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I sought comfort in a muppet movie but all I got was lost in an ontological labyrinth. Also here's a very sweet poem performed by a frog.
Listen. It’s been a long trying year in a series of long trying years and everything is always happening, it just doesn’t slow up. I think we can all forgive ourselves if we’re not perhaps as productive or positive or sharp or switched on or on the goddamn ball as we might think we like to be.
I am of course talking to myself.
If it’s helpful for you to hear, please take it, keep it, keep telling yourself it’s okay, it’s more than enough, you’re more than enough, keeping you together this long, this deep into a long trying year in a series of long trying years.
Maybe it’s okay, you know, to feel a bit frayed, to let yourself come apart a bit, and in letting yourself come apart a bit maybe making some space to breathe, a little space to feel the full width and depth and height and weight of the feeling, all of the feelings— my god the human body can hold onto so many feelings. Maybe making space to feel them makes more space for more and different ones to make their way in, in their own good time, of course, which as we’ve discussed before is more or less made up, the linear notion of it anyway. Time, I mean.
Everything’s happening all of the time and the best we can do here, nearing the end of a long trying year in a series of long trying years, is maybe just be here with it. See where it takes us, what comes up. Trusting whatever it is, is just as it ought to be, given everything, all of the time.
And maybe, given everything all of the time, you end up, in search of comfort on a cold afternoon in Chicago, re-watching, for the first time in a long time, the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and you see where that takes you. And where it takes you, if you’re me, is right here where, having just re-watched, for the first time in a long time, the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), it has come to my attention that I have some questions.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN (1984) FOLLOW
For those of you who may not know or recall the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) is about a troupe of muppets who, after staging a year-end musical called Manhattan Melodies for their graduating college class to uproarious acclaim, take perhaps too literally a classmate's supportively hyperbolic encouragement that the muppets take their musical called Manhattan Melodies to Broadway, in Manhattan, and so they do, in fact, attempt to take their musical Manhattan Melodies to Broadway, in Manhattan, whereupon they immediately encounter criminal mischief, deception and predation, multiple and increasingly humiliating rejections, housing insecurity, and a brief if painful period of separation, as well unexpected kindness, free soup, and Liza Minelli, before Kermit, having finally—and blessedly, as he was nearing his breaking point— received word that the sweet-natured, starry-eyed son of a big time Broadway producer was eager, with his father the big-time Broadway producer’s backing, to produce their musical Manhattan Melodies on Broadway, on the condition, as it turns out, that it open in two weeks, which maybe Kermit would panic about except—whoops!—almost immediately upon exiting the building inside of which he finally and blessedly, if briefly, tasted triumph, he is violently struck down by a New York taxi cab, causing significant brain trauma expressed as an untimely case of amnesia for a brief if painful period during which the other muppets fear—despite all that they had been through together, despite how near they lunged toward the dream of staging their musical Manhattan Melodies on Broadway, in Manhattan—that all of that pain and rejection and underemployment and humiliation may be, in the end, all Manhattan has to offer them, until, at the eleventh and final hour, Miss Piggy, at her breaking point and in a violent outburst—born out of her immense grief and wounded frustration, which I mention not to excuse her behavior but to understand it—snaps our hero back from the brink and onto the stage, where our muppets finally and triumphantly take Manhattan by taking their musical Manhattan Melodies to Broadway, in Manhattan, to uproarious acclaim, at which point the musical Manhattan Melodies and the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) climax and collapse into a single reality—represented by an on-stage wedding that is in fact a real wedding within the world of The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), where sometimes frogs wear pants and sometimes they don’t but either way they have anxiety and it’s legal to marry a pig with body euphoria and a rage disorder—at which point we, the audience, may find, as I did, that we have some questions about the laws governing the muppet universe, less because we demand and need answers and because, sometimes, it is fun enough to wonder goddammit, and achieving wonder is more than enough some days, especially here nearing the end of a long trying year in a series of long trying years.
My questions are these:
How are muppets understood by non-muppets in the extended muppet universe? Are muppets seen as animals? Puppets? A secret third thing?
Do animals see muppets as peers? Do people see muppets as animals? Do muppets see animals as muppets? Do puppets exist in the muppet universe? Is it a square or a rectangle kind of deal, like all muppets are animals, but not all animals are muppets? Like, it’s cool that Kermit and Miss Piggy get married, but could Miss Piggy marry an actual frog? Are there actual frogs in the muppet universe? We see actual dogs in the muppet universe, so it stands to reason there are also actual frogs, and bears, and chickens and stuff, and if so, is an actual frog more likely to feel affinity to a muppet frog or to an actual pig? If an actual frog and an actual pig had a child, how would it wear its pants?
Is the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) in fact the movie of the musical Manhattan Melodies, the musical at the center of the movie musical The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)? Does anything really end, or for that matter, begin? Show me on the ocean where a wave takes shape. Or just show me some puppets and let me wonder a while. I’ll gladly take either one.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts or feelings.
Any thoughts and feelings at all are welcome.
Anyway, here's a very sweet poem about existing in the middle, written by A.A. Milne and first performed by Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin the Frog during the tenth episode of the first season of the The Muppet Show, which premiered in the UK in 1976, 24 years before the poem would be performed again by Jerry Nelson, Jim Henson’s longtime friend and collaborator who voiced Robin the Frog, at Jim Henson’s memorial service in 1990.
As previously mentioned about the feelings—
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