Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rankin Bass's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Once upon a time, there was a reindeer named Rudolph. His nose was so shiny, you could even say it glowed. Of course, not everyone thought it was so great. Santa, for example, showed up at Rudolph's parents house on the day Rudolph was born to tell them Rudolph would be a great failure if his nose didn't stop shining.

And I thought Nuclear Wintour was a bad boss--but even she refrains from showing up to fondle Heidi and Kate Moss's kids to make sure their hips aren't too thick and their faces are symmetrical enough to grace Vogue one day. (Well, she has since the restraining order.)

Rudolph thinks his nose is fine. He doesn't want to cover it up. "I don't want to, Daddy!"

But in the Donner household, democracy is for chumps.

Meanwhile, Santa and the Mrs. deal with disordered eating. Mrs. Claus invites Santa to, "Eat, EAT! Whoever heard of a skinny Santa?" And besides, her Feeder fetish website isn't going to get any hits if Santa doesn't bulk up.

Santa responds by threatening to eat her head.

At the reindeer games, Rudolph succeeds (well, come on, the only competition was Ben Affleck and Gary Sinise). He also meets a rather creepy coach, Coach Comet, who informs the reindeers, "My name is Comet. And even though I'm your coach, I wanna be your paaaaal."

Rudolph's friend, Fireball, and his reaction:

You and me both, Fireball.

Santa sees the nose and yells at Donner for not having had the sense to kick his mate in the stomach when she was pregnant, thus aborting Rudolph pre-emptively. He presents Donner with the traditional Bowie knife so he can commit harikiri. "You should be ashamed of yourself!"

Rudolph flees.

But he meets a cute doe named Clarice, who proves that she's already a better mate than either Debbie Rowe or Lisa Marie Presley by saying that she prefers his real nose, that it's much better than the silly false one he was wearing.

But Clarice's dad shows up and sends Clarice packing. (Time for her to get her eyelash extensions redone.)

Rudolph meets up with a blond elf named Hermey whose life goal is to be a dentist. The two decide to head off together. They soon meet up with a strange red headed man who casually hurls a pick axe and alternatively claims to be looking for gold, silver, and peppermint.

Without much debate, they decide to hang out with the stranger. After all--he does have cute puppies.

Rudolph, Yukon, and Hermey Scrivello, DDS, escape the Abominable Snowman of the North.

They later find themselves at the Island of Misfit Toys, where an effeminate Charlie in the Box, a polka dotted elephant, and a weepy doll, among others, complain that no one wants them. (I recommend a name change, a home among hipster kids, and Xanax--in that order.)

Rudolph promises the leader of the misfit toys, a winged lion who wears a crown named King Moonracer, that he'll tell Santa about the plight. Then Rudolph sets out on his own because he doesn't want to put Yukon or Hermey Scrivello, DDS at risk.

Burl Ives narrates that Rudolph is beginning to grow up.

Sadako's reaction:

Okay, well, anyway. Where was I? Growing up...goddamnit, stupid sexy Rudolph!

Rudolph returns home to find that his father went out looking for him and told Mrs. Donner to stay home because "this was man's work." But Clarice and Mrs. Donner went out to look for Rudolph, too. Assuming that female reindeer are like guy reindeers but with no reason or accountability, Rudolph assumes they went to the Bumble's lair and finds the Bumble about to pull a Polyphemus on all three reindeer.

Yukon and Hermey Scrivello, DDS happen to wander by at the exact moment because apparently the Bumble's place is like the Central Perk of the North Pole. Formulating a plan, they knock the Bumble out and Hermey goes to work yanking out his teeth and then dances happily among a sea of molars.

Later, the Head Elf relents and lets Hermey become a dentist. Looks like dental school and being board certified are overrated--being a dentist just means having a knack for sadism. (Marathon Man and Little Shop of Horrors were right.)

The Bumble's strength apparently was in his teeth. He shrinks inexplicably and Yukon Cornelius hurls him off the cliff and falls.

Except he was just punking us 'cause Bumbles can bounce. At home, Santa welcomes Rudolph and the others home, telling our favorite W.C. Fields schnozz that suicide was too harsh. Rudolph can just live out the rest of his life as a Boo Radley esque social pariah instead.

Suddenly, a report comes in that the weather is too rough. (Santa, like Newman, doesn't go out when it rains.) Rudolph's nose starts to glow.

Santa decides to surgically remove the nose and attach it to his sleigh as a beacon, but when he realizes there's no time, he promotes Rudolph to the head of the sleigh.

When Santa realizes how financially viable having a glowing reindeer will be, he grabs Rudolph and whispers sweet nothings to him.

Viewer reaction:

Santa ponders going back for the misfit toys. He decides against it because it'll add to overhead costs. A year later, he rectifies this mistake after the public relations nightmare. (Hasbro threatened to organize a million toy march and Kanye West announced on national TV, "Santa doesn't care about toys.")

Well, the official story is that viewers complained that the toys got left behind, so Rankin-Bass edited in a sequence over the credits.

Did we mention he's a misfit because he's a bird who can't fly--he swims?

Santa's lawyers learned from the Planned Parenthood and ACORN debacle and reported that this elf absolutely wasn't acting on orders from above.

Have a holly jolly Tuesday.