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Robbie the Reindeer is a reindeer character who made his debut in the 1999 Christmas Special Hooves Of Fire.
In the first one, Robbie, the son of Rudolph arrives at the North Pole in August to become the leader of Santa's sleigh. Unfortunately, he's out of shape and not particularly dedicated. Blitzen in particular is angered at the lazy reindeer, who also is in love with Blitzen's girl. Robbie gets kicked off the reindeer team and has to work humiliating odd jobs, but he can't even do those right and thus considers himself a failure until Donner convinces him to participate in the Reindeer Games.
Robbie is then coached by Old Jingle, whose mental faculties are in question. Although he does get shaped up somewhat, Robbie ends up lagging in the race after having to rescue Old Jingle from his falling house. After a kiss from Donner, Robbie then starts breaking records in all of the Reindeer Games events. It comes down to a photo finish; Blitzen won by a nose, but is disqualified for taking drugs, so that means, of course, that Robbie won!
The first special was well received in the UK, where it's a Christmastime staple on the BBC. It was comparatively unknown stateside until 2002, when CBS re-dubbed the entire special with American voices (and of course, a few dialogue changes). Ben Stiller took the title role, and other celebs who particpated include Brad Garrett, Britney Spears, James Belushi, Hugh Grant, Dick Enberg and Ben's dad, Jerry Stiller. The Americanised dub has been fairly popular in its own right and has re-aired several times through CBS.
Two sequels have followed: Legend of the Lost Tribe (2002) and Close Encounters of the Herd Kind (2007). In the former, Robbie discovers a tribe of lost Vikings, and in the latter, Donner is kidnapped by aliens. Clearly, neither special was Christmas-oriented.
Tropes present in Hooves of Fire:
- All British Animation Is Aardman: The style is very clearly Aardman-esque, and although several Aardman staff members worked on it, it's not per se an Aardman production.
- And This Is For: Blitzen pushes Robbie with a reasoning of "this is for you", then moves one of the race obstacles while saying "and this is for daddy!"
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: A variant; the female reindeer clearly have breasts and presumably nipple-hiding fur á la Sally Acorn.
- Betty and Veronica: Donner and Vixen.
- Christmas Special: Duh.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Old Jingle.
- Dartboard of Hate: Blitzen has one with Robbie's picture on it.
- Disney Death: Parodied. Robbie's mentor, Old Jingle, appears to die tragically in his arms. Then Jingle starts snoring.
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Robbie.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Present in the original dub but removed from the CBS version:
Vixen: I'm chilly. I wish someone would stoke my fire.
Blitzen: My my. Looks like Christmas has come early.
- Gilligan Cut: With Old Jingle: "I'd have to be raving mad to push my house up the hill." Guess what he does in the next shot.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Shows up during the Reindeer Games; Vixen, Donner, and Robbie are all wearing only shirts.
- Hartman Hips: Every female reindeer.
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Averted; they have relatively normal hooves. Their hands, however...
- Ink Suit Actor: Or possibly typecasting - Santa (in the British version) is voiced by Ricky Tomlinson, who is in fact a big fat man with a beard.
- Jerkass: Blitzen really has it out for Robbie.
- Love Triangle: Robbie and Blitzen are both in love with Vixen. Robbie falls in love with Donner at the end though.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: British sportscasters Alan Hansen and Des Lynam are caricatured as Alan Snowman and Des Yeti.
- One-Scene Wonder: The Geordie polar bear who threatens Old Jingle's house for stealing his dinner.
- Pop Star Composer: Mark Knopfler did the music.
- Rasputinian Death:
Blitzen: Let's trample him into dust, then throw the remains of the dust to the wolves, then blow up the wolves.
Prancer: You don't like him very much, don't you?
Blitzen: Not particularly, no.
- Same Language Dub: The CBS dub.
- Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus: Even she has a beard.
- The Scottish Trope: One Running Gag involves Blitzen preventing anyone from saying Rudolph's name.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Between Donner and Robbie near the end.
- Standard Snippet: "Chariots of Fire" in one montage.
- Stealth Pun: Seal, the musician, as a singing seal.
- Stop Motion: Yep.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Happens to Robbie when Donner kisses him for the first time.
Tropes present in Legend of the Lost Tribe:
- Horny Vikings: Subverted; the Vikings aren't terribly interested in pillaging.
- Planet of Steves: And they're all called Magnus.
Tropes present in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind:
- Alien Invasion
- Casting Gag: Gillian Anderson as an alien invader.
- Ozzy Osbourne as a bat.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin