Do Not Cancel Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!


Vacation specials, a staple of North American youths considering that the early 1960s, are significantly succumbing to our fragmented media culture. Simply as the liturgical calendar offered structure to the lives of the middle ages peasants, a similarly ritualized TELEVISION schedule formed a common culture in the period of the cathode tube: The 10 Rules for Easter, It’s the Fantastic Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for Halloween, and after that, after Thanksgiving, a multitude of familiar programs and films reviewed every year: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Takes Christmas, Wintry the Snowman, It’s a Fantastic Life, and the lots of versions of A Christmas Carol

However tv is paving the way to Youtube and streaming, that makes for more privatized and asynchronous watching: With everybody enjoying by themselves electronic gadget and in their own time, the concept of a shared experience represented by TELEVISION specials appears anachronistic. There is proof, however, that common watching stays something individuals treasure and wish to hang on to. As PBS reports, “Apple TELEVISION+ bought the Peanuts Thanksgiving and ended up being the brand-new house to the precious Peanuts vacation specials. That stimulated a protest from audiences who were accustomed to each year tuning in on network TELEVISION. Apple used each unique to stream totally free for a handful of days, however that didn’t stop online petitions from collecting numerous countless signatures.” Acquiescing public pressure, Apple consented to permit PBS to air the specials ad-free.

This rollback of streaming culture is most likely to be short-lived. Vacation specials will continue, however without the sequential structure of the TELEVISION schedule. Rather, the watching of these specials will end up being curated by moms and dads, who will work from memories of what they took pleasure in as young. However memories are in some cases malfunctioning and not whatever that takes pleasure in the hazy radiance of fond memories should have preserving.

Composing in the December problem of The Atlantic, the astute cultural critic Caitlin Flanagan makes the case versus among the most precious of the old specials in a post candidly entitled, “Do not Topic Your Kids to Rudolph.” According to Flanagan, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (a 1964 stop-motion animation unique made by Rankin/Bass Productions) is too “bleak” and “dark” for kids.

This review has some justice to it. Like other Rankin/Bass programs, Rudolph does divert towards the monstrous, with mean-spirited characters who bully and badger each other. The titular hero is non-stop belittled for being various, his red nose generating taunts and exemption. Santa’s workshop is kept up a ruthlessness of a Victorian factory, with unpleasant fairies imagining escape. Toys that do not fit the standard are banished to the Island of Misfit Toys.

However lots of writers have actually discovered it helpful to highlight monstrous and self-centered habits as a method of drawing a contrast to Christmas cheer. It’s barely a mishap that Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch are at the heart of the Christmas canon.





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