I am usually very "meh" about Thanksgiving. Maybe it's because I don't have a large family to reconnect with. Maybe it's because I don't really love turkey, although stuffing is a genuine favorite of mine. Maybe it's because it finally dawned on me that the poor Native Americans helped out those hapless Pilgrims to make that first Thanksgiving possible, and then those jerkface whities went and kicked them off their land and killed most them.
Whatever the reason, the holiday never resonated with me all that much. However, this year was a tad different. I enjoyed the Hell out of this one. Not because I was thankful to be healthy after the months of crap (I don't need a day for that. I'm thankful for that every day). Nope, this year, I was thankful for The Muppets.
This Muppets thankfullosity goes back a long way. There is a classic story that has now been passed down to my nephews of me in nursery school (which I guess is now known as pre-K) being asked by my teacher what I was thankful for, and I answered, "Kermit The Frog." The teacher, rather stunned, as most of my classmates were thankful for their families and their whatnot, replied, "Whaaaaat?" And I responded, with added fervor, "Kermit the Frog!"
As life tends to do, I have come full circle. Thirty years later, I am once again thankful for Kermit the Frog and company. I saw The Muppets on Thanksgiving with my roommate and her family, probably some of the same people I saw the original Muppet Movie with back in 1981. And, movin' right along, decades later, seeing the current incarnation, and I think I laughed just as hard. I naturally had high expectations, so there was also a part of me that figured there was a chance that this movie would not live up, since most "revivals" do not. Let's face it, most of my childhood loves have been brought back and crapped on (Transformers, G.I. Joe, A-Team, Garfield, etc.). And with Jim Henson not involved (because he's, well, dead), there was at least a 60% chance this was gonna suck.
Thankfully(!), it did not. It was clearly a love letter to the original concept, made by fans, for fans. Not only did the old sense of humor return, it become fresh again, while paying homage to the original. There is even an appearance by Orson Welles' "Standard Rich and Famous Contract" that Kermit and Co. received back in 1981. Stuff like that made me chuckle, for sure, but when they played the actual Muppet Show opening theme song (You know the one. "It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights..."), that's when I really felt it. Seriously, I was moved. And that almost never happens.
Not only did they stick to what made the previous movies and show funny in the first place, the filmmakers also used the fact that it's been a long time since we've seen a Muppet as part of the story. Whether or not the Muppets were still relevant was a significant part of the plot. At the end of the movie, it was discovered that they were. And this was definitely a case of life mirroring art.
So, I'm not going to give away anything else, just see the damn thing. You may not get as into it as I did. it may not tug at your heart-strings. You may not giggle like a school girl for the entire thing like I did. But you may. And maybe, like me, you will realize that there can be joy in these kinds of things. Maybe you will experience it like a 5 year-old who was thankful for Kermit the Frog. I can only hope so.
A facebook acquaintance of mine said in his status, "If you don't like The Muppets, you have no soul." Maybe a little harsh, but still... He summed up in one sentence what it took me a whole blog post to do, so who am I to question?