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Ban Rudolph! And Santa, too!

Charlie Brown gets brow-beaten and screamed at. Do you want your kids watching that kind of garbage?

Charlie Brown gets brow-beaten and screamed at. Do you want your kids watching that kind of garbage?

This morning I woke up and checked Facebook like I always do. My sister’s status update made me laugh:

“So, we watched Rudolph tonight and it was harsh! Santa made fun of Rudolph, and yelled at Rudolph’s dad for hiding the fact that he was a freak. Rudolph’s dad told his mom to stay home because it was a man’s job. Yukon Cornelius was packing heat. Hermey the elf was obviously gay, and kicked out of the elf club AND he pulled out all the Abomoinable Snowman’s teeth to save his friends. All the toys that were different were sent to the Island of Misfits. Way to teach kids tolerance!”

I smiled and laughed, but realized my sister was right. There is no way that original storyboard would have made it past today’s network execs. In fact, very few of the Christmas specials would have made the cut. Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town? The Burgermeister guy was mean! A baby is left sitting on a doorstep, and shuttled off to the orphan asylum except the wind takes him! Kids forced into hard labor! No toys! Then Kris sneaks into people’s homes. Really? How frightening! And most of the characters end up in a dungeon!

We watched the Grinch last night. (TiVo is a wonderful thing when your kids go to sleep at 7.) I was scared of his red eyes. And the fact that he was pantless, and breaking into people’s homes. I spent the entire time making fun of it to my husband. (Quietly, of course.) We both cracked up when the narrator said the Grinch “whizzed down the mountain with his load.”

Frosty the Snowman is equally as scary. Kids who run away. Frosty worries that Karen, the heroine, is going to die of the cold. She looks like she’s going to, too. The mean magician locks them both in the greenhouse and Frosty does die. And A Charlie Brown Christmas? None of those Charlie Brown cartoons are “appropriate” by today’s standards. The kids want money and real estate for Christmas. (Remember that line? “Just send money. Particularly tens and 20s.”) And the screaming and calling of names! Just terrible! But the most egregious part is probably the fact that they tell the Christmas story. The actual one. Religion and television don’t mix today unless you’re talking about FoxNews. (J/K)

I’m really glad I get to watch these shows with my daughter. She was so cute last night, noticing something I didn’t: “Wow, that Grinch is not nice to his dog,” she told us. She was right. She’s never seen a character whip an animal before. It was a good way to discuss animal violence, and how we want her to act. Still, I am the same person who commented on a friend’s very long Facebook thread about the appropriateness of having 5- and 6-year-old children at an adult’s movie. (The movie in question was 2012) I am against it. I don’t think children should ever be exposed to true violence before the age of 13. The experts agree or they wouldn’t have created the PG-13 rating.

Back to my very un-PC Christmas specials. I think it’s rather funny that, if the above movies were up for consideration today, they would probably need many changes to get past the network censors. And parents would applaud them. And yet the majority of Americans wouldn’t think twice about letting their kids see an obviously adult movie. We, as a society, are raising kids who aren’t allowed to lose, are coddled and cushioned, and yet are given free reign to see the most egregious violence out there. It’s a scary world, readers. And not just because there’s a guy on my TV trying to kill a snowman.

Did you love the Christmas specials as a child? Which was your favorite? What do you think about them today? Do you let your kids watch TV specials? How about PG or PG-13 movies? Tell us your story.

8 Responses to “Ban Rudolph! And Santa, too!”

  1. Jeff says:

    Rudolph has got to be my favorite.

    Rudolph an outsider; he doesn’t fit in with the “in crowd.” I related that aspect of the story. He goes on a journey that shows him regardless of how mean others can be that he can be special by just being himself. It’s a powerful message IMHO. Sure, they represent challenges that seem unfair (i.e., a Santa that allows discrimination to go on in his own backyard), but that’s what life is about, overcoming challenges and finding your way inspite of (or because of) them.

  2. sheri says:

    I never thought about it but you are right! My favorite was Frosty the Snowman (the very old one) and Rudolph. I remember the abominable snowman vividly, he made quite an impact on me.
    I think the diversity is good for our children to learn about.

  3. Shari G says:

    The only one I am familiar with is the Charlie Brown Christmas. While I think that the Charlie Brown kids speak in a fresh/rude way and are not at all PC, I still think they are harmless and fun. As for adult movies, I agree that children should not be exposed to violence. I can’t understand why some people are so afraid to let their kids see nudity but yet guns and killing are OK. Nudity is natural, guns are not. I am not saying kids should see inapropriate naked images, I am just saying that if I had to choose between my child seeing nudity or violence I would choose the nudity any day.

  4. Joene says:

    Hi fellow FLXer. I’m a Charlie Brown nut through and through. My husband loves the Grinch, and our kids grew up watching both. All are now adults, but we did limit their TV watching when they were younger.

  5. MarthaandMe says:

    I’ve always thought these specials were a bit rough for kids. I remember not enjoying them when I was a child.

  6. Joanne Mason says:

    My favorite, hands down, is “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – and all the Charlie Brown cartoons. My nephew and I used to act out scenes from the Christmas special for our family. And I think there’s just as much in there to amuse adults as there is for children. Like when Lucy comments (I’m paraphrasing) “We all know Christmas is one big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know.”

    But don’t get me started on Rudolph! Like your sister, I posted a status update about Rudolph this week:

    “Do you think all of the other reindeer would have accepted Rudolph if there hadn’t been that foggy Christmas Eve? Did they just like him because they wanted something out of him? Couldn’t Rudolph have just flipped them the bird and said “screw you, all-of-the other-reindeer, I’m not helping you after you’ve been so mean.”? Or was Rudolph the bigger reindeer, showing compassion and maturity?”

    It’s been quite a discussion! Someone said he thought Rudolph was being noble. Another said that Santa was nice to Rudolph, so he pulled the sleigh for Santa alone and not the others. But I don’t know. I’m still bothered by the whole story, myself.

  7. Donna says:

    The question posed in the photo above is, “Do you want your children watching that kind of garbage?” and my answer is unequivocally YES, YES, YES!!! Why, you ask? My son, who is 11, and in middle school has an academic average of 98. Chances are, he’s never going to be the jock, the popular guy, and no offense, but kids getting picked on is a harsh reality that my son is likely to encounter, so why not use cartoon characters, anaimation, and the joy of Christmas as a learning tool? I won’t be in school with him if and/or when he gets picked on, and allowing him to see that this is, unfortunately, the way some behave, and rather than protect him and shield him from these realities, having him shocked that they occur, I use those classics as a tool to prepare him. Not to mention the fact that our entire family enjoys them. AND… having seen those classic Christmas specials every year for the past 25+ years, I seem to have made it through….

  8. kb says:

    Donna, I agree! I loved all those cartoons, too.

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