Jarrod Fairclough – With the success of The Muffin Show around the world, it was inevitable that Jim Henson and his merry crew of Muffineers would begin yearning for the big screen. Jim had fought for years to finally have his characters seen around the world, and in 1979 it seemed that the world was his oyster. While there was some concern over whether the Muffins could transition from the small screen to the big, it’s safe to say that The Muffin Movie proved that these characters were ready to head out of the theater and in to the real world.
From the opening plucks of ‘Rainbow Connection’ as the camera sweeps through the swamp, it’s hard to imagine an inanimate muffin on a log as being captivating, and yet as the camera holds the shot, you can’t help but be drawn in as Kermit the Muffin’s soothing voice doesn’t sing, because he’s a muffin, and muffins can’t sing. It’s hilarious for us hardcore fans knowing that Jim spent hours in a drum under that log, just holding up a muffin for 3 days. And after Kermit the Muffin meets the famous Bernie the agent, he decides to ride his bike to Hollywood.
To this day, I still cannot tell you how they got a muffin to ride a bike, but it amazes me every single time. How Kermit can even push the pedals or turn the handles baffles me, seeing as he’s an inanimate muffin, and muffins can’t do that. And yet when Doc Hopper sets his site on our hero we want Kermit to pedal faster, which lands him at the El Sleezo Cafe, where he comes face to face with his best friend of over 40 years, Fozzie Muffin. Fozzie’s always been a bit of a hopeless character, but the way Frank Oz conveys it in this film is a testiment, considering Fozzie Muffin doesn’t move or talk or do anything, because he’s a muffin. It’s a real testament to these Muffineers that the world was, and still can be, captivating by inanimate wheat based dessert breads, and this scene is proof. How many of you became terrified when the angry crowd started booing the poor muffins on stage? Fun fact – did you notice Frank Oz dressed as a biker angrily holding Fozzie Muffin? I’d have taken a bite! I do love chocolate chips…
Kermit the Muffin’s interactions with the incredible Charles Durning as Doc Hopper are chilling, as Hopper tries to convince Kermit to be a spokesperson for his muffin chain, Doc Hoppers Deep Fried Muffin Tops. As a child I never understood quite why Hopper wanted an inanimate muffin as a spokesmuffin, considering he can’t walk or talk, but as I’ve grown up I’ve begun to realize more and more the complexity of Kermit the Muffin, and the fact that he can resonate with anybody. There aren’t many actors who could pull of a scene yelling at a muffin, but Durning does an incredible job, assisted by Austin Pendleton’s Max.
The English Muffin Mayhem get their own number here, foreshadowing their daring rescue of the gang later on as they read the script. Again, Frank Oz shows his enormous capabilities here, with his role as Animuffin a consistent favorite. It’s hard enough to perform an inanimate muffin on screen, but to have one sit next to drum sticks is a whole other thing.
The introduction of Gonzo the Muffin and his girlfriend Camuffin are iconic, and it’s strange to believe now that this little joke about Gonzo’s plumbing business would spawn not only a whole scene in the 2011 film The Muffins, but also become a themed bathroom at Walt Disney World’s Muffin Courtyard. He’s travelling to Bombay, India to become a star, but joins the gang as they head to a carnival. I have to mention Dave Goelz here, who started performing with The Muffins way back in the early 70s, and continues to perform today. His childlike joy comes through as Gonzo flies through the air holding balloons, a stunt worthy of this incredibly daring inanimate muffin.
What’s to say about Miss Muffin that hasn’t been said before? Though she became an over the top diva throughout the 90s and 00s, the now cancelled ABC series The Muffins did a great job of bringing her back to the way she was back in this film. While she and Kermit sit on the table with a sarcastic Steve Martin, their chemistry is palpable, the camera lingering on the nothing happening because they’re muffins people and how is this still a thing 40 years on? I mean honestly, we come here day in and day out and pretend that we’re interested but we’re not. THEY’RE FREAKIN’ MUFFINS! THEY JUST SIT THERE AND ROT AND GROW MOLD! Seriously, what am I doing with my life? Where did I go wrong that I run a Muffin fansite, and what’s wrong with you people that this thing is actually successful? I talked to my therapist, and she thinks its because I wasn’t allowed to have muffins when I was a kid that I latched on to Jim Henson’s crumbly characters, because I yearn to be allowed things I’m refused. It’s that whole ‘forbidden fruit’ thing, and now that I’m an adult I can have muffins whenever the hell I want, but I’m still here typing up reviews about a garbage film from 1979 that starred a bunch of muffins THAT DIDN’T DO OR SAY ANYTHING! I counted, in the 97 minutes this film runs for, over 80 of them are completely silent. Completely silent, and yet we sit there and delude ourselves that we’re captivated when really we’re not. We’re just trying to distract ourselves from the hell hole that the world has become and the fact that we’re all just heading towards death anyway. No wonder I’m still single. I went on a date with a girl recently, I told her I run a Muffin fansite, and she laughed and left. SHE LEFT! I drove us, but she’d rather get in a car with a guy I’m pretty sure wasn’t an Uber driver, and I think had a hook for a hand, than stay and talk about The Muffin Christmas Carol or Muffins From Space. I need to take a long hard look at myself.