Let’s Talk About Rudolph

The time has come for some serious issues to be raised about the popular Christmas classic

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On Tuesday night we get our first airing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this Christmas season. Lucky you if you own it and have gotten a jump on the rest of us. It’ll be the first time I’ve watched it this year, but I’m going to be honest, with each viewing I find myself more and more confused by the beloved holiday classic. I try to keep my comments to myself because quite frankly, My Darling Wife would sometimes prefer it that way, but even at my most polite and supportive, I can’t help myself. The movie has some issues and while the issues aren’t as disturbing as those in another holiday classic Home Alone, there are still enough there to be considered somewhat troubling.

If for some reason you’ve never seen the movie or it’s been ages since you have, let me quickly refresh you.

Two reindeer have a baby reindeer. The baby reindeer is born with an illuminated schnoz, making him an embarrassment to the family. They hide it, but the truth eventually gets out and the baby reindeer with the illuminated beak, Rudolph, peaces out. At the same time, this little elf dude announces his desire to be a dentist and not a toy making slave. He is also cast out of the North Pole.

The two end up teaming up, eventually running into a burly looking dude who routinely licks his ice pick and is out mining for gold. They run away from a snow monster with googly eyes and come across the Island of Misfit Toys, which is down river from the Island of Inept Toy Makers. Yadda, yadda, yadda they all return and it takes a massive snow storm and the threat of Christmas being cancelled for people to realize Rudolph has value and then they all live happily ever after.

It’s heart-warming story, albeit a problematic one, and I will now lay out some of my issues with the movie.

Image result for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Skinny Santa and suddenly valuable Rudolph

Issue 1: Why are reindeer such dicks?

No, really. Why? You work one day a year and I’m assuming you get free-housing, so you’d think they’d be in better spirits. But they were all straight up a-holes to Rudolph. Also, male reindeer are incredibly chauvinistic, which is totally not cool.

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Beyonce taught me women have value too. Beyonce wouldn’t put up with these male reindeer acting the way they do and she wouldn’t be cool with the females letting their behavior slide.

Maybe male reindeer should also listen to Beyonce and then re-think their stance on women. The ladies should listen to Beyonce too.

Actually, pretty much everyone should listen to Beyonce. It’s for the best.

Issue 2: On a related note, we have to hope that the North Pole is more progressive and open to the changing roles of women these days, right?

Hopefully. Although it seems true change will only come when one of Santa’s eight reindeer are a female. We’ll get there ladies. #Imwithher

Issue 3: How did no one not think that a reindeer with a headlight for a nose would be an asset?

Think about it, you’re flying a sleigh around the world. You are flying at night and in addition to that, in at least half of the area you are traveling in, it’s winter. It would then be safe to assume that climate change or not, it’s bound to be snowing somewhere during your travels.

Now I may be but a simple commoner, a man not all that familiar with aerial sleigh travel and the visibility restrictions that may or may not come with it, but I would think that if a reindeer were to be born with a built in headlight, that reindeer would be one heck of a catch. That reindeer would be sought after, recruited and coached up like a five star recruit from the great state of Texas. That reindeer was born with a God-given gift. Remarkable.

So tell me, Santa, other people of the North Pole, how can you not see how much of an asset that is?

Dude, these people are idiots.

Issue 4: Isn’t it kind of lame that people only started being nice to Rudolph once they needed him?

Uh, yes. That’s no way to treat people or reindeer. Rudolph should have told them to pound sand when they came calling because they needed him and only then fully accepted him. At the very least Rudolph should have held out for a raise or something. Get out of the cave and into a crib with some heat, choice furnishings and a nice view of dancing penguins and the Northern Lights.

Rudolph caved way too easily.

Issue 5: What the hell is up with the lion with the wings?

Oh, King Moonracer?

Well here’s the thing, drugs are weird.

Image result for shrug gif

Next question.

Issue 6: I’d think that if an elf wanted to be a dentist, he’d be encouraged to do so given the heavy candy intake of the other elves.

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Dentist Elf

Studies have shown that the only thing elves eat is candy and candy contains sugar. You know what sugar does, kids? It rots your teeth out.

Man, if only there was a dentist around to help these poor elves out.

Oh yeah, there was, but you all routinely dumped on him and sent him packing because he didn’t want to build stuffed animals. I get it, making toys is a top priority in the North Pole. Maintaining the sleigh is probably number two on the list. But I’d think that the long-term sustainability of the work force and the well-being of said work force would be close behind. Bringing in a nutritionist, physical therapist and yes, a dentist would be incredibly beneficial to not just the elves, but the higher ups. Keeps the risk of injury down, helps with insurance premiums and ensures that team morale never falters or falls off cliff.

This makes sense to me and come on, they had a dentist right there in front of them! There’s probably an elf or two also interested in nutrition and physical therapy, but they’re too afraid to say anything. They saw how Dentist Elf was treated when he announced his intentions to become a dentist and were justifiably afraid that they’d get the same kind of response if they made their desire to be a physical therapist known. That’s no way to run a business, foster a community and create a culture of acceptance.

Come on North Pole.

It’s called inclusion. It’s pretty sweet.

Issue 7: How long was Rudolph roaming in the wild after bailing on Dentist Elf and Yukon?

While they’re at the Island of Misfit Toys Rudolph decides he needs to strike out on his own. It’s a little bit of a martyr move, but whatever. He roams the North Pole for…uh, how long exactly? That part is a little unclear.

Now to be fair, I’m not all that familiar with the aging process of a reindeer, nor do I have any idea how long it takes for antlers to grow. But I would think it would take at least a year for antlers to fully form. Yet they make it seem like he was only out there for a few days just kicking around, growing up, getting buff, growing hair in weird places and having his voice change.

Here he is when he leaves:

Image result for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

And then we finally emerges from the wild:

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Seems fishy to me, as if a place where toys talk and reindeer fly might not be on the up and up.

Issue 8: I’m sorry, but Santa gaining what looks like at least 100 pounds in less than a day doesn’t seem healthy.

The threat of a snowstorm and the potential of Christmas being cancelled has ruined Santa’s appetite and he’s looking rather svelte. Yet upon realizing that Rudolph isn’t actually a weirdo, but a valuable addition to the team, Santa switches gears and in like, a day, packs on at least 100 pounds.

I don’t care what kind of magical world you are living in, that kind of rapid weight gain is simply not healthy. I think Santa is taking his immortality for granted if you ask me. The real shame would be if there were an elf among the ranks who harbored dreams of becoming a nutritionist.

There probably is, but that elf isn’t about to come out and say it anytime soon.

But hey, happy holidays.

  1. Violence is not cool nor acceptable which is why I always without exception blacklist any and all female wannabe entainters who promote violence towards men. Female reindeer are smaller and not as strong as male reindeer consequencely if Santa wants to get off the ground he’d better stay well away from political correctness that claims a female reindeer can do anything a male reindeer can do until it comes time to actually do it. The laws of physics simply don’t bow to the whims of feminists like their man boys. Dont like it go see mother nature.

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    1. Ok. Definitely one way to look at it.

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  2. roxellamay 12/09/2017 at 09:29

    Oh my God! A ridiculously awesome piece!
    It was funny but you actually pointed out some of the most disturbing issues.
    I have never watched the movie though, and after reading this I have made it a point to watch it on the first chance I get.
    The part about inclusion is great, but I guess the movie makers thought that a little bit of drama (especially when Rudolph caves in so quickly) would be more fairytale-esque and emotionally appealing to the audience who will probably be in holiday spirits.
    If a modern remake is made, then your points must definitely be taken into account!

    Overall, a great article!
    I don’t know if you have written it already, but I am certainly looking forward to your breakdown on “Home Alone”, if you decide to write it!

    P.S. : I love your style of writing. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Thanks for reading. And I did write about Home Alone. Love it but it’s not without its own issues
      https://giddyupamerica.com/2015/11/30/home-alone-is-insane/

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      1. roxellamay 12/09/2017 at 11:34

        Okay I’ll check it out and let you know my thoughts on it! 🙂

  3. Hahaha! I laughed all the way through. A great way to start my day. I especially love how Rudolf became buff and grew hair in strange places in such a short time.

    I found you through Discover. Congratulations!

    Reply

    1. Thanks! And thank you for reading.

      Reply

  4. Love this! I have been a fan of this show since I was little. Watch it every year. I have had similar thoughts about how it is truly messed up too. Like the chauvinistic male reindeer, and the need for dentistry especially! Great post 🙂 Happy Holidays!

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  5. Great post. I almost spit my coffee onto the computer screen because I really wasn’t expecting the line, “Issue 1: Why are reindeer such dicks?” Anyway, perhaps a modern version of Rudolph is needed and I wonder if you were to re-write the how and why Rudolph came to be, what would it look like?

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    1. Thanks for reading. If I were to update the story the only change I’d make is that everyone would see how valuable Rudy’s noise is from the jump. They’d also see the value of a dentist. And actually most importantly, everyone would be cool with differences.

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      1. Excellent, covers off all the important messages.

  6. Make me curious to watch I think the Rudolph in this movie is the writer character that he is portraying himself being inferior in his childhood days

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  7. Lol to share the story of Rudolph, would be like sharing Wizard of oz. We all know it. But I never watch this. Doesn’t need to be an hour. Plus, you’re right. There is a certain obnoxiousness to the whole story.

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    1. Thanks! And thanks for reading.

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  8. This is food for thought. Reindeer need to be nicer and Rudolph needs to be respected more.

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  9. I loved, LET’S TALK ABOUT RUDOLPH!!!!! It was so funny!!!!! Very clever!!!!!
    Happy Holidays!!!! 🙂

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    1. Thanks for reading and same to you!

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  10. Love the new perspective. . I’ve always wondered myself . .
    Why wouldn’t Santa promote higher education if we have to get good grades to get presents??
    Why aren’t really fun toothbrushes ever in our stockings?
    Why isn’t there paid medical care for all of Santa’s staff (reindeer included)??

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    1. Thanks. And those are all good things to think about. Crazy that anything even gets done up there.

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      1. Does not seem well-managed or remotely efficient.

  11. Katalin Luczay-Smith 12/09/2017 at 10:56

    moral of the story was that misfits can gain a part in life too. most of us artists and scientists who are discoverers are misfits and find it hard to be accepted the rest is fairytail

    Reply

      1. Katalin Luczay-Smith 12/09/2017 at 12:57

        glad you agree if you like see seascapesandlandscapes.pixels.com some misfit paintings

  12. ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’ used to be my favorite cartoon all year! My Christmas was complete, ONLY when I saw this cartoon. Lol!

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    1. My wife feels the same way.

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  13. You had me at Beyonce. Seriously.

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Rudolph. Its nice to know I am not the only human that feels that way.

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  14. Pretty funny, mate. I challenge you to find some flaws with the abominable snow monster and the Burl Ives snow man. Could be some funny stuff there too…

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    1. Thanks. Challenge accepted.

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  15. You forgot to mention how much of a JERK Santa is in that movie!!!

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    1. Such a jerk. Probably warrants its own post.

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      1. Agreed! Lol! Loved the article!
        Did you see this meme?

      2. I haven’t but that’s fantastic!

  16. You win the internet with this one! So many valid points. Love #1.

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  17. This was hilarious but I’m assuming tongue in cheek, since it aired December 6, 1964. Most of the issues (aside from not accepting people’s desires and Santa getting fat in less than 24 hours) hadn’t yet become national or even global. I even doubt if they’d become more than just a passing thought.

    At any rate, I laughed my way through your piece, I just hope you weren’t dead serious – think of the time frame.

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    1. It was definitely tongue and cheek and viewed from a current lens. Thanks for reading!

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  18. I love this SO MUCH!!! Thanks for the laughs! 😂😂

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    1. Thanks and thanks for reading!

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  19. checkeredarmour 12/09/2017 at 16:37

    The Beyonce reference tho…This post was spot on and funny. It was amazing.❤️❤️❤️

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  20. Brilliantly cynical and well written article.

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  21. Ha ha!!! I’ve had many of these thoughts myself. Especially the one about all the dicks at the north pole only being nice and accepting of Rudolph when he’s needed.. That never seemed like a very moral ending to me. I do love pointing out the need for Hermey to actually become a dentist due to the candy intake. Completely true. Although.. Do the elves all eat the candy? Or do they just send it out to the unsuspecting children to rot their teeth?

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    1. Can’t say if the elves all eat candy or not. I feel like they do, but that’s based on the movie Elf. Hard to say how to true to life that movie is.

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      1. Sadly, when I posed that question I was thinking of the same thing…. If they all eat spaghetti with maple syrup and marshmallows or whatever… Than, yes. They definitely need a dentist elf.. But, maybe we have to get our proper Christsmas universe in order… Which one is real?? 🙂

      2. Hard to say. I feel like elf seems a little more reliable. But I could be biased. I love will Ferrell.

      3. Ya. That’s just the modern day man in you replying. ;p

  22. Indeed. One would expect Rudolph to be highly valued. But alas, the oddity of an electric red nose outshines it’s opportunity. It is the same with every other odd thing. I am a transgender woman, and one would think that my training as a boy, and my growing experience as a woman would be sought after by men and women alike. Instead, the oddity is mostly what people see. Which is why I believe Rudolph remains an important figure, and should even get more attention in today’s world.

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    1. Thanks for the comment!

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  23. This was hilarious and wonderful in every way. Definitely watching this one closely this year!

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  24. Beyonce is the answer to everything. 🙂 I preferred Santa Claus is comin’ to town over Rudolph growing up, though.

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    1. Totally agree! Thanks for reading!

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  25. Great post! Read it first thing in the morning, and am chuckling away. The day promises to be good.

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  26. I have also been mortified since I’ve watched this movie as an adult! I couldn’t believe the themes within that I never noticed as a child.

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    1. Thanks for reading. Yeah, it’s a tough watch when you’re older.

      Reply

      1. Makes me wonder what other movies I will discover that brainwashed me… 😧

  27. A hilarious analysis. I just started my own blog, and this particular piece gives me so many ideas on how to write engaging material. Keep it coming!

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    1. Great, thanks! Good luck!

      Reply

      1. I’d actually like to ask you some questions. I’m fairly new to the WordPress format. Is there a direct message option?

      2. Not sure, but you can email me at ryanoconnell79(at)gmail.com

  28. A few years ago, I watched this Christmas special again for the first time in ages. As a child, I never realized what a jerk Santa Clause is in this rendition!

    Also, a cut scene reveals that Yukon Cornelius was in search of a peppermint mine. That’s why he kept licking his hammer after hitting the ice.

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    1. Oh wow. That does make sense.

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  29. A good read to start the day laughing. Thank you!

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    1. No problem. Thanks for reading!

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  30. When you are playing hide and seek and you are hiding but suddenly your nose light up 😐 😂

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  31. Loved your take on this holiday movie! 😃🎅🏻

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  32. That’s so true!!!! All of it!! Amazing way to look at the holiday season and point out MAJOR flaws.

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  33. itsjosiefina 12/10/2017 at 11:35

    So funny! You should do one on frosty the snowman. I love how he says, “Happy birthday!”

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    1. Thanks and I’ve definitely thought about it! Why are all those kids wearing shorts! It’s insane.

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    2. OH YEAH

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  34. This reminds me of a conversation my husband and I recently had. He was reading “Harold and the Purple Crayon” to our son and stopped to exuberantly tell me that it was an awful, pointless story. I reasoned with him that “Harold” is a tale of ingenuity, problem-solving, creativity, and hope. “Classics are classics for a reason,” I told him. The same goes for “Rudolph”. Sure, as adults we may find that the reindeer are “dicks” and that the probability of Santa gaining one-hundred pounds over night is slim (although, we’ve all been close after ten slices of pumpkin pie and a gallon of eggnog because “YOLO” it’s Christmastime, am I right?) and, yeah, the elves are likely in desperate need of some dental healthcare, but such is life, no? Just as the reindeer are dicks, so are a lot of children – unwittingly – as well as the adults that spawned them. Children don’t care that little Johnny is exceedingly intelligent and could eventually asset the community as a doctor, scientist, or profound wordsmith. They just care that little Johnny speaks differently than them and that’s weird and Bully Tommy’s dad, Greg, (who drinks two 6-packs of Bud a night and is hardly pushing Tommy toward a life of compassion and understanding) certainly isn’t doing anything to aid the situation. Yet, Greg may need little Johnny one day when he’s frail and Johnny is providing his healthcare. Thereby, it may not be good that life is this way, but it is true and, perhaps, best for our children to learn to cope with this early on. Sometimes our greatest insecurities, what sets us apart, becomes our greatest asset. Hold strong, be yourself (and maybe go on a trek through the wintry wood for an undisclosed amount of time) despite what the bullies say.

    Similarly, of course the elves would need dental care. I’d dare say that many people disregard their health in the same way, wouldn’t you? I couldn’t begin to count the number of comments I’ve read or heard of people denying doctor’s claims, refusing lifestyle modifications, or downright defying the advice of healthcare professionals. (Hello, Facebook video of thirty-pound-cheeseburger, dripping with cheese, grease, and desperation! Nice to see your 1.2k views!) That isn’t to say that this portion of the story is a commentary of health. Rather, I believe it to be a commentary on the human condition. A) You can try to help others, but, unfortunately, you’ll always encounter self-destructive individuals who don’t want help. B) People love patterns, commonality, and the comfort of similarity. If you threaten that, you’ll likely be outcast or mistreated. C) Again, your insecurities may be an asset, but sometimes it takes people a while to realize it.

    I could continue, but for the sake of my (non-existent) brevity, I won’t. My point is this: Children may not respond to verbally hearing those life-lessons, but repeatedly exposing lessons to them through the subtlety of a fun story is integral, and, hey, it probably doesn’t hurt adults either.

    I thought that this was a very fun read and I enjoyed your pop-culture commentary. I may or may not have snorted when I saw Rudolph’s “after” picture. I look forward to reading more of your work! 🙂

    P.S. I’m sorry for the drawn-out response. Perhaps it’s the contrarian in me, or maybe it’s just the fact that my brain is constantly running around; I always find that I must rebut.

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    1. Thanks for reading and I appreciate the response!

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  35. You are a very funny writer! Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  36. […] via Let’s Talk About Rudolph — Giddy Up America […]

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  37. This was hilarious. Thanks. And I do find it somewhat inexplicable that reindeers would be such dicks…

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    1. Thanks. And yeah, who would have thought?

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  38. You completely missed the two psychotic murders in their midst. Also, Hermie’s dental book moves on its own. Black magic at the North Pole.

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  39. I’m actually a bit more partial to the other Rankin Bass classics Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and The Little Drummer Boy. But Rudolf is a pretty good tale. I LOVE the misfit song. Sometimes I just sing it to myself. Congrats on being “Discovered”

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  40. Bahahahaha I was dying laughing and glad I’m not the only one that was confused by parts of the story. You’re right, I’m pretty sure Santa gaining 100 lbs in days isn’t healthy. Bravo on a job well done

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  41. Okay so why is there no girl reindeer and as far as the fat Santa I mean it’s Santa. I was at school the other day and the kids were practicing for their Christmas program and the theme was Getting Santa in shape,

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    1. There were three girl reindeer, not including Rudolph’s mom. The one with the bow, Clarice, even had a song about murder. Rudolph, kissed her at the end, not knowing what evil lurked within.

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      1. oh yeah but none that drive his slay.

      2. Vixen is not a gender-normative boy name. Also, it’s not typical for male reindeer to still have their antlers at that time of year.

  42. I’m at work but I think it is nice

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  43. […] via Let’s Talk About Rudolph — Giddy Up America […]

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  44. Great post! Really funny and yet also discusses some important messages that need to be challenged in entertainment and the media. A brilliant read and a great start to my Monday! Thanks!

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  45. I really enjoyed reading this! Great job!

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  46. I’ve seen a lot of posts going around Twitter and Instagram lately saying “Rudolph: a story about how people are dicks until they need something from you”. Can’t say I ever thought about it this way before, but now that it’s been exposed (especially as clearly and engagingly as you wrote it here!) I can’t really get it out of my head. Fascinating how we just accept how bizarre and problematic this movie is just because it’s cute!

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated!

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  47. Actually, studies have shown that Santa’s reindeer have to be female, considering they’re always shown with antlers. The males lose their antlers at the beginning of winter, but the females don’t lose theirs until spring. So really another thing wrong with this movie is that they put males in the roles of what should’ve been portrayed as females. And it has been a while since I’ve watched the movie, but looking back now it is kind of messed up to see how the North Pole basically kicks out anyone who is an individualist and doesn’t follow the society norms. I feel rather guilty now for every toy I ever got from Santa knowing it was built on the ideals of an unjust society. Christmas is forever altered for me.

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    1. Look at you dropping knowledge!

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  48. Someone’s got a really BIG headstart on the eggnog. 🤪

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  49. pawprintsandmint 12/11/2017 at 19:03

    I could never resist watching this each year as it played on television..it became a Christmas staple.. I always adored Rudolph and his difference, and his ability to rise from that and become a leader of the reindeer pack haha.. this Christmas as I’m away from home I think I’ll be watching the most embarrassingly cheesy hallmark Christmas/ Holiday movies ever made.

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    1. Oh I watch it every year because my wife loves it. Just because it has some warts doesn’t make it a classic. Thanks for reading!

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  50. […] via Let’s Talk About Rudolph — Giddy Up America […]

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  51. This is such a beautiful frickin masterpiece! I think I’m in love!

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  52. kikinaples 12/12/2017 at 13:38

    Hahahah I’ve never seen this movie, but boy I will!! You made me laugh all the way through and good points by the way!
    I guess I’m gonna watch it with another spirit now!

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    1. Thanks and thanks for reading!

      Reply

  53. I just watched Rudolph on tv the other night. It was made when I was maybe 6? Haven’t seen it for 25 years……..Santa was a prick! He told Rudolph’s dad he should be ‘ashamed’ wtf?! And then berated the elf choir ‘needs work’. While I like/admire the rouge dentist elf, he pulled ALL the teeth out of the abominable snowman. Did he use Novocain? Holy shit! What if dentist descended on the arctic and started pulling polar bear teeth? Besides being eaten,

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  54. Sorry – sent early……besides being eaten by the polar bears, wouldn’t there be an outcry from the animal rights community??

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    1. All good points. It’s madness up there in the North Pole. Thanks for reading!

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  55. Wonderfully insightful! I will remember all of these points when I watch it this weekend with my grands!

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  56. Stumbled across this. Made me re think my child hood!
    Great way of writing!
    Thanks for the laugh- needed it.

    Reply

    1. Thank you and thanks for reading!

      Reply

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