As 2011 winds down, and with it my vacation, I’m just relaxing and enjoying being with my family. We had a fantastic time away, and now we’re settling back in at home.
This week, we traveled to see family. We took the kids places, visited with friends, and went to the movies. While it may not sound like a big deal, it is for us. Going to see a film first-run is low on our list of priorities, so we don’t do it often. This time, we went with my in-laws to see The Muppets.
One thing you should know about me is that as a child, I had a massive, consuming crush on Kermit the Frog. I’m sure I didn’t see it exactly that way (I wasn’t plotting to run away so I could marry him), but that’s what it amounts to. I used to watch Sesame Street just for Kermit’s segments. I cried when the original Muppet Show ended and demanded to know what sort of horrible people would take it off the air. I think I watched The Muppet Movie almost enough times to recite the dialogue in its entirety.
By the time Jim Henson died, I had figured out that Kermit wasn’t real. But Henson himself was very real, and I remember feeling for the first time that the world had lost someone important—that nothing would ever be the same again. I remember being utterly, completely crushed.
Over the years, there have been some pretty good movies featuring Muppets. Muppet Christmas Carol is on my yearly must-watch list, of course. And the other movies haven’t been too bad. Not fabulous, but not bad. Going to see The Muppets this time around, I didn’t hold out much hope that it would be different. I figured it would be another cute outing with our loveable pals, and that the kids would have a good time.
I was wrong.
Nope, not for the reason you might be thinking.
As I sat there watching, I remembered everything I had ever loved about the Muppets. Funny, witty, just a touch of pique. Somehow, even with most of the original Muppet performers absent, they nailed it. My sister had said that she lost it when they sang “Rainbow Connection,” and after sitting through it myself, I understood why. It’s not that it was a sappy or sentimental movie or even moment. It’s not just because the song itself makes me teary. It’s because the movie was a celebration of all things Muppet. It honored all the things we grew up loving, somehow without being cheesy or coming off like a bad Academy Awards look-back. And there was just enough silly fun to keep our kids entertained so that we adults could relive our childhoods.
Kudos to Jason Segel (who is, ironically, too young to have appreciate the original Muppets first-run) for a top-notch script and for bringing back our favorite friends. If you haven’t yet seen this gem of a movie, be sure to go; it’s worth every penny. Oh, and bring some tissues with you. As for me, my husband may have some frog-shaped competition. (Just kidding, dear!)