Michael Wermuth, Jr. – Happy Earth Day, Muppet fans! I figured today would be a great time to post my top ten favorite environmental moments from the Muppets. Over the years, the Muppets have done a lot to promote helping the environment, in part because Jim Henson was concerned about protecting the planet. Many Henson productions worked in environmental messages of some sort, it’s often been part of Sesame Street‘s curriculum, and a lack of caring for the environment was the cause for the extinction of the cast of Dinosaurs. Anyway, here is my list!
10. Monsterpiece Theater: Conservation with my Father, from Sesame Street
One of the few Monsterpiece Theater segments starring Cookie Monster, this one, a parody of Conversations with my Father, involved Cookie Monster’s pop giving him a lecture on conservation. He teaches him not to let water drip from faucet, not to leave the TV on when nobody is watching, and not to waste cookies. It’s not one of the best Monsterpeice Theater segments, but it is a great lesson about conservation.
9. Waste Deep, Better World Society PSA
In this public service announcement for the Better World Society, Kermit asks the viewer to imagine if everybody lived in one house, showing a scenario where several monsters struggle to have food, enough water, or bed space. At the end, Kermit remarks that “we do” live in one house, referring to the earth. It is kinda funny watching all those monsters struggle.
8. Let’s Make It Earth Day Every Day, National Wildlife Federation PSA
Bill, Gil, and Jill struggle to come up with a slogan for Earth Day, and end up trashing the office with rejected slogans. When they remark that they did Earth Day stuff last year and wonder why they’re doing it again, Robin pops up, tells them they can help the earth all year round, and suggests the slogan “Let’s make it Earth Day every day.” Great slogan, Robin! Also a good use of characters best known for appearing in The Muppets Take Manhattan.
7. “Don’t Throw That Trash on the Ground”, from Sesame Street
This song features Ernie singing about a time he and some friends were at a park, where they got some drinks and ice cream, but couldn’t find a trash can. They were told by a group of greasers not to throw the trash on the ground. The music at the beginning sounds very epic, the lyrics are catchy, and it’s so absurd that they can’t find any trash cans at a public park until the very end. It’s also Jim Henson’s last performance as Ernie on Sesame Street.
6. “Put It in the Trash Can“, from Sesame Street
“Put It in the Trash Can” is Bruno’s big number. Gina introduces Bruno and the Trashmen, who sing the anti-litter song, with Bruno scat singing and carrying a shiny trashcan, which the other singers put trash in. It’s a rare opportunity to hear Bruno’s voice, as well as a rare opportunity to see Bruno without Oscar. I like the do-wop style singing and the voice that Camile Bonora gives to the lead singing member.
5. “River of Life,” from Fraggle Rock
Doc considers an offer to dump toxic waste in tunnels underneath his workshop, which leads to Fraggle Rock. They dump a sample while Doc makes a decision. This poisons the water, causing all of the Fraggles except Boober (who didn’t join them in swimming) to get sick and the Gorgs’ radishes to shrivel when being watered. Eventually everything gets resolved thanks to Boober. Boober’s song “It Makes You Cry” is a nice song and it’s great that Doc finally believes something lives behind the hole in the wall.
4. “Take ‘Em Away,” from Rocky Mountain Holiday
One of the high points of one of the Muppets lesser specials. As John Denver and the Muppets hike to their campsite, they come across a cabin where Lubbock Lou and His Jughuggers sing this anti-litter song, reminding them to pack up their belongings when they leave. It’s one of the Jugband’s strongest songs. In this song, each member of the Jugband (except for Lou) gets at least one vocal, making them almost all equal. And it is a fun song.
3. “The Future is Counting on You,” from Muppet Babies
From the episode “Muppet Babies: The Next Generation,” Rowlf gets beamed to the future by his future grandson, Lt. Woof, who informs him that the future is so cool because the kids of today cared enough for the earth, leading to this environmental song reminding us that we need to protect the planet for the future. It’s such a great song, Baby Rowlf has the best singing voice of the Muppet babies. Of all the Muppet Babies songs, this one should have been a pop hit.
2. “Just Throw It My Way,” from Sesame Street
Oscar the Grouch sings a parody of “My Way,” encouraging us to throw our trash in the trash can. Oscar hates seeing trash strewn across the ground going to waste when it could be much better used in his can. It’s a fun song with back up by two Grouch girls and an audience of Anything Muppets. It’s a great tune, and a surprising one for a Grouch to sing. But it isn’t the first time Oscar has shown his environmental side.
1. “On My Pond,” from Sesame Street
A great song sung by Kermit, singing about his pond while a picnicking family nearby throws their trash in the pond. Kermit and his fish back-up singers sing about the importance of not throwing trash in the pond, and by the end of the song, the family gets their trash and disposes it properly.
Well, that’s ten great environmental moments. Unfortunately, I did not write this on recycled paper, or use both sides, but at least since this is online there won’t be any paper waste (unless you print it).
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org