted by the two friends he makes along his walkabout,  Hermey the elf and Yukon Cornelius. That’s right, justification comes in the form of a little elf that shirks the whole toy industry to become a dentist, and a guy that hunts the frozen tundra for silver and gold by licking the end of a frozen pick axe.  The guy’s skin graft bills alone have gotta be astronomical, but I digress.  The two accept Rudolph, unconditionally.  Why?  Because it’s the heart of a message we can all relate to.  No matter how much of a weirdo we’re all labled as, everyone in eyesight is just as fucked up as we are.  Let’s see NBC put that in “The More You Know” segment.

Here’s all 51:45 of the Rudolph special, just so I can beat CBS to airing it, which will probably be as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is finished.

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79 Comments

Filed under Mishmosh Ranting, Television

79 responses to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Doormat

  1. Rudolph also has The Force, but the Jedi wouldn’t take him. Not because of his nose, but because you can’t hold a lightsaber with hooves.

    If I were him, I would turned to the darkside and then used the death star to blow up the north pole and all the haters who live there. I mean, look who Santa hired to run the elf shop! What a prick.

  2. I love your final point. It’s true…no matter how weird you may seem, there is always someone just as weird, if not weirder out there! :D Congrats on being FP!

  3. I specifically remember the scene where Rudolph’s nose is revealed to everyone at the games and Santa looks at Rudolph’s dad and says, “Donner, you should be ashamed of yourself!” Dude! Brutal! “How dare you produce and unusual offspring?! Kill yourself!”

    • That line always cracked me up, too. You could almost hear Santa walk away saying “how long before that genetic reindeer program gets off the ground??”. Thanks for reading.

  4. I’m Jewish, so I’ve never bothered to watch the Rudolph special, but it seems to me to be a commentary on old attitudes towards those with physical and mental disabilities. In fact, in those days it used to be quite common to send the human equivalents of Rudolph to group homes and shut them off in society. I guess they felt that until they could prove themselves useful, why should they try to fit in society?

  5. This was truly something made of awesome. And yet so true. Love it!

  6. I forgive this Nazi animation feature. Atleast they havent ghettoed it up with seals and elk who talk like they just lit up a crack pipe as many animation features today.
    If Rudolph was born these days, parents would probably get him plastic surgery ala Michael Jackson’s nose.

  7. chunter

    Rudolph teaches children about revenge.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  8. If only you had touched upon Hermey’s obvious homosexuality (and odd resemblance to Tilda Swinton), then you could have come full circle, all the way back round again to the North Pole…I particularly liked “harsh gulag of society’s outer circle”. That one may make an appearance in my day to day speech. Good stuff.

    • Glad you liked. Gulag is an inside nod to a long time friend of mine that may or may not actually read our blog. Been trying to work it into a post for months. Thanks again for reading.

  9. Rudolph the red nose sell out!
    Loved it by the way ;)

  10. If you think about it, just about all the cartoons/stop action Holiday specials from back in the day had some form of bullying in them. Just look at Charlie Brown. Lucy was probably one of the biggest bullies out there!

    And yet we still love watching them.

  11. Have you heard Jack Johnson’s additional verse to the Christmas classic?
    Check out this video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/WKverpxlOD4

  12. Sorry—we have the video and have played it 5 (+) times this year already, and will more! Isn’t it nice to have SOMETHING to blog about? I just wrote poems about hawks after roadkill and the value—yes, value—of Blue Laws. Come see…at bythemightymumford.wordpress.com. Dangerous? To a 20 (+) year-old video?

  13. Part of me finds your post humourous and part of me is taking it more seriously than you might have intended. The first part of me is chuckling. The second part of me is wondering if perhaps people are so easily offended, maybe we should only allow stories full of happiness and fluff and protect children (and many adults) from the harsh realities of the world.

  14. Interesting blog! Have a Great Thanksgiving.

  15. Hahahah. Great piece. I enjoyed it very much.

  16. I always felt they overdramatized the bullying to belabor the point that it was wrong. My fav. lines to pick out were the chauvinistic comments when they are a/b to go look for Rudy – “No, this is man’s work” (going to find Rudy) and “they needed to get the womenfolk back inside” (narrator), lol, soooo ’50-ish!

    • I’m divorced and have a gold digging ex wife, so if something’s chauvinistic in the show, I must have drowned it out. That’s not to say I don’t care, but…no actually I don’t. Sorry, court system’s jaded me a bit.

  17. Congrats on the FP! You guys deserve it. This post was typically fantastic.

  18. Reblogged this on They call me Betty and commented:
    Rudolph the Red Nosed Doormat is dead on the money! Reality based sarcasm rules the day once again!

  19. thenotifier

    Christmas and thanksgiving are among the best holidays! This post deserves a like.

    • Anybody that actually has the hrrrrumph to comment a “like” and not just push the button gets my seal of approval. You’re alright, in my book. And thanks for reading!

  20. winfielder

    the funny thing to me about the island of misfit toys is that I LIKE the toys on the island …”who wants to play with a Charlie in the box?”…I DO!

  21. lucewriter

    Hahaha, you brought out all the points I knew and immediately repressed as a kid.

  22. It always bothered me how shallow Santa Claus was in the Rudolph special. Thanks for pointing it out.

  23. Beautiful! Looking forward to Frosty!

  24. Hilarious. Well-deserved FP, I say! Congrats, and I’ll be following the blog from here on out ;)

  25. My friend, I have watched this animation most of my life (childhood into adulthood) and this is the first time I realized what the hell was up. I am not sure if to say thank you, but I was raised to have manners so …Thank you.

    You are right though, everyone within eyesight is as “Fucked up” as we are, either they accept it or go mad. Too many choose the latter.

    Thanks for a great read.

    • We’re The ThrowDown. No thanks required. But, if something we write here gives you a fresh perspective or even just gets you away from everyday issues, then that’s the greatest reward to us. Thank you, for reading our work.

  26. Reblogged this on TheCMMSProject and commented:
    Great animation and a real eye opening message.

  27. janettara1

    Excellent!

  28. dirtydiscoradio

    Super, i can’t wait for Rudolph to come again! ;-)

  29. CTFU!! THANK YOU!! I’ve been saying this for years. It’s fucked up how mean those reindeer were until they needed him. Teaches the wrong lesson to kids.
    Finally, someone pointed it out.

  30. Rudolph is the patron saint of misfits! I totally relate to him :)

  31. Well said/blogged. Congratulations and Thanks! JB Couldn’t find the like button…

  32. In addition to your concern for kids, I felt you have a need to be/ express unconventional sides of things… You are welcome to challenge the traditional views if any represented in my blogs… Thanks again, Love you! Jyo

  33. I remember I always loved to watch Rudolph as a kid, while at the same time it gave me a vaguely unsettled feeling. The other reindeers were straight-up jerks, and making nice with jerks always ends badly.

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