How can you resist?

When I was in high school, one of our favorite lunch time discussions was to cast and recast all of our friends as members of the Muppet Show. Only my character stayed the same, I was usually cast as Robin, Kermit's smaller cousin. ( Robin's gender was something of a mystery thanks to its gender neutral name.)

But I think now a much more appropriate muppet has emerged, Pepe, the new "spokes shrimp" for Long John Silver. Now I have to say there is something demented about having a shrimp, even a muppet shrimp ( although technically Pepe is a "King Prawn") do an add for Long John Silver's. The Chicken Run "Eat More Whoppers" campaign was a trifle more humane, but not by a lot. In addition, as I recall a major part of the first muppet movie was the bad guys trying to debrain Kermit so they can cut off his legs to make frog legs. I'm not sure how Henson would re-act to his muppets being used to market fast food. When I was a child there was a lot of muppet merchandising, but it was all on its own behalf. There were muppet lunchboxes, muppet pencils, kermit dolls, muppet books, and muppet albums. I don't remember there being muppet themed happy meals or the muppets endorsing the products of other companies or brands. (I was very young, so if I am wrong about this, please let me know.)

The most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational...this is what we call the muppet show

One of the saddest moments I have had as a teacher is that my students have never SEEN an episode of the muppet show nor do they even know what it is. They can't conceive of what a landmark show it was. A show with puppets that featured guest stars like Spike Milligan, Rudolf Nureyev ( doing "Swine Lake"), Joel Grey ( singing "Cabaret" of all things), Gene Kelly, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Rodgers, and Peter Ustinov (appearing in the episode when Kermit sang "It's not easy bein' green" for the first time). Pretty serious cast for a "children's show." In addition, once a person guest starred on the Muppet Show, there were no return performances. No matter how popular, guests had a one time shot. Furthermore, Henson wanted the show to end at the height of its popularity. I often wish that SNL had adopted these principles. ( and just for the record-was it me or did Ben's face look bloated on saturday night?) All of these factors may be why I remember the Muppet Show so fondly. I do know that I can't think of any show that serves as a contemporary equivalent. ( Maybe the Simpsons?)


One of the theories I developed in grad school was that every child of my generation was emotionally scarred by one episode of the Muppet Show. Now I was a very sensitive child, extraordinarily high strung. And yet, at the end of many a night of drinking in grad school, many friends revealed that they too were scarred by the Muppet Show. Each of us had a different episode, mine was the Brooke Shields episode. The re-enactment of the Jabberwocky was terrifying. This brown weird lookin' puppet that GETS DECAPITATED AND KEEPS WALKING AND TALKING. That's just freaky. ( Later I parlayed my theory into a general theory that all people have one very bizarre childhood phobia. So far my research has proven this theory to be correct, but then again, I have weird friends.)

So how to live in a world with sell out cannibal muppets? It just seems wrong to me.

But at least now I get my own small, red headed, feisty drama queen muppet. And in typical bunni fashion his come back is often, "You are stifling me, okay?"

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