Olive, the Other Reindeer is an hour-length animated Christmas television special based on the 1997 illustrated storybook of the same name by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. Adapted by Steve Young (who won the 2000 Annie Award for Best Writing in a animated TV program), the special was executive produced by Matt Groening through his The Curiosity Company production company and Drew Barrymore through her Flower Films production company, and directed by Oscar Moore. Its title (along with many of the character names) comes from a mondegreen heard in the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ("all of the other reindeer"). The special first aired on December 17, 1999, on Fox in the USA. It was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or More); however, it lost to Walking with Dinosaurs.
The story follows a dog named Olive, who does not act at all like a dog. When she returns home from some errands, she finds her owner, Tim, putting away Christmas decorations and announcing morosely that there "won't be any Christmas".
Olive eventually finds out that this is because Blitzen, one of Santa's reindeer, is injured and can not fly. Santa hopes he can make the Christmas run with "all of the other reindeer". Mishearing this on the radio as "Olive the other reindeer", Olive becomes convinced that it is she Santa is referring to, prompting her to travel to the North Pole to fill in on the sleigh team. On the way to the bus station, Olive runs into an evil mailman who is fed up with the stress of having to deliver the heavy loads of mail during the Christmas rush. He is vengeful towards Santa for being repeatedly put on his "Naughty" list and is determined to stop Olive from saving Christmas. She then meets Martini, a con artist penguin.
After buying from him a "Rolexxx," Olive goes to the "Mauvehound" bus station to buy a ticket to Arctic Junction. Martini shows up, and Olive buys him a bus ticket out of pity. Before they can leave the station, Olive is captured by the evil mailman, who tells people that Olive is wanted on several counts of mail fraud, such as "licking self-adhesive stamps and not mailing early for the holidays". After pleading to Martini to help her, Martini rolls several pens along the ground, tripping up the mailman. Martini and Olive then catch the bus right before it leaves, with the mailman watching them drive away.
On the bus, Olive and Martini talk to the Eskimos and Richard Stans. They all believe Olive misheard Santa, but wish her luck anyway. The mailman pulls up next to the bus in his mail truck, but Martini fashions a paper airplane out of stationery and throws it at the mailman, knocking him off the road. When they arrive at Arctic Junction, there is a one-hour wait for the next bus, so they go inside the restaurant for some food. After failing to rally everyone to support Olive, they order some food. The group does not know that their waitress is really the mailman, dressed up with a blue wig (and a name-tag that reads "Flo"). The mailman lures Olive outside, saying that Santa is going to give her a flying test. Then, once outside, he throws Olive inside his truck. While he is driving away, Olive finds the mean letters from children and a package addressed to her from "Deus Ex Machina." The package is a metal file that Olive uses to escape.
Back at the Junction, Richard says he can not give Olive and Martini a ride, because he is needed at the depot, and does not want to lose his job. The two go inside the Top of the World Bar, and are initially harassed by Round John Virgin and Schnitzel, a flightless reindeer. Olive explains that Santa gives the people the stuff not because they asked for, but because they deserve. They apologize for their behavior "We're not so Bad" and Round Jon Virgin offers Martini and Olive a ride to the North Pole in his vehicle (named the Polar Express). At the North Pole, Olive is denied entrance to see Santa, but Martini gives the guard a watch as if it was a gift from Santa. When the guard asks Martini to fix it, he says he needs to kill the alarm, because the electromagnetic waves will interfere with the signal from the satellite. Olive digs under the fence, and proceeds to find Santa. She convinces him that the mean letters from children are really made copy of the children's name by the mailman (no postmark) and is put with the other reindeer to fly Santa's sleigh.
Before they leave, the mailman switches the toy bag with his own bag of junk mail and kidnaps Martini. After the sleigh lands at the first house and realizes what has happened, Olive uses the mailman's scent to catch up with the mail truck. Martini uses a jack-in-the-box to scare the mailman, who hits the window and is knocked unconscious. They retrieve the presents and rescue Martini, and then deliver the presents to the world "Merry Christmas After All." Lost in a fog, Olive guides them back to the North Pole by smelling the gingerbread cookies that Mrs. Claus baked. As a present, Olive is given a pair of antlers to wear. She goes home and makes amends with Tim, who is glad that she does not care if she is different from other dogs.
Meantime, bound with packing tape and cardboard wings, the mailman is put in the penguin exhibit in the zoo in place of Martini, and Martini becomes the new mailman, while everyone enjoys Christmas Day.
- "The Days Still Remaining 'Til Christmas"
- "Christmas (Bah, Bug and Hum!)"
- "We're Not So Bad"
- "Merry Christmas After All"
- Before Santa's sleigh takes off, there's an Air Traffic Control-style scene clearing "Santa One niner niner niner", which means 1999, the year the movie aired.
- The misspelled version of Rolexx appears on Big Ben when Santa's sleigh flies over London.
- Richard Stands' name is based on a misinterpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Richard even mentions this during the ride to Arctic Junction.
- Godzilla can be seen fighting a robot when Olive and crew fly over Tokyo.
- Drew Barrymore‘s first child is also named Olive
- There are numerous cultural references:
- When the Postman disguises himself as a waitress, his name tag reads Flo. This is a reference to Flo from the TV sitcom Alice, whose catchphrase was "Mel, kiss my grits."
- Martini tells Olive he's shaken but not stirred. This is a direct reference to the way James Bond likes his martinis.
Home video releases
|Dan Castellaneta||The Postman|
|Ed Asner||Santa Claus|
|Tim Meadows||Richard Stands|
|Diedrich Bader||Zoo director|
|David Herman||Guard shackeElf|
|Tress MacNeille||Mrs. Claus|
|Mitch Rouse||Round John Virgin|
Ticket Booth Lady
|Billy West||Mr. Eskimo|
|Danny Jacobs||Additional characters|
Dan Castellaneta won the 2000 Annie Award for Best Voice Actor in a Animated TV Program.
- Olive, the Other Reindeer at the Internet Movie Database
- Olive, the Other Reindeer at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Olive, the Other Reindeer at TV Tropes