Sixth Day of Muppet Christmas: A Sesame Street Christmas Pageant

Generally speaking, I try to be an open-minded, nonjudgmental kind of person.  Nevertheless, I do have my pet peeves, and one of them is nonhuman depictions of the Nativity.

So by all rights, I should be really, REALLY offended by this sketch…and yet, I am not.  Why not?  Am I a hypocrite in addition to being a heretic?

Well…possibly.  But in this case, I think it’s the metafictional aspect that makes all the difference.  This is a story about a bunch of characters putting on a Nativity pageant.  Bert may be playing the role of Joseph, but the point of the sketch is not to persuade me to willingly suspend disbelief and convince myself that he is Joseph and not Bert.  The humor in the sketch stems from the fact that he is still unmistakably, undeniably Bert even while trying to play the role of Joseph while valiantly fighting off an attack of hayfever.

Fifth Day of Muppet Christmas: “The Bells of Fraggle Rock”

As much as I love this episode of Fraggle Rock–and I do–I nevertheless have some questions about it:

Why did Gobo assume that the “Great Bell” was something that he’d be able to carry back home?  Doesn’t “Great Bell” kind of imply something that’s large and heavy?

When Gobo and Wembley saw that the cave was bell-shaped on the map, why did it never occur to them that perhaps the cave is the Great Bell rather than simply containing the Great Bell?  That’s immediately where my mind went.

Whatever happened to the Weebabeast, anyway?  They introduce this whole implied mythos about the Weebabeast, and then we never hear about it again.  I feel cheated.

Why does everyone think that Cantus is so cryptic?  He makes perfect sense to me.

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First Day of Muppet Christmas: Bert and Ernie’s sacrificial giving

Merry Christmas, all!  I have tears in my eyes as I share this classic Sesame sketch.  I was going to talk about it, but what can I say that hasn’t already been said?  There’s no improving on perfection.

“Here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.”

–O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi” 

 

 

Twelve Days of Muppet Christmas

A lot of people seem to have the mistaken notion that the “12 days of Christmas” refers to the week and a half or so leading up to Christmas.  To be fair, I used to think the same thing.

Traditionally, however, according to the church calendar, the Christmas season starts on Christmas Day and continues for 12 days until January 6th, which is the feast day of the three kings, otherwise known–and I swear I am not making this up–as “Epiphany“.

I knew I wanted to do some kind of twelve-day event to celebrate not only the Christmas season but the Muppets’ longstanding tradition of creating Christmas content.  Originally, I wanted to look at and review 12 different Muppet Christmas productions, but I didn’t have time to do justice to them this year, so that will have to wait until next year.  Instead, I’m going to look at snippets of Muppet Christmas things and talk about them as appropriate.

I know that some people tend to get Christmassed out by the time Christmas actually gets here.  I empathize with that; last year my family had Christmas a week early, as my brother was here in town for a concert.  Subsequently, someone in the grocery store asked me if I was ready for Christmas, and I said something to the effect of: “For me, Christmas is already over.”

Nevertheless, there is an apropos song to apply to this situation that is from a Muppet production even though it doesn’t have any actual Muppets in it:

My intention is to keep Christmas with me, and share it with you, for at least a week and a half.

Policy Reminder:

I apologize to those of you who don’t need the reminder, which is most of you.

For those few who do need it, here is a reminder of my comment policy:

Commenting on someone else’s blog is a privilege–NOT a right!  Comments on this blog will be permitted as long as they are respectful.  Rude, inappropriate, or hateful comments WILL NOT be tolerated, nor will spamming, trolling, or bullying behavior of any kind.

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“Muppet Family Christmas”: The gift that keeps on giving

MFCCLose

This is my 100th post on this blog, and I wanted it to be something special.  So I want to go a little more in depth about my thoughts and feelings on “Muppet Family Christmas.”

Let me take you back to a time in December 1987, when I was a tender and callow seven-year-old.  I had seen The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan, (and possibly The Great Muppet Caper, although I think that actually happened later) so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the Muppet Show troupe, but we didn’t own any of those movies on home video yet, so while this wasn’t my introduction to the Muppet Show gang, it was the means by which I got to know them.  This was also one of the two times in my young life that I ever got to see the Fraggles on television, so that was really exciting for me.

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Doubting the existence of the Great Bell

“WHAT?!?  The cave is…is empty!  There is no bell!  It’s all a lie!”
–Gobo Fraggle, who apparently never thought to look up to see if there was a clapper in the ceiling of the bell-shaped cavern.

In starting a Muppet blog, my goal was to try to strike a balance between the serious and the silly, as the Muppets have always done so effectively.  While I’m still proud of the content I have created, I do feel that perhaps I’ve been less than successful in that regard.

I hoped that Christmas would be a time that I could lean more toward the lighthearted side of the spectrum, back off a bit from the Schism, and temporarily beat my sword back into a ploughshare.

(Although you don’t want to try plowing this time of year; at least in this hemisphere, the ground is frozen.)

Throughout this month, I’ve been watching Muppet Christmas productions in preparation for an article series that I see now that I’m not going to have time to do properly until next year.  However, instead of being a temporary respite from the Schism, they reminded me of it all the more, especially the productions made subsequent to 1990.

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Graphic depiction of the souls of Congressional Republicans

I’ve seen Muppet Christmas Carol more times this month than in the previous 25 years combined, and I’m finally warming up to it.  Nevertheless, I was struck by the fact that, notwithstanding the lyrics of the song, the Marleys’ dialogue suggests that they haven’t quite learned their lesson yet.

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Sesame Sunday: Muppets talk to Olympic athletes

Okay, so a couple things you need to know about me:  I am not an athlete at all; generally speaking, I am severely disinterested in sports…except as it relates to the Olympics.

And of the Olympic sports, my favorite is figure skating.  I am a complete figure skating nerd.

So I’m completely geeking out about this adorable video in which some of my favorite skaters (and some I’m not familiar with) teach Elmo and Cookie Monster vocabulary words from the world of skating:

My first instinct when they asked, “Do you know what a Salchow is?” was to say yes, because I know that it’s a figure skating jump, but I couldn’t have explained it in any more detail than that.

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“Who is that strange, bearded man?”: Muppet Family Christmas at 30

Jimchristmas

Today is the 30th anniversary of the special “A Muppet Family Christmas.”  I watched it originally when it aired in 1987.  We taped it off the television (except that we apparently were not prepared to do so and missed the first 6 minutes or so–tragedy!), and I’ve treasured it ever since.  I’ve watched it unabashedly at all times of the year, not only at Christmas.  After Jim Henson died, it was one of the sources available for me to turn for comfort.

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