|From L-R: Kermit, the co-writer of The Muppets Jason Segel, and Miss Piggy.
Have you seen The Muppets yet?
The Muppets was an important part of my childhood. The Muppet Show and Sesame Street were basically the only TV shows I watched, and even though The Muppet Show has been off the air for many years, I continue to love it. I have it on DVD now. I also have several Kermits, and other Muppet merchandise people have given me over the years. I even have Kermit pajamas! Favorite Christmas CD? John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together. I saw The Muppets Christmas Carol in the theater when I was a teen.
I think what draws me to the Muppets is that they seem so real. They could be living, breathing beings. And I admire their optimism, especially Kermit’s. (Although, I loved it when he just lost it in The Muppets Take Manhattan — again so real. He must feel so much pressure as the “leader” of his group of friends. Right?)
The New Film
This weekend, me and Mr. T (who also adores the Muppets) took T Junior to see The Muppets, the new movie starring (and co-written by!) Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother and several Judd Apatow films. T Junior, being raised by two Muppets fans, knows who many of the characters are and has seen the shows, the films, etc.
Sidebar: The whole time I was watching Jason Segel in The Muppets, I just kept thinking how incredibly cool it would be to write a film about your childhood entertainment heroes and then be in the movie with them. There’s a great little story about it here.
The Muppets is about “the old gang” getting back together to do a show in order to save the old theater from an evil oil tycoon. But hat’s off to writers Segel and Nick Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Fun with Dick and Jane) because there could be any number of things the film is about: dreams, friendship, relationships, good vs. evil, becoming a man (or a Muppet!), choices, etc. Of course, leave it to me to find a connection with running.
The Running Connection
Jim Henson created the Muppets in the 1960’s, but The Muppet Show didn’t begin till the mid-’70s. And their popularity really got going in the ’80s. After Jim Henson died suddenly in 1990, the Muppets sort of fizzled out. The Muppets Christmas Carol in 1992 wasn’t the last film they did, but the next couple after that were not the same and didn’t do very well with audiences.
Sidebar: And Frank Oz, who does the voice of Miss Piggy among others, wasn’t thrilled with The Muppets script and didn’t participate in the film, which had me worried. He didn’t think it stayed true to character. After seeing the movie, I can sort of see his point, but I still think the film was very well done. I really enjoyed the story and “the magic” and the humor. And it was way better than Muppets Treasure Island, so…
I found myself laughing a lot, smiling the whole time and even crying during several parts of the film, in fact. (The Rainbow Connection gets me every time!)
But here’s what I really got from The Muppets movie: The Muppets are never going to be like they once were. Yes, I can still remember “Pigs in Space” like it was yesterday, but times change. People leave. New people come. That doesn’t make them any less special to all the 30-somethings who grew up with them. And, now, a whole new generation of children will learn to love these unique entertainers. They are still here: the Muppets. Still kickin’ it.
The same goes for running. We change. We might not be able to run sub-7’s anymore. Our bodies change. Our circumstances change. Maybe we can only get out there three times a week. Running is still special to us, though. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast we can go, just that we are still kickin’ it.
Keep On Dreaming
Here’s the other thing, and this is really what the Muppets are all about: Dream big and don’t give up going after what you really want. That’s a common theme in running, yes? In the article I linked to earlier in this post, Jason Segel said:
“They (the Muppets) remind us of our best versions of ourselves. The world kind of beats something out of you that anything is possible, this sort of wide-eyed wonder, and you come to the reality of what the world is like. But the Muppets have never given in to that. They believe they can accomplish anything and they just go forward with their eyes open wide and a smile on their face.”