December 23, 2002 - 9:17 a.m.

Oh, Father, Dear, Wherefor Art Thou?

The Role of Father in Rudolph

It is unfortunate that one of the most BELOVED X-mas cartoons portrays FATHER-figures as MEAN and SEXIST tyrants. Rakin and Bass' stop-motion CLAYMATION, Like most AMERICANS, young and old alike, I look forward to the HOLIDAY specials. I understand that many of these shows were produced in an POLITICALLY INCORRECT era. But, that does not mean we should not EVALUATE the messages and discuss them with our CHILDREN and not just allow them to be SPOON FED as we were.

The Shameful Disability

The CARTOON begins the POOR reindeer's life at BIRTH and immediately embarks life of MISERY and SHAME. No one can deny that Rudolph is just one of the most ADORABLE clay CHARACTERS ever CREATED, but his BLINKING nose causes his father such DISTRESS that his eye PUPILS quickly and DRAMATICALLY change sizes! MUD (good ADHESIVE, dad!) is applied and the most IMPORTANT mission is to keep this blinking nose - that did no one any HARM - from SANTA.

Comet, the COACH, is unfortunately like too many SPORTS coaches today. He makes SNAP judgments based on one PERFORMANCE on the first day of try-outs. Despite Rudolph's MIRACULOUS feats of flight (for a FLEDGLING), he is KICKED OFF the team, as well all other REINDEER GAMES.

Santa later visits the Donner's HOUSEHOLD cave to SHAME Donner into having such a MISSHAPEN creature. "He had such PROMISE, too." I am sure that off camera Donner beats Mrs. Donner for having the improper DNA and HUMILIATING him before the BOSS.

The Misfits Meet

We have a short REPRIEVE from tortuous OSTRACISM when Rudolph can find some MISFITS of his own as TRAVEL companions. HERMEY THE DENTIST (who's father-figure boss tells him he won't amount to anything) and YUKON Cornelius set out to find their DREAMS. It is a GOOD time had by all - including the VIEWERS. We have SONGS and LAUGHS and HOPES for the FUTURE. That is until, of course, they reach, the ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS.

The Misfits Are Outcast Once More

The FATHER FIGURE at the Island of Misfit Toys is King Moonracer, an IMPRESSIVE lion with GIANT wings. He seeks HOMES for all of the "misfit toys." After PLEADING their case, the king DENIES homes with his own EXILES. I guess some OUTCASTS or HANDICAPS are better than others. Yet, after sending them into the BLINDING SNOW into the DANGEROUS territory of the BUMBLE, the King asks them a FAVOR by mentioning their island to Santa. Why should they? (Because, I'm Dad and I told you to!?)


Not only the handicapped are OPPRESSED by the men, but the women are as well. When Donner decides to search for his son, he tells his WIFE (known only as Mrs. Donner) and CLARICE (Rudolph's potential LOVE INTEREST) that this is "MAN'S WORK." After the (apparent) DEATH of Yukon, Hermey and all of those cute DOGS, BURL IVES the snowman WOEFULLY narrates that it was time "to get the women back to Christmas Town."

Women are 2nd RATE citizens in Christmas Town. Female ELVES act as mere ASSISTANTS to the male TOY MAKERS. And, only male reindeer are allowed the "PRIVILEGE" to pull Santa's SLEIGH. and Women are second rate citizens on Christmas Town. Rudolph's father is referred to as Donner, his mother is called Mrs. Donner. And, Mrs. Claus' main DUTY is to FATTEN Santa. Ho-hum. What DRAB lives these women lead.


Everyone is RELIEVED when the Donner FAMILY returns home ALIVE. It seems that the RESIDENTS of the workshop is most ELATED that the BUMBLE has been TAMED. Santa still HATES Rudolph's NOSE until he sees that it can be used to his ADVANTAGE. I don't know, I think Rudolph has a SCREW lose somewhere. After all Santa did to SNUB him and his FAMILY, I would have held out for a little SCRATCH or special PRIVILEGES. But, what do I know about writing CHILDREN'S programming?

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