* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Santa is in fact a big jerk because he never even "liked" Rudolph (if you can call it that) until he realized that he could exploit his nose. In other words, Santa only cares about Rudolph's ''nose,'' not Rudolph.
* AccidentalAesop: ''Rudolph's Shiny New Year'' has one about embracing the things that make you unique, but it sort of blurs into "if your physical deformity makes people laugh, let them. Be glad you're making them so happy."
* BrokenBase
** The sequels.
** "We're a Couple of Misfits" vs. "Fame and Fortune".
** The original 1964 stop-motion Rankin/Bass special vs. the 1998 traditional-animated Goodtimes entertainment film.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything?: One has to wonder if viewers thought of Lotso Huggin' Bear while hearing the backstory of The Toy Taker, after Toy Story 3 came out.
* EarWorm: Several of the songs. Maybe "We're a Couple of Misfits" especially.
** "Silver And Gold", to the point that it's become a holiday standard on its own.
** "A Holly Jolly Christmas".
** We are Santa's elves / Filling Santa's shelves...
* EnsembleDarkhorse: The Misfit Doll, whose total screen-time would amount to less than a minute, '''''and''''' remains nameless, has become a fairly popular and iconic character in the special.
** King Moonracer, Also doubles as a OneSceneWonder.
** Also, Slyly the LovableRogue HeroicAlbino arctic fox from the 1998 movie who was voiced by EricIdle.
* FanonDiscontinuity: The sequel, ''Rudolph's Shiny New Year'', suddenly has a completely different Rudolph puppet, despite starring the same character and taking place immediately after this special.
** Not to mention he's also young again in ''all'' the sequels.
*** Or did he get his antlers trimmed once in a while?
** Fans of both the 2-D 1998 movie and the "originals" will agree that the 3-D ''Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys'' never should have happened.
* FirstInstallmentWins: None of the sequels will ever hold a candle to original 1964 special.
* HellIsThatNoise: Every single time the [[NightmareFuel Bumble]] roars. It has this disturbing echoing quality to it.
* MemeticMutation: "You eat what you like, and I'll eat what I like!"
** "I'm cute! I'm cute! She said I'm CUTE!"
*** Preferably said as though one has a stuffed nose: "She said I'm CYUUUUUUUUUDE!"
** "WHY WEREN'T YOU AT ELF PRACTICE?"
* NightmareFuel: The Bumble.
** Not to mention when [[spoiler:Hermey plucks out all of his teeth while he and Cornelius save the reindeer]].
*** Rudolph and Hermey caught out in that storm ...
* OlderThanTheyThink: This was not the first classic animated film about [[Disney/{{Dumbo}} a baby animal who was originally ridiculed and shunned for his deformity, but is then loved and accepted once it turns out to have a good use.]]
* TearJerker: The Island of Misfit Toys. The concept of it is surprisingly depressing.
** When Yukon is thought to be dead.
** There's Always Tomorrow.
** From ''The Island of Misfit Toys'', [[spoiler:Mr. Cuddles, after being exposed as the Toy Taker, singing his backstory.]]
* UnfortunateImplications: Weird/different people should be ostracized unless their defects are pragmatic.
** And, if you have a disability or deformity and people bully you for it, let them. You're making them happy! Dear Lord, what were people thinking?
** And not only will you get in trouble for being different, so will anyone who tries to be nice to you.
** You are also apparently not allowed to hold a grudge toward the cruel people who mistreated you because of your deformity. If they finally find a use for you, shut up and be happy about it. They don't have to apologize for their behavior.
* UglyCute: The Bumble! You can't deny that underneath all that stop motion fur he's kinda cute.
* TheWoobie: Rudolph, Hermey, and everyone on the Island of Misfit Toys.
** From ''The Island of Misfit Toys'', we get [[spoiler:the Toy Taker, because he's actually a worn-out teddy bear named Mr. Cuddles, who felt like he was abandoned, but it turns out he wasn't]].