Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 1964 stop-motion classic, has become a Christmas favorite for a reason. It’s a heartwarming story of so-called “misfits” facing adversity and saving Christmas for all the boys and girls in the world.
But while the movie focuses on Rudolph, I think we know who the real star is: Hermey the Elf. Hermey doesn’t fit in with the other elves. While they’re content making toys, he dreams of something greater: opening a dental practice in the North Pole. Understandably, he’s close to the hearts of dentists everywhere (so much so that the American Dental Association recently offered him an honorary certificate).
Here are six reasons why Hermey the Elf might be our favorite dentist of all time.
1. HE’S A DREAMER.
When we’re first introduced to Hermey, he’s getting an earful from his boss. The assembly line in the elves’ workshop is backed up because Hermey would rather daydream instead of make toys. He explains, to the mockery of his peers, that he doesn’t like to make toys: he’d rather be a dentist.
Hermey lets the criticism go with a smile on his face, explaining that the North Pole needs a dentist (imagine eating candy canes all year and you can see why). But his boss doesn’t want to hear it:
“You’re an elf, and elves make toys. Now get to work!”
How does Hermey react?
Hermey’s a dreamer. It doesn’t matter if the world says elves are only good for making toys: if he wants to be a dentist, then you can’t stop him.
2. HE TRIES TO HELP ANY WAY HE CAN.
Later on, the elves sing a song for Santa about how much they love making toys. Santa is underwhelmed. He’s got his own problems, but the elves blame it on a weak tenor section: Hermey skipped the performance.
Hermey’s boss finds him in the workshop and demands to know why he was absent. Hermey offers this totally rational explanation:
He’s trying to find a way to use his talents to fit in, but his boss won’t hear it. “You’ll never fit in!” he screams at Hermey.
But who could blame Hermey for trying? He just wants to help, and he’s trying to make the most of his talents. That sounds like an admirable quality in our book.
3. HE’S AN INSPIRATION.
If you know the song, then you know that Rudolph gets shunned by the other reindeer for his red nose. Dejected, he wanders off, only to stumble across Hermey.
“Who are you?” Rudolph asks.
“Actually, I am a dentist!” Hermey replies, only to explain that he’s been shunned as well. But he offers this bit of inspiration:
Rudolph realizes he feels the same way: he doesn’t need the negativity of his judgmental peers. Re-energized, he and Hermey decide to band together as a couple of misfits.
4. HE’S LOYAL TO HIS FRIENDS.
Hermey, Rudolph and a prospector named Yukon Cornelius end up joining together on the Island of Misfit Toys, where they’re given a quest: return to the North Pole and ask Santa to find a home for all of the misfit toys. Even as misfits, they’re heroes.
There’s just one minor complication: the Abdominable Snowman is attracted to Rudolph’s nose and he’s been hunting the trio down.
Rudolph insists that he should head out alone so as not to endanger his friends, but Hermey won’t hear of it:
Even in the face of mortal danger, Hermey sticks by his fellow misfit. But that doesn’t stop Rudolph from sneaking out in the middle of the night alone.
5. HE’S A MAN OF ACTION.
Rudolph ends ups getting trapped in a cave by the Abdominable Snowman, along with his family and his future beau, Clarice. But luckily, Yukon and Hermey have been following his trail since he left them at the Island of Misfit Toys.
Quickly, Hermey and Yukon hatch a plan to save the reindeer. Yukon hits the monster with an avalanche and Hermey uses his dental skills to yank out the yeti’s teeth, rendering his harmless.
For Hermey, nothing could stop him from saving his friends. He’s a man of action when it counts.
6. HE FORGIVES AND FORGETS.
After the adventure, Hermey, Rudolph and Cornelius return to the North Pole, where they’re given a heros’ welcome for conquering the Abdominable Snowman. Santa promises to find homes for the misfit toys and Hermey’s former boss immediately approaches him with an apology, giving Hermey permission to open up his dentist’s office.
Hermey’s reaction? Not “I told you so,” not a victory dance: he opens up his boss’s mouth for a spot dental checkup:
Despite the fact that he was basically exiled from the North Pole as a misfit, Hermey doesn’t hold grudges. He gets right to work.
How could you not love a dentist like that? He’s loyal, brave, forgiving and dedicated to his work. At Winning Smiles, especially during the holiday season, we strive to live up to his example every day for our patients.