A MUPPET CHRISTMAS: LETTERS TO SANTA
Well, I watched. Did you? And I’m going to be honest: It wasn’t bad.
Now, let’s backtrack. As you know, I’m not pleased with the Muppets as of late. With the introduction of Studio DC: Almost Live, I’ve been pained to see that the Muppets are just a tool to make the wee-est of children blink. They’ve run out of the funny and seem to be solely dependent on their human costars. The Muppet Show, which always had at least one “host,” did lean on the human side of things, but if you go back and watch, the show wasn’t about them. Sure, they performed, but you were entertained by the Muppets. The host was just a added bonus.
I’m not denying that you enjoyed the host–Harry Belafonte is one of my guests on the show–but it wasn’t a show about the host. In the end, it was about the Muppets.
The problem as of late is that they’re dependent on the cameos. The cameos ran the show. So hearing that Uma Thurmond and Whoopie Goldberg were among the many people in Letters to Santa had me worried–no, horrified!
But I guess the realized the errors of their ways. For once, we have a movie about the Muppets. More accurately, about just a handful of them. I think in the past, the writers have felt like they have all these Muppet characters at their fingertips, so let’s use them all. Last night, they didn’t! They sent them all away–including the worst of the bunch as of late, Miss Piggy–and left only five Muppets to go on the journey.
It had more of a focus, which I appreciated. And don’t get me wrong, I like Miss Piggy, but lately we’ve lost the real relationship with Kermit and Piggy. Kermit would always be annoyed at Piggy, while she was always needy and lovey-dovey. Now we just have a pissy Piggy and a Kermit that tries to pacify her. No good, my fuzzy friends.
What’s more, the movie had a plot. And Whoopie only had one line. That’s what a cameo is about. I feel that her…relationship…with the Muppets has become a bit too cliche and that she’d have a larger, more painful role. Fortunately, she didn’t. We were saved (unlike past Christmas specials).
And it had emotion. You really felt for Gonzo (one of my favorites), and he wasn’t just a slapstick humor guy.
Plus: ORIGINAL SONGS. How long has it been since we’ve had original songs? Even Muppets from Space didn’t introduce new songs to us. And they were decent. I felt a wee bit of warm and fuzzy!
My only disappointment is that Jane Krakowski didn’t get an opportunity to sing. While I loved Jesse L. Martin in a role for singing, why couldn’t they play up Jane?! From what we’ve seen most recently on the Christmas episode of 30 Rock, she’s fantastic!
I also don’t know how much I loved seeing Disney Channel star Madison Pettis play Claire. I guess I was just hoping to see someone new and fresh. Are there no other child actors out there anymore other than her, Dakota Fanning, and the girl from Little Miss Sunshine?
So anyway, I’m going with it wasn’t bad. If you’ll notice, I haven’t analyzed any of the plot or actual humor in the show, which means that I honestly don’t know where it stands on a calibrated scale. Right now, my decision is weighed down by my negative expectations that it would bomb and make me ashamed to ever mention the work “Muppet” in public. So it didn’t do that. Could it be moving in the right direction?