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Is Hermy Gay?
December 1, 2005 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Sixteen serious questions raised by the 1964 holiday classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
posted by lola (57 comments total)

 
I always wondered why nobody asked "What's wrong with the doll?" on the Island of Misfit toys...

(Hint: it's under her skirt)
posted by splatta at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2005


I tried watching that last night with my 3-year-old daughter and she wasn't interested at all. It was disjointed and not a feel-good Xmas special. Is there a petition I can sign to have it taken off the air before it does more harm?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2005


The man's got a point about Clarice, though. I think Clarice is why we have furries now.
posted by gurple at 4:29 PM on December 1, 2005


That was actually pretty awesome.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:33 PM on December 1, 2005


Missing question #17:
Why does Yukon Cornelius lick his pickax all the time?

He can taste the presence of precious metals? Or does he just suffer from pica?
posted by SassHat at 4:37 PM on December 1, 2005


Why does Yukon Cornelius lick his pickax all the time?

Heh. The answer to this one was actually on BoingBoing earlier today. It makes more sense than you might have expected.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:43 PM on December 1, 2005


Just yesterday I read that in the original 64 show, the misfit toys were left on the island. Viewers complained, so extra footage (of Santa's rescue mission) was shot and added to the end of the story for 65 and on.
posted by reidfleming at 4:46 PM on December 1, 2005


Stop looking for Santa to solve your problems. He's a bastard.

As true today as the day it was written.
posted by dial-tone at 4:46 PM on December 1, 2005


The doll's there simply because no one wants her. In order to live on the Island of Misfit Toys, you just have to be unwanted, not necessarily defective. It's all spelled out in the HOA contract.
posted by jrossi4r at 4:47 PM on December 1, 2005


I think Santa's attitude has something to do with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
posted by Guy Smiley at 4:48 PM on December 1, 2005


I always thought that Yukon C. was trying to lower the temperature of the metal to a point that his tongue would stick to it and he'd suddenly be the centre of attention in order to statisfy some strange need.
("Gets mighty lonely round these here parts, and yer a pretty little thing, ain't'cha, Hermy?")
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:51 PM on December 1, 2005


Damn!

They took the "Hermey is Gay" meme from the comic strip I did last year.
posted by jpburns at 4:54 PM on December 1, 2005


Is Hermy Gay?
"[H]ow many Christmas fables (subsidized by General Electric, no less) contain a faintly disguised subtext about being a gay elf? Just one! Yep, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

C’mon, Hermy the elf just doesn’t belong, not like the other elves. Dentist is the ‘60s covert word for being gay. Think about it next time you watch it. Hermy proudly shouts, 'I want to be a dentist!' Huh?

And that haircut? Only three people on this planet have that exact same haircut: Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Neutron, and The Dust Devil spokesmodel. It’s right out of a John Water’s film. You go Hermy!" [Face Magazine]
posted by ericb at 4:56 PM on December 1, 2005


This special used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid.
posted by nyterrant at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2005


"Why does Yukon Cornelius lick his pickax all the time?"

Because he can.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:04 PM on December 1, 2005


WHY IS SANTA SUCH A COMPLETE BASTARD?

What? Is Santa supposed to be some kinda saint?

wait a minute..

WHAT'S UP WITH CLARICE?


She's a hot doe. You want Rudolph should fall in love with some dray horse? Besides the fact that Rudolph has a spectacular takeoff after Clarice tells him he's cute is a perfect illustration of what a female's good opinion can do for an adolescent het male.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE ELVES?


My guess? The booze.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE REINDEER?

Please. If the guy in the next cube's nose started going all phosphorescent, you'd be a bit freaked, multiculti rhetoric aside.

IS IT HERMY OR HERBIE?

I like Herbie better. hermy makes him sound like a nebbishy rabbi.

IS HERMY GAY?


Duhhh. He's a proxy for all the gay showbiz types who felt like misfits growing up.

IS YUKON CORNELIUS GAY?

Please. My man Corny is boning fine-ass eskimo babes all over the North Country. Next?

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE DOLL ON THE ‘ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS'?

I never figured this out either and I bought Pips a keychain of her a few years back. Maybe she's bipolar.

This is all beside the point. The whole special is an effectively earnest sincere attempt at opposing prejudice against misfits. It'sa product of the late 50's and the impact of it onthe future freedom rider baby boomers who watched it should not be underestimated. Plus, it still makes me misty.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on December 1, 2005


Santa is not a bipolar bastard. He's a North Polar bastard. Completely different.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:27 PM on December 1, 2005


Also from the boingboing link above, the girl misfit doll has psychological problems.
posted by bove at 5:28 PM on December 1, 2005


I love furmation Rudolph! But I'm oddly fascinated with furmation, anyway.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:28 PM on December 1, 2005


Note to self: If I wake up tomorrow in an alternate universe where everyday is lived over and over ad infinitum, please, please, skip this post.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:32 PM on December 1, 2005


The whole special is an effectively earnest sincere attempt at opposing prejudice against misfits

Not quite. What's the actual lesson of the story of Rudolph?
Rudolph's moment of redemption comes not as the cause of any consciousness-raising, but because his difference (superficial as it is) is shown to have utility to the corporate body. He is accepted by his peers not for his own merits, but because circumstances conspired to harness his idiosyncrasy and turn it into profit for his employers. What is the real lesson we take from the fable of Rudolph, boys and girls? Difference will be tolerated and celebrated only if it can be put to the service of the power structure. Otherwise, you're just a wacko, and you can forget about those reindeer games for good. Once again, Santa Claus is portrayed here as an unfeeling, self-absorbed cad -- he makes no intervention in Rudolph's persecution until he needs to save his own ass (at least the TV special got that part right). But does Rudolph get his moment to tell the boss to screw himself; that his hypocrisy won't be tolerated? No, he's the first one tethered to the sled, happy to take the whip of his former oppressor as long as he can feel both useful to the corporation and validated by his peers.
posted by deanc at 5:40 PM on December 1, 2005


Yeah, you were the first person to come up with the idea that Hermey was gay.
posted by Mroz at 5:47 PM on December 1, 2005


deanc, that's just depressing stuff from the same type of people who interrupt your cheesburger eating to tell you how you'll be haunted by the cow's ghost.

In other words, the killjoy nation: miserable people who want you to be as miserable as them.

(seriously, I never said it was perfect. but it was sincere. we live in universe of humans-imperfect beings. expecting them to be superhuman is unreasonable)
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on December 1, 2005


I just want to state that my family is sitting in front of the TV at this moment watching Rudolph. Our kids were already patiently enduring our constant cracks about Herbie|Hermie's sexuality. Now, they have to endure my giggling, too.
posted by tippiedog at 5:54 PM on December 1, 2005


All this hermy-hot-does-and-fur talk unaccountably puts the phrase 'doug winger' in my mind.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:03 PM on December 1, 2005


yea jonmc! I want all my television to be superhuman. Well, at least the christmas specials. Dern miserable killjoys!
posted by odinsdream at 6:38 PM on December 1, 2005


Very funny. good points all.
posted by fungible at 7:06 PM on December 1, 2005


Oh thank you, thank you so much for this. I watched the show last night for the first time in 100 years, and all I could think was, "Jeez, Santa's a DICK!"
posted by airgirl at 7:08 PM on December 1, 2005


Yeah, you were the first person to come up with the idea that Hermey was gay.

[derail] Yeah -- just as Bill O'Reilly claims he is personally responsible for lower gas prices due to his recent reporting which he claims "scared" the gas/oil companies in doing so. [/derail]

"I am the 'Tipping Point.' I y'am, yes, I y'am!!!
posted by ericb at 7:14 PM on December 1, 2005


Dentist = code for gay?
Well, at least that finally explains to me the Oral-B "This man is a dentist, so we can't show you his face" toothbrush ads.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:36 PM on December 1, 2005


Why can't magical reindeer who can fly and talk also strap a decent flashlight to their fucking gear? Can't the elves make them some miner helmets? Is a red glowing light the best way to illuminate things? Is Rudolph taking them straight to Amsterdam?
posted by flarbuse at 7:45 PM on December 1, 2005


Is a red glowing light the best way to illuminate things?

Yeah, I always had a problem with this, even in just the song. A glowing red nose is great if your purpose is to warn other air traffic of your presence, but you need a high piercing beam if you want to see where the hell you're going.

All this hermy-hot-does-and-fur talk unaccountably puts the phrase 'doug winger' in my mind.

Oh, I think it's pretty accountable.
posted by soyjoy at 8:36 PM on December 1, 2005


mr_roboto: Figures, the one day I don't read BB...

I always thought that Yukon C. was trying to lower the temperature of the metal to a point that his tongue would stick to it and he'd suddenly be the centre of attention in order to statisfy some strange need.

Yeah...
posted by SassHat at 9:07 PM on December 1, 2005


The riddle of the tall elf with glasses has been solved too.

It's our own Matt Haughey.
posted by vacapinta at 10:27 PM on December 1, 2005


I watched it last night too. The sound was noticeably draggy in places throughout the show. It made the whole "DIGITALLY REMASTERED!!!" thing seem kinda odd.
posted by First Post at 10:29 PM on December 1, 2005


You can digitally remaster this thing till the cows come home, but that won't make it look any less like it was animated on my ant Del's kitchen table.
posted by maryh at 12:37 AM on December 2, 2005


(That would be my aunt Del. )
posted by maryh at 12:52 AM on December 2, 2005


Y'know, for someone who's never seen this whole Rudolph dealie (poor deprived Brit as I am), the images in the link paint a magically crack-addled picture of it. Rudolph drops acid, hits on does and meets a flying lion. I would've loved that shit as a kid.
posted by terpsichoria at 1:36 AM on December 2, 2005


You can't even imagine what you missed. Get this--there's a toy train with square wheels!
posted by SassHat at 1:53 AM on December 2, 2005


O.K.

I want you to remember you heard it here first. That tall elf... is actually a time-travelling homage to Ted, the Queer Eye guy...



No... really.
posted by jpburns at 3:59 AM on December 2, 2005


Oh... and King Moon Racer is Aslan.
posted by jpburns at 4:02 AM on December 2, 2005



WHAT'S UP WITH CLARICE?
She's a hot doe.

Awesome line, jonmc.
posted by davidmsc at 5:08 AM on December 2, 2005


My wife and I watched this the other night for the first time in years, and it was nothing like our fond memories of it. Many of the characters are actually quite dysfunctional. :(
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:26 AM on December 2, 2005


All these posts and nobody has a problem with Yukon C. sleeping in the same bed with a reindeer and a young elf?
posted by bondcliff at 6:36 AM on December 2, 2005


As I child, I saw a few minutes, found it scary, and changed the channel. As a teen, I saw a few minutes, found it disturbing, and changed the channel. As an adult, I'm looking at this and thinking "Man, it really was as fucked up as I remember it. How could the other kids watch it??"
posted by Bugbread at 6:44 AM on December 2, 2005


As a child I hated--haaaaaated--claymation. It seemed unnatural and creepy, so Charlie Brown Christmas=OK, Rudolph=change the channel quick.

Now I'm married to a man who loved this and frosty and all that claymation crap. I wouldn't let him play any reindeer games with me until he swore off the mandatory Rudolph viewings.

And Clarice can bite me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:40 AM on December 2, 2005


As a child I hated--haaaaaated--claymation.

Oddly enough.. not Claymation™.

I remember seeing the actual "puppets" (stiff-armatured models) that they used in production when I did a NBC New York studio tour back in the late sixties (yes... I'm a geezer). They were displayed in a case, there...
posted by jpburns at 8:36 AM on December 2, 2005


All right then I hated PuppetmationTM or EvilmationTM or CreepyChristmasSpecialMationTM.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2005


Clarice can bite me.
Reindeer envy. A powerful and bitter emotion. But who hasn't felt it?
posted by Wolfdog at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2005


If you get the "ABC Family" channel, they are running all those CreepyChristmasSpecialMation classics thru Christmas. "Year Without a Santa Claus", "Rudolph's Shiny New Year", etc.

We found these after the Rudolph thing the other night and have been watching since. See what it started?
posted by First Post at 11:49 AM on December 2, 2005


I love the retro AuntDelMation. It couldn't be more analog. It's got a look you couldn't reproduce today if you tried.

This show is all right with me. Year Without a Santa Claus is the truly insidious one, in my estimation. It gives me the chills, with its prayertastic theme and horrible earworm of a song "Even a Miracle Needs a Hand." I only saw it a few times, as a helpless child, and the memory of it still turns my stomach. Second-rate.
posted by Miko at 12:06 PM on December 2, 2005


Year Without a Santa Clause is insidious? Hmm, that was always my favorite of the claymation Xmas specials. Mostly because of the Heat Miser/Cold Miser songs.

c'mon everyone, sing along!

"I'm Mr Heat Miser/I'm Mr Sun/I'm Mr Green Christmas/I'm Mr Hundred and One/They call me Heat Miser/'cuz whatever I touch/starts to melt in my clutch/oh, I'm too much!"
posted by luneray at 4:08 PM on December 2, 2005


You know what? I'm totally wrong. Thanks for that post, luneray -- I love the Miser songs, and also Burgermeister Meisterburger. I had the wrong title.

The insidious one I'm trying to talk about was a cartoon, featuring a little family of mice who have to fix some sort of clock so Santa will come back. They live in the house of an annoying, Flanders-type family. I can't think of the name of this one -- but it has a similar "there's not going to be any Christmas this year!" concept.
posted by Miko at 4:54 PM on December 2, 2005


luneray: What part of "Puppetmation, Evilmation and CreepyChristmasSpecialMation" don't you understand?
posted by soyjoy at 10:10 PM on December 2, 2005


Ok, because this was bothering me, I have to save others the insanity. The insidious mouse cartoon is "Twas the Night Before Christmas" - I only vaguely remember it, but when trying to remember it, I get an overwhelmingly creepy feeling.
posted by Iamtherealme at 6:03 PM on December 3, 2005


Thanks (I think) I am therealme. *shudder*. There are so many things to hate about that cartoon. One is that Santa is so vengeful and codependent that an insulting letter would make him stop doing the giving thing. Another is the anti-intellectualism inherent in the idea that the mouse who wrote the letter is 'too smart for his own good' and that too much book larnin' just interferes with one's ability to believe in BS.
posted by Miko at 7:39 AM on December 4, 2005


This thread reinforces my belief that it's a marvelous thing to not celebrate Christmas.
posted by Dreama at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2005


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