Every year around Thanksgiving, it’s important to really take a moment to think about what we are thankful for and why. A lot of the time, if you’re lucky, there’s the obvious…good friends, great family, and in my case you get to be thankful for having the best dog in the world (he is, you should meet him!). This year though, I’ve challenged myself to go a little bit deeper. Beyond being thankful for having food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in, above all else, I am thankful for The Muppets.
Like all people who are good and decent, I grew up on The Muppets. The movies, TV shows, and the music were all staples in my house both as a kid and now as a grown up. When I was younger, we didn’t have cable and weren’t allowed to watch most TV shows, but it was always okay to watch The Muppet Show. Some of my earliest comedic influences came from that show. Not only was it hilarious in its own right with bits like ‘Pigs in Space’, ‘Swedish Chef’ and ‘Veterinarian’s Hospital’, but the endless stream of entertainers who guest starred like Steve Martin, John Cleese and Julie Andrews helped open my world up to different types of comedy and performers.
It’s truly impossible to outgrow The Muppets (and why would anyone want to?). The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and Muppets Take Manhattan have all been a source of pure happiness throughout my life. I laugh out loud every time I think about the scene in The Muppet Movie where Kermit and Fozzie meet Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem for the first time. Coming into the film as late as they do, the band is behind on the plot up until then, so instead of re-telling the whole story, Kermit simply has them read the script. That’s a great joke. And, if you ever want to see me cry due to a mixture of joy and nostalgia, just play me ‘The Rainbow Connection” sung by the one and only Kermit the Frog. I’m not sure why you’d want to see me cry though; it feels a little mean-spirited, to be honest
Through all the different media that The Muppets have put their stamp on, Jim Henson and the brilliant minds behind these characters found a way to combine innocence, brilliant comedy, warmth and pure delight, suitable (and enjoyable) for all ages into their characters and scripts. From some of their earliest appearances like their 1950s ads for Wilkins Coffee (seen here) to their most recent bits on Saturday Night Live this past week, they’ve somehow found way to consistently maintain that magical formula for over 60 years. Some of my other favorite moments throughout the years are when the different groups go over their checklists before the big break-in in The Great Muppet Caper, Gonzo singing “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday” from The Muppet Movieand when all The Muppets and Muppeteers sang “One Person” at Jim Henson’s memorial service. If you don’t get choked up while watching this, you may not be human. Check out the link to see it for yourself. It’s wonderful. Go on, click the link. I’ll wait…
This year, Disney is releasing a new Muppets movie (The Muppets), which I really want to be good. Like, I really, really, really want it to be good. I’m sure even if it’s bad, I’ll find something to like about it. That’s what I did for Muppets In Space (even the best of us have our flaws). As much as I love The Muppets, I have to admit that a lot of the stuff they’ve put out in the last decade has been, well, let’s say, not so good. Okay, fine, they’ve been bad. But, that being said, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about a movie, and you better believe that on opening day, I will be sitting in a movie theater somewhere in L.A., more than likely bawling my eyes out with joy. I apologize in advance to the people sitting around me. So, this year, more than anything else, I am thankful for Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Camilla, Scooter, Rizzo, Rowlf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Sweetums and Animal. I’m even thankful for Statler and Waldorf, although I’m sure they’d respond with, “Thankful?!? The only thing I’m thankful for is that this article is finally over!”
image via tvsinopse.net