Thursday, December 4, 2008

Have You Watched "Rudolph" Lately?

Last night, after spending the day draping the front of my home with holiday lights, the Missus and I sat down and watched "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" as we ate our dinner, and as the parents of two special needs children, we had a few good chuckles over how out-of-date the TV special was in terms of its political correctness. Mind you, we took no offense - we love vintage TV Christmas specials! But just consider...

  • When young Rudolph is born and his "impediment" is discovered, his parents don't seek help - they effectively put their "handicapped" son in the closet, by forcing him to wear a fake nose and pretend he's just like all the other kids.

  • Rudolph's ruse works OK for a while, but in a fit of adolescent excitement, just as he's impressing Santa with his flying skills, Rudolph's fake nose falls off, revealing his radiant proboscis. Once Rudolph's "handicap" is revealed, the VERY FIRST character to comment on it is none other than SANTA, who says (paraphrasing) "What a shame - and he had so much potential, too!"

  • All of the other reindeer promptly fall in line behind their leader, humiliating Rudolph and proceeding to immediately isolate him, banning him from joining in the reindeer games.

  • Rudolph, of course, runs away with another deviant outcast, Hermie, the elf who wants to be a dentist... And where do they go? The Island of Misfit Toys, where all "handicapped" toys are sent to be banished rather than be allowed to assimilate.

  • Rudolph and Hermie eventually meet up with the Abominable Snowmonster of the North, who is holding Rudy's parents and girlfriend hostage. They manage to free the hostages, but the fail to finish off the snowmonster because they realize it would be better to "get the women folk" (that's a quote) back to safety.

As we all know, everything works out in the end and Rudolph saves Christmas - but only because he could prove that his "handicap" had an upside! Otherwise, he and the misfit toys would still be chillin' back on the island!

Just imagine what would happen if this scenario played out in real life in 2008. Somehow, I think the outcome would be quite different - and a lot of lawyers would be getting rich!

I wanted to include a clip from the Rudolph TV special, but Rankin/Bass has been successful in pretty much banishing its material from Youtube. I did, however, find this fabulous parody clip, in which the Rudolph special is produced by Martin Scorcese. It's a hoot! Enjoy!

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