I did not see the latest Muppet special that aired this week, “A Muppet Christmas: Letters To Santa,” but I heard it was a pile of ass. Not surprising. The previous Muppet Xmas outing wasn’t all that hot, either—2002’s “It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.” You know you’re in trouble when the best you can offer is an over-the-shoulder Yoda cameo.
The Muppets have been in something of a free-fall for the past decade, failing to give us anything all that inspired or magical beyond 1999’s semi-ok Muppets From Space. I, of course, blame Disney, who acquired our favorite felt outfit in 2004. The Mouse isn’t exactly known for quality outside the parameters of its theme parks or star-studded CG vehicles. Why should they direct any of their energy or dollars into a franchise that’s at best a hazy seventies Gen X memory? They shouldn’t, I guess, since the current gen is way more into human Pinocchio-types that sing and play guitars.
The sad fact is the Muppets’ best years are behind them. They had a great run, but maybe it’s time to stop trying to squeeze out whatever tasty green frog juice is left in Kermit’s dry little frog body. It’s like any great band or movie franchise—you want to see them get out of the game with some dignity. Shit, I don’t want to hear anyone but Jim Henson voice Rowlf. That shit, as “Family Guy” deftly observed, is just wrong.
I would be just fine if Disney just cut their Muppet losses now and relied on pimping the classics (DVDs of “The Muppet Show” and the theatrical Muppet movies, whatever they can do with “Muppet Babies,” that fantastic exhibit they have at their movie studio park known as “Muppetvision 3-D,” etc). I don’t want to wake up this time next year to see Fozzie and Gonzo farting around some half-assed Twilight parody or playing a rival band in the next Jonas Brothers movie.