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Article: Rudolph's Shiny New Year (And Existentialistic Crises)

  1. Rudolph's Shiny New Year (And Existentialistic Crises)

    8 Comments by pepperlandgirl Published on 11 Dec 2009 05:52 PM
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    Rudolph's Shiny New Year (And Existentialistic Crises)


    I've never seen Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer. I'm not sure why. Maybe CBS traditionally scheduled it on Monday nights, and we only watched football on Monday nights in my family. Maybe my parents hated us. It's hard to say. I never felt like I was missing out on anything, though, and I don't really have any desire to rectify the situation. Besides that, we all know the story by now. But I bet you guys didn't know that there's another Rudolph-themed film. One I used to watch quite regularly. It's from 1976, and it's called Rudolph's Shiny New Year, and it's one of Red Skelton's very last performances. Despite the fact that it's a Rankin-Bass film, like the first one, when the movie does a flashback to explain Rudolph's tumultuous past, it does not use clips from the first one. In fact, the story is told with new animation to accompany the famous song. Due to that, there's actually no connection between the first movie and its apparent sequel.
    Before I start discussing the movie itself, I want to give you a taste of its, well, insanity. This is a 20 second commercial for ABC's "newest" Holiday classic.

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  3. #2
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    I find the message of this special bizarre. In most stories about someone being abused over being different, those who committed the abuse eventually see the error of their ways. In this one, the victim of the abuse is the one who needs to "lighten up." Apparently, the derisive laughter isn't wrong. It's Happy's hurt over being laughed at that's wrong.

    Of course, when this one came out I think "ugly laws" were still on the books, so I guess it wasn't yet politically incorrect to publicly taunt those who are different.

    Ah well. We'll always have Dumbo.

  4. #3
    Porno Dealing Monster pepperlandgirl's avatar
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    Zuul, that about sums up my response to the film. Since the message is very clearly that Happy is in the wrong, the climatic "battle" is even more bizarre to me. When Eon starts laughing at Happy for his ears, is he still a good guy? Or is a dick for laughing at a baby? The movie wants us to believe he's a dick (and thus be okay with it when he dies), but if he is a dick, then why does Rudolph and Ben Franklin get immunity? And if Eon is not being a dick by laughing, but instead demonstrating that he's been redeemed and he's like everybody else in the movie, then why didn't they find a way to save him in the end? I don't know, man.
    I'm still swimming in harmony. I'm still dreaming of flight. I'm still lost in the waves night after night...

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  5. #4
    Content Generator AllWalker's avatar
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    Maybe it was a deliberate choice, to make an unconventional ending. I mean, typically an evil character is redeemed, or destroyed if irredeemable. That is true in most kid's stories, but especially the Christmas ones, a lot of which even lack bad guys.

    I like the idea of Santa saving the day - it seems like every year he loses his sleigh/powers/memory and needs whatever unlikely group of characters to do his job for him. The guy only works one night a year, and his job can be done by people with no experience, training or instruction, yet he still screws up? That's not the Santa I know. (I'm looking at you, half-hour Christmas Madagascar special).
    Something tells me we haven't seen the last of foreshadowing.

  6. #5
    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    I am glad to say I haven't seen it for decades, but I thought that the end had some pablum about how Eon was laughing far, far too much to be able to freeze. Ever.

  7. #6
    Porno Dealing Monster pepperlandgirl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OtakuLoki View post
    I am glad to say I haven't seen it for decades, but I thought that the end had some pablum about how Eon was laughing far, far too much to be able to freeze. Ever.
    That puts a slightly different twist to the film. I'm not sure if it makes it better or worse, though. And I fully admit by that point my attention was wandering. I could have been playing with the cat when they assured everybody that Eon wouldn't die.
    I'm still swimming in harmony. I'm still dreaming of flight. I'm still lost in the waves night after night...

    Do you have an idea or an article you would like to see on the Electric Elephant? Email me at theelectricelephant(at)gmail.com!

  8. #7
    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    I'm not sure it's better or worse, either. And I admit my two decade old memory shouldn't be taken as gospel truth. I was simply surprised to see how often you were commenting about gloating about Eon's demise, which I don't recall at all.

  9. #8
    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    I had forgotten this one and most of its plot and I do not recall liking it at all. I don't think I would want to suffer through watching it again though. Fun summary though in the article. I am sure that was way better than the actual special.

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    I thought this movie was great to watch when I was younger. It was a huge part of my youth and I think society is just too politically correct now to handle anything unless it's on HBO or Showtime.

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