Who is Buddy in the Elf Movie and Does He Make Fun of Disabled People?

Buddy is a human child that is raised by elves in the classic 2003 Christmas movie, Elf. He does not make fun of disabled people save for a spat with a dwarf. Some, however, say that the character insults disabled people.

These assertions are a recent development and it is doubtful if they will do any real harm to the beloved classic Christmas movie. Elf was a smashing success upon release, both commercially and critically. It remains a major Christmas staple to date and many TV channels and streaming platforms battle for the right to show it.

Buddy is a Human Child That is Raised by Elves in the 2003 Film Elf

Buddy is the protagonist of the 2003 film, Elf. He is a baby who winds up in an orphanage following the death of his mother Susan. His father, Walter doesn’t know of his existence. During the Christmas period, Santa Claus travels down from the North Pole to share Christmas cheer and gifts.

On a stopover at the orphanage, Buddy is fascinated with the toys in Santa’s bag and climbs into it. Santa unknowingly carries Buddy back to the North Pole. When the elves discover Buddy, they decide to keep him and raise him. They name him Buddy after the diaper brand he is wearing. Buddy grows up with the elves and they take him as one of their own. They assign him to make toys but his efforts are not up to standard. They, therefore, set him with the task of testing toys that he isn’t too happy with.

Buddy Elf
Buddy eating his infamous pasta and M&Ms combo Image Source

He Later Makes it Back to the Human World in Search of his Dad

On one occasion while Buddy is busy with his duties, he overhears a conversation that indicates that his father Walter is still alive and working in New York. He, therefore, decides to go and search for his dad. The elves allow him to leave and warn him to watch out for certain dangers.

In New York, Buddy visits Walter’s place of work and asserts his claim that he is his son. He is promptly thrown out. He later winds up in police detention and Walter has no choice but to come to rescue him. They later go for a DNA test which confirms that he is his son. Walter then takes him home to meet his wife and teenage son.

Much of Elf is about how Buddy struggles to fit in with humans and his immature childlike behavior. At one point, he annoys his dad so much that he disowns him. They later reconcile at the end in an exhibition of the spirit of Christmas. Buddy also falls in love with and marries a departmental store employee named Jovie and they welcome a child together

Buddy Does Not Insult Disable People Except for a Spat with a Dwarf

Buddy does not make fun of disabled people. He however has a spat with a dwarf named Miles Finch. Finch is a writer of children’s books and sets up a meeting with Buddy’s dad to discuss a publication deal. During the meeting, Buddy walks in and assumes that Finch is an elf as a result of his size.

He proceeds to call Finch an elf and this infuriates the writer who goes on to list his wealth and properties. He also asks Buddy to stop calling him elf. Buddy continues, once calling him an angry elf, and Finch storms out of the meeting. This infuriates Buddy’s dad and makes him disown him.

Dwarfism is classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It can be said that Buddy made fun of disabled people but it must be pointed out that he did not do it maliciously but rather out of a mistaken belief about finch.

Some Say that Buddy’s Character is an Insult to Disabled People 

It has been two decades since Elf came out and it has become a major Christmas staple. However, in recent years, there has been some criticism. A 2021 opinion article argues that Elf makes fun of disabled adults through Buddy by portraying him as if he is a cognitively disabled person. Buddy straddled both the elf world and the human world and he obviously does know how to act perfectly in either.

In the Elf world, he can’t really make toys and they call him special, a term that is pejorative of disabled people. In the human world, he acts in an immature manner. He combines his spaghetti with maple syrup and M&Ms. He also eats cotton buds at a point. All this makes his father refer him to as “certifiably insane,” “deranged Elf man,” and “chemically imbalanced.”

It is argued that this amounts to making fun of disabled people without letting them in on the joke. The opinion article also asserts that it would have been better if Buddy had been explicitly made a person with a disability. Some people however believe that there is nothing insulting about Buddy’s character and he was acting in a naive, unassuming, and innocent manner.

When Last was Elf on TV?

The last time that Elf was on TV was in 2016. Since then, it hasn’t been on extra-terrestrial TV. It is only now available exclusively on certain TV channels during the Holidays. For instance, in December 2022, people could watch Elf on Sky TV’s channel, Sky Cinema Christmas, in the U.K. It was also available on AMC otherwise known as the American Movie Classic channel, at that same time.

Is Elf on Netflix?

Elf is not on Netflix presently. It was previously on the platform some years back but since 2020, Elf has not been on Netflix. This is probably a result of both sides i.e. Netflix and the production company – New Line Cinema, failing to agree on a deal. There is however every possibility that Elf would come back to Netflix sometime in the future.

The movie is a very popular one that people always want to watch during Christmas. So, one would reasonably expect that Netflix will still have some conversation with the producers of Elf to bring it back to their platform.

Where Can I Watch Elf?

You can watch Elf on streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Fubu. You would however need to subscribe first if you want to catch this wonderful film.

You can also watch Elf on cable channels such as DirecTV, TruTV, TBS, and TNT. It is also available on Apple TV, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Redbox, and Vudu. You can rent the movie on some of these platforms while you also have the option of outrightly buying it on some.

This list is not static. The makers of Elf continue to negotiate and more platforms may carry Elf in the future while others may lose the right to show it.


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