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‘A Muppet Family Christmas’ remains the best Muppet TV Special

What’s it about?

A Muppet Family Christmas first aired on ABC on December 16, 1987. In this warm Yuletide, one-hour Christmas special, Fozzie Bear surprises his mother Emily on Christmas Eve by bringing along the entire Muppet gang (including the cast of both Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock), to celebrate the holidays. With a blizzard brewing outside, Fozzie’s childhood home becomes the backdrop for a medley of holiday tunes, as Doc and his dog Sprocket pair up with the Muppets in their Christmas Eve activities and preparations. Everyone is present and in full holiday cheer except Miss Piggy, who gets delayed at the airport.

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Review:

While many may turn to The Muppet Christmas Carol this time of year, A Muppet Family Christmas is without a doubt the very best of the lot, an entertainment romp from start to finish. This is also one of the very few Muppet productions to feature Muppets associated with all four of the major Muppet franchises: The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies (who are seen as actual puppets here instead of cartoon counterparts). This special also features an onscreen guest cameo by the one and only, Muppet creator, Jim Henson. For all of these reasons and more, Muppets Family Christmas is essential viewing for any true fan of the franchise.

Despite an overcrowded crossover, everything works due to the hilarious sketches, perhaps the most memorable between the Christmas Turkey, the Swedish Chef and Big Bird (no spoilers here). Common themes such as friendship and family are covered, but the highlights all come from the song and dance numbers which include Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem’s performance of “Jingle Bell Rock”, Fozzie and a Snowman’s “Sleigh Ride,” – and a calypso melody, “Pass It On,” sung by Kermit, his nephew Robin and the Fraggles. Other highlights include The Muppets watching a home movie of their first Christmas together as babies, and a spectacular arrival by Miss Piggy.

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What makes this perhaps the best of all the Muppet specials, is the lack of human cameos. Apart from Fraggle Rock’s Doc and Jim Henson, the Muppets are front and center. All of our old favourites are here, from Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy to the grumpy old men, Statler and Waldorf, along with Bert and Ernie, Oscar The Grouch and more. This hilarious, clever, original, charming, heartfelt, short-and-sweet, tuneful holiday reunion, is the best Muppet Christmas special, to date.

– Ricky D

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How Christmassy is it?

This special is like Christmas overload. Your heart will melt.

You May Like It If…

Everyone and anyone with a heart will not like this special, they will love it.

Other observations:

According to Wikipedia:

Because of the music rights being secured only for television, recent video releases of the special (at least on NTSC releases in the United States and Canada) leave out two musical numbers and at least four other scenes (see the alternate versions section of the Internet Movie Database link below for details, or an even more extensive list on Muppet Wiki found below as well). The exclusions have little effect on the plot, but many fans miss the material, and several of the edits are noticeably abrupt. However, PAL releases in countries like the United Kingdom and Germany keep almost every scene and musical number intact, mostly because US copyright laws do not apply in those countries. Also, a source in Canada is selling a two disc DVD that has both the 2001 broadcast of the special and the original 1987 special.

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Written By

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and Tilt Magazine. Host of the Sordid Cinema Podcast and NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as Sound On Sight. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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