Nothing dispels the evil of a rough week at work like reverting to childhood. My kiddie drug of choice takes me back to some of my very earliest memories:
I’m on the truly devoted side of the Muppet Gap (there’s a bizarre cultural gap between people born about the same year I was and those born just a year or two after–those damn youngsters do NOT have the same appreciation and regard for The Muppets that their elders do–I think it has to do with lack of proper exposure). You play “Rainbow Connection” and I will stop what I’m doing. I hear the theme song to The Muppet Show and I work hard to refrain from getting up and dancing around the room like I did when I was about 4 and watching the show in syndication on a station out of Houston. And even with refraining from dancing, I have never successfully managed not to sway back and forth for the last few bars “This is what we call the Mup-pet Shoooooooooow!” Everything I know about anger management I learned from Miss Piggy (“Hiiiiiiii-yah!”). And if you want to see me tear up like a baby, you play Tom Smith’s “A Boy and His Frog”.
But vegging out with an evening of assorted episodes of the show and a few of the movies is good for more than just the nostalgic flashbacks: it’s still quality stuff all on its own. When I initially bought the first season of the show, I was a little worried that my fond memories of the show were the stuff of childhood and that it wouldn’t really stand up under its own power now that I was older and more discerning. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I found the show highly entertaining even without the whole misty-watercolored-memories.
The humor is clever and covers so many types, from the sarcasm of Statler and Waldorf, to the pure absurdity of Gonzo, to the musical humor of Rolf. The musical numbers cover just as broad a spectrum of styles from classical to musical theater to country. And all that is just the Muppets themselves. You add in the caliber of the various guest performances (as I type this I’m getting to rock out to old school Elton John) and, damn, I’m grateful that I had this kind of cornucopia of culture influencing my formative years. I can’t think of anything equivalent for the poor youth of today(outside of those lucky enough to have parents who are passing down the Muppet-y goodness).
If you haven’t gone back and bonded with the Muppets in a while, or if you were one of the unfortunate ones on the wrong side of the gap who missed out on the wonders of “Veterinarian Hospital” and “Pigs in Space”, spare a little room in your Netflix queue for a Pig, a Frog, a Bear, a Dog, A Weirdo & Friends.