Friday, December 25, 2015

The Annual Wo'C Crappy Christmas Classic

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

A snowman with a hipster goatee and the voice of Big Daddy from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof buttonholes us and insists we chat about the weather. This already seems less like a holiday classic and more like bad bus shelter small talk, but he assures us that if he "lives to be a hundred" he'll never see a worse storm. Who wants to tell him he won't live till March?

"What's the matter?" he demands, gazing into the camera with his coal eyes, "Never seen a talking snowman before." No, it's not that; I mean, I dropped acid once or twice in high school.

You know, the thing about a snowman is, he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. And when they come at you, they don't seem to be living. Because they're not, they're just malformed effigies made from clumps of inclement weather.

Big Daddy spends a few moments talking up the North Pole real estate market and trying to sell us on time shares in Ice Station Zebra, then he admits the whole place is a Honduran-style oligarchy ruled by the Claus Family.  Cut to the interior of their castle, which like everything else was probably built by slave elf labor (but since the elves look more like garden gnomes and less like Legolas, nobody cares).  Mrs. Claus is attempting to force-feed Santa like a goose, but Santa refuses to eat, because the "food" she's serving him is the same shade of purple as the plate, the table, the floor and the walls, so even if he wanted to eat, how would he even find it? Plus, Santa's no fool, and knows that if he cooperates there's a good chance he'll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with his liver harvested for pat√© (Mrs. Claus likes to do it up fancy for Christmas dinner).

Back to Big Daddy, who's sliding around the snowy grounds of Schloss Klaus, making a weird whisking noise that sounds like somebody running in tight corduroy shorts, or maybe a dog wiping its butt on a shag carpet. Suddenly,  he breaks into a chorus of the theme song, which turns out to be a dark incantation that summons the credits.  It's a catchy tune, but we've all heard it a million times, so let's jump ahead to Rudolph's birth.

Whelped in an icy cave, the infant Rudolph is a hyper-intelligent mutant who can speak within seconds of gnawing off his own umbilical chord, but is defaced by a red nose that seems to collect and discharge electrical energy. I expect Professor X to drop by at any moment to recruit him; instead, another meta-human bald guy, Santa, shows up. Santa breaks into a shamelessly boastful song which anticipates the self-aggrandizing excesses of gangsta rap, but he's forced to cut it short when his lavalier mic starts getting feedback from Rudolph's nose.

Rudolph's dad, Donner, lets the faun know that his love is dependent entirely on whether Rudolph makes Santa's sleigh team, and insists his son conceal his true self. Then he demonstrates by smearing a hoof-full of filth on Rudolph's birth defect. Basically the message of this holiday classic seems to be: "Son, my love is conditional. Here's some mud."

Donner teaches Rudolph how to "fight off enemies" and how to cower behind snowbanks whenever the "Abominable Snow Monster of the North" (is there one of the South? I should check)  is around, because "he's mean, he's nasty, and he hates everything to do with Christmas!" So even though the Abominable Snowman is white, he's still Bill O'Reilly's worst nightmare.

Cut to the 12 Years an Elf set, where a bunch of identical Fae are manufacturing crap for Mattel and Wham-O. They're all meeting quota, except for one blond, strangely Aryan-looking Elf, Hermey, who would prefer to be a dentist, just like Laurence Olivier's Nazi character, Szell, in Marathon Man.

The Elf Overseer threatens to fire Hermey, but Hermey ignores this and studies a dental school text instead, because he knows you can't fire a slave, only sell them, and since his sexual organs and potency are nowhere near Mandingo's, it would make for a dull auction.

Cut to the Reindeer Games. No, not that crappy movie with Charlize Theron and Ben Affleck; I mean the ungulate Hunger Games where Santa culls the future sled team members from the future venison stew. Rudolph, who remains closeted to please his father, meets a buff, blond young buck named Fireball, and they become fast friends. Great! Now we can just sit back, sip our egg nog, and wait for this thing to turn into a nasal-labial Crying Game.

Meanwhile, Hermey makes a break for freedom, and we can only hope he doesn't get caught and have part of his foot hacked off with an axe like Kunte Kinte.

Back at the Reindeer Games, Coach Comet has shown up, with his whistle and his clipboard and all the usual impedimenta of petty tyranny that we all remember from junior high. Or is it just me?  Just me? Okay. Anyway, there's a Coach on the premises, which means there's about to be shame, peer pressure, and homosexual panic.

While Coach Comet makes the bucks try and fail to fly so he can get the verbal abuse started, Rudolph meets the comely doe, Clarice.  As Meet Cutes go, it's a decent example, but since his nose is covered, Rudolph has to speak slowly and deliberately, and when he says "Clarice," he sounds a bit like Hannibal Lector with a bad case if the sniffles.

Clarice declares Rudolph "cute", and apparently testosterone acts like a performance-enhancing drug in reindeer, because he leaps farther than any of his classmates. But when the fake nose comes off, Santa rejects him, his classmates mock and bully him, and his father promptly disowns him.  This is always the low point in any stop-motion animated "It Gets Better" video.

Clarice serenades Rudolph with an inspirational ballad to prove that she loves him despite his hideous deformity, but then her dad forbids her to see him, and he must have promised her a car or something, because she immediately agrees.

Rudolph sits on a snowbank that turns out to contain more than the FDA-allowance of Elf. Hermey introduces himself, informing Rudolph that he's a freelance dentist and "independent." Rudolph wants to be independent too, but they both immediately blow it by becoming co-dependent.
"It's a deal, then! I'll inappropriately touch your birth defect, and you give me Lyme disease."

They meet a prospector, Yukon Cornelius, who apparently has the same madness that overtook Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, because he likes to scream about various ores, and lick his pick. A passing Abominable Snowman chases them -- all of them, although Rudolph always has to make it all about himself, and blames the situation on his nose for about the tenth time. The others wisely ignore him, and the trio escapes when Yukon Cornelius sets them adrift on an ice floe because yetis are notoriously non-buoyant.

Meanwhile, Donner regrets disowning his son, because he knows the little bastard is probably writing a tell-all book, and then it'll get turned into some stop-motion Mommy Dearest and he'll come off looking like a jerk.  He resolves to search for Rudolph, but won't let his wife accompany him because, let's face it, he's a jerk.  So Mrs. Donner and Clarice decide to look for Rudolph themselves, because the birth control pill has just been introduced and the resulting sexual revolution is undermining the patriarchy.

The ice floe bumps into an island, where our heroes are challenged by a fey Jack-in-the-Box who immediately goes on a drama queeny tirade about how he was banished to the Island of Misfit Toys because "No child wants play with a Charlie in the box!" Well, maybe they just didn't want to play with a Charles Nelson Reilly in the box.  And he's not the only exile. Apparently the island is crowded with slightly irregular playthings who can't get a lift with Santa. Frankly, this is baffling. Considering the toxic crap from China that old Kris Kringle passes out every year, it's obvious he's not overly concerned about a little lead paint on a choo-choo train, or a teddy bears stuffed with fiberglas insulation.*

Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius evidently suck so bad that even factory second toys don't want them around, but they vow to stick together. Then Rudolph remembers his name is in the title and why the hell should he have to share the screen with these two losers? So he abandons his new-found friends and sneaks off to enjoy a montage and grow some antlers.

Eventually, Rudolph goes home, but discovers his parents moved and didn't leave a forwarding address.  Even worse, there's a huge storming coming and it's only two days till Christmas and he hasn't even started his shopping.

He goes to the cave of the Abominable Snow Monster, because I guess that's always the first place you should look when your parents secretly move away while you're off at summer camp. The Monster has a fistful of Clarice and looks like he's about to eat her, although Donner and his wife don't seem even remotely concerned (maybe he promised them the wishbone). Rudolph charges and pokes the creature in the ass; the Monster retaliates by coldcocking him with a stalactite.

Just then, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius show up. Hermey gets down on all fours and squeals like Ned Beatty, and the suddenly aroused Monster lumbers outside, where Yukon crushes his skull with a boulder. Then Hermey uses ice tongs to forcibly remove all the creature's teeth, as the show -- like most animated holiday specials from that period -- takes an inevitable turn into body horror.

Yukon seizes the opportunity to bully the mutilated beast until he and his dogs fall off a cliff.  The reindeer all go back to Santa's plantation, where Donner, Comet, and rest of the future venison are forced to eat crow. Happily, the Abominable Snowman broke Yukon Cornelius's fall, and in return he gets the yeti a job putting the stars on the top of Christmas trees, which is seasonal work so he'll still probably send the summer on disability.

Meanwhile, the storm has arrived as forecast by the second act, and Santa is forced to "cancel Christmas."  But his sponsors ain't gonna allow that to happen! Hell, Norelco alone owns Santa, and if he shows the slightest concern for worker safety, they'll threaten to pull that lucrative series of commercials where the old geezer snowboards around on an electric shaver

Under pressure from the big eastern syndicate that runs Christmas, Santa agrees to exploit Rudolph's handicap and force the rest of his employees to risk their lives. It's heartwarming, but if this holiday special had been made after 1971, OSHA would've shut Kringle's fly-by-night operation down before the first station break.

(By the way, according to the end credits sequence, Santa doesn't come down your chimney into your home, he just flies around while one of his elves shoves toys and dolls off the sleigh so they plunge to earth and hit the ground like sacks of wet cement.  Which is why I never say "Merry Christmas" at this festive time of year, just "Heads Up!")

Okay, I was lying: I do want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our fellow Crappers. And particularly to Sheri, who must be Commander-in-Chief of the War on Christmas by now, because she never spends the season productively, complaining about the important things like nativity scenes or Starbucks cups, and instead wastes her time like this:
I had to do two previously scheduled kitten adoptions and care for some animals out in the country, so I missed my family Christmas Eve get-together. I tried to spread holiday cheer by giving all the cats extra canned food, and by giving some treats and love to some dogs on the farm that don't get much attention. Then I came home and tried to warm up while reading FB posts from my friends. So, a Christmas Eve just like the one Mary and Joseph spent, in that there were animals, and straw, and substandard housing, and the Internet. Merry Christmas, everyone.
I stole this paragraph from her Facebook page just to remind myself that even if I had nine lives, I'd never be half the person she is (and I bet she's still on her first).

Merry Christmas, guys!

*For more on this scene, and why it makes absolutely no sense, check out Bill S.'s Anatomy of a Plot Hole entry: On the Island of Misfit Toys.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Internet Merry Christmas to all!

heydave said...

Happiest of Holidaze to all you kids!

Meanie-meanie, tickle a person said...

the "Abominable Snow Monster of the North" (is there one of the South? I should check)

Trying to imagine the shape of a planet where the North goes all the way to the Pole, but the South only makes it to Bugtussle...
(OK, KY, or TX, take your pick. Yes, there are three of 'em. This has never been explained)

And a happy Festivaanzanukkamas to all!

Doc Logan said...

To paraphrase Jean-Luc Picard, "THERE... ARE... FOUR... BUGTUSSLES!" (OK, KY, TX and AL). Plus the fictional Bug Tussle, AR in "The Beverly Hillbillies".

Hope all in the Crap Commune had a nice holiday. For too many reasons to list here, this year is a solid contender for my worst.

Dr.BDH said...

Way to torture your dentist: call him "Dr. Hermey."

They hate that.

Meanie-meanie, tickle a person said...

No one expects the Bugtussle-ish Inquisition!

Debbi said...

Happy holidays to all bloggers of good will! That includes all World O' Crappers :)

Weird Dave said...

So back in the old Soviet days Rudolph and his wife were at their dacha when it started raining.
Rudolf looked outside and said, "Look dear, it's starting to rain."
His wife replied, "Oh no. It's snowing out."
Rudolph checked again and said, "No, it's rain."
Finally Rudolph has had enough and says, "Listen. Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!"

Dr. Alice said...

A wonderful deconstruction (I still love this Christmas special). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

ANNTI sez...

"Well, maybe they just didn't want to play with a Charles Nelson Reilly in the box."


Thank you. So much.

Sorry to be so absent lately, I won't bore anyone with excuses, just glad to be back.

Anonymous said...

ANNTI sez...

{after smacking Nekkid Dave with an overripe mullet for that HORRIBLE pun...)

I made it through, mostly alive, trust that all of you did the same, in which case, the War On Xmas journeys on, as we heathen, gawdless/cult-free motherfuckers continue to draw breath (and even DARKER moustaches upon the frightening countenance of K-LO in the local paper --- can y'all BELIEVE that this ignorant cathlo-snatch GOT ***PUBLISHED*** in LA's only remaining attempt at a "newspaper"?!?!?!?!? Or ANYWHERE?!?!?) and fling the slings & arrows of our most vitriolic contempt against ignorant, inbred, bedpost-riding fucktards like Katheryn Jean Lopez!!!!!!!!!! And fuck O'Reilly sideways with one of those gold-plated altar-boy toys, too, as he'd enjoy anything else FAR TOO MUCH.

Stay warm, safe, and vicious, m'loves, and may the new year bring WAY the fuck better than the last, oh, FORTY-FIVE have done for me. '93 & '94 were good, but oh, fuck, that's been forever ago. '04 was almost tolerable, thanks to y'all & my long-lost place @ the Jesus' General's table, but ever since then, and the storm, and re-breaking the spine during the aftermath, and then losing the REMAINING few brain cells from having to go back onto the narco-poisons, well hell, y'all have watched me flame-out first-person, haven't you all? Sorry to be such a bummer, kids, at this age, with nothing before you but more dessication and a VERY questionable "democrat" named "Edwards" being newly-elected gubner (thank fuck that PIYUSH IS ***DONE***!!!), kinda hard to paint the town with royal icing & dance some wintery waltz with the still-broken knee that's grown an extra kneecap.

Again, sorry for the bummers, but remember --- through all of the shit-monsoons { (C) 1974, Dr. HST}, Y'ALL are who've kept me tethered to this shit-for-brains planet, and reminded me that all is NOT quite lost, because there are wunnerful motherfuckers like y'all out in the world, doing good in every way possible, even if it's just lobbing loogies from a shoebox-sized NYC walk-up @ Teh Donald & that not-quite-rigor-mortised roadkill on his big fat empty head. Y'all are the bestest motherfuckers that I know, and if & when Big Girl (the 16-year-old GMC pickup/occasional domicile who's finally given-up the electrical wiring-harness ghost & is now one helluva huge paperweight) gets up & roaring again, I'll kick the asses of anyone who sez different, even if I have to utilize my skull-cracking hickory walking cane to do it! I'll need a hazmat team/BIG autoclave afterwards, but we'll keep on' chuggin'/limpin' far as needs be.

Love y'all. And thank y'all for putting up with all of my more-drama-queeny-than-Charles-Nelson-Reilly-&-Wayland-Flowers horseshit, for yea, many a moon!


Anonymous said...

ANNTI like an idjit...

And to Sheri, the gawddess of all things cold, frightened, furry & needy, woman, you have been my inspiration for lo, MANY a fuckin' moon, as you well know, and even though I am residentially-challenged & more physically-fucked-up than ever before and can't do kitteh rescues/TNR work anymore, I just want you to know that you continue to inspire me, every fucking day, to try and do SOMETHING, SOMEHOW, to help the critters who never asked to fucking BE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, and then got abandoned, hurt, neglected, etc., by the nematode-brained bipeds who made them get created in the first fucking place.

Ironic thing about me currently crashing back up here in West Redneckistan? Yeah, after y'all witnessed me KILLING MYSELF, with y'all's considerable backing & aid, I might add --- for over FIVE FUCKING YEARS as the ONLY "ANIMAL CONTROL" in East AND West Redneckistan parishes PLUS large chunks of nawthen East Baton Rouge Parish, 'member all of THAT fun? Like the time that the ultimate white trash of SLAUGHTER, LA (seriously, ya can't make that shit up, right down the road from ETHEL!!!) DISAPPEARED and LEFT ME HOLDING 27 INBRED/POLYDACTYL-TO-THE-NTH-FUCKING-DEGREE KITTEHS??? Wasn't THAT fun, kids?!?!? Cats with thumbs coming off of thumbs off of thumbs off of what were SUPPOSED to be dew claws but instead were TRIPLE THUMBS in the first fucking place!!! First & only time I ever met *FEMALE* GINGERS!!!

Anyway, soon as I finally evacuated BACK to Orleans (yeah, what a brilliant idear that THAT was, n'est-ce pas?), GUESS WHO "FOUND" THE MONEY TO BUILD A FUCKING ***ANIMAL SHELTER*** FOR THIS ***AND*** THE NEXT PARISH OVER?:!?!?!? The same pus-gutted Boss Hawg-wannabe alcoholic embezzling piece-of-shit "sheriff" who made sure to COVER FOR & HELP EVACUATE THE MOTHERFUCKERS WHO MURDERED MY NEPHEW.

Yeah, suddenly the guy who "needed" two helicopters and a TANK from Homeland Security's budget, who's dodged investigative journalists HIS ENTIRE TENURE, yeah, NOW he gives a fuck about "ANIMALS." I shit y'all not. Whole fancy new shelter and everything, named after his cirrhosis-downed uncle, and nope, I ain't been to see it once, not yet. I've lost 3 of the most brilliant, beautiful, loving cats on earth this year, in evacuating them from the Lower 9 up here to Fucktardia (and yes, I *know* who murdered them, but for some reason, CAN'T RETURN THE FUCKING **FAVOR**!!!), where I *thought* that they'd be "safe" for once in their hardscrabble lives. THAT'S why I've refrained from the happy-happy joy-joy around the arrival of Shadow, didn't want to bum y'all out with the loss of Bob, Yoda & Shaggy, and Miss Penny's mourning her boys, as well as James feeling lost without his best friends.

Sorry to dump it all here, but it seems like, the harder that I try to just fucking EXIST and be LEFT ALONE to finish out my prison sentence on this planet, the more that the people & critters that I love tend to disappear or DIE on me. Sorry for the bummer, Sheri, but I know that you know, better than any of us, how severely that so-called 'humans' SUCK ROCKS AND NEED TO DIE, if only to clear-up the gene pool with a shit-ton of clorox, as exemplified by their treatment of the animals who depend upon them.

Thank you, Sheri, for all that you do, and know that I miss hearing from you, every damned day, but I'm sure that you have your reasons. You will always be my heroine and a source of wonder & admiration, from that charred, gnarled, scarred-up lump of coal that I call my "heart."