A baby escapes from his crib at his orphanage and climbs into Santa’s toy sack. He’s wearing Little Buddy brand diapers so they call him Buddy. An elf adopts him. 30 years later, he’s much bigger than the other elves, but doesn’t figure out he’s human until he overhears it. He finally learns about where he came from and sets off to New York to find his human father.
Why Buddy might be hard to identify with: He can be a little grating.
- We begin with some entertaining facts about elves, including showing how elves make plastic toys like Etch-a-Sketches, which is always the sort of things parents have a hard time explaining.
- Buddy bursts with personality every time he’s onscreen.
- We love naïvete, such as when his elf father has to explain to him how it’s possible that some people don’t believe in Santa and he’s baffled.
- He doesn’t fit in. He’s a big oaf. He’s incompetent. “Why don’t you just say it? I’m the worst toymaker in the world!”
- He’s put in charge of testing jack-in-the-boxes, but they scare him every time they pop up.
- He overhears them saying that he’s not really an elf, which destroys his world. Overhearing humiliation is always good.
- He finds out his human father’s on the naughty list.
- Just when we’re convinced there will be no reason to invest in him, Santa says of his father: “Some people, they just lose sight of what’s important in life, that doesn’t mean they can’t find their way again, huh? Maybe all they need is just a little Christmas spirit!” Buddy responds, “Well, I’m—I’m good at that!” Santa replies, “I know you are.” So this is a classic story about an incompetent hero with just one valuable quality, put into a situation where that one quality is badly needed.