In Their Own League Advent Calendar: 24. The Muppets Christmas Carol

By Joan Amenn

There are few stories so inextricably linked to the holidays than Charles Dickens’ tale of one man’s redemption of his many faults just in time to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. That it was a ghost story and genuinely creepy in some chapters didn’t disturb the Victorians a bit. Dickens developed a one man show of reading his “Carol” aloud to rapt audiences and respectable profit. Countless productions have been presented over the years since it was first printed in 1843 but none quite so unique as “The Muppets Christmas Carol” (1992). When you have a frog and a pig playing Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit with frog and pig offspring (best not to think too deeply on that) as well as a bear playing the always endearing Old Fezziwig (Fozziwig?) you can only be watching the Muppets in action. Or, you might have let grandpa spike the eggnog a bit too much. Regardless, Michael Caine is a splendid Scrooge and doesn’t for a moment let on that he is surrounded by various bits of foam, cloth, and faux fur. His straight playing balances the zaniness of having a rat and a whatever narrate the story (as everyone knows, Gonzo self-identifies with ambiguity.) Brian Henson does justice to the memory of his late father in his wonderful directing and Paul Williams wrote the score worth humming along to. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the Muppets so don’t be a Scrooge and join the fun.

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