Muppet Monday: The Moving Image (Thoughts on The Muppets)

Note: Unfortunately this is coming out a little later then I would have liked but I’ve been under the weather. So here it is! With minor spoilers. Yay Muppets!

The Muppets 2011 movie outing

This is me just minutes before heading into the movie theater with my husband, my parents, and my sister on Friday evening. I’m full of Pumpkin beer, prepped with my Beaker button on my jacket and a Muppet t-shirt that Michelle just bought me. I’m also just about as excited as I am on Christmas Day. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for The Muppets to be released and the last thing I want to do is leave disappointed. I’m anxious but hopeful.

Well, I’m quite pleased to say I left the theater smiling just as big and singing “Life is a Happy Song” out loud in the streets of New York with my husband. My dad said he shed a few tears, as did my sister, and my mom said it reminded her of when she was a kid and saw The Muppet Movie.And me? I cried (a lot) and I laughed, and basically 98 minutes went by in a flash. The movie certainly was not perfect but the feeling was just right. It was nostalgic and I loved that I was able to pick out some of the throwbacks from old movies. (I feel like a new oldish fan sometimes.) It was modern with a wholesome feel. It was also silly in all the right places and made me fall even more in love with these characters.The imperfect parts? Fozzie’s voice. Unless I never noticed it before, there were many times during the movie where I was cringing when Fozzie opened his mouth. It did not sound like him. (Eric Jacobson has been doing Fozzie’s voice for almost 10 years, and I don’t know what happened. If I could hear it, I’m sure other seasoned Muppet fans could tell. On the other hand, I thought Piggy sounded fine.) Rowlf, too, sounded a little off to me. I think this was the only time I spoke during the movie. I leaned over to my husband and said: “Is THAT Rowlf?

After the movie wrapped, I started to notice how many of the other Muppets didn’t have a lot of screen time. I can understand a lot of Kermit and Piggy but Gonzo didn’t talk that much, I missed some Beaker and Dr. Honeydew antics, and what about Bean Bunny? I realize Bean seems like such a huge Muppet to me because of his role in MuppetVision 3D – the only Muppet movie I’d seen in a “theater” until Friday happened – but I didn’t see Robin, Kermit’s nephew, either. And Rizzo and Pepe had one line each!

There’s also the storyline. Most of you know it by now. Small town brothers, Gary and Walter (along with Mary, Gary’s girlfriend of 10 years), travel to Los Angeles to tour the Muppet Studio only to find out a big oil tycoon is going to buy it and rip it down. The only way they can stop this from happening is by raising $10 million. The Muppets haven’t put on a show in years so the trio sets out to find Kermit to save the Studio. It takes some convincing but the four of them go on a road trip to reunite the gang and hopefully find a happy ending.

This is the thing. It wasn’t clear to me why the Muppets stopped working together to begin with. I get the impression they just gave up, but I still wanted to understand WHY. Just like why did Kermit and Miss Piggy break up? After Miss Piggy had a mansion built for them? Not like real estate is the be all and end all, but it was almost like their history meant nothing to them either. Then I thought maybe this is the meaning of the movie too. The people always believed in the Muppets but the Muppets forgot to believe in themselves? It was heartbreaking to think of Fozzie sending Kermit Christmas cards full of lies about how wonderful his life was going. How could a friendship of that caliber just disintegrate that way?

While many of the other Muppets were pushed into the background, I did like how this movie was about Kermit and Piggy’s love story. It practically paralleled the standstill of Gary and Mary’s relationship, which I liked. However, again, I wondered why? Why did they break up? Sure, Kermit said things he didn’t mean and Piggy is Piggy but really? Kermit was still living in what was meant to be THEIR house; it was practically a mausoleum to who the Muppets used to be. But again, maybe the audience questioning these details is essential. Why is it that the Muppets haven’t been uber popular in a long time? Is there a real answer to that question? Or is it a bunch of little things? Did people just give up on them?

I could be reading too much into this. Maybe it was more of a grown-up movie than I thought. And maybe that’s what makes it so good. It wasn’t straight up comedy, it was like integrating the Muppets into real life, which is what they have always been about. Which is the same reason why Gary doesn’t think its weird that his brother Walter is a Muppet.

Speaking of Walter, I adore him. I loved how he was insecure but found such comfort and joy in the Muppets. The passion he felt for them. The drive he had to work to get everyone together, the way he wore a Kermit watch. He was trying to find himself just like any of us. He didn’t quite fit in, he had a supportive older brother, and he was trying to find his place. I was sold on Walter, and I am hoping there is a future with him and the Muppets (on the big screen!)

Other highlights for me: Sweetums still was working at the used car lot. A Dirty Dancing moment. The amazing Man or Muppet sequence. Miss Piggy taking charge. The opening Walter and Gary sequence. Traveling by map.

Basically, I’m seeing it again. And I hope that if you haven’t seen it the first time, you should.

I also hope this movie is going to mean more Muppets. And not just them showing up in a game on the Fantasy ship. (Although, that’s nice too.) I want it all. Another major film. (Santa, can you hear me?)

One thought on “Muppet Monday: The Moving Image (Thoughts on The Muppets)

  1. Not like actual park is the be all and end all, but it was almost like their history predestined nothing to them either. Then I thought possibly this is the sense of the movie too.

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