By now, we all know how I feel about Christmas. It’s not my favorite. Or even close. But I do engage in a personal tradition of watching the Christmas stuff I do enjoy on Christmas Eve. So today, faithful readers, I bring you into my living room.
Although now living in Florida makes it hard to really get into the Christmas season with it being over 80 degrees today, it’s good to have some traditions and this is one of mine.
For years now, I’ve watch two TV Christmas specials every year on Christmas Eve. The first of which is “A Muppet Family Christmas”. So we’re going to dive into that and, of course, I’ll share some links so you too can join in the fun!
“A Muppet Family Christmas”: Original Air Date: 12/16/1987
We open with our favorite Muppets all driving to Fozzie’s mom’s house on the farm to surprise her for Christmas. They’re all singing along to “We Need A Little Christmas” and having a rollicking good time when Kermit the Frog suggests they should have called ahead and let Mrs. Bear know that they would be coming.
Fozzie proclaims that it’s not necessary because his mom loves surprises and he knows, for a fact, that she’s got the house all decorated and is just a tinge on the sad side with having to spend Christmas alone.
We cut to Mrs. Bear who is hardly feeling lonely. In fact, she’s packed up and ready to head out to catch a flight to Malibu to spend Christmas in paradise catching some rays. It’s then that we’re introduced to Doc and his dog, Sprocket. They’ve rented Mrs. Bear’s farmhouse for the holiday to spend a relaxing, quiet Christmas away from the bustle of city life. Mrs. Bear was wayyyyyyy ahead of the Air B&B trend. Doc and Sprocket head upstairs to put their stuff away and while they’re up there…
Fozzie and friends barge into the house effectively ruining Mrs. Bear’s plans for Malibu in addition to Doc’s wish of a nice, quiet Christmas. They house starts filling with freaks and weirdos who slip upon their entrance because of an icy patch right outside the door.
Doc, obviously, is not happy about this seeing as how he paid good American greenback to rent the house for his desired tame holiday, but Mrs. Bear basically dusts him off with the shrug emoji. Nobody is happy. Except the Muppets because they’re assholes.
The phone rings and it’s Miss Piggy calling that she’s tied up in a last-minute photo shoot and will arrive to the farmhouse to join them all whenever she can. Great. More Muppets. Doc is not happy. In walks the Swedish Chef because – well someone has to prepare the holiday turkey after all. He takes a huge bump off the icy patch and then heads to the kitchen to prepare his office.
We get another song, this one started by Kermit and his nephew Robin who sing “Jingle Bells” before Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem kick out the jams of “Jingle Bell Rock” totally bringing this party to 11. We also get the first appearance of my double main man, Zoot killing it on the saxophone. He’s terrific.
Rowlf the Dog shows up. He chased a truck the entire way and, boy, is he exhausted! Get it?! Truck? Exhaust! HAHAHAHAHA! He sees a piano and immediately jumps on and starts playing “Sleigh Ride” even though the piano is a bit out of tune. It’s all good, though, because Rowlf loves out of tune pianos. We get some singing, of the song, but Fozzie makes a new friend as the snowman he was building comes to life and begins singing with him. The Snowman is so legit, that he even starts telling jokes and BAM – a new comedy duo is born.
We get another Miss Piggy update and she’s still behind because she’s got last minute shopping to do. Just like a woman. Never on time. Pssssssssh. Meanwhile, the Swedish Chef is looking for the turkey but is attempting to cook Sprocket the dog because the Turkey told the Chef that the dog was the turkey when – in fact, the turkey’s the turkey.
Scooter sets up a projector because he’s been snooping around Mrs. Bear’s attic like a real deal piece of shit and found a home movie of the Muppets’ first Christmas together. He turns it on and we’re treated to basically Muppet Babies singing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. Floyd kills it when a baby Miss Piggy comes on the screen and he says, “It’s Miss Hamhock! When she was just a little sausage roll!” Incredible stuff here. Animal ends the movie by busting through the screen effectively ending everybody’s good time. Even Doc enjoyed the movie as he seems to be warming up to the Muppets.
Gonzo and the Turkey are about to throw down over the love of Camilla the chicken when Kermit hears carolers. Everybody runs to the door to find the gang from Sesame Street heading to the house singing “Deck The Halls”. Worlds colliding! This shit is great!
They all head into the house with everybody taking turns slipping on the icy patch. Doc realizes he’s going to have to give up his bed at this point and heads off to build some bunk beds in the broom closet to try to accommodate all these freaks.
Swedish Chef is trying to get the turkey in the pan, but he turns the tables. If the Chef thinks he’s a good-looking bird, he’s got an even better one. He then points Swedish Chef in the direction of Big Bird and the Chef spontaneously orgasms at first sight. The TV comes through with a breaking story and Muppet Newsman informs us that we’ll be getting the worst blizzard in like a billion years. everybody needs to stay inside, but Kermit is nervous AF because Miss Piggy is out there.
Janice decides to surprise everybody with a plate of Christmas cookies, but she’s immediately ambushed by Cookie Monster who attempts to eat all of them but lets pieces and chunks go to waste all over the floor because he eats like a gavone. Janice is absolutely horrified. I met a girl once in a bar who reminded me of Janice. That’s not a compliment. When you see that kind of mouth in person, it becomes all you can see about her. She may have been the sweetest girl ever. I don’t know because I was so focused on her mouth that I didn’t pay attention to a word she said. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.
Ernie calls for everybody to gather around so they can begin their performance of “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”. Bert is horrified that Ernie booked the monsters as reindeer and the Two-Headed Monster as Santa. Even Sam The Eagle is offended when he sees this as he chimes in with an “Is nothing sacred?”
Doc comes running in from collecting firewood and the storm is has picked up considerably. Things are getting dangerous when the phone rings and we get our next Miss Piggy update. She’s gonna try to grab a cab to get up there. Kermit tells her to wait out the storm, but she refuses because she’s Miss Piggy and never faces repercussions for her actions.
Fozzie takes this opportunity to introduce Kermit to his Snowman comedy partner. They don’t even begin their act when they start getting heckled by Statler and Waldorf who have suddenly appeared out of nowhere and effectively shred Fozzie and the Snowman. Big Bird joins Swedish Chef in the kitchen and he begins measuring the bird for the pan, but they get to talking and Swedish Chef begins to long for home in Sweden and appreciates Big Bird’s understanding and decides to spare a life. I guess nobody gets to eat tonight.
Doc sees how nervous Kermit is and offers to head out and look for Miss Piggy. Kermit asks why he’d do that and Doc tells him because they’re friends now. Friends do good for friends, friend. He heads out the door in a blizzard and Robin the tadpole calls to his uncle in the cellar because he found a Fraggle Hole. They walk into Fraggle Rock and encounter a whole group of Fraggles. We find out they’re currently celebrating their own version of Christmas and they sing a song about trading a pebble for joy before the frogs head back to real life.
They head upstairs and hear a commotion. It’s Miss Piggy pulling up to the farmhouse in a dog-pulled sled being guided by Doc who is in full uniform because Piggy is prepared for situations like that. Everybody sings, “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays” before heading back inside where Miss Piggy takes a Curt Hennig-like bump off the icy patch.
Now, with everybody finally gathered, they all sing Christmas carols and enjoy the company of friends both old and new. The Fraggles hear all the singing and come up from Fraggle Rock to join in. It is officially Henson-Mania made even more so when Jim Henson himself is shown washing dishes in the kitchen and peeking through to watch the house full of his creations having a good time with the smile of a proud father. It. Is. Perfect.
I love this special. It’s my favorite Muppet-related thing ever and I very much enjoy the Muppets. The combination of the Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock coming together is amazing.
There’s a video on YouTube that is a direct recording from a live broadcast from WTVD which is an ABC affiliate in the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina. It’s complete with commercials and I go out of my way to watch that specific one every year. I don’t know…sure, usually I go nuts about commercials with everything I watch now, but there’s something about seeing nearly 30 year-old commercials in between something as originally presented. To make it easy on you, I’ve included the link so you can watch for yourself.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do and maybe include it in your own traditions going forward. Merry Christmas.