Sunday, December 16, 2007

Raging Rudolph

(Note: the YouTube link below has animated violence and should not be viewed by young children)

I was visiting Blog Hero! as he lamented the advent of parody in the name of base commercialism -- welcome to America, Blog Hero! The cause of his lament was an AFLAC commercial that shows Rudolph and the gang in the original Rankin/Bass stop action animation. Rudolph has a cold and the possibility of not being able to pull Santa's sleigh weighs heavily in the air -- until, that is, Santa (still pre-Christmas fighting weight) comes in to say , "Rudolph with your nose so stuffed, AFLAC will take care of us!" Okay, Santa doesn't really say that, but that's the import of his message, however.

I love the old Rudolph -- in fact, we're going to huddle up with some hot chocolate tonight (it's finally getting a little chilly in our part of the terrestrial universe) and watch it. We have resisted the urge to purchase the whole Rankin/Bass ouvre, because of the temptation for off-season viewing. Since we don't have cable and don't watch much broadcast TV to begin with, we've most likely missed the annual showing of these classics of my childhood. Luckily, we have a well-stocked library and was able to get a copy of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, and The Little Drummer Boy.

Destiny's Child apparently does a sooped-up version of the Rudolph song on the DVD we have, and hopefully it will be on some tucked-away, special feature track. If they're going to commit sacrilege with Rudolph, they might as well use Joan Jett's version of "Little Drummer Boy," as well.

But that's not the point of this point. The point, if there must be one to show this demented little gem, is in counterpoint to AFLAC's cynical take on this sacrosanct childhood favorite to sell insurance. Cynical? You want Cynical? I got your cynical.

"Raging Rudolph" was originally shown on MadTV sometime in the mid-90's and became an instant underground hit. The only thing I can say in the AFLAC abomination's favor is that their animation is way closer to the original. Watching "Raging Rudolph" again in preparation for this post I realized that it was a lot funnier in 1995 or whenever it first premiered than it is in this post-millenium morass of popular culture taken to the limits of reflexivity.