Chris Stulz – My favorite Muppet Christmas production is hands down A Muppet Family Christmas.
From the first moment I read the description in TVGuide, I knew it was going to be a very “special” kind of holiday special. I remember I could not wait to see it. My parents told me I had to get my homework done first before I could watch it. I tried to rush through as fast as I could and I still wasn’t nearly done as our clock chimed to 8pm. Once it started my concentration on the boring math or whatever assignment I was doing only got worse. Knowing that I was watching what I could only assume (and would later confer) was the quintessential Muppet production was premiering on TV at that very moment was too much for me to be bothered with anything else. Each second felt like hours! It was torture.
Needless to say I told I lies, told my parents I was finished, and rushed to the TV. The next hour was pure Muppet bliss. There’s that awesome yellow trumpet player.. I never knew his name!! (Of course now we know it’s Lips… In 1987 that info was hardly at the fingertips of an 8 year old.) When Doc and Sprocket appeared on the step I almost passed out! It was all just too perfect! I remember almost wanting to stop watching it because I felt like if I watched even a second more, the next second it would loose some of that magic. But no… all the way through, I was on a total Muppet high.
There are so many wonderful and classic moments as The Muppet Show characters meet and interact with their Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock brethren: The Swedish Chef thinking about cooking Big Bird, Fozzie and the snowman comic, Rowlf loving to play out-of-tune pianos, The Electric Mayhem wailing on “Jingle Bell Rock,” Janice and Animal’s encounter with Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie making small talk–“Bunk Beds… B words!”–The Sesame Street Pageant with Monsters as reindeer and Grover as the mouse–“Note that the hand NEVER touches the spoon”–the classic Muppet running gag “Careful of the icy patch” and “It’s cold enough out there to freeze your Winnebago”… the list goes on and on. You’d think it was a full blown movie for the shear amount of awesomeness that was packed into those 48 minutes.
20 plus years later (maybe I should have finished that math homework) A Muppet Family Christmas is still THE gold standard for which all Muppet productions are compared. With each of the Muppet families being owned by separate companies today, the true rarity of seeing the three worlds together only enhances the rarity of this special. On screen, the franchises only crossed paths once before in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years, and once after in The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, but in neither, nor even in the recent live Carnegie Hall performance, did they truly interact and come together the way they did in A Muppet Family Christmas.
To this day Muppet Family Christmas is not only my favorite Christmas special, but my favorite Muppet special as well.