Philosophy and The Muppets

Boy did I love The Muppets. Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller wrote a wonderful yet complex story that sets the stage for the Muppet revival. I’m not going to talk about what made this a great movie, but some of the important messages of the film.

UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS: There were plenty of these to go around. Walter and Gary certainly both had a fear of their future, and by spending so much time with each other didn’t have to worry about growing up. Clearly, Walter wanted to run off and perform with the Muppets just as much as Gary wanted to start a life with Mary, but they were both terrified of taking such a big step in their personal development. Instead of advancing their lives, they used separation anxiety as a reason to stay together.

Kermit and Piggy probably are the poster couple of a dysfunctional couple. Most of their problems are from the fact that they so poorly communicate with each other what they want in a relationship, which always leads to problems. Kermit obviously just wants someone to go out to dinner with once in a while, whereas Piggy wants someone who will sit around worshiping her. I’m not saying that they should break up, but they clearly need to understand and accept what the other wants in a partner.

PREJUDICE AND STEREOTYPING: Uncle Deadly, an original Muppet who was barely a blip in the original Muppet Show, reminds us all of the dangers of discriminating people based on their appearance. Although he’s a slyly grinning blue dragon, Uncle Deadly had a chance to show his true colors at the end of the film when he was finally given a chance to explain himself.

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS: Walter’s story is obviously about that. But we see the dark side of not following your dreams in Gonzo. He gave up his stuntman/daredevil live to become a plumbing supply mogul, which ultimately made him unhappy. When given a chance to go back to his old life, he was literally exploding at the chance. We should all remember to never give up what makes us happy, as that is ultimately what makes us who we are.

NEVER ISOLATE YOURSELF: The Muppets are an ersatz family and interdependent of each other. When Kermit and company try to find everyone, we see that everyone is pretty miserably personally or professionally. It’s very important to keep the important people in your life. The only person who enjoyed ‘retirement’ was Rowlf, but I think that’s because he came way before the rest of the Muppets and is used to being a solo act. 

That’s all I have for now. It was a fun movie that you should definitely see. Here are some other thoughts I had on the movie.

  • 80s Robot might be the greatest new character in any movie this year. His dated references, whether they be his 28 KBPS modem or New Coke, were very well-played.
  • I wonder if the writers had a dislike for the late 1980s/1990s Muppets. Muppet Central characters like Leon and Digit, Muppets Tonight regulars Clifford, Seymour, Johnny Fiama and Sal Minella, and even everyone’s favorite bunny Bean were all missing.
  • I know that many of the Muppeteers are not the originals, but how awesome is it that Dave Goelz is still doing Gonzo, nearly forty-one years after developing the character!
  • The scene with the Muppet Barbershop Quartet singing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was downright creepy. The less that’s said about that, the better!
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