The Trouble with Misfits

Santa Claus needed Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius, and during the show’s climactic blizzard, the outcasts negotiated a place within the North Pole’s hegemonic power structure… | One can only imagine the looks on the faces of the children who unwrapped the misfit toys. Did they laugh and cheer for the squirt gun that sprayed jelly and the cowboy who rode an ostrich? The polka-dotted elephant might have been fun, but I have a feeling that the poor kid who received the choo-choo with square wheels cursed Santa for caving into Rudolph’s demands. | That’s the flaw in the moral universe I share with Rankin and Bass’s animagic creations. The program refuses to deal with the consequences of dropping special-needs toys into unprepared homes. —Jon T. ColemanThe Trouble with Misfits (Chronicle)

It’s only fair to note that the references to the Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are only part of an extended metaphor that introduces a point about Ph.D. hiring committees. Yes, it’s overdone, but that’s probably the point. Even professors can have fun on the holidays.

Merry Christmas!