Rudolph is actually QUITE problematic. Here’s why.

Last week at Medium, I had a post about the kind-of-sort-of controversy around Rankin Bass’s Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Really, no one probably cares all that much about the non-issue, but it’s a fun way to look busy during December. Still, as silly as it is to call the 1960s children’s cartoon racist or bigoted, there were some things that are deeply bothersome about this special:

  1. At the end, Hermey the Elf schedules his first appointment for the week after Christmas. The week before Christmas, he was practicing on dolls, and the week after he’s authorized to poke around someone’s gums?
  2. Staying with Hermey, during the climactic scene he de-fangs the abominable snowman – or “The Bumble,” as Yukon Cornelius calls him – just before Rudolph, Clarice, and his family are about to be killed and consumed. The Bumble, as near we can tell, subsists on venison and other meats, probably requiring a protein-heavy diet to carry himself around. So what i he supposed to do without teeth?
  3. Rudolph’s nose is bright enough to cut through dense cloud cover that would have otherwise cancelled Santa’s yearly flight. This level of fog is implied to be unprecedented, yet Rudolph’s light cuts through it. All of the other reindeer laugh and call him names, but did no one think to contact a doctor? At the very least, as a public health measure they should have quarantined him for testing.
  4. Following from point number three, Donner’s attempt to cover Rudolph’s nose is not only poor parenting but wreckless endangerment of public safety.
  5. Also, in the picture where Hermey the Elf is playfully touching Rudolph’s nose – shouldn’t his finger be a singed and possibly tumor-ridden mess?
  6. And by the way, Santa knew about this so he’s complicit. Between this and letting people practice unlicensed dentistry, there’s a potentially massive class action liability here.
  7. Didn’t the Island of Misfit Toys seem a little odd? The winged lion, King Moonracer, insists on Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon leaving the island pretty quickly, refusing their requests for asylum. On the other hand, he happily brings so-called “misfit” toys to the island. Note the toys on the island they aren’t simply unwanted toys that children have outgrown or grown bored with; the misfit toys he brings back are either obviously defective (such as the cowboy who rides an ostrich) or made to feel defective (such as the Charlie-in-the-Box who functions appropriately, but simply has a different name). It all suggests that King Moonracer is seeking out damaged toys (or toys who can be convinced they’re damaged). He clearly wants Santa to distribute these toys after they’ve been on the island for a while. This seems wrong. Moonracer is up to something.
  8. What’s Yukon Cornelius’s story, anyway? I get that he’s looking for silver and gold, but does anyone already have mineral mining rights on the land he’s dropping his pickaxe on? And if so, what’s his plan – try to buy them out by affecting the appearance of a bumbling prospector? This seems the most realistic business plan he’s following.
  9. Wow, Sam the Snowman seems to know a lot, doesn’t he?
  10. Most problematic of all: People spend way too much time thinking about this stuff. Present company included.
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