Our fourth eggnog-flavored nugget of yuletide cheer is the adorable tale of two free-market idealists born into a drab, socialist system and their desire to break free of the bonds of communism. It’s a cold war story destined to warm your heart. I am, of course, referring to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
I’m kidding. But, I’m only kidding a little. I’ll tell you why after the cut.
This thing is so beloved and epic and long that I’m chopping it up into three parts, or else I’m seriously going to be here all day talking about this stuff. Incidentally, Digitalbumpin is the YouTube user risking copyright infringement for our holiday joy today.
We begin with footage of
last damn week if you’re in Boston lol a terrible, terrible snowstorm, which the friendly Mr. Snowman character will remember if he lives to be a hundred. But wait! That’s no friendly Mr. Snowman character – that’s Burl Ives, the holly-jolly folksinger who named names at the House for Un-American Activities Committee hearings back in the ’50s. You know who he tried to accuse of being a big ol’ commie? Pete Seeger. Pete freakin’ Seeger, who never hurt nobody. Of course, Pete eventually forgave ol’ Burl and they appeared together at a concert in ’93, but you just don’t do that to Pete Seeger, not on my watch. Apparently, in the Burl Ives version, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will go down in history like Joe McCarthy.
Anyway, Rudolph is born a few years before the storm, to Donner and, er, Mrs. Donner. Later versions of the tale would no doubt have Blitzen as the Mama, but this was 1964 and women were only good for birthin’ and going to the beauty salon. When Rudolph pokes his head out, however…
Mrs Donner: What a very shiny nose!
Mr. Donner: Shiny!! Why, I’d even say it GLOWS!
Guy Who Wrote The Song: Ka-CHING!
Santa shows up, ho-ho-hoing as Santas are wont to do, and asks to see little Rudy. Rudy better shape up and get rid of that glowing nose of his if he ever wants to join Santa’s team, because having a naturally produced source of light while you’re flying about in the dark in an 18th century sleigh couldn’t come in handy at all. This is exactly why Russia lost the Cold War. He even brags boldly about his prowess in picking the best reindeer for the job, sort of like Kruschev did during the space race.
Donner decides to hide his son’s “deformity” with soot because that’s gonna work, but otherwise he seems like a pretty good Papa. He obviously enjoys playing with his kid and is protective of him when the Abominable Snowman shows up. This is sort of where my Cold War thesis shows its first signs of straining, because we all know that Russian parents didn’t love their kids like we did. However, once we meet Herbie, the capitalism vs. communism thing falls back into place, and I’m a genius again.
Herbie’s an elf, and he’s not a very good elf, but he’s an elf and he works in a factory and he should shut up and be happy worker for glorious republik. However, he would much rather be a dentist. His boss ain’t havin’ it, so Herbie sings himself a little song about being a misfit, and not a nitwit. Herbie, bro, I can relate. Rudolph, interestingly enough, knows the same misfit/nitwit song. It must be one of those songs everybody knows in the People’s Republic of North Pole; perhaps they make you sing it at rallies if you step out of line.
Speaking of which, Herbie’s boss has a song he’s taught all the elves “to sing for Santa.” Obviously, Herbie ain’t havin’ it, cuz he’s too busy with his crazy notions of dentistry to show his solidarity to the State. This leads to his swift termination, although I’m sure there’s some kind of welfare state for him to fall back on. Possibly, they just dump him in the river in the middle of the night. Who knows? Either way, Rudolph’s off at the “reindeer games” by this point, and meeting new friends. One of these friends is Fireball, who’s obviously the pimp daddy of the group. Here he is, with Rudolph, checkin’ out the ladies.
Daaaaaaaaamn, boy, you see the hooves on her? That’s tight, yo.
Coach Comet then arrives, notices Rudolph’s red nose, and tells him that he “can’t join in any reindeer games.” Again, this is where my cold war thesis falls apart, because we all know the Russians prized athletes with physical differences. For example, some of their female triathelites had penises. It’s too bad, though, because Rudolph obviously isn’t a bad flier for a reindeer, especially when Clarice is around. That’s his girlfriend’s name – Clarice – and I can’t watch this special anymore without saying “Hello, Clariiiiice” like Anthony Hopkins at least once, either.
By the way, it should be noted that the other reindeer laugh and call him names. Not Clarice, though, who sees behind the red nose and falls in love with the caribou inside. Her Daddy don’t like Rudy, though, just because he black, so Rudy can’t walk Clarice home. However, this does mean that he meets fellow non-traveller Herbie, and they head off together singing a much happier version of the nitwit misfit song. Of course, there’s an abominable snowman hanging out in the mountains who wants to rip their heads off, but really, he’s kind of cute.
I mean…. aww.