As if you couldn’t tell from previous posts, I’m a fan of The Muppets. I’ve loved them since I first saw them back in the 70s on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. I’ve loved just about everything else Jim Henson has created too – Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas are among my favorites.
This past week I finally got to see the latest film starring the felt and fabric loves of my life. It was pure celluloid bliss. I think I watched the whole movie with perma-grin. The songs were in my head the next morning when I woke – Life’s a happy song when there’s someone by your side to sing along.
I saw it again a few days later with more friends and they loved it too. It gets better with repeat viewings. The film was a lovely little reminder that joy is simple, like when we were kids. That’s what the Muppets are to me – my childhood.
It’s been very disappointing seeing Hollywood take other simple joys from my childhood and twist them into nonsense for financial gain. I have accepted that I’m not the target audience for those things any longer but the Muppets are different.
The Muppets have always appealed to a wide audience of all ages. The Muppet Show was on at night so families could watch together. The humor often skewed older at times. The guest stars were people that my parents would have been more familiar with than I was. That’s part of what made them so magical. They exposed me to things that I might not have seen any other way. They really expanded me as a human being.
Take Alice Cooper for instance. My parents weren’t into rock and roll and I had no idea who he was but “School’s Out” blew my six-year-old mind. What is this and why do I love it so much?!?
We are influenced by many sources but the ones we encounter before we have a handle on logic and reasoning, I believe, are the most powerful and long-lasting. Those hit us on a visceral level, get real deep in our psyche and never let us go. Our parents and family, our religions, our educations and the things we love as children.
A great example of something that tapped into this was the Toy Story films. These films resonated so powerfully because my toys were my friends, that’s how I saw them and I imagine that’s how you saw them too at one time. How apropos that there is also a Toy Story short at the beginning of The Muppets.
Do yourself a favor and give your cynical, realistic old self a day off and go see The Muppets. Let yourself be carried into that world of wonder and innocence, when you loved something with your whole being. And someday we’ll find it, the Rainbow Connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.
I’d like to give a personal thanks to Jason Segal. He’s a real Muppet of a man, a very manly Muppet.