People v. Muppets

It’s gloomy out today. I can admit that-on days like this-I need a little good news. So, naturally, I was excited to see the Muppets in the headlines again.

I assumed it was another great review of their hilarious new movie. After all, it has gotten a stellar reception, and has had myself and many of my peers laughing till we cried.

But then, I have always been stupidly optimistic.

Of course, this article wasn’t about how Kermit and friends have, yet again, made a new generation of people fall in love with their goofy humor, sense of friendship to everyone,  and zany songs.

Why would it be about something like that? Who would read such illogical spouting? Who could support such fallacies?

It was about something much more grave. Much more serious. Much more pressing.

Yep, you guessed it: the Muppets are Communists.

Wait a second. Sharing. Swedish Chef. You sure they're not Socialists?

Fox News commentators were up in arms about the Muppets last week, because they’re picking on Oil. That’s right, the claim was that-since the villain in the movie is an oil baron whose name happens to be Tex Richman [snicker, snicker]- the Muppets are sending kids the wrong messages. The kind that are “anti-corporate”, or worse, “attacking the oil industry”.

I’m sorry. I had no idea kids wanted or needed pro-oil, pro-corporate messages. Since they’re children, I thought they would be begging to go to the new Muppet movie so they can see Kermit sing and dance and play and have fun with his friends. But they’re kids. So they obviously don’t know what they’re missing.

And if the writers of this movie threw in a few little jokes, that is to be expected. This movie is, after all, a comedy. It is not an instructional video, a newscast, or-as the Fox crowd seems to think- a license to suspend  basic common sense and reasoning skills.

I think  it’s clear that Eric Bolling and Dan Gainor just need a giant, corporate-sized, oil-filled hug.

I mean, let’s face it: when watching the Muppets’ new movie, the average kid is going to say “Fart shoes! Awesome!” not “Sorry, Mom and Dad. I just figured out you’re the 1%. I’m pitching a tent in the yard from here on out.”

Like any well-written family comedy, the jokes in The Muppets that are written to entertain the adults will be there until the kids in the audience get old enough to appreciate them [or, as the case may be, freak out about them in completely irrational ways on a national news broadcast].

Although you could agree that the Muppets’ insistence on sharing the spotlight, celebrating differences, and being full of joy and exuberance might be decidedly anti-corporate, no one declares any such sentiment in this film. In fact, Kermit lives in a huge house in Hollywood, and Miss Piggy works for Vogue in Paris. Gonzo also runs his own very successful plumbing business.

As far as I can see, the Muppets have spent their time apart taking as much advantage as they can of social and economic opportunities, just like every other hard-working American.

And no one in the movie bashes oil. Get a grip, Fox News. Besides, everybody knows the Muppets have driven cars since 1979, when Kermit ditched his bike for Fozzie’s Studebaker for their cross-country jaunt in the Muppet Movie. Add in the Electric Mayhem’s bus, and the huge car they share in their current film, and it’s clear the gang is doing their part to show that massive, faceless oil conglomerates are people, too.

The folks at Fox are right about one thing, though. Kermit and the Muppets have been successfully sending messages to children for years. Messages like “Keep believing, keep pretending” and “It’s not easy being green. . . [but] I’m green, it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be”.

Use your imagination, be faithful and hopeful, and be happy with you as you are. You read that right. These are the kinds of subversive messages I heard from the Kermit and the Muppets throughout my entire childhood. And as recent as  a couple of weeks ago, when I strolled out of the theatre humming along with a giant grin on my face, gladder to be alive than I had been in weeks, I knew it. Those adorable, loving Muppets had gotten me again.

They had sent me another message!

Life’s a happy song?! I don’t believe this.

What’s wrong with you people-er-creatures?

I can’t believe you actually expect me to take that with me through life. But let’s leave me and my desperate need for basic reassurance out of this.

You’re telling me that you want to wave that kind of message around in the faces of children? You want them to hear over and over that everything will be okay, you can do it, and you’re not alone?!

Be my guest.


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