Sharing the Muppet love in the lunch room
This means a lunch room packed with people, aimlessly poking around in their boxes from the farthest corner of the freezer, throwing glances at each other to determine if they warranted some envy or not.
A snowstorm was raging outside of the window as the post weekend misery spread across the tables.
“I’m in a really bad mood”, said an administrator in her 50s and judging from her facial expression I’d give her right.
We stared down at our plates in silence. What comfort was there to give?
That’s when I remembered it. There was a cure! There was no need to feel sulky at all!
So I stepped up, first to my chair and then to the table and burst out in song:
“Everything is great
Everything is grand
I got the whole wide world in the palm of my hand
Everything is perfect
It’s falling into place
I can’t seem to wipe this smile off my face
Life’s a happy song, when there’s someone by my side to sing along”
Or rather: I could have done that, but I didn’t. Who do you think I am? Treat Williams?
But I did something that seemed to be just about as shocking as if I’d performed a musical number myself, following the reactions of the table party. I told her that I knew about a cure for the Monday Blues condition.
“Go and watch The Muppets and you’ll be as good as new!”
And then I went into talking about fun and cheerful and sweet it was, full of colors and joy.
“It’s so great to see them all again! You know! The characters we grew up with!”
“They’re all there? Kermit? Miss Piggy? Those old guys? The Swedish Chef? They sing mana-mana?”
“Yes! All of that!” I smiled convincingly and added: “And they’re singing and dancing and once you see it all your misery and cynicism goes out of the window. This is the thing! Doctors should prescribe this to their patients!”
She gave me a long look and said: “I’ve never liked The Muppets. And I hate musicals. You know they sing and dance for no reason. It’s stupid.”
And then I didn’t know what to say anymore. I muttered an “oh” I think and then I went back to inspect the sad content of my lunch box. But inside myself I was still smiling. There was a muppet song for this situation too:
” I’m having a Me Party
A party by myself
A Me Party
I don’t need nobody else”
Honest and loving
I think what makes The Muppets to such a delightful movie is that the entire creation is vibrating with the love and enthusiasm that only a fan of the franchise is capable of. The story goes that this movie wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Jason Segel. And I buy it. This is more than a marketing device, more than just an effort to breathe some fresh air into the brand in order to sell some merchandise. It’s a dream coming true. It feels honest.
Does it work for a young audience? I don’t know. The fact that the movie had subtitles instead of dubbing suggests that the Swedish distributors don’t expect the toddlers to go and see it. On the other hand, the only screenings were in the afternoon in the weekend, which tells you that they expect families. Regardless of which intention they may have, there wasn’t a single child in the theatre when I watched it. Everyone who watched it with me was a grown-up, reconnecting with their childhood. I’m not sure if someone who never had heard of The Muppets would have quite as much fun with it.
Jack Black who?
The only minor complaint I have is an old one, a problem that isn’t new to me at all, since it often happened in the TV shows. It’s about the guests. Half of the times I had never heard of them. For how famous they might have been in US, their fame hadn’t reached across the Atlantic and any references to their previous works were completely lost on me. Usually it was pretty OK anyway since they could sing and be somewhat funny. But I sensed that I was missing something and it was the same thing with this film.
You may laugh at me, but I had never heard of the celebrity guest, Jack Black. Perhaps that’s a horrible gap in my movie education considering how productive he appears to have been according to IMDb. But it must be the wrong kind of movies, because I’ve seen very few of them. I did see High Fidelity and I loved it, but to be honest I didn’t note him enough to remember his name.
However it’s not crucial that you know about Jack Black and there are several other celebrities around that even I could recognize, so it’s not a biggie.
The final question
One question remained as I lined up in front of the coffee machine to get finalize the lunch break with the mandatory cup to prevent the lunch coma:
“I reflect on my reflection
and I ask myself the question
What’s the right direction, to go
I don’t know
Am I a man or am I a muppet
(am I a muppet)
If I’m a muppet then im a very manly muppet
(a very manly muppet)”
I thought it over. Named Jessica and mother of two, I couldn’t possibly be a man, could I? That left me with one option. Muppet it was.
And I returned to my working place. On the outside I was a frustrated office worker with a Monday Blues. But hidden inside there was a singing and smiling muppet.
The Muppets (James Bobin, US, 2011) My rating: 4/5