Watching Rudolph

‘Tis the season to watch Christmas movies.

Remember when Charlie Brown, Rudolph, The Grinch and Frosty were on TV when we were kids and it was the one and only chance to see them? It was a special family event! It was so exciting!

It isn’t like that anymore. Now we have the DVDs.

I try to keep it “special” by only putting them on in December. Rudolph is not allowed in July. Still, I’m not quite sure it qualifies as a “special family event” if they binge on them from December 1st-25th.

Anyway, we decide to watch Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know, the claymation one from 1964? I love this one.

Sure, Santa is an asshole. Rudolph’s dad is an asshole. And the coach is a huge asshole. But that is all part of the story. “Right? Right.”

I’ve always loved the part about the misfit toys on the island. You remember these guys?


They all have something “wrong” with them that makes them misfit toys.

There is a Jack-in-the-box named Charlie. Okay, sure, wrong name, I’ll buy it.

There is an adorable elephant with spots. He has the measles. Contagious. (It must be something horrible like that because he so flippin’ cute otherwise.)

And there is a water pistol that shoots jelly. Now that toy does suck. Imagine the stains.

Then there is a cowboy who rides an ostrich. Weird.

A bird that swims. Also weird.

And a train with square wheels on the caboose. Horrible design flaw.

But what about…


The doll?

She is adorable. She doesn’t do anything weird.  Her “misfitness” is never addressed. As a child I always assumed that she was somehow there as a mistake. She wasn’t really a misfit she was just stuck on an island with a bunch of weirdos. I never really questioned it.

But after his fourth viewing of the year, Crappy Boy questions it:


I tell him that I don’t know.

I ask him what he thinks could be wrong with her.

He says:


And Crappy Baby adds:


Then they collapse on the floor laughing until their sides hurt.

Special family event? Success.



The true story of the doll is that she wasn’t in the original script. She was apparently added later and appealed to the girl audience so was given more lines. Arthur Rankin (of creators Rankin/Bass) joked that her problem was psychological. Which could be way more disturbing in a psycho Chucky doll sort of way. Maybe she likes to cut up children and eat them with fava beans. Creepy.  

I’m going to choose to believe she is a hermaphrodite* who needs a bath. Nothing wrong with that. 


*”Also, Dude, hermaphrodite is not the preferred nomenclature. Intersexual, please.”  

I truly didn’t mean to offend anyone with this post. I had no idea that term is considered offensive. 

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195 Responses to Watching Rudolph

  1. Adriane says:

    Oh boys!

    • Mary says:

      Everyone has it wrong about the doll. Years ago my friends and I realized her problem… she has NO NOSE! Poor noseless little dollie. *sniff* um… *twitch face where sniffer should be.*

  2. Pamela Susan says:

    hahahah!!!!! that was great. and i’ve always wondered about that doll, too. i was also waiting for someone to comment on how mean santa, and the adult reindeer are! sheesh! lol well done, well done.

    • Tracey says:

      Santa is mean–in the end credits, he flings the flightless bird over the edge of the sleigh! The poor bird probably fell to his death. Santa just chucks him out, without a second thought.

  3. Katrina says:

    LMFAO. I almost spit the cookies I’m eating whilst my toddler sleeps all over my screen. Your kids are hilarious. And that doll will never be the same when I watch it. She will forever be remembered as the Silence of the Lambs hermaphrodite doll who has a cleanliness issue… *dies laughing*

  4. Trena says:

    OMG! I just spit Diet DP all over my computer screen. Your kids are AWESOME!!!!!

  5. Ruth says:

    Lol! I almost woke my baby up laughing with that one. Wow. Hahaha

  6. Corinne B says:

    I wondered about the doll, too.

    I also felt bad for the snow monster this time when I watched it. My recollection was that he had a toothache and the elf pulled the offending tooth and suddenly he was a decent guy. Not so. The elf pulls ALL of his teeth (like they do in movies when they are torturing someone) and then the monster is only nice decent because he’s been reduced to a soft foods diet for life. Disturbing, right?

    • amber says:

      Totally. So much about that movie is disturbing. That is why it is pure magic.

    • Lenna says:

      That’s what I remembered too – that he was nice after getting his sore tooth pulled! That must be in a different one. This must be the first time in years that I’ve actually sat down and watched it because I felt bad for him too, totally toothless.

    • Lisa says:

      Ha ha ha!! I thought he had a toothache too! I thought the dentist “fixed” his problem by pulling a tooth that hurt and the tooth hurting was what made Bumble ‘seem’ mean, when in reality he was just hurting. So… now watching it this year… what the heck? lol. How did I have that so wrong! Funny that we all watched it… My tween and teens thought their Dad and I were nuts for watching it by ourselves, but we enjoyed watching it and finding out that it wasn’t what we thought it was at all! lol. Amber, you did an awesome job with this one… as usual. I just wish your blog had “like” buttons under each of the comments!! LOL!

      • Kristi says:

        I am almost positive that Bumble had a tooth ache too. In fact, I told my 3-year old that Bumble gets nice after the dentist fixes him up. Make me a liar, already. And I love what your sons said about the doll. Hilarious!

  7. Anne-Marie says:

    Isn’t her flaw that she cries instead of being happy?

  8. CINDY says:

    I JUST thought of that this year when watching with my kids (and I only pull them out in December as well) although I missed this as a kid… I LOVE your sons answer. Kids are so awesome some times.

  9. Sarah says:

    Wasn’t the doll’s problem that she didn’t. smile? I feel like it was in the song, but it has been a while since I last saw the movie.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      I felt like there was something in the song about it too but in the youtube clip I just watched she didn’t say anything besides “how do you do”.

  10. Andrea says:

    Hilarious. My boys and your boys would get along famously.
    I can’t believe I never questioned what was wrong with the doll!

  11. Becky says:

    I never questioned it as a kid, either (at least not that I recall), but as an adult I have always wondered that. And that the lesson of the whole thing is that you can have a physical abnormality as long as its useful for something, sigh.

    But the real reason for this comment is to say KUDOS on the spot-on toy drawings. No elephant pun intended.

  12. Rhett says:

    I absolutely LOVE your posts. I can’t help but laugh so hard and then keep cracking up when I think of them again. Thanks!

  13. Julie says:

    LOL – I had the exact same question when I watched this with my 2 year old this year (we recorded in on the DVR … so it was sort of like watching it on TV as a kid … we made a big family event out of it).

    I started to wonder (given that it was in 1964) if she was a misfit because she was a redheaded doll (vs. blonde or even brunette) and this made me really pissed off … because my little girl is an ADORABLE red head and I have the hardest time finding red headed dolls for her.

    And yeah, the elephant … adorable.

  14. They are both very valid and well thought out suggestions… 🙂
    Your kids brains rock… and made me snort loudly in my cubicle. 🙂

  15. Lori says:

    We were just talking about this…And when they are singing the song about all the toys, the doll’s part says that now there are so many dolls that cry or make noise etc… basically because she does not take batteries or make a sound no little girl wants her…

  16. Jessica says:

    I bought the DVD last year after I had a child. I totally missed how mean the adults were when I was a kid.

    does anyone know the name of the one with mice who have to save Christmas? it has the song “Christmas time is calling, Santa, Santa, everyone recalling Santa, Santa, come on old Kris Kringle Christmas tie is coming, Santa, we need you today!”

  17. Elise says:

    Found this online: “A Dolly for Sue (as she calls herself) is a seemingly normal girl rag doll with red hair and a red gingham (checkered) dress. Her misfit problem is never explained on the special, but was revealed on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! news quiz show (broadcast December 8, 2007). The show revealed that Rudolph’s producer, Arthur Rankin Jr., says Dolly’s problem was psychological, caused from being abandoned by her mistress and suffering depression from feeling unloved.”

    • Angela says:

      That is the same as what Crappy Mom linked to in the post. So the answer really is “psychological”! I never knew!

  18. Heather says:

    Oh my stars, that is hilarious.

  19. Tina says:

    That was one of my favorite Christmas movies growing up, but everyone knows the real reason she was a misfit is because she’s a ginger. NO ONE WANTS AN EVIL REDHEADED DOLL.

    And as a redhead, I developed a complex and then decided it was much better to be a misfit after all.

  20. Robin says:

    OMG I LOL. That is the best answer. BTW your drawing of the toys is super awesome!! and I mean that, not in the sarcastic way that it might appear 😉

  21. Riki D. says:

    I love it, I always wondered what was the doll’s deal too. 🙂

  22. Angela says:

    This is hilarious and I can just hear Charlie in the Box’s voice in my head when I saw your drawing.

  23. Meri says:

    omg I almost fell out of my chair! your kids are tooooo funny!!

  24. wendy says:

    Did you know that the only person (and now his estate) to receive residuals from the airing of this show was Burl Ives? All the actors who voiced the other characters received a one-time only payment, and that was whatever scale was in 1964!

  25. Shea says:

    Mt husband and I have had a similar conversation before! Never knew anyone else noticed lol.
    My son was obsessed with Rudolph last year, but this year he told me it’s lame because it has too many reindeers. So now I have to watch it alone. And seriously Santa, the coach and Rudolph’s dad are serious d bags in that movie! Rudolph’s dad is chauvinist, “this is man work!” lol

  26. Lisa says:

    Arthur Rankin has been quoted that her problem was “psychological”. She was probably the scariest toy on that island. 😛

  27. Christina says:

    In your last picture all I can think of is the line from the movie: “I haven’t any dreams left to dream!”

  28. Micki says:

    This conversation is the highlight of my day! I spit my soup out several times. Thanks so much for the laughs!

  29. Heather Hubbard says:

    BEST POST EVER!! You nailed it! I always tell my boys what an EVENT it was when those Christmas shows came on, and how if you got back from somewhere late and you missed the first 10 minutes, you really MISSED them and there was not getting them back til next year….not sure if they bring up the same warm feelings for them as they do me. But they def. remind me of when Christmas was still magical…..

  30. Audette says:

    She’s pretty whiny – so I think that makes her misfit-y

  31. erinb says:

    it’s like you were in my house. we were talking about this very thing last weekend! (I’ve since forgotten my theory on the subject.)

  32. Hahahaha. It never occurred to me to wonder about the doll…

  33. HA HA HA. I love your kids! She’s a psycho doll WITH a penis and a stinky butt. Yeah, that’s probably it!

    We loved all of those specials as kids. My Mom taped them all off of the tv because we were COOL. But we still were only allowed to watch them in December.

  34. Lisa says:

    i remember watching this as a child, sooo many years ago when it only came on once a year, my brother fell in love with the polka dotted elephant and cried and cried because he wanted it so bad! and didnt want it to be left on the island of misfit toys!
    my parents had a hell of a time finding a polka dotted elephant for him. i will just chalk that one up to a christmas miracle!

  35. Beth says:

    Seriously, thank you. Your gift to the world is to make us laugh. There’s a special place in Heaven for you. Merry Christmas!!

  36. Laura Salamy says:

    Since college, I’ve ALWAYS speculated that that had to be the reason the dollie for Sue was there. Haven’t watched my dvd this year yet. Tonight must be the night, though I don’t think I’ll drink when his nose lights up. Maybe if it was friday, then end of the world…

  37. Gabrielle says:

    Perfect timing– it’s on at our house right now! The one benefit of the super-cheap DVD thingy I got my husband a few years ago on black Friday is that if we route it through a VCR, we can record from TV onto DVDs. So we are collecting all the Christmas classics!
    I’ll watch for the subtle signs of dollie psych damage.

  38. Jamie says:

    Oh my god, I laughed SO loud when I scrolled down to Crappy Boy’s reasoning. That was SO FUNNY.

    Little boys are the BEST! hahaha

  39. Melissa says:

    Hmmm…that misfit toys drawing isn’t very crappy. In fact, it’s pretty close to the claymation. I think you’re slipping, Amber! 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  40. Vanessa says:

    Bwahahaha!!! I wondered about her too. I think I always assumed it was because she lacks a nose, but she still looks so normal. Penis, and stinky butt, indeed! 🙂

  41. Denise says:

    I have a theory about the doll. The king of the misfit toys says the island is for unloved & unwanted toys, so I figure Suzy is there because her owner grew up and no longer plays with her. Therefore making her unwanted, or a “misfit”. Just an idea. 🙂

  42. Caroline says:

    Ha! Hilarious.

    I think the doll is a misfit because she had red hair. My mom has red hair and always describes how she was considered so ugly all growing up because she had red hair…so I figured it was a sign of the times. All the normal dolls were blonde-haired or brown-haired. But the red-haired doll…she was a misfit. How awful!

  43. Tacy says:

    This made me laugh. Best explanation ever. Thanks for this moment of joy.

  44. Erica says:

    We got some kind of set this year from Costco that contained “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July” and it brings the whole genre to a new level of disturbing. Rudolph EMBEZZLES and there is a LOT of romance.

  45. Elaina says:

    OH MY! I have to admit I didn’t think about until last week while I was watching it with my one year old. Your children are great! My guess was that she was probably a psycho, too.

  46. Crystal says:

    chuckle chuckle! I love that Rudolph. My mom always told me the doll was on there because she had red hair. Apparently when she was growing up, dolls with red hair were not at all popular or something. Maybe it’s a Barbie-complex!

  47. sally says:

    this was sooo hilarious. thank you. I kinda wondered about it too. However, i’m excited that you called all those people out as a-holes, they are.
    I’ve always loved charlie brown christmas and used to have the vhs. re-watching it with my son this year, I almost turned it off. it is so depressing how mean all those kids are to charlie brown and pigpen. some of those girls are awful.

  48. Eat Already! says:

    Ha! That was my first thought too, but then I thought, “nah, that’s just my sick mind at work… these are kids!” And here we go… 🙂 Hilarious!

  49. Christina says:

    Heeheeheeheehee… Nice one! I like that explanation.

  50. Mandy P says:

    One of my favorite posts! We watch Rudolph…every day once Advent begins so I am quite familiar with this movie!

  51. Bethany says:

    It’s been so long since I’ve watched any if those claymation Christmas classics, probably since we all watched them as a family growing up. I need to do that! Although, I think Rudolf doesn’t really have a very good message. It seems like it’s about acceptance but, as others have pointed out, all the adults are assholes! I don’t think I ever thought about the doll, if I did I don’t remember now.

  52. Melodie says:

    My oldest daughter asked about the doll two days ago when we watched it too. I kept waiting for a small hint – maybe it was because she could cry real tears? Who knows. I will have to show this to my kids later. Well done.

  53. Elizabeth says:

    My 2.5 year old just saw this for the first time and afterward was VERY concerned about the Bumble. She kept saying, “Bumble? Teef out?” Then she would feel her own teeth and say “My teef out?” I had to keep reassuring her that no matter how bad she was, we would never pull all of her teeth out. But then she decided she WANTED her teeth out, so we had to convince her that she needed her teeth to eat yummy food.

    • Jackie says:

      So funny!! I love when kids take things so literally. When I worked in the office at an elementary school I told a 1st grader that he was a lucky duck. He informed me very seriously that he was not a duck. The look on his face was priceless!

  54. Sara says:

    That was awesome!! My kids actually asked me the very same question (about the doll) for the first time this year, and they are 7 and 9!! I had never even noticed. But I LOVE your boys’ reasoning! LOL

  55. Kali says:

    I let my daughter (3) watch the Frosty cartoon yesterday for the first time. I hadn’t seen it in decades. I’d forgotten that Frosty is from Jersey [“happy boythday!] and that the magician with the magic hat is a major douche.
    After reading some of these comments though, I’m not sure if I’m too eager to show her Rudolph now. I know it’s a right of passage but the teeth pulling is WEIRD… And the one Peanuts Christmas thing I could find on YouTube–Lucy is verbally abusive to everyone and uses “stupid” a lot. I’m trying to keep that word out of the vocab as long as possible. Ah well, 21st century PC parenting ruins another 20th century nostalgia.

  56. Mary says:

    Hahahah… for some reason I thought there was a line in there about the doll being a pariah because she said “dada” instead of “mama.” But I like the hermaphrodite one better.

    • Beth says:

      Oh my gosh, me and my sister remembered a line like that, too! But, every time we asked anyone about it, they all thought we were crazy.

  57. Hannah says:

    Yes! I love that movie. My husband and I have always wondered why Santa and Rudolph’s father are such jerks. Ha-ha.

  58. eschelle says:

    omg I never even realized that at all!! in fact the song highlights her awesomeness that makes no sense… they must have put here there for harmonies sake I guess lol.

  59. tara says:

    Oh my god that’s hilarious!

  60. Joanna says:

    I am Jewish but married a non-Jew/secular Christian type, and we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. My daughter is 2 and we started showing her these classics. I never watched them as a kid, and OMG they are so werid! I cannot understand what kid would want Santa in their house after dark after watching this! Rudolph’s dad is so mean, the coach, the other reindeer. But to me the worst is the lead Elf. The whole thing makes Santa’s workshop look like a horrible place to be. And yet, somehow my daughter has fallen in love with this movie and asks for it every night. So, I guess there must be something to it that makes kids love it, but since I only have watched it as an adult, I really just don’t get it.

    • Lacey S says:

      I never watched it either (although I have seen ‘A Christmas Story’ ad nauseum… now THAT is a disturbing movie…), but I guess I’ll have to expose my son to all of this next year 😛

  61. Alissa says:

    Technically, not claymation. They are 2-3ft tall dolls.

  62. Misty says:

    I was wondering the VERY same thing this year… never noticed it before, but now that I’m watching with my son I couldn’t help but wonder why she was on the island. CRAZY! I’m sure because SHE’S a doll it’s a psychological issue… figures. Great pictures, by the way!

  63. Rob says:

    Another disturbing part is durring the credits the elf is in the back of the sleigh handing the toys umbrellas then dropping them over the side. The misfits have not been repaired. (The caboose still has square wheels etc.) When he gets to the owl that can’t fly he looks at the owl then looks back at the umbrella then just drops him over. All I can imagine is tht owl just plummeting to its death.

  64. Justine says:

    I know I know! The doll can’t cry. Which I suppose was a big deal back then? LOL

  65. Jessica says:

    I’m gonna go with maybe people hated gingers even back then. No one wants a red-haired doll! Only blonde ones. IMO though, red hair is the prettiest and I actually did want and had a red-haired doll when I was little.

    Another idea? Maybe she just wasn’t cool enough to be a Raggedy Ann doll.

    • Melanie says:

      I always thought this, too! The whole movie is so sexist and racist and xenophobic I thought it was because people are racist against gingers.

      • Christina says:

        Its because (so I’ve been told by my BIL) I don’t have a soul.. I can see why people might not like that about me.. but I’m pretty sure I do have one since I’m not dead.. & just because I burn in the sun doesn’t mean I’m less of a person then anyone else! It does however mean I should buy stock in sunscreen..

    • Marie says:

      Raggedy Ann was created in 1915; long before this Rudolph movie. She has red hair, and was and remains a best-selling doll. I doubt this doll’s misfittedness has anything to do with hate or discrimination.

  66. Amanda Reed says:

    ROFL! I love it! A hermaphrodite that needs a bath! We always wondered what was wrong with the doll, too! I think her pull cord must be broken. 😉 lol

  67. Robyn Carter says:

    Maybe the doll was Deaf. Deafness is a hidden disability and you wouldn’t be able to tell. She might lipread well too 🙂

  68. Woolies says:

    I love that having a penis makes her a misfit. Poor boy children, they already know….

  69. Lauren says:

    I love Rudolph! I never paid any attention to the misfit doll until my husband asked about it a few days ago. I sputtered around for answers awhile “too polite? just came with the elephant for moral support?” before admitting defeat. I never would have thought up “to appeal to a female audience”.

    The adults are mean! That never seemed strange to me when I was young, which maybe doesn’t speak well of adult behavior in general? Though I can’t imagine my parents unloving me if my nose were red!

  70. Alicia says:

    I LOVE IT! Speaking of the old specials, we were watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town the other day. Have you ever listened to the lyrics in one of the songs? “If you sit on my lap today, A Kiss a toy is the price you pay”. Um is that what we want to teach our children? Sit on the strange man’s lap and kiss him and he will give you a toy? I’m sure this was frowned upon even in the 60’s when this was made. Merry Christmas!!

  71. Erica says:

    LOL LOL love it

  72. robyn says:

    On my umpteenth viewing last year, I decided the answer to what is wrong with Dolly lies in Fake Aslan’s speech. He says that the toys on the island are not loved by any child, so perhaps Dolly nothing is wrong with her, but she had been given to a mean, selfish child or a too old for dolls child.
    The island exists to hide all of the North Pole’s mistakes-Santa not checking his list closely and elves making crappy toys. They all know it’s there, so Santa should stop acting so surprised that he is being called on to acknowledge it’s existence.

  73. Shell says:

    This made me crack up- as a mom of three boys, that type of humor is now what I find funny. 🙂

  74. Melanie G says:

    haaa! that is a great response.

  75. ML says:

    STILL laughing after reading this earlier today!! Thank you!

  76. Jennifer says:

    I always thought the doll was a misfit because she doesn’t have a nose. But I laughed out loud at the penis remark! 🙂

    I can’t stand Rudolph’s dad in that special. What a reindeer jerk.

  77. Kylee says:

    OMG can I just tell you how much I love you, your family and your blog?!?! I just laughed so hard my stomach hurts and I can barely see through the tears of laughter streaming down my face!!! Thank you so much for this and for everything else you have written all year long… I look forward to your blog each week!!!

  78. Heather says:

    I wondered for YEARS what was wrong with the doll! I asked everyone and no one could ever give me the answer. Then I read last year about the psychological problems, that she was depressed because she had been abandoned. But I think the Crappy B’s are onto something!

  79. Lindajz says:

    As a Mom to four grown boys I thought I got the best laugh last night when watching the late show… the game was guessing whether things were “true or false” statements. Young man comes on and explains while playing the game, the one you shout out answers…(can’t think of the name :P) Question…”what do you do in the shower?” Teenage brother yells out “masterbate” !
    This makes penis and stinky butt almost adorable and innocent. I love boy comments! PS I think it was actually the young man they interviewed that “said it”. He is just “blaming” it on his brother. Mom’s see through these type of “mistakes” Heee Heee Love you Amber!

  80. Becky says:

    My family always thought she was a misfit because she was smart. (She says, “How do you do?” in the song instead of just “Mama”.)

    I think the psychological problem thing is a cop-out. They put her on the island because they needed a girl but they didn’t come up with her backstory. The guy must have been put on the spot when he thought of it.

  81. Sara says:

    hahahah why is it alwasy a penis and stinky butts with boys???

  82. Jen says:

    seriously… where do your kids come up with this stuff? Hilarious!

  83. OMG – my kids and I just watched this two nights ago and we all thought the same thing! “Dolly has a ding-dong.” You know the ending when the toys are dropped out of the sleigh holding the umbrellas? I put it in slow-mo to see if her skirt would blow up and solve the mystery. “Sorry kids, no penis.” Must be the stinky butt.

  84. Beth says:

    OMG! I just almost fell out of my chair laughing!!

  85. Ann says:

    “A Dolly for Sue (as she calls herself) is a seemingly normal girl rag doll with red hair and a red gingham (checkered) dress. Her misfit problem is never explained on the special, but was revealed on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! news quiz show (broadcast December 8, 2007). The show revealed that Rudolph’s producer, Arthur Rankin Jr., says Dolly’s problem was psychological, caused from being abandoned by her mistress and suffering depression from feeling unloved.”

  86. Levi says:

    1) People with hermaphroditism find “hermaphadite” really damn offensive. The correct term is “intersex.”

    2) I have previously loved your blog, because omg, parenting is way better when you can laugh at it. But apparently the entire premise of this post is “haha girls with penises” and that’s not actually funny. Girls do have penises. Girls with penises are killed over that. They’re mocked and treated like dirt and killed. “Hahaha maybe she’s a misfit because she’s a hermaphrodite” is really awful and tasteless and smacks of bullying. Shame.

    • Jill says:

      Right, I’m pretty sure Crappy Mama intended this post to bully people. And her FIVE year old was being offensive towards transsexuals intentionally. She is obviously a bad mom if her kid doesn’t know all about how normal it is for a girl to have a penis. (eye roll)

      • JayBirds says:

        I don’t think anyone was saying it was Crappy Mama’s intention. Intention or not, things can be hurtful, and someone was hurt by this.

      • Levi says:

        Whether or not she intended that, she’s turned it into a big joke at the expense of a bunch of people.

        When my (then) 2 year old started pointing out skin color, I could’ve made it into a big joke (haha, yes son, he has darker skin than you! that makes him different and wrong!) but I didn’t cuz that’s horribly insensitive. Trans people deserve equal respect.

        • JayBirds says:

          Absolutely, 100%, trans people deserve the same human respect we show all races, sexes, sexualities, religions, cultures, etc. I’m sad and confuses that other commenters seem to want to dispute this :/

    • JayBirds says:

      I have to agree.

      Your kid said something that made you laugh, so you came here to share it, I get that. I just think you need to know that this can be hurtful to people out there, other parents, people reading your blog.

      I hope that you didn’t really mean anything by it and that you just weren’t thinking how it would be taken by someone who is the butt of your joke, and if that is the case, I hope you’ll accept the invitation not to laugh at the expense of people who are already marginalized in our society, especially in parenting culture. Especially when what you’re laughing at is really something that outside of their control (like their race, sex, sexual identity, gender identity, culture, etc).

      I love the stories and I love the crappy drawings. I also love awareness and kindness towards others. I think you do too, so I hope this was just thoughtlessness and not intentional cruelty.

      • Christiana says:

        I’m certain Crappy Mama was not intending to insult anyone.
        I, on the other hand, do not care if you are insulted by me rolling my eyes at your whining.

      • S says:

        I guess I’ll stop being bemused why my kid’s Caillou doll has no bits to urinate from. Belly button, yes. Vulva or penis, no.

    • Erica W. says:

      I graduated from medical school four years ago and it is still a term used by the medical community.

      Interestingly, there have been no documented cases of true human hermaphroditism. Pseudohermaphroditism, yes, but that isn’t what the author mentioned. Therefore, isn’t using this term the least offensive option? Since it can’t actually refer to a real person?

      • Levi says:

        Not sure what medical school you graduated from or whether it’s in the USA, but according to the National Institute of Health, “The older term for [intersex], hermaphroditism, came from joining the names of a Greek god and goddess, Hermes and Aphrodite. Hermes was a god of male sexuality (among other things) and Aphrodite a goddess of female sexuality, love, and beauty.

        Although the older terms are still included in this article for reference, they have been replaced by most experts (and patients and families) because they are misleading, confusing, and insensitive. Increasingly this group of conditions is being called disorders of sex development (DSDs).”

        Apparently your school is outdated.

        • Kimberly says:

          OMG… Amber, great post! This is hiliarious! As for the other, I am certain she didn’t mean to step on your oversensative toes. Kids have no idea there are people with medical issues of this sort out there, they are simply taught boys have a penis, girls don’t. Period. It’s not a common thing that kids have to worry about offending someone over…

        • Hannah says:

          Thanks for bringing this issue up. Crappy Mama is usually so good about being sensitive and not bullying. Therefore I was shocked and saddened when I saw this joke.

    • Melly says:

      All I can say to these bullshit whiny replies is ‘oh FFS!’ Plus roll my eyes so far back into my head I can no longer see.
      Jeeeeeez-are there people out there who just go looking for ANY kind of slight or supposed offense just to jump on it??
      Amber, you rock! Funniest shit ever.

    • annie says:

      I don’t understand if the term is no longer used to describe people with the condition why it would be offensive. Wouldn’t it have been more offensive if she had used the new term and actually been trying to make a joke out of intersexualism? She was merely laughing at her son’s penis obsession.

    • Lana says:

      Not every intersex person is going to be offended by this, though many would be. I asked my actually INTERSEXUAL born with parts of both genitals friend who was made a boy by his parents shortly after birth and he was amused. Not offended and said kids have no guile they just say whatever and let people be offended.
      Orchids is a name they like to call themselves though for many no one else may call them an orchid.
      Bit like only a dark person can say nigger it used to be used to ridicule, abuse oppress and subdue. Or it wouldn’t be offensive. There are also dr’s who say there’s no such thing as intersexual because once you’ve been reassigned a gender you are that gender. He says this is incorrect and you are intersex your whole life. Different ppl feel different all the time. But it’s up to them how they deal with it. As many as 1 in every 100 births is intersex.

    • Andrea says:

      If you have “previously loved” Amber’s blog then you would know that her intent was not to bully, but simply to be amused by her sons’ penis and butt obsessions. In which case it would be obvious to any reasonable person that what was needed was kind guidance and education, not attacks and accusations. When a well intentioned person makes a slip through lack of knowledge and you attack them all people will remember is “wow, they were oversensitive, I better ignore them” instead of “that person was kind and helped me understand, I’ll go out of my way to be helpful in the future”.

      Shame, indeed.

  87. Love Rudolph. It’s so completely politically incorrect – or in other words, “a classic.”

    Never thought about the doll’s issue – but now when I watch the movie, I’ll always think of her as a hermaphrodite doll. Love it!

  88. Janette says:

    Just watched it on TV; she has no nose.

  89. I cannot stop laughing. I am going to go with the hermaphrodite who needs a bath. Although the idea of her having a psychological “flaw” is appealing to my dark sense of humor as well.

    The doll is my FAVORITE misfit toy. I actually picked a Yankee Swap gift once solely based on the fact it was wrapped in Island of Misfit Toys wrapping paper because I thought the doll was so cute. Turned out to be a bottle of Ketel One. Everyone wins!

  90. jeri says:

    I was taking a break from cleaning for Christmas (putting all the junk in boxes and hiding it behind the couch). You made my very first sip of beer come out my nose.

  91. I love this movie!!I just showed it to my class yesterday during our Xmas party. The other teacher and I decided her misfit feature was that she was depressed.

    The thing about these movies is that when you are a kid they are like full-length feature films. I was shocked to learn Charlie Brown and grinch were only 30 minutes!!

  92. Madeleine says:

    Ah, poo and bottom jokes- when do they end? (They do end, right?)

  93. Jenna Claver says:

    Ok… YES… i have always WONDERED about
    that doll EVERY time i watch that show.
    I like your children’s explanation!

  94. Bethany says:

    As a redhead myself, I ALWAYS wondered what her problem was and thought that it was perhaps her red hair that made her a freak…ahem, misfit. As an adult, I have convinced myself that it is her bangs being cut too short and her pigtails with the ribbon at the bottoms. It may be false logic, but it has helped me sleep at night for years believing that I don’t belong on the island of misfits myself. 🙂

  95. Jenn Stark says:

    OH. MY. GOSH! We just watched this movie on the weekend and my husband and I had the same conversation!! Our kids are a bit too young to ‘get it’ like yours do but we were both like what on earth is her missfitness? We even watched most of the scenes again after the kids went to bed to try and figure it out!!!!!

  96. Sarah G says:

    I never questioned the doll because dolls are creepy. And the way she moves is creepy and she’s creepy.

    • Kris says:

      Amen. Dolls are just shudder-worthy. My grandma has a room full of dolls (China and puppets) and no one likes going in there. They all stare.

  97. Liz says:

    I love this post so much, my absolute favorite one yet!

  98. Mica says:

    I grew up in an army family in Germany. As a kid, I once lifted the skirt up on a German baby doll ( to check for underwear of course. I was a picky kid), and was surprised that despite wearing a dress, the baby doll had a plastic penis. This confused all of us. But this story brought me back to that lovely childhood memory…!

  99. Christiana says:


  100. Heather says:

    Love the reference to The Dude, man.

  101. Erica says:

    My sister and I have always wondered about Sue. I like the boys’ thoughts way better than the real story, though. Merry Christmas!

  102. Mel MOSS says:

    She’s needy. Needy dolls totally have issues.

    P.s we totally O.D on Christmas movies from the 1st December onwards. Sometimes two days before if I can’t wait any longer.

  103. Raponsje says:

    I’d rather think there’s nothing wrong with the doll and that she’s there by mistake. Well, injustice an mistakes happen more often than we’d like, there are plenty of non-guilty convicted to jail.

  104. Angela says:


  105. teagansmomma says:

    I know that you already supplied what the creators’ story is about the doll, but think about this…

    May be the Doll for Sue was actually given to a boy named Sue (like the poem and song), and she was placed on the Island of Misfit Toys because Sue was a boy and boys didn’t play with dolls (at least back then).

    That could’ve messed her up psychologically.

  106. Karen says:

    I was just wondering about that doll too. Thank your boys for clearing that up!

  107. Shelley says:

    Bullying!?!?! Bullying?!?!?! Seriously???? How is this bullying? For the record, the definition of bullying is, “use of superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” I’m unclear who Amber was trying to “bully” with this post.

    This term is still used in all sorts of current texts in medicine, psychology, sociology, etc., so I don’t think that Amber meant to offend anyone by using it. What’s really offensive is that you would accuse her of bullying for using a term that is still being used by people within the academic/medical community.

    And for the record, she did state that there’s nothing wrong with it, or having a stinky butt, for that matter.

  108. Megan says:

    we had the same conversation about the doll this year, too! and by we, i mean grown people. the children had nothing to do with it. i think we were laughing too hard to come up with a plausible answer, so i’m glad the crappy children solved the mystery!

  109. Carly says:

    So should I teach my kids that some girls have penises? This is now an appropriate topic for 5 year olds? I’m way behind! I’ll have to remind them that some boys have vaginas and some girls have penises. Then they can ask all their friends at school whether or not they indeed possess the assumed anatomy for their sex. Can’t wait for that parent-teacher conference!
    “Well, Mrs. Smith, I learned on an internet parenting blog that 5 years olds must be taught the facts about intersex individuals…”

  110. beth says:

    Thank you! I just laughed until my sides hurt!

  111. Fern says:

    I know, right! Huge Assholes! I cringe every time my boys watch it. But I can’t help it. It makes me feel all nostalgic and fuzzy, chauvinistic bigotry and all.
    (I did always wonder about the doll though. Thanks for clearing that up.)

  112. Deena K. O'Neill says:

    Dolly is voiced by Corinne Conley and is a seemingly normal girl rag doll with red hair and a red gingham dress. Her misfit problem is never explained on the special, but was possibly revealed on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! news quiz show (broadcast December 8, 2007). The show revealed that Rudolph’s producer, Arthur Rankin Jr., says Dolly’s problem was psychological, caused from being abandoned by her mistress and suffering depression from feeling unloved.[3]

  113. Mindy says:

    I have always wondered about that doll! I told my kids it was because she has no nose, but I like your kids’ ideas a lot better. Did anyone mention that not only are Santa and the adult reindeer assholes, they’re also misogynists! Donner says “No! This is man’s work!” And then after Yukon Cornelius goes over the edge with Bumbles they decide it’s best to get the women home. I think the women were doing just as well as everybody else!

    I also remember the toothache version and when I first watched our dvd I explained to my daughter when she was scared of Bumbles at the beginning that he was just cranky because he had a toothache and she would see that it’s going to be okay. Then I found out I was a liar. There has to be another version for this many people to remember it.

  114. Sara says:

    My daughter is completely obsessed with Rudolph! To the point that she noticed whenever the song was playing anywhere, no matter the version! She now calls all moose or reindeer shaped toys “Rudolph” and I dread shelving the DVD more than taking down the Christmas tree (her other holiday favorite)! At least the kids aren’t into the Christmas Story yet. The explaining with that one will be a little complex than redheaded rag dolls. Perhaps it’s the red hair that makes her a misfit? It was the 60s…
    (And I totally didn’t know clinical terms offended people either. Perhaps I should refrain from using proper names for my anatomy just in case someone is offended by my arcane language.)

  115. Tabitha says:

    Im pretty sure her head is on backwards to her body. Check it out.

  116. ldoo says:

    As someone with psychological problems stemming from my stinky butt, I’m oh so very offended. How dare you not consider EVERY SINGLE possible issue people could have and tailor your post on your very own blog to ensure that not a soul is ever offended?
    P.S. Jelly squirts out of my pores when I sweat. You offend me.

  117. Erin says:

    Why are people so attached to their bigotry that when it’s pointed out they entrench and get all defensive? Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place to live for us all if, when it was pointed out that something hurt someone’s feelings that the person took a step back and said “Oh, I didn’t realize. I’m sorry I hurt you” rather than saying “screw you and your delicate feelings”? Incidentally, this is exactly what Amber did. Kudos to her, but not to all the sarcastic and dismissive commenters. Sure, it’s your right to say whatever you want, but it doesn’t mean that you *have* to. How about a little kindness and compassion?

    • Ari Brown says:

      Spot on. I always wonder why people do this as well. Use it as a learning experience and move on. You and your children will all be better for it!

  118. Faith says:

    I always assumed it was because the doll’s hair ties are so low in her pony tails. That was the only thing “wrong” that I could see.

  119. Sarah says:

    I’ve never seen this show … I just love your Big Lebowski reference at the end 🙂

  120. Megan W. says:

    Dude, I just found your blog and can’t stop reading.

    The reason she is misfit is because she has red hair. Isn’t it obvious? People with red hair are more common in crazy/villainous roles than in heroic roles. Red hair is also associated with clowns.

    I always thought it was anothe stereotypical role for an unwanted redhead.

  121. liz says:

    Actually, this year we have no DVR, so Rudolph was a family event. That ended at 9. And made my kids really grouchy when they had to get up for school the next day, and made me a little grouchy when it was almost ten when they went to sleep… I’m thinking next time I’ll be lest stingy and buy it on Amazon.

  122. Pamela says:

    Boys are hilarious!

  123. Jen says:

    Just watching the Rudolph and Frosty Christmas in July – I had to chuckle that Lady Borealis bears a striking resemblence to mama lol