In the first of a new series in which our writers (lovingly) foist pop-culture favourites on their unsuspecting nippers, Sarah Morgan offers her daughter an audience with Miss Piggy and friends.
At a year-and-a-half, I suspect my daughter Veronica is a bit young to get the more subtle nuances of the Muppet canon, but I’ve run out of brilliantly withering observations to make about Waybuloo and In The Night Garden (if my life was an Onion headline, it would read “Hipster Parents Totally Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Shit Out of TV Show Written For Toddlers”).
So, I am giving my girl the greatest gift, which is the gift of the Muppets. Good, old Muppets. We’ve watched the new ones. The main difference between nu-Disney Muppets and the old, good, anarchic ones seems to be the new ones are obsessed with being famous. Being famous is the most important thing in the world, apparently. Aaargh. Since I had a daughter I notice this shit everywhere. It’s worse than loom bands.
Anyway, pleasingly, the old Muppet films weren’t about fame, or “how the gang got together”. They just jump straight into the plot, because kids are fine with that. Muppets is a big old dressing up box. In the first five minutes of The Great Muppet Caper (1981) Kermit looks straight down the camera and explains that in this film (I love that he calls it a film – so classy) he and Fozzie are “playing” newspaper reporters (and twin brothers, naturally) and that’s it – film starts. Kids totally get that, the mayor of Hollywood (if you’re reading this).
Anyway, TGMC drags a bit in the middle (Veronica huffed off and sat in the laundry basket) but there’s a brilliant bit where Kermit and Piggy ride actual bicycles through Hyde Park (think about THAT for a minute) and at the end Piggy comes through a window on a motorbike and has a kung-fu fight with a gang of leather-clad international supermodel jewel thieves (you can imagine a teenage Tarantino furiously scribbling notes…) before karate-chopping a supermodel in the vagina, which V thought was hilarious. It was.
V also liked the bit where Fozzie and Kermit got thrown off a Routemaster bus and landed splat on the pavement. She cackled like an old sea captain, then primly covered her mouth, looked at me all concerned and said “Oh dear!” Because she has a great sense of humour but is also a caring, sensitive person who worries about her fellow creatures, and will probably grow up to be a great philanthropist of some kind. In summary: old Muppets cares more about making you laugh than how cool or famous it is. Go old Muppets.
Sarah Morgan is a comedy writer for TV, radio and magazines. Surprisingly terrible at writing her own bios. Call your mother.