Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Why are there so many songs about rainbows...?"

This week has been an especially draining one for me, mostly because I think I've finally realized that...despite my skill...I really don't want to be a teacher for the rest of my life.  What's equally draining is that I have no idea what I'd do instead.  I mean, I have a degree and a license I paid good money for (well, and that dad paid taxes for) but it really only qualifies me to teach.  So I guess I've felt a little trapped this week...and of course, having some already difficult and uncooperative classes doesn't help.  So I've reached into my shelves this week for some movie comfort food...films that are colorful, funny, and just make me feel good.  This week, in honor of their glorious return to the silver screen come November, I decided to revisit my old friends, The Muppets.  And what better way to talk about The Muppets than to discuss their first movie.  So let's get "movin' right along" as we watch The Muppet Movie.

When the film begins, we are introduced to Kermit the Frog as he sits and plays his banjo in a swamp.  His life is changed, however, when an agent approaches him and shows him an add in Variety that is asking for frogs wishing to become rich and famous.  After a second and a half of soul searching, Kermit takes off on his journey toward fame.  Along the way he meets a terrible stage comedian, Fozzie Bear, and they decide to make the long road trip together in "a bear's natural habitat - A studebaker".  Their trip is not a smooth ride however as they attract the attention of villanous Doc Hopper, the owner of Doc Hopper's French Fried Frog Legs and who's obsession with Kermit becoming his mascot drives him to near insanity.  The frog and bear also meet Dr. Teeth and his band The Electric Mayhem (consisting of Animal, Janice, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot, and Lips), Gonzo the Great, Scooter, Sweetums, and the love of Kermit's life...Miss Piggy.  What follows is a rollicing adventure across the country as the Muppets race to Hollywood trying to become famous and trying to keep Kermit from becoming food.

There's something enduring and timeless about The Muppet Movie, in that it feels like it could have been made today.  Perhaps that is because The Muppets are still just as popular now as they ever were, or maybe it is because the charactaristic punny humor of the Muppets feels like something that never gets old.  Or maybe it's just my nostalga talking.  However, whenever Kermit and Fozzie pass a literal 'fork in the road' and Kermit says, in typical dry straight-man fashion "I don't believe that", I can't help but breaking up in fits of giggles.  I think The Muppets are one of the few troupes of characters that, throughout their careers, has carte blanche to be completely and utterly silly.  This could explain their enduring popularity and longevity.  Everyone knows who they are and everyone can appreciate their ever so innocent, and yet sneakily sarcastic and dry, humor.  I suppose that's why puns such as the fork in the road and Animal's "BIG scene" work even today.  Heck, there are even some groaners that only work because The Muppets are in charge, like "Myth, MYTH! - Yeth?"  Classic comedy that includes puns, running gags, and musical numbers are what makes this film and all of those in the Muppet Cannon so enduring.  I suppose it is a comfort to know that, even as we refine and change our tastes in comedy, the old tricks never go out of style.

No comments: