As you are probably aware, based on my previous posts about A Muppet Family Christmas and The Christmas Toy, and my yearly exultations that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best and most faithful film adaptation of the original book A Christmas Carol despite being narrated by Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo the Great, the Muppets and Christmas occupy roughly the same spot in my brain. It’s that soft, gooey, marshmallow-like cluster nestled at the back of my hippocampus, near the base of my occipital lobe. If you were to poke it, I would involuntarily start waving my arms around like Kermit.
However, I have never actually seen John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together until today. Part of this may have to do with the fact that it has never been officially released on VHS, and part of this may have to do with the fact that it came out the year I was born and I was too busy spitting up strained squash and eating stuff I found on the carpet to notice. Either way, I found it on the Youtubes, and have decided to write about my experiences watching this holiday gem for the first damn time.
Aaaaaaand… push play.
Fade in on the late John Denver, sprightly and alive and in the middle of his “Oh, God” heyday. Because ‘tis the glorious season of Yuletide, he’s dressed like a Dickensian gent, resplendent with his purple top hat and all. At this point, things could really go either way – of all the M.O.R. artists ever to walk this Earth, John Denver is the M.O.Riest. For every heartfelt, aching ballad like “Leavin’ On A Jetplane,” there’s an “Annie’s Song.” For every “Rocky Mountain High”, there’s a Coors beer commercial where a bunch of people start singing “Rocky Mountain High.” And, of course, there’s that big old slice of bitter irony pie you have to mention when you’re a heartless bastard like me and someone brings up John Denver: “Leaving On A Jet Plane” was written by a man who died when his private plane crashed. Either the jokes make themselves or they really, really don’t. I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
And, either this is going to be the most goddamn heartwarming thing I’ve ever experienced, or it’s going to be 2 solid hours of molten Velveeta cheese. Things don’t look so good when ol’ John starts singing “The 12 Days Of Christmas”, a song that’s only tolerable when Muppets are involved.
Thank God there are Muppets involved. Fozzie screws up his lines, Miss Piggy adds some “ba-dump-bump-bumps” to her FIIIIIVE GOOOOOLD RIIIINGS line, and all is right with the world.
There’s more, after the break.