If I wasn’t too old to sit on Santa’s lap, my Christmas wish would be for one of the idiotic big networks to bring The Muppet Show back to television. It’s not necessarily because I think the public is clamoring for it, but because the networks continue to spew out reality shows, spinoffs, and retreads, and at least the Muppets have character. Heck, I would even settle for one of the smaller cable networks, because they at least still seem to have some creativity in their shows. Seeing the latest incarnation of the Muppets made me realize that television needs something like them to help pull those networks out of the rut they’ve dug for themselves. At the very least, it would take some of the audience from shit-shows like Jersey Shore or CSI: Miami.
This time around, a Muppet named Walter is the center of the story. He lives with his brother, Gary (Jason Segel), and is the Muppets’ number one fan. Yes, Gary is a real person and Walter is a Muppet. Gary and his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), take a trip with Walter to Hollywood. As a treat for Walter, they take a tour of the Muppets’ studio, which hasn’t been used in years. Walter sneaks into Kermit’s old office and overhears Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) discussing his plans to tear down the studio to drill for oil. Now, I know this is the Muppets and it is intentionally silly, but drilling for oil in the heart of Hollywood? Really? There are about a million different things he could have been tearing down the studio for, but they just had to go with the one that has a political bent. In a word…booooooooo.
Anyway, Walter, Mary, and Gary find Kermit, tell him Richman’s scheme, and that they need to $10 million to save the studio. Kermit says the only way to get the money is to get the gang back together for a telethon in the form of another Muppet Show. They pitch it to all the networks, one bites, and “It’s time to start the music.”
It’s hard for me to be completely objective here because I love the Muppets. I remember watching them as a kid, I still remember the theme music, and I have Waldorf and Statler sitting on my fireplace (I’m not making that up). Plus, The Muppet Show was a variety show and is exactly the opposite of serious. In fact, there are several scenes in which the film acknowledges that it is a movie. So, how can I, or anyone for that matter, be critical of it? The answer is I won’t. The fact that they gave the film a story and held it through until the end is proof that they tried harder than ninety percent of the movies out there. The only real complaint I have (other than the oil thing) is that they didn’t feature Waldorf and Statler enough.
What I liked about the movie is that it is the polar opposite of everything else in theaters, including The Adventures of Tintin. There’s nothing flashy, no special effects, no deafening music, and no $20 million dollar actors. What it does have is low tech puppets, cheesy acting, cameos galore, and song and dance numbers. Maybe it’s not enough to interest today’s generation of attention deficit children, but it’s still better than most television shows and all of the Kardashians.
Rating: Don’t ask for any of your money back. We don’t have enough of these movies and shows as it is.