myweekxmas25House Arrest
Wednesday, December 11

Ah, it’s a magical time of year, isn’t it? The snow is falling, the fire is roaring, Kynan is grumbling “Show me Elmo’s World”… and I will, but not today. Today, we’re watching Miss Piggy on the 1995 CBS special Martha Stewart’s Home for the Holidays

Kynan


This is lovely, the week is full of felons.
Danny


Yeah, it’s A Child’s Christmas in Lockdown.
Kynan


Did the Muppets ever do a Christmas special with Winona Ryder? Are we skipping ahead to the Miss Piggy bit? Answer the second question first.
Danny


No, I thought first we ought to experience what Piggy’s interrupting.
Kynan


There was a fast forward in 1995, though.
Danny


Just watch and learn.

myweekxmas26

Martha “Every year, the festivities begin right here on the front porch, when we hang the holiday wreath. And then we get together to make the plum puddings! This is my mother and my sister Cathy.”
Kynan


She’s your mother and your sister? It’s Christmas at Woody Allen’s house.
Martha “Plum puddings are a traditional English Christmas pudding. It requires a lot of chopping and mixing.”
Kynan


On other people’s part.
Danny


Yeah, I don’t see her picking up a spoon.
Cathy “We’re almost finished with this batch, Martha!”
Martha “Great! Well, now I know it’s Christmas. There’s a wreath on my front door, and plum puddings are steaming in the oven. Welcome to my Home… for the Holidays.”
Kynan


My family members are slaving away in the kitchen… My domestics are crossing the border into Texas, and they’re on their way north…
Danny


Yeah, you’ll notice that when Martha says “we” or “I” in this special, what she means is other people. “We’re making plum pudding!”
Kynan


We need to sell our ImClone stock!”

myweekxmas27

Martha “In fact, my only problem with the holidays is that I can’t fit everything into one month! That’s why I am so excited about tonight’s show. I can really go all out. And with the help of my friends, and family, I can show you all of my favorite holiday traditions!”
Kynan


It’s Martha’s holiday sweatshop! Look at all those people.
Grown Woman Carrying Wheat Sheaf “How’s this?”
Martha “Oh, yeah, that looks good. Do you think it’s okay? It’ll look nice on the wall, next to the mirrors.”
Danny


Everything in Martha’s house is next to the mirrors.
Little Girl Sticking Broken Toothpicks Into Cranberries “Are these good, Martha?”
Martha “Excellent. Just stick those all into that styrofoam.”
Kynan


And then you’ll get to eat today.
Martha “This year, we’ve turned my studio into a Christmas workshop. I’m making several wreaths. And to make a wreath, you start with a form. Like this.”
Danny


Her lines are all edited together phrase by phrase. She sounds like a kid from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Martha “Take these clusters. Lay them on top of each other. And with your paddle of 24-gauge wire, just keep wiring around and around. Holding these clusters in place.”
Kynan


Well, I don’t just keep paddles of 24-gauge wire lying about. Am I supposed to go to the junk drawer and find one while she’s talking?
Danny


It’s impossible for us to keep a dialogue going here, because I’m just fascinated by her weird phrasing.
Martha “Let’s see what else is happening in Santa’s workshop. My friends Jerry and Manika over here are making garlands. Using pinecones and pecans.”
Kynan


There’s another holiday euphemism. “My friends” means “one of my employees and his teenage daughter.”
Jerry “… You simply string the pecans on, and then with this jeweler tool, you simply twist around the end of it, and you’ll end up with a garland looking like this.”
Martha “That’s great. And Manika, what are you doing?”
Danny


I’m sure she thinks she’s being friendly, but this reminds me of a supervisor checking up on not very trustworthy employees. I keep expecting her to ask them to fill out their timesheets in fifteen-minute increments.
Kynan


That’s what all the edits are. During the pauses, all the employees fill out their timesheets and file progress reports.

myweekxmas28

Martha “Traditional wreath-making materials are said to possess mythical attributes. Sweet bay leaves are said to have protective powers.”
Kynan


Now, that’s interesting, because in my culture, if we’ve got bay leaves, we just chuck them into the tomato sauce. Martha spray-paints them gold and hangs them on the wall to keep evil spirits away.
Martha “Rachel has been stringing kumquats and bay leaves. Are you going to make some for your mother? I think she’d really like those. You know, they’re pretty strung on mirrors, and they’re also nice along the bannister.”
Eleven-Year-Old Girl “That’s a nice idea.”
Martha “It’ll only take you the rest of the day. Ha ha.”
Kynan


Ha ha. She does mean it, though.
Danny


Oh well, at least it’s not a school night.
Kynan


No wonder she keeps wanting to cover up the mirrors. She doesn’t have a reflection.
Another Grown Woman “Are you going to gild any walnuts?”
Martha “Oh, later, when I make the ornaments.”
Danny


As a joke, “Are you going to gild any walnuts” pretty much writes itself.That’s a freebie for us.

myweekxmas29

Danny


And now Martha’s making her own decorations.
Kynan


Do we need more decorations? There’s leaves and twigs stapled to every available surface. Her living room is a set from a Tarzan movie.
Martha “Another wonderful use for these metallic ornaments are garlands. Use a thin wire to attach a bead and then wrap around metallic ribbon.”
Kynan


And more garlands! Everything’s garlanded. You couldn’t turn around in Martha’s house without getting poked in the eye with a broken toothpick or the serrated edge of a tinfoil star. Christmas at Martha’s house is just a state of constant alert.
Martha “And look at these gilded walnuts! These walnuts have been dipped into gold paint. Then they’re drilled through from top to bottom. Then, with metallic thread, create your loop. Alongside those, you can hang golden almonds wrapped in golden mesh.”
Danny


You know, just because you’ve painted something gold doesn’t make it attractive.
Kynan


No. But don’t tell Martha.
Danny


Actually, while she’s making these horrible wall adornments, let’s make a quick list of things that you could paint gold, and you still wouldn’t want to hang them on your wall.
Kynan


All right. An Irish terrier?
Danny


That’s a good one. A clothes dryer, maybe…
Kynan


Warren Beatty’s fingernail clippings…
Danny


Plutonium rods…
Kynan


The original copy of the Declaration of Independence…
Danny


The faces of those who’ve wronged you…
Kynan


Walnuts… No, hang on, we’ve done walnuts. Can we watch the Miss Piggy part now?

myweekxmas30

Danny


Yay, it’s Miss Piggy!
Kynan


But the superstar has to stand by while Martha goes on with her hideously complicated projects. Nothing stops this woman.
Martha “I understand that you’re coming up here to write your cookbook?”
Piggy “Oh, my cookbook! In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy. Plug, plug.”
Martha “You know, I gave you a gingerbread recipe. That’s why I invited you up here to see this gingerbread house in construction. If you’re the author of a book, you should know how to do everything in that book.”
Piggy “What, type?”
Martha “No, cook.”
Piggy “Oh. The part that I enjoy most is actually finding the TV dinners at the market.”
Kynan


Ha. This is going to be hard to talk through.
Danny


I know. I bet we can manage it, though.
Piggy “People do this at home?”
Martha “Well, I hope everyone makes a gingerbread house.”
Piggy “Sure, if you have a degree in engineering.”
Kynan


The problem for us, of course, is that Piggy is now saying everything that I want to say, so I have nothing. She’s doing all the work for me. Will this article still work if I just chuckle?
Danny


I don’t know. Has it been working so far?
Piggy “Now, how about the roof?”
Martha “Now, I went and I got for the roof… There’s these little candies called Necco wafers?”
Piggy “That’s a cute word. Necco. Necco!”
Martha “Necco. Have you heard of Necco wafers?”
Piggy “Nec — I like the name, Necco!”
Danny


Once again, Frank is working his tail off to make this worthwhile. It’s 1995, he’s doing like three Muppet things a year at this point. He does a few days on Muppet Treasure Island, two episodes of Muppets Tonight, and then this. But look at him, he’s giving it 110 percent.
Kynan


Which is helpful, because Martha, on average, is giving between twelve and fifteen percent. She’s hardly even responding when Piggy speaks.

myweekxmas31

Martha “This is the most difficult part of the entire job. The actual construction, putting the walls up. A friend is coming over to help.”
Piggy “Oh.”
Ben “Hi, Martha!”
Martha “Oh! Just in time.”
Ben “How are you. I got your message. Something about building a house?”
Martha “Yes. But not your typical house. This is the gingerbread house. I need another pair of hands.”
Piggy “Martha…”
Martha “Yes… Miss Piggy’s helping today.”
Ben “I can see that.”
Piggy “Martha? Martha?”
Martha “Yes, dear?”
Piggy “Who’s the, uh, you know…”
Martha “Oh, excuse me, this is Ben. Ben is a builder.”
Piggy “He’s a builder? He’s not your friend?”
Martha “He’s a friend and a builder!”
Piggy “Hello, Ben!”
Ben “Hi. How are you.”
Piggy “Good! Good!”
Martha “Miss Piggy is speaking. Now. We are going to…”
Piggy “Are you married?”
Ben “Yes.”
Piggy “Ah, I see.”
Martha “Yes, he has a lovely wife, Bonnie.”
Piggy “Who cares, Martha. You’re doing a wonderful job, Ben!”

myweekxmas32

Kynan


“Miss Piggy is speaking?”
Danny


I know, it’s outrageous, isn’t it?
Kynan


Miss Piggy is speaking. This person over here that I haven’t bothered to introduce to you yet is speaking. Is it just because Piggy is a puppet, or does Martha treat everyone like they’re objects?
Danny


Well, the thing that I think is fantastic here is that at this point Frank has just decided, the heck with it, I can’t bait Martha, so I’ll just talk around her, and she won’t even notice. I’m not even sure that Martha knows that Piggy is making fun of her here.
Kynan


No, she’s stopped listening entirely. Frank could say anything at this point.
Danny


This is why I love Piggy, actually. This right here. Whatever kind of pretentious showbiz nonsense is going on, Piggy punctures it, just by standing there and making smart remarks. You can’t be fake around Miss Piggy.
Kynan


And Martha is entirely fake, so she has to pretend that Piggy doesn’t exist.
Danny


You and I, we make fun of stuff like this from a distance, but Piggy actually goes on the show and does this material right to Martha’s face. It’s fantastic.

myweekxmas33

Danny


And that’s it. They finish the house, and Piggy’s done.
Kynan


Aw. Why didn’t they make an hour-long Piggy special? Just Frank banging around Martha’s house making jokes for an hour. And Martha wandering around in the background, muttering, “Miss Piggy is speaking.”
Danny


So it’s pretty obvious what we learned about Christmas.
Kynan


Yes, enslave your friends and loved ones and put them to work decorating your house, starting around the middle of September. Can we watch Elmo now?
Danny


No, I told you. We’re saving Elmo for the end of the week.
Kynan


Oh, “we” are? No, that’s fine. I’ll just sit here and string nut garlands. You’re a bit like Martha Stewart yourself this week.
Danny


That’s a horrible thing to say.

myweekxmas34by Danny Horn and Kynan Barker

Pin It on Pinterest