As a child of the 80's, it should be no surprise that I grew up a fan of the Muppets. As an adult of the millennium...sometimes I still think of them fondly. I realize that there was a consistent theme within their shows, their missions, and their passions that are still evident in my present-day interests.
So they're puppets, I know. So their stories were fictional: I get it. And believe me, they're not the ONLY source of motivation and direction in my life, but every now and then I realize how much I loved them as a child...and I completely understand why.
Created by puppeteer Jim Henson, the Muppets were a gang of fun-loving and dynamic animals and personalities who were introduced to society through the television show: The Muppet Show. Beginning in 1976, this program brought viewers 120 episodes and embedded them in history for life.
Every night on The Muppet Show, theatre director Kermit the Frog would try frantically to bring the show together, despite inevitable mishaps, chaos, and problems. Each episode would feature a "human" guest star, and the versatile multi-layered humour would make the show a favourite with adults...as well as children.
The cast was loveable: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy the diva pig who was always in search of stardom, stand up comic Fozzy Bear, Scooter the nerdy gofer, Gonzo the odd stuntman, Rowlf the piano dog, the gibberish-talking Sweedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew the scientist and his lab assistant, Beaker. And how about the ultra-cool band: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem featuring Animal on drums, Sgt. Floyd Pepper on bass, Janice on guitar, Zoot on sax, and Lips on the trumpet.
Then there were Statler and Waldrorf, the grumpy old men who would heckle the Muppets from their box above the stage.
Looking back, I can see that the elements of "showtime" were always strong. Especially in two of my favourite childhood movies, The Muppet Movie (1979) where the group takes a cross-country trek to find stardom and success in Hollywood, or The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), where they head out to New York City to take their show to Broadway.
They were always about the show, about the song and dance, about entertaining others, and getting through their crazy issues to put on a spectacular production.
The latest Muppet film, The Muppets (2011) starring Jason Segal, Amy Adams, and Chris Cooper, also features a memorable musical soundtrack, as Jason and the cast attempt to save the old Muppet Theatre from destruction. I haven't yet seen this movie (and may never)...but I love that they are still relevant. At least to some of us.
The love of everything entertainment is a dangerous, yet seductive addiction. Loving the spotlight, loving the hype, the glamour, the energy, the people, the fame, and the success. But at the root of it, as an artist, is the love for producing something and sharing it with the world. Whether it's a book, a movie, a song, or a dance or athletic performance. There's usually an artistic driving force behind this passion that is unavoidable, impossible to subside, and something that you can't shake...no matter how unreasonable or farfetched your desired results may seem.
That's why you gotta apreciate them. They were ridden with disaster and personality clashes, obstacles and unfortunate events...but they kept going! They kept singing. They kept dancing! They worked together as a team, and they travelled and journeyed wherever they had to go to make their dreams come true.
And that is why I'll always love the Muppets. For encouraging Stacey Of The 80's to love the arts, and take the ups and downs knowing that the final show was always worth the wait!