I wouldn’t say I “hate” the Muppets, since “hate” would imply a level of giving-a-shit about them that really isn’t in me. I just don’t care about them—I don’t want to watch YouTube clips of them, I don’t really want to see that new movie coming out tomorrow, and if they were picked to host the Oscars, it would have made absolutely no difference to me, since I wouldn’t watch the Muppets or the Oscars together, or separately, or in any combination.
In a perfect world, not liking the Muppets would be like not liking pickles—my choice to not watch 30-year-old YouTube clips of puppets making puns would be value-neutral. But liking the Muppets, among people my age, is a requirement. The Muppets are like Harry Potter or the Simpsons or Radiohead. If you say you don’t like them you have to explain yourself before a room of people who often react to your opinion like you just said you keep a bunch of puppy organs in a bloody sack in your closet. They’ll want to know why I don’t like the Muppets, or they’ll insist that I haven’t seen the right episodes or something and want to indoctrinate me into their weird little puppet-loving cult, to which I say: Fuck you. The Muppets aren’t green eggs and ham and I’m not that guy who kept refusing them for no reason, and Sam-I-Am was an annoying little cocksucker anyway.
I’ve seen some of The Muppet Show. I watched a lot of Seasame Street when I was a kid (and loved it—when I was a kid), and I’ve seen various Muppet-related commercials and video clips (like Kermit singing LCD Soundsystem) over the years because you can’t avoid that shit. So it’s not like I don’t know who the Muppets are. I just don’t find any of their shtick amusing. The pig wants to fuck the frog, or something? The chef speaks gibberish? The bear has a nonsense catchphrase? They sing, a lot? A bunch of them are mentally handicapped, I guess? Whatever. None of that makes me keel over with laughter, sorry if that stuff is the squishy centerpiece of your childhood memories. I mean, I really am sorry.
Now, I’m not some hipper-than-thou tightass who watches a lot of French films and drones on about the no wave “scene” at every opportunity, nor am I a post-ironic folky weirdo who has the same taste in everything as his grandparents. I like TV and I like comedy and I like to watch comedy on TV. I’ve spent a non-trivial amount of time going through Dick Van Dyke Show episodes on Hulu, and I have the first season of fucking Night Court on DVD. So it’s not like I’m conditioned to “not get” the Muppets or something. Maybe my dislike just stems from my not having watched Muppet Show reruns or Fraggle Rock as a kid because I didn’t have cable, thus I don’t have a Kermit-shaped nostalgia node lodged in my brain.
On the other hand, c’mon, The Muppet Show was a fucking variety show starring fucking puppets, and a lot of the humor came from “HAHA look how funny the funny puppets look and also they walk funny HAHA!” (At least that’s what I got from it. I haven’t watched the show end-to-end or anything, because I don’t like watching stuff I don’t like.) Jim Henson was a great puppeteer, fine, whatever, he was like John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich, he could bring a woman to orgasm using only Kermit’s cloth flippers, I know, just—shut up about the fucking Muppets, OK? Just because some executives decided to cash in on your memories and make a Muppet movie doesn’t mean your childhood dreams are coming true. Calm down, everybody, and don’t drag me along on your nostalgia trip.
For the other point in this pointless debate, click here.