I think I may be getting way too cynical for my own good. Not possible, you say? Wait for it...
Last night I watched CBS's special holiday presentation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as I have every single Christmas season since my eyes first developed the ability to focus. The hour long "Animagic TV Classic" ranks just above the original "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" in my list of absolutely-must-see holiday videos (Jim Carrey's always ridiculous over-the-top performance completely ruined the live action remake...and even managed to taint the original).
I clearly remember several pre-Christmas evenings from my childhood when I hastily scarfed down my dinner, sometimes even skipping dessert, so I could rush downstairs to the family room and not miss even one single second of Rankin and Bass' timeless masterpiece.
This year, however, is the first I can recall that I viewed Rudolph through my ever darkening lens of bitterness and contempt. I'll admit that I watched the first half through what remains of my child-like eyes. The wonderful stop-motion animation always makes me long for the days when all I had to worry about was six hours of grade school drudgery and what Mrs. Dalsin was serving for lunch.
This self-imposed illusion lasted only until our protagonists (Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius and Hermey the Elf Dentist) came upon The Island of Misfit Toys. It is here that we are introduced to the flying lion, King Moon Racer.
As the Rudolph story goes, this benevolent King "rescues" toys from children who no longer want them and then imprisons them on his desolate snow encrusted island to await their eventual demise.
Upon the arrival of Rudolph and crew, these horribly inconvenienced toys beg for their freedom in a wonderfully enchanting musical number with lots of misfit on misfit action including copious amounts of squirting jelly.
All that aside...when Rudolph and friends eventually plead for asylum to King Moon Racer as horribly maladjusted misfits themselves, the King not only tells them to shove right off but he demands that they send Santa Claus himself to his despotic little ice sanctuary to relieve him of all the twisted toys he has collected over the years and deliver them to children who may possibly someday want them.
My question at this point is, if King Moon Racer can fly around the world and pick up deformed toys from undeserving kids without the need for a magic sleigh and mutant reindeer...why in the hell can't he deliver them to some more deserving ones on the way back instead of relying on an already overburdened Santa Claus to do the dirty work?
All this Moon Racer character has done is create an island of dependent and demoralized subjects who fearfully worship every beat of his so called benevolent heart. Their only hope for freedom is that the more prosperous people of neighboring Christmas Town will swoop in to rescue them...from a problem the King himself created!
Island of Misfit Toys my rear end. Sounds a lot like Cuba to me.
How's that for cynicism?