Part OnePart TwoPart Three

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Danny


Are you ready? Cause the little Kermit that lives inside my TV set is getting impatient.
Kynan


Wait, before we start, I want to do my Child’s Christmas in Australia routine.
Danny


Fair enough. The floor is yours.
Kynan


I was thirteen when The Muppet Christmas Carol came out — an adolescent Muppet fan, and therefore the most popular boy in school. This was the first Muppet movie I saw in a theater (or, as we call them in Australia, “cinematoriums”). Way back in the early nineties, we only had the horse-drawn internet, so I hadn’t seen any promotional stuff, making-of specials, TV Guide sneak-peeks, nothing. The only reason I knew the film existed at all was because of my finely-tuned Muppet senses — or maybe a spirit visited me in the night, I can’t remember. So my fanspectations were cranked up to eleven.
Danny


Yeah, this one was special for me too. I’d just started publishing MuppetZine a few months before Christmas Carol came out, so this was my first major assignment as a Muppet journalist. I sat in the theater and took notes.
Kynan


Did you get weird looks?
Danny


Well, there weren’t that many people in the theater. Anyway, Kermit is getting really steamed now. We’d better start.

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Kynan


This was the first time I’d heard that Richard Hunt had passed away. So reading that caption was like, “Hey, Muppet fans, Merry Christmas! By the way, all your friends are dead.” That put a damper on things.
Danny


I like the “starring Kermit the Frog” credits. Say what you like about the whole adaptation concept, that tugs on the heart.

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Danny


Pan through the tiny toybox London. This must be the London that Emmet Otter visited in his student exchange program.
Kynan


I like that moment when it looks like there’s only humans in the movie, and then it pans past that little Inkspot guy eating, and it pans down, and then suddenly there are Muppets all over the place. It’s a superabundance of Muppets. That’s a good feel.

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Danny


Hey, why are Gonzo and Rizzo selling apples at the beginning of the movie here?
Kynan


It’s 19th century product placement.
Danny


Then they start telling the story, and they just forget all about the apple stand. That’s a plot hole right there.
Kynan


Disney should make a direct-to-video sequel. Muppet Christmas Carol 2: The Apple Stand Adventure.

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Danny


Starring Ebenezer Scrooge as Darth Vader. He even has the Imperial march music behind him.
Kynan


Just as well, because Michael Caine? Not the scariest guy in the universe.
Danny


I remember reading interviews at the time where they were all saying, oh, we’re so lucky to get Michael Caine. And I was like, oh, yeah, how’d you manage that. He was in three movies that year.
Kynan


Back then you had to have a special deal with the studio NOT to have Michael Caine in your movie. He would just turn up on sets.
It paints you with indifference, like a woman paints with rouge.
Danny


Y’know, I like this song, but that’s not one of your better metaphors. There must have been a better rhyme for Scrooge available. Huge? Stooge? Baba ganoush?
Kynan


“His heart’s as sheer and cold as ice, the kind on which you luge.”

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Scrooge: “Bob Cratchit?”
Kermit: “Yes, Mr Scrooge?”
Kynan


That’s a nice reveal. It’s a shame that Kermit can’t be the star of the movie, but at least he pokes his head in fairly early.
Scrooge: “Let us deal with the eviction notices for tomorrow, Mr Cratchit.”
Kermit: “My, there are certainly a lot today.”
Danny


Yeah, you can say that again. They must be evicting everyone in London.

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Kermit: “If you please, Mr Scrooge, it’s gotten colder. And the book-keeping staff would like to have an extra shovelful of coal for the fire?”
Kynan


I want to go on the record here and say that I have loved Steve’s Kermit from the very first moment. That “If you please” line just wrapped its arms around my fanboy heart and said, “It’s gonna be okay.”
Danny


Yeah, it takes a little bit of the sting out of that “In loving memory” credit that the recasts are so good.
Scrooge: “How would the book-keepers like to be suddenly UNEMPLOYED!”
Danny


Can I make an Enron joke, or is Enron over? I can never remember what’s over.

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Scrooge: “Merry Christmas, you say. What right have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.”
Fred: “What right have you to be dismal? You’re rich enough.”
Rizzo: “He’s got him there. The old boy’s speechless!”
Danny


Hey, Gonzo and Rizzo are doing a commentary. They’re us! We’ve never had competitive commentaries before.
Kynan


It’s not a competition, we’re working together. Between the four of us, we can finish this early, and then go out for apples.

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Kynan


Hey, Fred stands up for Christmas. He’s the Rosa Parks of Christmas.
Fred: “Christmas is a loving, honest and charitable time. And though it’s never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that Christmas has done me good, and will do me good, and I say, God bless it!”
Rats: “Yeah! Hear, hear! Wooo!”
Scrooge: “And how does one celebrate Christmas on the UNEMPLOYMENT line!”
Danny


Whoa, it’s a callback. That must be Scrooge’s catchphrase, like Donald Trump and “You’re fired.” I bet in 1843, the hot novelty t-shirt was “How would the book-keepers like to be suddenly UNEMPLOYED!”
Kynan


It’s long for a catchphrase, but people had more time back then to read t-shirts.
Scrooge: “My taxes go to pay for the prisons, and the poorhouses. The homeless must go there.”
Bunsen: “But some would rather die!”
Scrooge: “If they’d rather die, then they’d better do it, and decrease the surplus population!”
Danny


Well, that’s nice, isn’t it? This must be the only kids’ movie to begin with the main character wanting to kill poor people.
Kynan


Except for The Love Bug. There’s a ten minute sequence where Dean Jones drives Herbie round Santa Monica and runs over homeless kids.
Danny


I never trusted that guy.

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Danny


Bean gets beaned… That’s good stuff, right there. Bean is the star of the movie for me.

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Danny


This was Steve’s first real part as Kermit, and you can see him showing off when he’s talking to Scrooge here. He’s got the head corregation.
Kynan


Months after this, I saw a tape of Kermit and Piggy doing a satellite interview with Clive James, and Steve spontaneously had Kermit whistle. I’d never seen Kermit whistle before. I was like, way to scrunch, Steve.
Danny


He’s excellent. We’re luckier than we deserve.

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Kermit: “The promise of excitement is one the night will keep… After all, there’s only one more sleep till Christmas!”
Danny


Look how hard they have to work to distract us from this otherwise static song. Rats flipping around, skating penguins. None of it has anything to do with Christmas or the song, which is all to the good.
Kynan


I love it. This is the quintessential Kermit Christmas song. The rat choreography is intense — this is Brian showing off his mad directorial skillz, and he brings it. I think this scene is better than the kitchen-scat sequence in Muppets Take Manhattan, if only because there’s an actual song in this one.

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Danny


Man, they obviously had money to spend on this. Look at all these penguins, and every one has their own little costume.
Kynan


They all have stunt doubles, too. And now Tonya Harding Penguin hits Nancy Kerrigan Penguin in the knee.
Danny


Look, they’re still trying to take our minds off the song. The rats are talking over the whole last verse. They must hate this song.

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Danny


Oh my gosh, little Bean is shivering! That’s not right. This whole movie should be about Bean.
Kynan


Muppet Christmas Carol 3: Rabbit Season.
Danny


And so ends the funny part of the movie, apparently.

Screen shot 2011-08-05 at 11.52.56 AMby Danny Horn and Kynan Barker

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