Hey, It’s Jim Henson’s 85th Birthday!

Published: September 24, 2021
Categories: Commentary, Feature

As an obsessive Muppet fan who likes to celebrate Muppet things, I have a busy September. I have to make sure I eat cake for all the Muppet performer birthdays, watch the premiere episodes of The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, and Little Muppet Monsters, do something silly for Jerry Juhl Day, and laugh maniacally on the anniversary of Michael Eisner’s begrudging departure from The Walt Disney Company. (That’s September 30th; mark your calendar.)

I’m so busy, in fact, I almost forgot to make a big to-do of Jim Henson’s 85th birthday! For shame! That’s one of the divisible-by-five ones!

Fortunately, The Jim Henson Company has given us these lovely reminders on their social media accounts:

Yes, Doozers, I will gladly join you!

This one’s animated, and slightly creepy. I like that.

Wow. Sid is so insightful sometimes. I hope he joins the ToughPigs forum soon.

But seriously folks, these are great. They make me wonder what to do to celebrate the occasion.

Of course, I suppose it’s only a hypothetical birthday. We’re celebrating the Jim Henson who would have lived to 85, right? That’s weird, and it also raises upsetting questions.

I think most of us fans feel like Jim Henson would still be alive today if not for the one time he got sick. Each year, that gets harder to believe as it becomes less and less likely that this “Alternate Timeline Jim Henson” would still be alive and well, seeing as how… I mean, he would be very, very old. Possibly gone. …….Sorry.

That thought sucks. Everything about it sucks. I suck for thinking of it. What do we do about it?

Personally, I’ve chosen this birthday as the time to let go of the idea of Alternate Timeline Jim, and all of the “if Jim Henson were still alive today” arguments that come with it. I can’t expect anyone else to do the same, but this is part of how I’m coping. The other way I’m coping is by writing some silly nonsense about it. Speaking of which…

Now that we live in the age of multiverses and spiderverses and omniverses and flapdoodleverses and such, I’ve asked Spider-Man to ask Doctor Strangepork to reach into another dimension and give us a parting message from Alternate Timeline Jim Henson, and he kindly obliged!

Jim had big plans for the Muppets in 1990. I can’t wait to find out what he would be doing with them today!

And Now, a Special Birthday Message from Alternate Jim:

Hello there, my name is Jim Henson and I’m a puppeteer. In May of 1990, my life changed forever. That’s when I pitched my concept for a television show called Some Boys Took My Handycam and Drove Across Route 66 with It, So Here’s Whatever the Heck They Shot.

It was a revolutionary idea, and audiences weren’t quite ready for it yet, but after I sold the Muppets, Disney was contractually obligated to let me do whatever I wanted within a $6-million budget. This show’s budget was $12.03 for a full season of 108 episodes, so I kind of just kept making it until it stuck.

By its 27th season in 1994, we knew we had a hit on our hands. If the show had proven one thing, it was that audiences loved bros. People of all ages were desperate for more bro-centric content, and now I’m happy to say that Trevor, CJ, Brett, Eric, DoubleDip, and Guy on Crack have all become household names.

Anyhow, at times like this, I like to remember that it was all started by a frog. I’m thankful to all the fans who believed in the Muppets until I didn’t need them anymore, and even though they’re canonically dead now, they still live on in our hearts. Just not on screen. I’m not bringing them to life ever again. Please stop asking. Now go watch my new Storyteller movie. Have fun.

– Jim Henson

Wow. That just ruined my September. Now I won’t even have it in me to do something silly for Jerry Juhl Day. Maybe something frivolous, sure, but that’s just not the same.

On the bright side, now we can begin to heal. With that in mind, I’ve thought of a few ways to turn my frown upside-down.

And Now, a List of Ways to Celebrate Jim Henson’s Birthday:

  • Watch a Muppet movie!
  • Wear a Muppet shirt!
  • Share your favorite Muppet video on your favorite social network!
  • Learn the banjo!
  • Open your window, stick your head out and yell, “I’m Muppetational as heck and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”
  • Remind me of the babe!
  • Take a picture of your best friend naked! But, like, for a creative gift!
  • Open an inflatable nightclub!
  • Bring peace to the world!
  • Become the performer of Kermit the Frog!

I want to personally thank Sid the Science Kid, the Pajanimals, the Doozers, the word partiers, and the train dinosaurs for inviting me to celebrate this special occasion.

Click here to take Jim Henson’s handycam on the ToughPigs forum!

Tagged:Jim Henson

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Written by JD Hansel

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