I can already hear you yelling. It’s not your fault; you grew up singing the song, loving the character, and making little drawings of a reindeer with a shiny red nose all through childhood. But upon closer inspection, the children’s movie of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is probably the worst Christmas special out there. “But Scott,” you scream, “It’s a cute story about underdogs and how they got a big break in the end!” True, that does happen, but the entire 55-minute story is a joke when looked at closely. In actuality, the first 48 minutes of the special is about how Rudolph doesn’t fit in. Only in the last 7 minutes does everything go well for the underdogs. But I can break this down even further for you. Let’s go.
Reasons against Rudolph: The Worst Christmas Special
1. Abuse, Abuse, Abuse
Now look, I understand that this is a kids special, but when you think about the central message of the story, does it really make sense? At the beginning of the movie Rudolph is introduced into the world as a very cute reindeer, and immediately is met with harsh words form his father and Santa Clause (who supposedly is the jolliest man on the planet).
Then, in an attempt to ensure Rudolph’s chances of getting on the sleigh team, his own father puts mud over his nose to try and make Rudolph seem normal!
So what we’re looking at here is a classic case of rejection from parents. Rudolph is born with a defect, and to make him fit in, his parents decide to hide it as best they can. But we all know the story; the mud eventually falls off of Rudolph’s nose, he gets made fun of by all the small reindeer, and eventually he decides to leave the North Pole because of all the bullying.
All this to say; why is Santa being so picky about his reindeer? Since when was Santa an expert on good reindeer looks? As I recall, Santa was once friends with a penguin and winter warlock before he got famous, so he shouldn’t be so picky about what his reindeer look like.
And then Donner, Rudolph’s own dad, is shamed by Santa for having a kid with a red nose!!! As a father, Donner is more concerned about his own name and reputation than his sons well being. It shouldn’t matter to him whether or not Rudolph is different, he’s Donner’s son, but reputation is all that matters in the North Pole. The point I’m trying to get at here is that we shouldn’t look down on differences. The whole movie circles around the morals by letting the characters sing away their problems and meeting up with more and more outsiders as the tale progresses. Not until the very end, when a freak snowstorm hits, does Santa finally concede and ask for Rudolph’s help. There’s really no apologizing, no reconciliation, just, “Okay now we need you when we need you, hope that’s alright! You’re still kind of strange with that nose though!” It leaves me unsatisfied how quickly the problem got shoved under the rug once Santa saw convenience in Rudolph’s difference.
2. Yukon Cornelius
Okay so this guy is clearly on drugs. If you watch the show, Yukon is a crazy prospector going around with his pack of sled dogs looking for silver and gold. Several times throughout the special Yukon is shown throwing up his pick-axe and licking it. Why? He says he can taste the silver and gold himself. I think though, that he’s licked that axe a little too much (sound like Miley, anyone?) and it’s gone to his head. Yukon just seems like he’s under the influence of something. You be the judge.
And then, if what you just watched wasn’t enough craziness, Yukon decides that getting rid of the Abominable Snowmonster’s teeth isn’t enough for him; he instead chooses to chase the Snowmonster off of a cliff. CAUSE THAT’S NORMAL.
It’s nice that the writers of this special gave kids not only a reindeer with image problems to cheer for, but also a crazed mountain man that licks a pick-axe for a living.
3. The Ending
I’ve mentioned this before; the ending of this special leaves me very unsatisfied. Why? Let me tell you. As a child, you naturally cheer for Rudolph, the misfit toys, and Hermey the Dentist Elf’s success. What kids don’t realize though, is that they all got their spotlight very quickly. The entire special follows the struggles of the misfit characters, and how they don’t fit in anywhere. Heck, they even struggle to survive the Abominable Snowmonster’s attacks every five minutes. But when they do get their spot in the limelight, it’s only because they’re needed as a last resort. Hermey only got his dentist office because he tagged along with Rudolph and the head elf felt bad. Rudolph only got his chance because a freak snowstorm hit the North Pole. Even then, no one really apologized or made an effort to further show remorse for pushing the misfits away from home in the first place. Very poor storytelling.
So in conclusion, please guard what you show your family this holiday season. Christmas specials are jam packed kid friendly “feel good” stories that lack backbone and true meaning. Rudolph is one of the more confusing, and definitely the worst special that you can watch. So instead of a reindeer, show your kids something wholesome this Christmas, like It’s a Wonderful Life, or Elf. Those movies show family and the importance of togetherness. Happy Holidays!