This year Marvel gave us one of the greatest crossover events in cinema history. It was a movie unlike any other and something that had never been done before on such a grand scale. Or so we thought…
Decades earlier, Jim Henson and his studio assembled a team that rivals the Avengers and brought out our inner childhood nerd that we didn’t even know existed yet.
For the first time ever on screen, we saw the Muppets, the Sesame Street gang, and the Fraggles come together for
On December 16th, 1987 we got to see Big Bird rubbing elbows with characters like Swedish Chef, Animal being taken aback by Cookie Monster’s voracious appetite, and Kermit and his wiener nephew Robin hanging out with the Fraggles.
To give us even more fan service, they include a home movie of the Muppet Babies, who had previously only been seen in the animated series. Jim Henson himself even makes an appearance as the farmhouse dishwasher towards the end of the movie.
If you haven’t seen the movie, then we’re all silently and not so silently judging you. But head over to Youtube and then come back when you’re done.
The premise is a calamity of hilarity, as Fozzie’s Mom, Emily Bear, Air B&B’s her farmhouse to Doc with the intention of getting heat stroke in Malibu for the holiday season. Fozzie arrives unannounced with all of his friends, ruining two holidays and making uncomfortable sleeping arrangements for dozens of others.
Shortly thereafter, the entire neighbourhood of Sesame Street shows up and we get to see some dream-like interactions.
More and more characters continue trickling in, including Rowlf the Dog, a wise-cracking snowman, an instigating turkey and some various woodland creatures who have a knack for decorating.
The plot takes a serious turn when a snowstorm worse than the blizzard of ’41 rolls in and leaves Miss Piggy and her limo driver stranded. A visibly shaken Kermit seeks comfort from the manual labour muppet concerned about his ample snow shovelling and a very unsympathetic Count.
Realizing that these creatures made of felt and yarn will parish almost immediately in a snowstorm, Doc ventures out into the cold to attempt to rescue Miss Piggy. He returns on sleigh with Piggy in tow, while dressed like a Mountie.
Christmas is saved, and with the exception of Statler and Waldorf absolutely roasting Fozzie’s stand up routine, the entire gang comes together in friendship and laughter to ring in the holiday season.
In the world of puppeteering, this film was a massive undertaking, requiring dozens of puppeteers to account for the vast number of muppets in various shots, including the final scene in which they had to build a floor on top of a floor to fit everyone into the shot.
The movie has an unintentionally tragic yet perfect ending, with Jim Henson peering out of the kitchen while saying to Sprocket: “Well, they certainly seem to be having good time out there… I like it when they have a good time.”
Nobody knew that this would be the last muppet film Henson would produce before his untimely death in 1990.
The quote is a perfect sendoff for all the happy memories he’s given us with the Muppets and the legacy he left behind.
But since its Christmas and we don’t want to end on a sad note, I’ll leave you with what I still think is the funniest part of the entire film – Swedish Chef going completely horizontal on an incredible wipeout.
What a great movie…
“Careful of the icy patch!” -Various muppets