You all knew this was coming. You had to. It’s me, after all. How could I go without writing an entry dedicated to them? Hell, the URL for this blog pretty much says it all. It was unavoidable, so we might as well get this subject out of the way now, while this blog is still shiny and new. Best not to draw it out any longer.
I thought it appropriate to breach the topic of my Muppet infatuation today, January 7th, which is the twentieth anniversary of the great Richard Hunt’s passing.
What? You don’t know who Richard Hunt is?
Good grief, okay, well, you do know who he is, you just don’t know that you know. You know Beaker? Sweetums? The left head/hand of the Two Headed Monster? Scooter? Statler? Forgetful Jones? Junior Gorg? Gladys the Cow? Janice? Well, up until his passing in 1992, he was all of those characters, and much, much more. So while you may not recognize his face or his name, his voices and his performances you do and they will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
So. Right. Muppets.
For those of you who haven’t noticed, I love Muppets. I love them a lot. Over the course of this last year I have become the girl who loves Muppets; at least, I have in the eyes of my friends and family. It was my official one year anniversary as a Muppet fanatic last week, and I couldn’t be any prouder. For the most part, my adoration of all things Jim Henson has been received quite well. Some may find it a tad odd, but most people have been rather appreciative of my Muppet love. I’ve even been thanked for bringing back a few fond memories for quite a lot of people. And, of course, I wrote the somewhat popular “Where The Fraggles Roam” slam poem, which has garnered me quite a lot of attention in the realm of youtube and the Muppet-verse, which is lovely in its own way.
That being said, I do think that I underplay my obsession around loved ones. I kind of have to. If I were to show my true colors to my friends, my family, this quality of my life would go from endearing to questionable in a pinch.
I mean, how would I even go about it? How am I supposed to say that I once watched the Emmet Otter blooper reel ten times in a row in one sitting? How am I supposed to admit that I have 30+ friends on facebook who I’ve met via online Muppet forums? Or that I actually met and hung out with someone from one of those Muppet forums (and had a goddamn delightful time)? Or that I’ve sketched Muppet creations of my own? Or that I’ve read Muppet fanfiction? Or how I started sobbing in the middle of a street when Bill Barretta responded to one of my tweets? Or that I’ve seen The Muppets six times in theaters and cried at the same parts each time? Or that I once broke down in tears because it hit me how old and sick Jerry Nelson has gotten? Or that I have Big Bird’s autograph on my wall? That I dream Muppets? That I daydream Muppets? Or that I have a speech prepared for the day I meet Steve Whitmire? Or that I’ve been in constant turmoil about what Muppet quote to get for my first ever tattoo?
Yes. It’s difficult to explain.
(And yes, I do cry a lot. Shut up.)
About a week ago, someone online called me out on being just a “Muppet poser” and that because I have yet to still see a lot of Henson’s work I’m just going through a “phase” and will move onto the “next fad” when I decide Muppets are “too mainstream”. First and foremost, this is bullshit. After the year I’ve gone through? I don’t think there’s a person who doubts that Muppets are going to be a part of my life for, well, the rest of my life.
Growing up, I’ve gone from obsession to obsession to constant obsession. From Harry Potter to Star Wars, from Xmen to Lord of the Rings to Newsies in middle school. From Broadway musicals to LOST, from Firefly to Geoffrey Rush movies in high school. From Repo! to Parks and Rec, from pirates to Game of Thrones, from Steve Buscemi to Stanley Tucci in college. You name it, I obsessed over it. Some obsessions lasted a week, some five months, some two years, and some even longer, but the Muppets have been different. It’s almost as if I’ve been flitting around from obsession to obsession looking for the one I can call my own; the one I can call home. An obsession filled with wonderful fans, fascinating facts, interesting processes, innovative minds, extraordinary hilarity, brilliant and beautiful movies, and just a world I can learn and apply to my life.
That is the Muppets for me. They are my heart. They make me happy and they give me hope and fill me with a sense that anything is possible. They remind me of the importance of friendship and the necessity of dreams. They bring me peace, joy, laughter, harmony, and love. I view them not only on a personal level, but a philosophical one. They see the world the way I wish everyone could see it. They see rainbows as a sign of hope, not hate. Dynamite is used for humor instead of hurt. Everyone has the right to love and befriend whoever they want. Death, when mentioned in any of the Muppet mediums (and Sesame, Muppets, and Fraggles have all touched on it majorly at this point) is talked of so genuinely and beautifully. They offer a world where balloons can whisk you away, where a bear and a frog can conceivably be identical twins, where appearance doesn’t matter, and where friendship and love will always outrank evil doing and fame. To quote Kermit the Frog: “Yeah, well, I’ve got a dream too. But it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with.“
Why wouldn’t anyone want to live in such a world?
Not to mention the fact that Muppet fans do not bicker or quarrel, like Starkid, Community, or LOST fans. We are not scary like tween girls who fawn over Twilight; we are calm, collected, warm, and welcoming. We understand that you are never too old to love Muppets. We are intelligent. We are comedic. We are awesome, in every sense of the word. While some people see mere fabric on hands of men and women who shape them and make them talk, we see magic and wonder and beguilement. We feel real emotions, and we connect with these characters because they are able to make us feel those emotions. It doesn’t mater that the characters are made of felt and faux fur, in those moments when we watch their shows and movies they are real to us and that is all that matters. And no, we are not stupid, we do know, for a fact, that the characters we’re watching aren’t real, which makes us even more dedicated to the people behind the fabric. We know the names of the performers, the writers, the costumers, the crew. We appreciate every single person, because we understand how much work and effort goes into creating these performances, which makes me come to the conclusion that Muppet fans are truly the most appreciative fan base out there. Just saying. We may be a small community, but we are mighty.
And it’s not like Muppets are the be all end all of my own life. I mean, okay, they kind of are, but believe it or not I actually do have days where I don’t want to watch anything Muppet related. I once planned a week in advanced on watching The Muppet Show on my free night off from school/work, but when it got to that night I decided I’d rather catch up on Merlin instead. What can I say? Most days are generally Muppety, but other days I’d just really rather be watching 30 Rock or Doctor Who.
That being said, Muppets are still number one in my heart. To quote a very wise man:
“As long as there are singing frogs and joking bears, Swedish chefs and boomerang fish, the world can’t be that bad of a place.”
…. Okay, fine, yes, I did just quote a Muppet. Um… Okay! Wait, here, here’s an actual quote from someone who’s real:
“[Muppets] are just such a force for good, and I know that’s crazy to hear me talk about it, but I’m in love with them. They remind us of the best version of ourselves. They’re who we wanted to be when we were kids.”
Jason Segel said this in an interview. Oh what a wonderful, wonderful man (ie. my future husband-to-be).
I don’t know what else to say. To me, Muppets are more than just an amazing fandom. They’re a lifestyle. As odd as that may sound, I like to think in the world we live in people are going to be rather accepting of this fact. If not? Well, I’ve got my ToughPigs and MC Forums peeps to rely on.
So thank you, Muppets, and thank you especially to Mr. Hunt, on this day of all days, for being one of the key contributors to the thing that brings me the most happiness in life, because that’s really what everyone should strive for: To find the thing that makes us happier than we ever conceived.