‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’, But The Muppet Show Certainly Helped

On April 16, 2010, something new and exciting happens to me: I become 21 years old. Rather than showing enthusiasm though, when the notion of turning 21 pops in my head, everything around me freezes. “Wait, where the hell has the time gone?”

As I look back on my childhood, two things have helped lead me up to this point in my life. The first was my parents’ constant love and support whenever I was at my weakest. The second, though, was the laughter that came from watching an odd bunch of characters: The Muppets.

Making me smile did more for me at a young age than one could ever imagine. As a child with a speech impediment and learning disability, elementary school didn’t feel like an accepting place. My soft R sounds made it difficult for most adults, let alone fellow kids, to comprehend me even up to the age of 10. I felt frustrated and isolated by everyone’s lack of understanding. Frustration led to feeling different and unwanted by everyone. But whenever I watched the Muppets, I never felt alone.

While the Muppet gang is still bringing joy to millions through movies and television specials, it was the 1970s primetime Muppet Show that particularly meant the most to me. Since I was 3 years old, I would sit up close, glued to the screen to watch reruns on TV or VHS. Once the characters began to sing “It’s time to play the music, its time to light the lights” in the intro, I became enthralled with the world created by the Muppet Theater. Seeing Kermit the Frog trying to control a crew of wild characters and celebrity guests in order to produce a show night after night entertained me for hours. Whether it was Fozzy the Bear getting heckled by Statler and Waldorf, Gonzo attempting an utterly wacky stunt, or the incomprehensible Swedish Chef making a mess in the kitchen, The Muppet Show kept me laughing.

I even owe my passion for music to the show. Alice Cooper’s guest appearance is what led me into the world of hard rock. And can anyone name a wilder drummer than Animal?! Even Keith Moon can’t compete against Animal’s stage demeanor.

With its musical and dance performances and slapstick humor, The Muppet Show always made me smile. Jim Henson created colorful characters that always made me feel accepted. I may have been different from the rest of the kids at school, but Kermit treated me like a normal person, welcoming me to watch the show as if I was family. My parents gave me strength and care when I needed it the most. But it was the Muppets who kept me smiling.

So as The Muppet Show is just over a year away from its 35th anniversary, and as we come close to the 20th anniversary of Jim Henson’s death, I want to take a moment as I reach my own milestone to say one thing to the show: Thank You. Thank you for giving me comfort when I felt vulnerable. Thank you for exposing me to a new world. Thank you for never letting me feel ashamed for being different. Thank you for simply making me smile. The Muppet’s companionship over the past 21 years has helped me maintain optimism when times looked bleak. As Disney releases DVD sets of the show and continues to produce Muppet movies and programming specials, I once again smile. For I know that The Muppet Show will continue to give future generations the same comfort that they’ve given me my entire life.

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