Film: A Muppet Family Christmas
A portion of the cast
poses for the closing shot.
The best-remembered of several Christmas Specials
featuring The Muppets
; it could probably be better called A Henson Family Christmas
. It originally aired on ABC
Fozzie Bear has packed up The Muppet Show
crew and brought them with him to surprise his mom for Christmas. There's just one problem: mom's scheduled a trip to Malibu and rented out the farm house to Doc (of Fraggle Rock
), who's looking forward to a quiet Christmas in the country. Throw in the Fraggles themselves, the Sesame Street
gang, and even a bit of Muppet Babies
, and Hilarity Ensues
This special provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Bert and Ernie's "small talk" with Doc.
- Art Shift: In a meta sense. The Muppet Babies segment is puppeteered, matching the rest of the show but differing from the cartoon. The puppets (with the exception of Baby Animal) were re-used from The Muppets Take Manhattan, officially going from Piggy's dream sequence to actual backstory status.
- Bat Family Crossover: The only time you'll ever see the four cornerstones of early Muppetdom (The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, and Muppet Babies) in the same place. Don't expect it to ever happen again, as the Sesame Street characters are now owned by a different company, Fraggle Rock is only known to those with cable, and Muppet Babies will be tied up in legal red tape until the end of time.
- Bilingual Bonus: As usual, most of the Swedish Chef's dialogue is a lot of incomprehensible babble interspersed with enough English to follow. But when he first arrives at the farmhouse, he greets Fozzie with a cheery "Glaedelig Jul!" Yep, that means "Merry Christmas" — in Danish, not Swedish.
- The Cameo: During the final sequence, Uncle 'Traveling' Matt is singing alongside Doc and Sprocket.
- Carnivore Confusion: One of the Swedish Chef's shticks; in this special the turkey tries to get out of being cooked by siccing the Chef on Big Bird instead. Before Big Bird arrives, he also attempts to persuade the Chef that Sprocket is a turkey, which leads to what may be the best line of the entire special:
Doc: I don't care if the turkey says the dog is the turkey! The dog is not the turkey! The turkey's the turkey, you turkey!
- Christmas Carolers: The Sesame Street gang arrive as these, performing "Here We Come A-Caroling".
- Christmas Songs: Lots of them. Sometimes they're justified, such as the Sesame Street caroling sequence.
- Cool Old Guy: Doc proves to be one of these, once he gets past his initial grumpiness.
- Cool Old Lady: Emily Bear.
- Creator Cameo: Jim Henson himself shows up at the very end, looking on from the kitchen doorway and commenting. "Well, Sprocket, it looks like they're all having a good time. I like it when they have a good time."
- Cross-Cast Role: Bert dons a woman's nightgown during "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".
C'mon, Bert. Somebody has to play Mama, and you lost the toss
- Cuteness Proximity: After the Muppet Babies segment, Doc admits that "even weirdos are cute when they're babies!"
Gonzo: I knew you'd learn to love us!
Doc: I didn't say that.
- Deadline News: A gag carried over from the regular Muppet Show, when the newscaster reports on the storm and states that barometers are falling sharply. And no, he's not hit by the storm, he's hit by falling barometers.
- Description Cut: As they drive to his mother's farm, Fozzie gives Kermit a nostalgic description of what she will be doing at that very moment; cut to the farm, revealing that he is incorrect in every detail.
- Dramatic Thunder: Count von Count IS in this, after all. Also, when the Turkey initially sics the Swedish Chef on Big Bird, we hear thunder booming for no apparent reason except to heighten the drama (except there isn't any lightning at that part!)
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Or rather, Importation Expansion Plot Hole. The first thought of many young Britons on seeing it was "Why is Sprocket owned by some guy called Doc? What happened to the lighthouse keeper (from the British version of Fraggle Rock)?"
- Furry Confusion: Several:
- Grumpy Bear:
- Half Dressed Muppets: You can tell that the gathering at the end of the show is a special occasion, because even the Muppets who are normally not dressed (e.g. Kermit) have put on special duds.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lampshaded with Bert and Ernie, who play a couple for a presentation of Twas The Night Before Christmas. (Bert's humiliated that he's "Mama", Ernie responds that someone had to and he lost the coin toss.)
- I Am Not Weasel: Fozzie's mom mistakenly refers to Kermit as a lizard several times.
- I Got a Rock: In this case, it's apparently a good thing. The "nice yellow pebble" has been a Fraggle gift thirty-seven times, then Boober gives it to Robin, and it is later given to Grover.
- Is Nothing Sacred?: Sam the Eagle says this after seeing the Two-Headed Monster from Sesame Street play Santa Claus in a skit.
- Let's Meet the Meat: The turkey seems rather nonchalant about being, as Gonzo notes, "in the wrong place at the wrong time".
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Duh.
- Mind Your Step: There's a running gag about an icy patch in front of the door. "Careful of the icy patch!" greets each new visitor - after they've already slipped.
- Odd Friendship: Fozzie's mom and Statler and Waldorf.
- An Odd Place to Sleep: With space at a premium, Fozzie's mom tells the gang that two of them will have to sleep suspended from hangers on a hook on the wall. Gonzo and Animal are only too happy to comply.
Floyd: That's the only way Animal ever sleeps, ma'am.
- Offscreen Crash: Can be heard while Piggy is calling Kermit from a Phone Booth during the storm.
- Peking Duck Christmas: Subverted. The Swedish Chef first intends to cook a turkey for Christmas, until he sees Big Bird ("Gobbla gobbla humunga!") and tries to kill him instead. Big Bird, in his innocent oblivious way, completely charms the Chef, who decides that his feast is going to feature "shredded wheat and cranberry sauce."
- Pet the Dog: When trying to figure out sleeping arrangements, Rizzo considers bunking with Oscar - and the usually-antisocial Grouch admits he likes the idea of having a rat in his trash can.
- Pretty in Mink: Piggy's dress for the finale has fur trim; and then, of course, Maureen the Mink takes this trope Up to Eleven in the literal sense.
- Running Gag:
- "Careful of the icy patch!"
- Emily Bear thinking Kermit is a lizard.
- Sesame Street small talk.
- Santa Claus: Santa appears at the end and starts handing out presents — and sounding suspiciously like Doc, who is suddenly nowhere to be seen.
- Shout-Out: When it's pointed out that Gonzo's not a chicken like his girlfriend:
- Snowed-In: The gang must weather "the worst blizzard in fifty years," while Kermit worries about Miss Piggy, who is apparently lost in it.
- Snowlems: Fozzie builds a snowman who promptly comes alive and shares his sense of humor.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: "Well, everybody, it's Christmas Eve and the tree is trimmed, so it's time for our annual carol sing!"
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Fozzie actually gets some laughs when he teams up with the snowman. One of the woodland creatures even calls them the funniest comedy team in the business.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: You know it's cold when the snowman wants to come in and warm up.
- True Meaning of Christmas: Robin the Frog defines it for the Fraggles as a time when "you gather together with the people you love, and you wish each other peace on Earth."
- Under The Mistletoe: Kermit and Piggy at the very end.
- The Unintelligible: Good thing they didn't have Beaker do a solo on the more obscure carols...
- Visual Pun: Grover plays a mouse for 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and he's carrying a bowl...
- Don't Explain the Joke: ...which, as he spells out, he is not stirring. (As in "Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.")
- What's a Henway?: Fozzie and the snowman's act feature two jokes of this type.
- You Mean Xmas: The Fraggles have never heard of Christmas, but coincidentally happen to celebrate a very similar holiday, the "Festival of the Bells," at the same time.
Statler: Hey, this page is comparing us to Cthulhu!
Waldorf: Well, you're an Old One, but you sure aren't Great!
Both: Do-ho-ho-hoh! (of course, Statler starts to laugh, but then scrunches up his face in anger after a while)