I don’t know why the Muppets love Christmas a lot, however they actually do. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the prolonged Muppet forged of characters have made almost a dozen vacation specials, together with a feature-length TV film and a theatrical film. That final one is The Muppet Christmas Carol, one of many best-loved diversifications of Charles Dickens’ story of Ebenezer Scrooge ever made. However I wish to discuss concerning the TV film, which isn’t almost as well-known… however much more notorious.
It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Film aired on NBC on November 29, 2002, or 20 years in the past at present. Very like The Muppet Christmas Carol, it’s a parody of/homage to a different completely beloved piece of vacation leisure, specifically the Frank Capra-directed, Jimmy Stewart-starring film It’s a Great Life. On paper, it makes all of the sense on this planet; the film is about George Bailey, a person who’s going to lose his household’s Financial savings and Mortgage financial institution if he doesn’t have $8,000 by Christmas. He has the cash, nevertheless it’s by chance misplaced, and he should work out tips on how to substitute it. It’s principally the identical as considered one of the Muppets franchise’s favourite plotlines—Kermit and his pals are about to lose their Muppet Theater by a sure date except one thing extraordinary occurs.
Up to now, so good! However the important thing to It’s a Great Life is that when he loses the cash, George turns into so despondent he’s going to commit suicide earlier than being stopped by his guardian angel, Clarence. In his anguish, George needs he’d by no means been born, and Clarence provides him a imaginative and prescient of what his household, pals, and city can be like with out his existence, and it’s bleak—a lifeless brother, a wife-turned-spinster, an institutionalized uncle, and a city dominated by a monetary despot, Henry Potter, who had demanded the cash initially as a partial member of George’s financial institution’s board of administrators.
If there was a technique to replicate the grim plotline of It’s a Great Life with out the tragedy and melancholy at its core, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Film didn’t determine it out. Financial institution proprietor Rachel Bitterman (a splendidly mean-spirited Joan Cusack) calls for the Muppets repay their mortgage by Christmas Eve at midnight, or she’ll foreclose the Muppet Theater. A determined Kermit manages to cobble sufficient cash on the final minute to pay her invoice, however when he provides the cash to Fozzie to ship, he loses it on the best way, prompting Kermit to roughly lose his thoughts as properly. If you’ve by no means seen Kermit scream about how he needs for his existence to be completely obliterated, it’s one thing to behold:
The individual Kermit is freaking out on is David Arquette, taking part in the frog’s guardian angel Daniel, who after all exhibits him what the Muppets can be doing if Kermit had by no means come into their lives, and right here’s the place issues actually take a flip for the mind-blowing. I extremely suggest you watch the film and see what Kermit discovers. (If one have been to look on-line for it, and one discovered such a video of it, one may think about starting at 1:02:14.) In case you possibly can’t legally buy it, let me let you know a couple of of the issues which have occurred in a Kermit-less world:
- Fozzie is a pickpocket
- Miss Piggy pretends to be a Jamaican fortune teller on a 1-900 pay cellphone line
- Rizzo the Rat is pressured to torment contestants on Concern Issue after which be eaten alive
- The Muppet Theater has turn out to be a sleazy nightclub holding raves the place Dr. Honeydew lets folks in, Scooter dances in a cage, and Beaker is a terrifyingly buff bouncer
- Doc Hopper’s Frog Legs quick meals franchise goes nationwide, since Kermit wasn’t there to cease it within the first Muppets movie
It’s about probably the most surreal 10 minutes of tv I ever hope to look at, nevertheless it’s hardly the one insanity happening in It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Film. Fozzie leaps and cartwheels by way of a hallway stuffed with safety lasers. The Boss—an all-powerful equal of God, performed by Whoopi Goldberg—solely decides to analyze Kermit’s distress as a result of SpongeBob SquarePants isn’t on TV. Pepe the Prawn, in his most interesting efficiency, instantly abandons the Muppets to serve Bitterman’s ft. The Muppets stage a parody model of Baz Luhrman’s film Moulin Rouge, the place Kermit’s tiny nephew Robin performs the inexperienced fairy that comes out of the hallucinatory liqueur absinthe.
Once more, that is all within the “regular” timeline, which presumably takes place within the film’s actuality. However the 2002 film’s maddest second belongs within the Kermit-less world, and is totally inadvertent. There, the Twin Towers of the World Commerce Heart will be seen by way of the window of Miss Piggy’s condominium, indicating that by some means, if Kermit wasn’t alive the 9/11 assaults wouldn’t have occurred, which means Kermit was ultimately accountable. The revelation induced fairly a stir in 2015, turning into fairly the meme. (The reality is the backgrounds of New York Metropolis used behind the home windows of the set have been outdated and hadn’t been rigorously checked.)
Maybe that is the rationale why It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie isn’t accessible on Disney+—or maybe it’s the frequent NBC jokes made within the particular, since Disney owns competitor ABC. Or maybe it’s how dated it feels, in methods, starring Carson Daly, The Crocodile Hunter’s Steve Irwin, the forged of Scrubs, Triumph the Insult Comedian Canine, Joe Rogan earlier than all of the badness, and extra. However that’s a disgrace, as a result of there’s a very enjoyable, black humor to be discovered within the TV film that a substantial amount of Muppet leisure lacks. Certain, Very Merry will be hokey as hell, however in a really Muppets-appropriate means, and that makes the weirdness hit even more durable. I imply, Scooter gyrates in a rave cage:
Whereas It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Film isn’t on Disney+, it’s not exhausting to seek out on DVD and Blu-ray. Or elsewhere, maybe.
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