Olive the Other Reindeer

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Based on the children's book, Olive The Other Reindeer is a 45 minute animated Christmas Special from 1999, produced by Matt Groening and Drew Barrymore (who voices Olive), based on the 1997 book by Vivian Walsh and by J. Otto Seibold. It's about a dog named Olive who thinks she's a reindeer who makes a perilous journey to the North Pole to help Santa Claus fly his sleigh and save Christmas.

Along the way, she makes many friends and tries to avoid the schemes of the evil postman. Again and again, she is told that she is not a reindeer and that there is nothing she could possibly do to save Christmas, but her never dying spirit eventually turns them around.

Tropes used in Olive the Other Reindeer include:
  • Actor Allusion: Schnitzel the reindeer's song "We're Not So Bad" starts off sounding vaguely like "Everybody Hurts" by REM. Schnitzel's voice actor is Michael Stipe.
  • Adaptation Expansion
  • All Lowercase Letters: While capitals appear fairly often, the font used throughout the movie lends itself to a lot of all-lowercase words.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "Bah, Bug and Hum!" by the Postman, complaining about how Christmas is constantly adding to his work load.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: Sleigh-pulling is athletic, right? Well, there ain't no rule that flying-sled-pullers must be flying or reindeer — or rather, as Olive puts it to Santa, "Can you afford not to find out?"
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: Olive is constantly trying to convince people she's a reindeer. No one believes her.
  • Big Bad: The Postman
  • Black Bead Eyes
  • Christmas Elves
  • Clip Art Animation: All the characters.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: This is what Martini is doing at the start of the movie.
  • Conspicuous CG: Quite often. (The movie was made in 1999. It's fairly unavoidable.) The art style is an interesting half-drawn, half-CG mix that looks sort of like a pop-up book.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Martini.
  • Deus Ex Machina: While trapped in the postman's truck, Olive finds a package addressed to her from 'Deus Ex Machina' which turns out to be just the thing to get Olive out of the truck.
  • Easter Bunny: One shows up in the bar.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Postman.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Martini.
  • Fridge Horror: So, is that mailman going to be trapped at the zoo, mistaken for a penguin and treated as such, unable to talk and tell people he isn't, for the rest of his life?
  • Funny Background Event: The movie is packed with these. The bus station has routes to Mecca and Jerusalem as well as Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. A sign says "icicles MUST be SURRENDERED at door" in the Arctic Junction bar. And there are many more. Even the page picture has one.
  • The Grinch: The Postman. He supposedly hates Christmas because it makes his job as a mail carrier harder and more painful, although it is also implied that he's mad at Santa for putting him on the naughty list.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Martini is a wheeler-and-dealer and at least something of a con man (er, con penguin), but essentially good-hearted.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Postman gets defeated and left tied up in the back of his own truck. Martini then dresses him as a penguin and leaves him in the penguin enclosure at the zoo.
  • Lady Mondegreen: The premise revolves around this. Olive gets the idea to go to the North Pole after hearing Santa saying that he needs to rely on all of the other reindeer, and mishearing it as "Olive the other reindeer".
    • The bus driver mentioned that he thought the pledge of allegiance was about him since his name was Richard Stands.
  • Large Ham: The Postman emotes more than everyone else combined. And this is no mean feat, since the other characters are far from Dull Surprise.


    • Olive has her moments too.
  • The Messiah: Olive is so sweet, idealistic, and good-hearted (not to mention magnetic) that she easily fits.
  • No Name Given: The Postman. Most of the characters have names, but he's just called "the postman" or "that postman" or "a very mean postman".
  • The Nose Knows: Olive uses her dog-like sense of smell to locate the postman after he steals all of Santa's presents.
    • She later uses her nose to guide the sleigh through a fog to get back to the North Pole.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The postman's waitress disguise. In particular, all he does to hide his mustache is hold a notepad in front of it. Everyone is fooled.
  • Punny Name: Several, mostly Mondegreens.
    • Olive The Other Reindeer/"All of the other reindeer"
    • Richard Stands/"For Which It Stands"
    • Round John Virgin/"Round Yon Virgin"
  • Santa Claus: Not only does he exist, but everyone knows of his existence.
  • Saving Christmas: Olive attempts to do this after Blitzen breaks his leg.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: Martini sells ripoff Rolexxx watches.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: To be expected from a Christmas special.
  • Talking Animal: Every animal in the special can speak with humans, and although some are pets and others "work" in a zoo, animals are typically treated as regular people, for the most part.
    • Though Olive is pressured into acting like a 'normal' dog, but at the same time it's similar to some parents encouraging a teen to go out and make friends. For better or worse.
  • Title Drop: No fewer than five times, Olive says she's "Olive, the other reindeer".
  • This Is Reality: "There's no Rudolph; that's just one of those urban legends".
  • Villain Song: "Bah, Bug and Hum!"
  • Villainous Crossdresser: The Postman, for as long as he's wearing his "Flo the Waitress" disguise. (He still has the makeup and earrings on in the next scene, too.)
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Quite a few characters, including the Postman, have weird non-rhotic accents that sound sort of like they're making a half-assed attempt at a British accent, or a Boston one.