Recently the generally rather fantastic cult tv and film site Den Of Geek ran piece about A Muppet Family Christmas, with the writer suggesting that it’s even better than The Muppet Christmas Carol. Now that’s one of the greatest films of all time (as yesterday’s piece on the best adaptation of The Muppets Christmas Carol suggested) and a thing of all round loveliness, so by saying such a thing meant I had to track it down as soon as I possibly could.
Doing such a thing legally is a little difficult as due to copyright reasons it was only released on video and dvd in an edited format, but thankfully someone has posted a copy of it in full on Dailymotion (the link is below) so everyone and anyone can see it now. And to address the Den Of Geek’s incredibly high opinion of it straight away – No, it’s nowhere near as good as A Muppet’s Christmas Carol for one very simple reason – at no point in the running time does Michael Caine sing. But the lack of a plot hinders it a lot too, and I’d suggest that it’s not even quite as good as The Muppets Treasure Island (which deserves much more acclaim than it gets in general), though it is still definitely worth checking out.
As mentioned, the plot is all kinds of simplistic, with Fozzie, Kermit and the gang dropping in on Fozzie’s mother unannounced, where Doc and Sprocket from Fraggle Rock also happen to be staying. The rest of the running time is essentially a bunch of short sketches featuring the various characters, and there’s the tiniest hint of a plot in that Piggy is late and a big storm might prevent her from coming / be responsible for her grizzly death, but other than that it’s just a collection of jokes and songs.
The best thing about it is that we get to see The Muppets and characters from Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock meet up and celebrate the joys of Christmas, even if the latter aren’t in it that much bar Doc and Sprocket. The Muppet Babies have a cameo as well, and though it’s quite short, given that we see the Muppets as babies in an incredibly adorable puppet form rather than in the animated way as per the regular Muppets Babies series I’m just glad they included it at all.
If you’re not a fan of the Muppets it’s unlikely this will win you over as everyone stays true to character, and so Fozzie tells bad jokes, Animal’s all kinds of destructive, Piggy’s selfish and Kermit can’t stop masturbating (um, I might have imagined that bit, admittedly) but the gags are strong and there is a lot which will make you laugh, from the way Fozzie’s mother keeps on referring to Kermit as “Ah yes, the lizard”, the Chef’s disturbing obsession with cooking Big Bird for Christmas Dinner, to the Sesame Street gang’s Christmas pageant and the casting of the two headed monster as Santa.
The majority of the songs are charming too, with them either being sung straight or with jokes inserted in to the verses from time to time, with the final ten minutes being all singing and dancing in a gently engaging manner, and Jim Henson pops in for a cameo right at the end which is all the more poignant as it would be his last appearance with the Muppets before his premature death.
A Christmas special which will no doubt warm the cockles of your heart and make you laugh a good few times, it’s a snapshot of a more innocent, sweeter time, and one which should be essential Christmas time viewing if you’ve not seen it before. But straight afterwards I’d recommend watching The Muppet Christmas Carol to get a dose of something which is not only The Muppets at their very best, but also a gorgeously funny and enchanting film which will fill you with the joys of the season until you’re fit to burst.
You can watch the special on Dailymotion here.