There was a time when all I wanted was to lock myself in my home and do nothing but absorb Muppet content for days on end. Oh how foolish I was!
Now that most of us are stuck inside, it’s becoming a challenge to fill our days and keep them interesting. If we’re going to keep our sanity, we need stuff to do. And if we’re gonna do stuff, it might as well be Muppet stuff.
So here’s a bunch of ideas for things you can do to keep a steady flow of Muppet content in your life while we wait out the Coronavirus!
Disney+ has a decent amount of Muppet content at the moment. Films like The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppets, and Muppets Most Wanted. TV series like The Muppets and Muppet Babies. And shorts like “Muppet Moments” and “Muppet Babies Show and Tell”. That’s literally over 24 hours of straight Muppet video, all on one app!
If you think that’s a lot, Amazon Prime might have even more. They’ve got access to a ton of Sesame Street content, including a bunch of classic and more recent episodes, and even more to rent or buy digitally. If it’s ever been commercially released, there’s a good chance Amazon’s got it.
Amazon is also home to some interesting productions from The Jim Henson Company. They’ve got both The Storyteller and The Storyteller: Greek Myths, Dog City, Creature Shop Challenge, Farscape, Song of the Cloud Forest, Living With Dinosaurs, Monster Maker, Lighthouse Island, Henson’s Place, Mother Goose Stories, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, Pajanimals, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, The Animal Show, The Christmas Toy, Dreamchild, Dinosaurs, and Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series.
I know what you’re thinking: I’ve seen all these things! Well, here’s one Henson-related series on Amazon that’s likely new to you: Handmade Puppet Dreams. Heather Henson’s (Jim’s youngest daughter) production company Ibex Puppetry has been producing a series of short films that spotlight independent puppeteers. There are 16 films online already, some from familiar names to the Muppet community like Toby Froud, Spencer Lott, and John Kennedy.
There are two Muppet films conspicuously missing from Disney+, and they’re both on Amazon Prime. So head there to watch The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets From Space. That’s also where you can watch the extraordinary Caroll Spinney documentary I am Big Bird.
I am Big Bird is ALSO streaming on Kanopy, a free streaming service for most people with valid library cards! Did I mention free??? Because free.
Over on Netflix, you can re-watch The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, or for a more Sesame-centric viewing experience, the Kevin Clash documentary Being Elmo.
See? We’ve already filled up the next few weeks of social distancing time! Okay, what else can we do?
If you’re lucky enough to have some older video game systems, you’ll be able to fill a good amount of time playing “Muppet Party Cruise” or failing over and over again on Nintendo’s “Chaos at the Carnival”. But chances are you’ll be looking for something you can download now.
For example! “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics” is available to play on the XBox, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation, as well as Mac and PC.
On your smartphone, there’s the Disney Emoji Blitz game, which features Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, The Swedish Chef, and Gonzo as playable characters.
If you’ve got an eBook reader, you can get pretty much any Muppet-related book you can dream up. We recommend Brian Jay Jones’s “Jim Henson: The Biography” for a journey through the history of the Muppets as seen through the life lens of their creator.
Chances are you’ve got a bunch of Muppet books on your shelf that have been collecting dust for years. Why not brush off that copy of “Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life” or “The Works” and read them all the way through? Or revisit BOOM! Studios’ Muppet Show comic books by Roger Langridge and pretend they’re actual new episodes of The Muppet Show?
And don’t forget – ToughPigs.com has over 4,500 articles from the past 19 years! So if you start reading now, you might read everything we’ve ever written by the time you can safely go back to work again. And if that’s not enough, you can also listen to our entire Movin’ Right Along podcast series and follow along with the first two Muppet movies, two minutes at a time.
What do you like to do? How about make music?? Get out that ukulele or flute or bongos and look up some chords online to some of your favorite Muppet songs. Teach yourself “Rainbow Connection” on the banjo. Make a video of yourself singing it and toss it onto YouTube. Cover every Fraggle Rock song ever made. You can do it!
Okay, so maybe you don’t have a musical bone in your body. Try writing something! I’m normally not one to condone fan fiction, but what the heck – if you can’t do it during a pandemic, then what’s even the point?? Write your ideal episode of The Muppet Show, or create a new Bert and Ernie sketch, or make up a story about what happens to the worm from Labyrinth after Sarah declines his offer of a cuppa tea.
Fan fic isn’t your style of writing? Try writing a ToughPigs-style article! Make up some ridiculous commentary about some Muppet thing you love (or hate)! Review a thing that’s never been reviewed before! Create a listicle that looks like commentary, but it’s really just a collection of organized thought (like this article)! As a rule, we don’t accept random submissions for ToughPigs articles, but what the heck – if you write something, send it to me and maybe we’ll publish it!
What else are you doing to pass the time? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or on the ToughPigs forum. Chances are we’ll be looking for more ideas ourselves soon. And there’s no better way to survive a quarantine than with the Muppets.
Click here to binge weeks’ worth of Muppet videos on the ToughPigs forum!
by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com