Cynthia Kinnunen blogs about sharing stuff from your childhood with your kids
Ah, the Muppets. They’re good people. I mean, puppets. This motley crew of characters (and I’m now referring to Jim Henson and his gang) somehow mastered the art of children’s entertainment but with another layer of almost vaudevillian adult humour that didn’t find itself rooted (too much) in lame pop culture references and crude commentary. Except maybe Statler and Waldorf.
Nope, this stuff was smart. And funny. And silly. Boy, did I think they were cool, especially with all of those brilliant guest stars like Harvey Korman, Vincent Price or Alice Cooper. Not sure I’d have even known the words to “The Banana Boat Song” without those Muppets in my life.
Our family certainly embraced the humour and hilarity of The Muppet Show, that wacky variety show for the young and young at heart. Halloween circa 1978 even saw my Uncle Jim, who is a drummer, dress himself up as Animal. Pretty impressive costume-making, I think. I actually believe that my aunts and uncles secretly wished they were Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem during band practices.
The Muppet Show was essential television for many members of our family. It still is. In addition to owning a few seasons of the show on DVD that often get pulled out in the van (and, boy, do I love hearing the belly laughs from the back seat!), we often get requests for video clips from the Internet. Five-year-old Max frequently asks for the Swedish chef at mealtimes and has also taken to using the phrase “wakka wakka” in general conversation. Our 8-year-old daughter, Suvi, loves the opening of the shows when who knows what ridiculous thing is going to happen to Gonzo’s trumpet.
Of course, our 3-year-old, Finnegan, thinks the Muppet Labs sketches, featuring Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, are of the highest standards in comedic expression, as do I. And I mean, really, isn’t John Hodgman (of the Mac/PC commercials and Daily Show fame) just the human equivalent of Dr. Honeydew? Seriously. It’s almost creepy.
I’ve said it before, but there’s something about reviving some of the classic (and a few even less-than-classic) shows from our youth that helps me not feel completely freaked out by today’s television entertainment for children. It’s even better when I know at any given moment, I can say “mahna mahna” and all three kids chime in with “doo doo doo doo doo!” I love my kids.
Cynthia Kinnunen is a mom of three wonderfully quirky little people who love music, old and new-school adventures and acting as silly as possible at all times. She’s also a freelance writer who blogs for fun at Crumbs in the Minivan and Maple Mixtape.