The best Xmas special in the entire world is on tonight (Friday) at 8 pm (check local listings) on CBS. Of course, I'm talking about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This special is even older than me! And while I've written on this topic before, it bears repeating. And I'm too lame to come up with an entirely new set of questions but there is some new stuff.
Make sure to play along at home with your favorite beverage. When Rudolph's nose lights up, take a sip. Rudolph lights up and you're getting lit. You're going to hate seeing that damn Bumble again in the third act.
I've seen this show a kajillion times and can actually recite most of the dialogue (much to the annoyance of anyone unfortunate enough to be watching it with me). So I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the complex subplots and leitmotifs contained within the show. Don't let Rankin and Bass fool you, they're working on a whole other level here.
Despite being guised as a children's show, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is actually a recognition of the unending struggle of man versus nature. There are, however, many unresolved questions in the show.
- Sam the Snowman frequently displays omnipotence throughout his narration. Is he a manifestation of God?
- The prejudice against Rudolph's nose is clearly anti-Semitism. Rudolph's friend Fireball is obviously a reference to the Holocaust. Is the Santa character a Nazi or a representation of Satan and the evil within every man?
- Rudolph's cries of "I'm cude, I'm cuuuuude" represent the failure of the modern co-educational school system. Despite his superious flying skills, Rudolph is still ostracized by the other adolescent reindeer because of his infatuation with Clarisse. Note the prevalence of homo-erotic undertones throughout the reindeer games.
- Why doesn't Yukon Cornelius just use his gun to shoot the Bumble? It is entirely appropriate to yell at the tv, "Use your gun, Yukon Cornelius" throughout the entirety of the drama. Is Yukon's non-use of his gun an indictment of the War in Iraq?
- The elves' working condictions are representative of the outsourcing of labor outside of the United States. Should the elves unionize? Why are they denied dental benefits? All the elf women are identical. Is this an early indictment of cloning and stem cell research?
- Clarisse's eyelashes are clearly fake. How does she apply them when reindeer lack opposable thumbs?
- Mrs. Claus is trying to kill Santa through food and her frequent exhortations to "Eat, Papa, Eat!" Does no one really like a skinny Santa or is Mrs. Claus merely a representation of the gluttony and rampant consumerism of the modern holiday season?
- King Moonracer won't even consider non-misfits staying on the island. Does his monarchy represent the oppression of democracy or merely the gradual decay brought on by European feudalism?
- What's wrong with the Doll on the Island of Misfit Toys? Incontentinence? Psychological instability? Depression? Multiple personalities?
- Charlie in the Box is undoubtedly a reference to the Vietnam War. Is King Moonracer really a characicture of Lyndon Baines Johnson and expansionist Asian policies?
- Rudoph's Mother and Clarisse are initially denied helping search for Rudolph because as Donner explains, "This is man's work." Is the plight of women in Rudolph representative of the disenfranchisement of women in the entire Muslim culture or merely women in the American workplace?
- The worst snowstorm ever is clearly an indictment of global warming. Are reindeer a realistic replacement for fossil fuel consuming vehicles?
- Yukon Cornelius' quest for silver and/or gold represents man's exploitation and destruction of the environment. Does his failure in his search for depletable mineral resources represent man's losing battle with the environment or merely the resiliancy of the human spirit?
- This clearly isn't the first time Hermey has squealed like a pig. What happened in that cottage on the Island of Misfit Toys after Rudolph left and Hermey and Yukon were left in bed together?
- Hermey the Elf is obviously gay. Evidence of this is when he pulls the Bumble's teeth to allow for greater oral gratification? Is Hermey short for hermaphrodite?
- Yukon Cornelius also carries a whip. Do he and Hermey move to Vermont together after the show is over?
- When scaring the Bumble, Yukon Cornelius clearly inflicts a "low blow" to the Bumble's crotch. Is this further confirmation of Cornelius' infatuation with Hermey or merely evidence of the ends justifying the means?
- Rudolph's response of "Ready, Santa" is a celebration of individualism. Does diversity in nature really exist or is Man at fault for his encroachment upon the environment?
- Santa is depicted as no longer delivering toys but merely tossing them from his sled. This underscores the fallacy of throwing money at societal injustice and mocks LBJ's Great Society. How is fiscal irresponsibility in the federal government represented by the various misfit toys?
Have fun, kids! Remember to drink whenever Rudolph's nose lights up because that makes the intellectual discussions even better.