Remembering the Muppets: A Muppet Family Christmas

By  · Published on November 21st, 2011

While others may turn to The Muppet Christmas Carol this time of year, my Muppet holiday movie of choice has always been A Muppet Family Christmas. Yes – it was a made-for-TV movie, but it is pure entertainment from beginning to end. I remember watching with my younger brother back when you would watch TV when it aired and sit through the commercials (remember those days?) and we laughed and laughed at those Muppets’ crazy antics. I have always been a fan of “things spinning out of control” humor – the first scene in “The Injury” episode of The Office killed me and any Griswold movie leaves me in stitches – and A Muppet Family Christmas delivers this in droves when the entire Muppet gang unexpectedly descends on Mama Fozzie Bear’s farm for Christmas, much to the dismay of Doc (of Fraggle Rock fame) and his dog Sprocket who rented the farm for a “nice, quiet Christmas.” Unfortunately for Doc, the arrival for the Muppets sends that wish right out the window and luckily for us, it is a hilarious romp as more and more of our felt friends show up to celebrate the season.

With the Muppets taking to the big screen again, the nostalgia their return has conjured up in so many (and its aptly timed release during the holidays) had me looking to revisit my favorite Muppet film. Since this was not an actual release, I was worried I would not be able to track it down, but luckily someone uploaded the whole thing to YouTube. The movie kicks off with the Muppets being driven by Fozzie Bear to the farm; singing all the way (as they are wont to do!) and you better believe the songs do not stop there. I still consider Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem as one of the bands to first influence me into pursuing a career in music (true story) and you better believe my younger brother and I did all manner of dancing to their version of “Jingle Bell Rock.”

My memory of the film was honestly just laughing until my stomach hurt, particularly due to the use of a slippery door step as people arrived (and inevitably fell down) as the main source of my glee. This probably says more about me as child (and probably nothing good), but that trope still cracked me up on second viewing making the phrase, “Careful of the icy patch!” that everyone would scream when someone arrived still leave me giggling. The main reason I loved this film (and still do) was because it truly did incorporate all the Muppets from Jim Henson’s world from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies (as wee puppets instead of cartoons!) and it was the first time I saw them all interact with one another. Rowlf and Sprocket having a “conversation” together? Kermit going down to Fraggle Rock? I remember watching in utter amazement as these different worlds came together.

Watching now, I picked up on more of the asides that probably flew over my easily distracted head as a kid (Muppet! Dancing! Shiny!), but made me laugh now like when Sam the Eagle mutters, “Why am I here?” during the chaotic arrival at the farm house or Animal giving Buddy the Elf a run for his catch-phrase money answering the phone, “Hello! Hello! Hello! Give me presents!!” and then dropping the receiver when it’s Miss Piggy on the other end muttering, “Oh. Pig.” Plus that fact that Doc is actually no stranger to the world of the Muppets (as Sprocket had long been chasing the Fraggles that live in Doc’s wall) this just happens to be his first time interacting with them.

From trying to figure out where everyone is going to sleep to The Swedish Chef trying to cook the Christmas Turkey (who is of course a Muppet, and one that keeps claiming any number of the other Muppets are the “actual” turkey), the film is just as funny now as it was then. And you can just imagine The Swedish Chef’s reaction when Big Bird shows up (their duet together might be my new favorite Christmas carol). Add to the rat who spends the majority of the film twirling around the kitchen with a pot stuck on his head and Miss Piggy who ends up stuck in a snowstorm trying to get out to the farm to join everyone (and setting herself up for a very Miss Piggy-like grand entrance). Sound insane? It is. But that’s the beauty of it. The Muppets embrace the lunacy and camp head on all while delivering a heart-felt (albeit a bit cheesy) message about friendship and family during the holidays making it a truly wonderful and entertaining movie-watching experience.

(And be sure to stick around for an additional cameo at the end!)

For more Muppet Goodness, check out the rest of our Guide to The Muppets.

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