Monday, March 18, 2013

The effect of The Muppets on my childhood

Here are some other titles that I almost used for this post:

- A peek into the life of a deeply codependent 10-year-old: The Hannah Shepard Story. 
- My Muppet Love Spectrum: From Gonzo to Grover.
- My life as Frank Oz's shadow.
- My year as Frank Oz's stalker.
- Frank n' Beans: A Muppet-Themed Recipe Blog.

But none of them seemed to truly capture the message that I'm trying to get across, so I just came out and said it.

Guys, I'm the type of person that forms deep, deep emotional attachments to the characters I see on T.V.. I like to think that this is why I have personal bonds with the Muppets, celebrities named Meryl, and Tina from Bob's Burgers. Among others.

So while I was growing up and traveling along this dusty road I like to call life, I allowed the Muppets to teach me lessons. Allow me to share:

Does anyone remember that scene in Muppet Treasure Island where Kermit wears this Fabio-esque button-down and is sword-fighting with Tim Curry? Perhaps this will jog your memory:

So around the time that he's dressed like this, he gets out his sword and starts swiftly cutting off all the trimmings on Tim Curry's jacket.

Let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that I am really setting the scene for you right here. Well done, Hannah. Everyone is super interested in this completely non-essential bit of information from a 17-year-old movie.

ANYWAY. While Kermit is doing this, he compliments himself and says, "not bad for an amphibian." I thought this was the funniest line that I had ever heard and I would rewind to watch that part over and over.

So one day at school we were all supposed to write short stories and read them out loud. I wrote one that involved a talking lizard, somehow. And I recycled the "not bad for an amphibian" line. Everyone laughed. I killed it. I was basically the queen of third grade. But then I went home and cried for an hour because it wasn't my original work and I stole it from the brilliant mind of Kermit the Frog.

Kermit's life lesson: Never plagiarize another person's work.

Emmet Otter
So there's a really stinkin' old Muppet TV Special called Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Chrismas and it is as amazing as it sounds. It has an outtakes reel that shows the crew trying to get a drum head to roll perfectly. And it takes about 200 tries.

I showed this clip to my boyfriend and his reaction was... unsatisfactory. I have no patience for people who don't have the exact same sense of humor as me, so I snapped the laptop shut and insisted that he's a madman for not peeing himself with laughter.

In hindsight, I may have been wrong. And my particular brand of humor may not be funny to everyone and I should just get over it.


NOPE. I just watched the video again and it is still hilarious.

Emmet Otter's Life Lesson: I'm hilarious and no one can convince me otherwise.

Baby Bear

Overall, I have a deeper connection to The Muppet Show muppets rather than Sesame Street muppets. This is mostly because I'm the youngest sibling, and my sisters said that Sesame Street was for babies. But the Muppet movies were cool.

However. One of my strongest memories of Sesame Street is how much I hated Baby Bear. He's one of those characters that asks all the dumb questions so that older muppets or the adults can answer them. Kids are supposed to relate to him because he gets confused and he has a R/W speech impediment. He would say "caw weck" instead of "car wreck."

Although I don't know why he would be discussing car wrecks at all. Hardly seems customary for a kid's show.

I was always embarrassed for him because he needed the answers spoon-fed to him. When he couldn't figure something out I would just say to myself, "this kid is a dummy. Who doesn't know their ABCs yet? Moron."

Baby Bear's Life Lesson: Don't talk down to children. They know when they're being talked down to.

Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy is far and beyond my favorite Muppet.

The lady has class, style, confidence, and she's not afraid to snarf a jelly-filled doughnut in front of her boyfriend.

Unfortunately, it seems like Miss Piggy is the go-to insult for celebrities when they have the audacity to put on a few pounds.

But I am being 100% honest when I say that I would have loved to be compared to Miss Piggy when I was a kid. She does what she wants and forgets the rest. Hell, I wouldn't mind being compared to her right now. I'm going to go ahead and say it: Miss Piggy has done more for the feminist movement than anyone else in the history of ever. STEP ASIDE, Gloria Steinem.

Miss Piggy life lesson: Haters gonna hate.

Honorable mention goes to:
-Scooter, for teaching me about the dangers of nepotism.
-Rowlf, for teaching me that Muppets can also be terrifying.
-Gonzo, for giving my classmates a character to compare me to. It's the nose.


  1. Is Emmet Otter where "hubba wha? hubba hubba whaa? started? And I think you would have found my reaction satisfactory -- I had forgotten this!

  2. Yes it is! I think more people need to let Emmet Otter into their lives...