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I guess I just like liking things

There are few people my age, I wager, who didn’t love John Denver’s Christmas special with The Muppets. According to Wikipedia, it aired in 1979 and isn’t available on home video of any sort, which I think is a travesty of national proportions. However, the fact that most of us can remember the “FIVE. GOLD. RINGS! …da-da-da-da” is testament to it’s fantasticness. It also speaks to the need to have it on video somewhere, and while we’re at it, let’s get the last two seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD already, for crying out loud.


She did not wear this in the special, and I can't decide if that was a good or bad decision

She did not wear this in the special, and I can’t decide if that was a good or bad decision

On Thanksgiving a couple weeks back, The Muppets had a TV special with Lady Gaga. Despite my desire to keep The Muppets preeminent, the show should more accurately be described as a Lady Gaga TV special where The Muppets show up. I forgot to record it when it aired, but Netflix has it available via streaming, so I caught up with it last night. It was basically a commercial for her new album ARTPOP.

I cannot figure out who this special was aimed at. The Muppets has such a small role in the special that having them seemed more like a trick to get Muppets fans to watch, and afterwards they were bound to be disappointed (like I was). And do Lady Gaga fans like The Muppets enough to want them in her special?  Yes, I agree they should, but do they? And, furthermore, if it were geared towards a hoped-for new generation of Muppets fans, many parents of that younger set would most likely not have wanted their little ones to see what little of Lady Gaga’s outfits there were.

Let’s break it down a little:

  • Lady Gaga sang 9 songs
  • The Muppets sang 3 songs: two of them were Beaker, the Swedish Chef, and Animal noising their way through Christmas carols, and one was Miss Piggy singing “Santa Baby” with a chorus of men backing her
  • Kermit did sing a duet with Lady Gaga on “Gypsy”
  • Lady Gaga also sang duets with Sir Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and RuPaul.

Clearly not enough Muppet songs. The little Muppet breaks here and there were just enough to whet one’s appetite for Muppets. The “we’re putting on a show!” theme seems to always work for The Muppets, and there were some nice bits, including Sam the Eagle’s “I don’t audition! I’m an American!”, Frank the magician’s “act,” and Gonzo.

None of this has anything to do with Lady Gaga herself. Sure, I’ve made “Madonna 2.0” jokes along with the rest of the world, but here’s a secret: I think Gaga is a better singer. That’s no comment on who has the better songs (we’ll need to wait til Gaga’s been around as long as Madonna, if that happens), and it’s no comment on who is the better show(wo?)man, I just think her actual singing is better. And she has plenty of catchy songs!  In fact, I enjoyed most of the songs on the special, enough that it had me considering buying the album, so I guess the special was a success?

So my final call on the special: not enough Muppets, but that’s my final call on a lot of things, so take that however you’d like.

Bits & Pieces:

  • Though she didn’t wear the Kermit dress, there were some outfits I could’ve sworn were made of other Muppets
  • Lady Gaga wore odd soda can-top glasses for the first part of her duet with Sir Elton John, but removed them when they got to her song. Tribute? Or statement?
  • Seeing Sir Elton John almost performing with The Muppets again made me want to dig out the episode of The Muppet Show he was on. I remember there being a lot of feathers. More so than were usual on the show.
  • Statler & Waldorf kept insulting Gaga songs and it was hilarious.
  • “Too you, not enough me.” – Lady Gaga shooting down Kermit’s idea that she play a banjo while sitting on a log in a swamp
  • Pepe the King Prawn was being pretty creepy all the way through the special. At one point he was giving Lady Gaga a massage?
  • Lady Gaga’s outfit for her performance of “Manicure” made her look like Professor Sybil Trelawney in the Harry Potter movie.
  • Oh, hey, Kristin Bell. Thanks for showing up and being adorable!  Her bits with Bobo the Bear were great. I especially liked his “Go on with ya!” response to her saying she could teach him to dance.
  • “I need to get a swamp.” – Lady Gaga, presented without context on purpose.

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