Watch out, everyone. It’s a crossover!
Muppet locations are mysterious by nature. Even though we’re so intimately familiar with them all, we still have so many questions. We don’t really know where in New York City Sesame Street takes place. Kermit’s swamp might be in Georgia or Florida or Mississippi. Deducing the location of the Labyrinth in Labyrinth is a labyrinth on its own.
Among the more geographically ambiguous Muppet sites is the Muppet Theater. Despite the fact that we’ve spent hours within the theater walls, watching the chaos and calamity both on stage and backstage, the location of the building itself is shrouded in mystery. Due to the real-world nature of where The Muppet Show was filmed, as well as clues like certain background characters and musical numbers, there’s a very real possibility that the Muppet Theater was in London. In It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, it’s established that the theater is in New York City (presumably off-off-off-Broadway). Not helping matters in the slightest, the 2011 film The Muppets confirms that the theater is in Hollywood, in place of the actual-place-you-can-visit El Capitan.
So how can the Muppet Theater be in three places at once? Simple. Because it is in three different places. Probably a lot more, too.
Okay, hang tight. This is gonna make sense soon. I hope.
Let’s shift gears and look at the science of Fraggle Rock. Of all the magical and mystical goings-on down there, one of the most interesting is the physics of a Fraggle hole. At first, it seems like Fraggle holes are just that – holes in a cave wall that lead to the outside world. But several times throughout the series, we’re told that they’re so much more than that. In the episode “Uncle Matt’s Discovery“, Traveling Matt discovers a room filled with Fraggle holes, each one leading to a different place in the universe including Australia, a world where golden apples grow on trees, and underneath Doc’s front porch. Presumably, these places are not actually right next to each other or accessible via an underground cave system.
In the series finale (spoilers, I guess… you really should watch Fraggle Rock – it’s quite good!), Doc and Sprocket move to the ambiguous destination of “the desert”, a location far enough away that they travel by plane. The Fraggles – who once were able to visit Doc’s workshop through a Fraggle hole – discover a second Fraggle hole within walking distance, and are magically able to visit Doc and Sprocket in their new home. Okay, so we’ve established that Fraggle holes are magic. Cool, got it.
The magic found in your basic Fraggle hole and the Muppet Theater are nearly identical. They both allow you to travel from place to place instantaneously. They allow you to exist in multiple locations at once. Folks, you can’t beat this scientific argument.
Just imagine that you’re Kermit the Frog, producing your own variety show in a crumbling theater. Those holes in the walls aren’t just due to structural neglect – they’re magic portals! So what do you do? You use them to help put on a better show. It’s how he can transform the stage into an open field or a mountaintop or a Grecian village. It’s how he can fill a scene with dozens of pigs or chickens or penguins without worrying about paying for their travel or hotel accommodations. It’s how every Muppet and guest star can have their own dressing room, despite the fact that there are obviously only three doors backstage.
This also explains an important plot point in Muppet Family Christmas, when Kermit and Robin come across a Fraggle hole in Emily Bear’s basement. Despite never having met a Fraggle, Kermit already knows all about Fraggle holes, and happily marches himself and his defenseless young ward inside. Why would he worry? He’s likely been in more Fraggle holes than your average frog (space frogs notwithstanding) on a day-to-day basis managing The Muppet Show.
But real magic, as Fraggle Rock has taught us, is something that you cannot leave. It’s why the Fraggles found a lasting connection to Doc and Sprocket despite their move to the desert, and what keeps all of Fragglekind united. And it’s why the Muppets have persisted too – they’ve kept the Muppet Theater alive through their own magic, always moving and changing, but never disappearing. Even after over 40 years of fun and comedy and music, the Muppets are connected to us forever. That’s the sort of magic we can all share, which doesn’t discriminate against geography and links us all together. If that’s not Fraggle (and Muppet) magic, then I don’t know what is.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com