The Diary of an Obsessed Muppet Fan - Entry 5, April 11, 2010
It's been quite awhile, hasn't it? Well, to be blunt, I just thought we could use some time apart. You were coming up on my last nerves and I just had to get out. Where have I been? Like that's any of your business... but I've been fishing. That's all. Fishing.
Anyway, I watched The Muppet Movie last night in preparation for this entry. Unfortunately, merely watching it didn't prepare me for this at all. What do you say about your favorite film? A film you've seen more times than you can count, a film to which you know most of, if not every, line. Well... I don't know. But I'm going to try to come up with something.
For a Muppet fan, watching The Muppet Movie is witnessing their heroes at the peaks of their careers. Jim Henson had pulled together the dream team and he was finally getting to show the world what they could do by taking them into that world. As a younger Muppet fan, I can only speculate what it might have been like to first see Kermit's full-body strumming a banjo or riding a bike or opening a door (I notice the little things). I assume it went something like this...
"Good lord, Edna, that frog's ridin' a bike! A sign of the Commies if I ever did see one. Sell the house and the kids, we're movin' to Canada!"
Or... sort of, approximately like that. Anyway, although the technical wizarhoodle might be a very important part of the movie, it isn't the most important aspect by a long shot. No, that designation belongs to Kermit the Frog. Who went from being a stressed out TV show host to an American hero and a movie star thanks to The Muppet Movie.
That's the true power of this film, I think. The fact that it took a quirk frog and turned him into a true hero. Honestly, Kermit embodies the heroic model: a call to adventure ("Read my lips: Ha-lee-wood"), a quest for something that benefits the world ("Singing and dancing and making people happy"), aid of supernatural ("Gee, a Studebaker. Where'd ya get it?"), road of trials ("Get the picture, boy? Kermit THE Frog! Symbol of Doc Hopper's French Fried Frog Legs!"), woman as a temptress ("Oh, Kermit, you're a born leader!"), low-point ("I think there's somethin' wrong with the engine there"), atonement ("I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone... I promised me"), overcoming a dragon ("Who are your friends, Doc? Those guys?"), and, of course, the ultimate boon ("Gee... How did a frog make the big time?").
Kermit's journey from mild-mannered swamp denizen to confident Hollywood big-shot is what propelled him to be more than just a frog--more than just a puppet. The fact that Kermit could evolve as a character and become someone we aspire to be like is why he is real, why he is an American hero. As soon as we discover that Kermit has a dream, we connect to him. No longer is he just there to make us laugh, now he is here for us to root for and connect to.
It just doesn't get any more heroic than Kermit the Frog. His dedication to his dream and to making people happy is why he overcomes and why he is a hero for the ages. No one illustrates this better than the Frog himself when he says,
"Yeah, well, I've got a dream too, but it's about singing and dancing and making people happy. That's the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And, well, I've found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And... and that kind of makes us like a family. Do you have anybody like that, Hopper? Who are your friends, Doc? Those guys? ...I don't think you're a bad man, Doc, but I think if you look in your heart, you'll see that you really want to let me and my friends go. To follow our dream. But... if that's not the kind of man you are, and what I'm saying doesn't make any sense to you... well then, go ahead and kill me."
I don't know what Kermit's role in the new Muppet movie will be... but I certainly hope it's like this.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier