Weekly Human Wednesday: Ebeneezer Scrooge

Today’s Weekly Human Wednesday article is written by Kyle Mahoney and comes in honor of The Muppet Christmas Carol releasing on Blu-ray yesterday. Be sure to read our review of the release.


Performed by…
Michael Caine

Only appearance…
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) 

Best known role…
Curmudgeonly money lender; Bob Cratchit’s Employer; former business partners of the Marleys

Mr. Humbug; Mr. Grim

Nephew Fred; Fred’s wife Clara; ex-fiance Belle

Memorable quote(s)…
“Bah, humbug!”

“How would the bookkeepers like to be suddenly… UNEMPLOYED!!”

Ebeneezer Scrooge is the main character of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece A Christmas Carol, which was adapted by the Muppets in 1992. Instead of the Muppets being the central focus of the film, a human was chosen for the lead role of Scrooge because the writers felt that no Muppet could believably fill the role without losing his or her already-defined character.

Ebenezer is a cold, sharp money lender who has little to no sympathy or love for anyone other than himself and his money. In his employment are kindly Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) and a group of bookkeeping rats whom he treats poorly. We also meet Scrooge’s only relative, his nephew Fred, and although he is family, Scrooge has little love for his nephew. When Scrooge returns to his home he is visited by the ghosts of his former business partners Jacob and Robert Marley (Statler and Waldorf) who explain to him that he will be visited by three more ghosts and that if he doesn’t change his greedy ways he will end up in horrible conditions after his death. Being the skeptic he is, Scrooge believes them to be an illusion and goes to bed.

Scrooge then gets a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes him to his boyhood at school where we see how he never goes home for Christmas and spends all his time studying. As we see him grow into a man we learn from his headmaster (Sam the Eagle) that we will be apprenticing at Fozziwig’s Rubber Chicken Factory. We fast forward a few years and Ebenezer watches himself fall in love all over again with Belle at a Christmas party. A few years later Belle leaves Ebenezer because his focus is his work, not his love.

After being returned home Scrooge meets the absent-minded Ghost of Christmas Present who shows him the present. He sings about all the wonderful things Christmas can bring and Scrooge starts to change. He asks to see loved ones, kin, so he is taken to see his nephew Fred and his wife Clara. Ebenezer watches as they play a guessing game, but is saddened to see that the unwanted creature Fred was thinking of was himself. We then travel to the home of Bob Cratchit where Scrooge sees Bob’s family, including Tiny Tim (Robin the Frog). Scrooge sees the condition of the child and truly becomes concerned with the child’s health.

The Ghost of Christmas Present leaves Scrooge to the hands of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Scrooge tells this spirit that he will obey and learn whatever he has to tell him. Scrooge walks around the city and hears nothing but the sounds of hatred of a man and the joy his death brought. He is then once again taken to the house of Bob Cratchit where he learns that Tiny Tim has passed away. Scrooge is then brought to the cemetery to find out that the deceased man is himself. He wearily asks the spirit “Are these the shadows of things that will be, or are they the shadows of things that may be only?”

Scrooge then awakes in his own room on Christmas morning, a completely changed man. He rushes out into the streets and starts to treat everyone he meets infinitely better than he had before. He buys coal for the bookkeepers, presents for his old headmaster and Fozziwig, as well as Nephew Fred, and he is especially generous when he reaches the Cratchit’s house. He raises Bob’s salary, brings them gifts and a Christmas feast with the entire town. With Scrooge’s change of heart, he becomes like a second father to Tiny Tim and was a good a man as any.

The Muppets needed Scrooge because no Muppet character could have taken on a role so mean and nasty. The character was not meant to be Muppety, he was meant to be a character straight from Dickens’ text. Michael Caine was a perfect choice as Scrooge and worked very well with the Muppet characters. His singing voice is pretty darn great too.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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