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I guess I just like liking things

As I’ve mentioned before, I like a lot of pop culture. Then there’s stuff I love. The Muppets is something I Love (capital intended).  My exuberance for The Muppets could lead to a several-thousand-word essay on them, so in an effort to curb myself a little, I’m limiting my reasons today to two message-related ones.


Coming soon from Quentin Tarantino: Reservoir Muppets

Coming soon from Quentin Tarantino: Reservoir Muppets

Reason #1: You gotta have friends

Every episode of The Muppet Show is an exercise in barely contained chaos. On any given day there are chickens, living furniture, a 7-foot-tall singing carrot, a whatever Gonzo is, an egocentric pig, a guy who blows things up, a guest star who doesn’t realize what they’ve gotten themselves into, and any number of other variables, any of which can (and usually does) backfire. Kermit, genetically engineered to be incapable of not Putting On A Show, pulls the group together, week after week. He coaxes, he cajoles, he threatens, and each week the show goes on. He is often frustrated by his fellow performers, and they are often frustrated by him. One week he’ll fire someone, only to realize 10 minutes later he can’t live without them and hires them back. He quits, but he comes back – he can’t live without them just as much as they can’t live without him. They are bound by a common need to entertain, and they need all the pieces in place (except, of course, for Wayne & Wanda – Kermit realizes that so much he fires them twice). He can’t put on a show by himself and the rest of the gang couldn’t ever get themselves organized enough to do it without him. Amidst this delicate balancing act, though, there’s true friendship. When one Muppet is down, the others rally around for support, even if that support takes the form of something very, very weird.  Consider the most recent movie, where they all need to band together to try to save the theater, but first they must overcome feelings of abandonment and hurt.

True friends forgive, forget, and forge on, just like The Muppets.

Reason #2: Do what you love, regardless of who cares

The Muppets are fully aware that the show they’re putting on isn’t for everybody. They flat out admit several times that the stuff they do is weird, stupid, and/or ridiculous.  Even the very guest stars that appear on the show talk trash about the show – “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” or “I’m going to fire my agent.” The audience (also made of Muppets, so you’d think they’d be more understanding) is often hostile, with two particular members spending money every week to get a premium box seat for the specific purpose of mocking the performers. But a mean audience is still an audience, and The Muppets must perform – their nature demands it!

In a way, The Muppets inspired this website.  Is a “serialized love letter to pop culture” an important thing? About as important as putting on a show every week. There’s a difference between “art” and “entertainment,” and I figured out a long time ago on which side of that fence I fell. I want people to enjoy what I do, but The Muppets taught me that even if people don’t, I should do what I love (please don’t follow this advice if what you love to do is beat people up – don’t be naughty, folks).

Future episodes of “Favorite Things: The Muppets” will talk about history, situations, and specific characters. I could talk about The Muppets all day, folks.

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