On December 8th , Disney’s Prep and Landing aired on ABC. It’s being touted as an instant holiday classic, though I find that title fraught with contradiction. Prep and Landing tells the story of an elite group of elves who make sure houses are ready for Santa’s arrival. The elves make sure that there are no fires burning up the chimney, that Santa’s awaiting glass of milk is always a perfect 42 degrees, and most importantly, that nothing is stirring. This computer-animated show has all the ingredients of a holiday special; it’s witty, the characters are cute and the voices are from known actors such as Dave Foley and Sarah Chalke. Although my family and I enjoyed the show, I just can’t imagine that in 30 years, my kids will look forward to seeing this with their own children, the way I looked forward to watching, say, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
I don’t know why Rudolph was so engrossing as a child. Maybe it was the stop-motion animation that was hypnotizing to watch. Even the slightest twitch of Sam the Snowman’s mustache was fascinating. Maybe Rudolph’s allure was in its message, which promoted positive values and compassion for others.
In Prep and Landing, Wayne, the high-tech elf who was the burned out veteran of the crew, learned that Christmas was about the joy it brought to children. In the end, Wayne found new meaning from the position he held for hundreds of years. But where were the life lessons?
Stories like Rudolph taught us to embrace the things that made us different, allowed us to see our unusual quirks as special qualities, and encouraged us to accept the differences in others. How can Wayne possibly hold a candle to another disgruntled elf, Hermey, who dreamed of going into dentistry? Hermey taught us that it was okay to see beyond the expectations of others and follow your dreams. Even the Abominable Snowman, Bumble, realized that a creature with a cold exterior could have a warm heart. Sniffle sniffle, this reminiscing is making me yearn for Rudolph’s next showing. Prep and Landing will be airing numerous times between now and Christmas Eve, but I’ll have to wait another year for my holiday classic.