No, this is something extremely personal that I finally feel comfortable sharing with you. You see, since the whole “Kermit Thing”, I’ve felt extremely disconnected from Muppetdom. It was a painful experience to have that safe happy-go-lucky illusion shattered and replaced with bitter arguing and general nastiness. The Muppets weren’t the Muppets anymore; they were something to analyse and scrutinise over. To defend and have my hackles rise up when people didn’t agree with my opinion.
I was a hypocrite; I preached about what was right and who was right for the Muppets while simultaneously becoming someone who should never be associated with them at all. And for that, I apologise. I’m sorry for being someone Jim Henson would be disappointed in.
And really at the end of the day, it always comes back to Jim and this documentary just reminded me of that fact. Watching these old friends gathered in such a relaxed environment, ignoring the cameras and crew around them, laughing and joking and remembering the wonderful things to remember….Jim did that. He started it and the people he left behind are continuing it because to them, it’s so natural and integral to who they are, as individuals and as a collective.
And I’m quite happy to say that it wound up transferring from them, through the computer screen straight into me. For the first time in months, I could just relax and enjoy the Muppet Performers for who they are and the characters they have brought to life. It’s a breath of fresh air. I can breathe because it feels right again. Frank, Dave, Jerry, Fran and Bill are (and my Frog is this corny to say!!!) the spotlights in the distance that showed me the way home.
Sure, I could happily go on and on about the great stories the Performers told, how great it was to see Jerry again (it truly was), how hard I laughed when Dave was mockingly impersonating Frank and Frank didn’t have a leg to stand on while defending himself, but right now, in the aftermath, I just want to reflect on the experience. It’s a bit like the first time I read Jim Henson: The Biography. If I remember correctly, in my review of the book, I remarked on how it was like I could feel Jim’s presence in the room as I read, like an old friend simply being there for comfort. This documentary felt exactly like that.
It’s a pretty good feeling.
I’m not saying I’m going to re-enter the fandom to the tune of exploding penguins and boomerang fish smacking people in the face as I saunter in. I think the best way back to the way things were is the quiet, reflective approach. Start with Sam and Friends and work my way through the timeline. I’ll catch up to how things are now eventually. I just need some time and a bucket load of Jim Henson’s patented Ridiculous Optimism.
A huge thank you to Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Fran Brill and the late, great Jerry Nelson for reminding me why the Muppets mean so much to me: the people who created them.
Also, much love and gratitude goes to Victoria Lablame for conceiving the idea for the doco. And of course much love for the production staff. Awesome work guys!
Well, that’s enough late-night rambling for me! There’s only so much laughing and crying one can do before it’s time for some decent shut-eye!
Catch ya next time!
Muppet Enthusiast, Film Lover, Book Adorer. No one original, but (hopefully) providing brand new perspectives for the world to process. Currently a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate at Deakin University.