1964's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Everyone in This Film Is a Jerk

Updated on December 10, 2018
Disastrous Grape profile image

Ash has a bachelor's in English Lit, loves analyzing fiction, and is author of the humorous science fiction trilogy Fall Apart World.

1964's Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fifty-year-old classic I've loved since I was very small, but even when I was a child, I remember thinking Santa Claus was a jerk.

Now as an adult, I decided to watch the film again for old time's sake, and I'm saddened to realize that it wasn't just Santa. Everyone was a jerk in this film. With a few exceptions here and there, the cast is just all around assholery.

Santa singing his asshole song.
Santa singing his asshole song.

When Rudolph is first born, his parents freak at the sight of his nose. Before they can adjust to the shock of having a baby with a light bulb for a nose, Santa comes in and flippantly announces that a freak like Rudolph can never join his sleigh team.

It's never specifically stated why -- mostly because there is no practical reason. Rudolph's nose isn't some kind of liability. Santa isn't traveling incognito. In fact, he brazenly slides his fat ass down random people's chimneys and eats their cookies. He's not hiding.

Maybe if Santa had said something about Rudolph confusing traffic or causing pileups at intersections, his reasons might have made sense. But from what we can see of the film, he doesn't want Rudolph on his sleigh team specifically because he's different.

This is discrimination, Santa. Your little factory would get shutdown for that bull these days.

Naturally, this was fifty years ago, before the invention of Twitter, when people could get away with being bigots. So Santa sings a merry song about what a loser Rudolph is before waddling out.

Later, the elves bust their butts to honor Santa with a nice song. What is Santa's response? He sits there bored and yawning, then gives the elves a half-assed compliment before hurrying out the backdoor.

He is also kinda mean to Mrs. Claus, who spends all her time slaving away over a hot stove (dammit!), trying to fatten him up for the holidays so he can be warm while he's working. He sits on a literal throne and is pampered and spoiled by her, but all he can do is handwave her efforts, in-between bitching and complaining about his great life.

I think the rest of us would kill for a job we only had to do once a year, while sitting around eating cookies the other 364 days.

Why is Santa so mean???

Gym teachers.
Gym teachers.

Rudolph's father, Donner, is ashamed of his son's . . . "nonconformity" and is desperate to see Rudolph get on Santa's sleigh team. . . but why? Aren't the reindeer magical and immortal or something? Why does Santa need new ones?

To make the nonsense make sense, I'd go so far as to assume that the reindeer actually do die and are replaced by their children. So when Donner died, Rudolph would take his place as the new "Donner."

Yeah. Puttin' too much thought into this.

Donner hides his son's nose with some black gunk from the ground, but it isn't enough. When Rudolph's nose is revealed during flying lessons, the other children make fun of him and call him names. His own friend, Fireball, flees from him in horror -- horror! (I guess it makes sense, though. For all Fireball knows, Rudolph's nose can shoot lasers.)

Comet, who is acting as gym teacher, announces like a true prick that they won't be letting Rudolph join in their games. I guess I didn't find this shocking as a child because most of my teachers were actually mean like this.

Unsurprisingly, Rudolph is humiliated and runs away. Clarice, a girl he met at school, is the only one who's nice to him. She finds him in the forest and sings to him what is probably my favorite song in the film,

There's always tomorrow

for dreams to come true.

Believe in your dreams,

come what may.

There's always tomorrow

with so much to do,

and so little time in a day.

We all pretend

the rainbow has an end,

and you'll be there, my friend,

someday.

Why do they even have "elf practice?" Whoops! I'm late for human practice!!!
Why do they even have "elf practice?" Whoops! I'm late for human practice!!!

Later, we meet Hermey, an elf who doesn't fit in because he doesn't like making toys. The head elf is really, really mean to him (why is the head elf always so mean?). First, he humiliates Hermey by getting all the other elves to laugh at him. Then later, when Hermey makes some feeble attempt to fit in, he's screamed at about what a freak he is.

Damn. The bosses in the North Pole suck. These people need some kind of union.

Hermey gets fed up and runs away, and this is how he meets Rudolph. The two of them sing my second favorite song in the film ("We're a couple of misfits!") before deciding to run away together.

They eventually come to The Island of Misfit Toys, where the toys aren't really misfits. The Jack-in-the-Box, for instance, is named "Charlie." Okay . . . why not just change his f****** name? It's not like "Charlie" is printed on his forehead. He could just start calling himself "Jack" or maybe, I dunno, stop talking. Simple math, folks.

Also, the dolly is a misfit because she has low self-esteem? And the elephant is there because of polka-dots . . .? A cowboy riding an ostrich? Wha . . .?

Let me grab some aspirin.

Looking back now, I feel sorry for all the times my mother had to listen to this mess while I gleefully watched the film as a child.

Because Santa insists on being an ass, some random magical lion named King Moonracer runs the island and cares for the toys. He doesn't seem to have anything else to do. Of course, Moonracer is a jerk too because he turns Rudolph away -- a child! -- and expects him to go live homeless in the snow with an elf dentist and an incompetent prospector.

I guess we're lucky King Moonracer didn't just eat Rudolph.

The island itself is more evidence of Santa being a narcissist. We soon learn that the toys are only stuck on the island because Santa ignores them. Jolly Man gives them the cold shoulder every year, a silent way of making them feel like trash.

Honestly . . . Santa is worse than that popular chick in highschool.

Because everyone else in the film is a jerk, Rudolph lives like a homeless guy out in the snow, nose red and everything, and grows up in isolation.

Eventually, he returns to Christmas Town (or whatever) and there's a storm so bad, Santa's team can't see to fly. Rudolph's nose starts glowing -- as if the universe was loudly coughing and going, "Helloooo! I sent him to you for a reason!!!" -- and how does Santa respond? By complaining about Rudolph's nose.

But Santa realizes mid-complaint that Rudolph can actually be useful to him. So he asks nicely if Rudolph will save Christmas, and because Rudolph is a selfless, good-natured person, he agrees to.

So the moral of the story?

It's okay for people to discriminate against you over biological factors you can't help. But don't worry. You can earn people's love and acceptance on the condition that you prove useful to them.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

The characters were mean bullies, but this is still a beloved classic full of fun songs and is very worth owning.

 

© 2018 Ash Gray

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Venkatachari M profile image

    Venkatachari M 

    10 days ago from Hyderabad, India

    A very critical analysis of this film. I don't know the purpose of making that film. It is good only for entertaining children, but not grownups. But, even rational children can get hurt and feel very much embarrassed watching it nowadays.

    The only moral that can be taken from it is that every individual has his own importance and value in this universe. So, he shouldn't lose hope.

  • RachaelLefler profile image

    Rachael Lefler 

    11 days ago from Illinois

    I guess they were trying to go for an anti-bullying message, but since it was such a pro-bullying time, it comes off as horrible by our sensibilities some 54 years later. I mean, they were trying to say something like, tolerate people who are different, because they might have special skills that do make them useful. But now, we don't see tolerating people because of their utility particularly humane either. I'm glad society has come so far.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)