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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Santa Doesn't Live Here Anymore

The challenging economy, a**holes, motherf***ers, moody clients, rodents and childish employees. The past year has been rough. It’s inspired forlorn days of old when life was easier.

I remember the sound of laughter. The world gave us hope and we helped the poor, lost children who only had decay as their toy. Imagine my joy when the opportunity to revisit my childhood appeared in the form of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer don’t you? The long-running stop motion animation Christmas television special that first aired in 1964 on NBC? The one invented by Montgomery Ward ad men to fill the growing void of children’s holiday viewing? Yes, that’s the one.

A much needed boost was in order for the soul of the growing cynicism inside the Media Guy. What better than Santa and Rudolph to cheer a half-empty spirit? So following the sage advice of Sam the Snowman I pulled up an ice block and lent an ear.

So after 47 minutes of this beloved classic I just have to say, what the hell happened to the Santa Claus who used to warm the season? Seriously, as an adult pulling back the curtain to witness all of those behind the scenes Santa moments was absolutely terrifying.

Before I get to the main problem—namely Santa’s a complete douchebag here—there are so many other issues. Starting with the reindeer mocking [that seems outlandishly harsh by today’s PC standards], continuing with the out-of-place homosexual undercurrent of Hermey the Elf’s story [“I want to be a dentist.”] and finishing with the fascist Foreman Elf [who tells Hermey “You'll never fit in! Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your ears, chuckle warmly, go hee-hee and ho-ho, and important stuff like that.”]. This is definitely not chicken soup for the soul.

Meanwhile, back to Bad Santa in the Elves Workshop. “Well, let’s get this over with,” he says to the little darlings as they try to sing the tune they wrote for him. A song coincidently about how they’re “his” elves. Instead of being a leader and embracing “his” elves, he’s defiant, uninterested and edgy while they’re giving it their all. Was it that much to fake a smile when these diminutive slave-toymakers are singing songs about how happy they are that you’re their master?

Wait, it gets worse…

...when the song is over and Mrs. Claus has the common courtesy to applaud them, Santa grimaces saying “Well, it needs work. I gotta go.” I’m still irritated at good ole Saint Nick for declaring “that silly elf song is driving me crazy” while he’s stuffing his face. Dude, no one’s forcing you to channel Ché Guevara here, but get real.

"How can I eat? That silly elf song is driving me crazy."
Later on at the reindeer games, Rudolph is kicking some caribou butt. He’s doing it all while all the other young bucks are faceplanting in the winter wonderland. Here Santa starts off supportive, commending Rudolph, until the moment of truth: the red nose is exposed. After watching Rudolph get ridiculed by his “friends”, Machiavellian Santa gives it to Rudolph’s father Donner “…you ought to be ashamed of yourself…what a pity…he had a nice takeoff, too…” which leads to Comet the Coach declaring “From now on, we’re not going to let Rudolph join in any reindeer games…” Yes Virginia, Santa is a bigot.

All of this unhinged me. It had to be sorted out during my workout, which led to a virtual cornucopia of introspection:

1. Why is Clarice alarmingly hot? Not only does she have impressive forward thinking when it comes to Rudolph’s “shortcomings”, but she’s also got the best four-legged eyelashes in the history of stop animation.

2. What’s the deal with the tall elf? Is he a toy engineer? Did he intern at FAO Schwartz or Mattel? Why is he tall? Why isn’t Machiavelli Santa engineering a Tall Elf beat down by Fascist Foreman Elf?

3. The doll on the Island of Misfits; why is she there? She looks fine, but she had to be there for a reason. I’m guessing she’s a distant cousin to Frances Farmer awaiting some botched lobotomy. However you slice it, she needs more professional help other than what King Moon Racer has to offer.

4. Back to Clarice…is she an orphan? When Rudolph pulls his hobo act, Mr. and Mrs. Donner hit the snow trail looking for him, but when Clarice vanishes, we don’t even get the prerequisite parental phone call to the FBI. Are her parents on misfit island too and that’s why she understands Rudolph so well? 40 years of watching this and no answer to the Clarice dilemma.

5. Finally, why does Rudolph agree to guide Santa’s sleigh? Rudolph must really be something special, because when you are treated that way I’m guessing you are fantasizing about delivering a swift hoof to Santa’s marbles and not deliver presents. Really, there’s a serious storm out there. After all if you crash in the remote mountainous border between Argentina and Chile, Santa’s going buffet style on you to survive.

At the end of my workout, I didn’t get the answers I wanted. I have an eerie feeling that Santa’s a front runner and only happy when things are going his way. Maybe he has a chemical disorder. He’s probably bipolar. At the very least he’s exploiting the elves and Rudolph and itching to cancel Christmas because of some weather issues.

My Christmas wish is that the Fred Astaire version of Kris Kringle in “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is treated kinder by time. And yes, my glass of soul is still half full.

To sum it all up:

Watch it here: