Have you ever just stopped dead in the middle of what you were doing and thought, ‘I can’t handle this anymore’?
And by ‘handle this’, I don’t just mean what you were doing at the time. I’m talking about life in general. Every bit of motivation you had simply dissipates into nothingness and you mentally flop over, all structure gone. It’s bad enough to deal with it for a couple of hours, or maybe a day or two, but I’ve found myself feeling that way for the past two weeks. I’ve become indifferent to everything I enjoy or hold dear. Even writing this is like repeatedly ramming a broken-down Volkswagen Beetle into a concrete wall that will give way to a cliff if it ever comes tumbling down.
Well I’d rather not go into my personal life, I feel like this is as good of a time as any to take a closer look at why The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and their puppeteers have almost become a type of coping mechanism for me in recent years. There are times when my primary source of insanity is the only thing that can get me out of my current funk. Allow me to bring you along on my personal journey to feeling just that little bit more optimistic about the world around me.
Whenever I find myself alone and feeling a little anxious, most likely because I’m somewhere I’ve never been before, this song is the best company I could ask for. It has that upbeat charm that could only come through a show like Fraggle Rock. I’ve never found Boober so easy to relate to as I do here. Like me, Boober knows perfectly well that he’s really struggling at that current point in time, but there’s nothing else to do but cope with it in the most productive way he knows. For Boober, it’s laundry and quality alone time. For me, it’s watching him and the rest of the Fraggle Five learn about and deal with funny situations that more often than not have a deep sense of realism to them. The song usually brings a smile back to my face when I realize that even if I happen to be facing a scary situation alone, at least I still have myself for good, personal company.
There were very few guest stars on The Muppet Show who matched up to John Cleese when it came to comedic timing and just plain attitude. That’s exactly why this Season 2 episode causes me to almost topple off my bed in laughter no matter how many times I watch it. John is one of the very few actors who can keep up with the Muppet Performers and it certainly shows in the finale. From his erratic interaction with Sweetums, to the entire cast messing with him by making sure John does in fact complete the grand finale, this is one of the great Muppet Show episodes that stays fresh with every viewing.
Sometimes all we really need is a healthy dose of utter nonsense from our favourite character. Wembley is not only my favourite Fraggle, but also my all-time favourite character from any Henson-related productions. Pretty much any material from this Fraggle would make my day, but this song earns it’s spot of honour through its ability to make me forget I’m a broke university student for a minute and a half. I love the absurdity of the lyrics and the happy-go-lucky music. I adore the way Steve Whitmire plays around with it and further establishes Wembley as the Fraggle you’d want to be around if you’re in need of some pepping up.
Jim Henson and Frank Oz were always legendary together, but there is nothing that can get my giggles going quite like this iconic sketch. The timing, the energy and the chemistry couldn’t possibly get more perfect between Kermit and Fozzie. I actually find Kermit to be quite relatable here. I know how it feels to be frustrated with a close friend to the point where I’m ready to snap. It’s one of those situations where I’ll look back on it and have a chuckle at how much I overreacted, although I think it took Kermit a while to reflect on this without steam coming out of his ears.
This event kept me grinning until the end of 2016 and I still perk up whenever I think about it. My enthusiasm has nothing to do with the songs the band played, or the great reaction the Mayhem received. Instead, it had everything to do with the painstaking time and effort that went into the appearance to make it work. The set-up was amazing and blows me away every time I go back and watch it. Nobody forced the Muppeteers to go the extra mile and perform the characters as full-bodied Muppets. It would have been much easier to merely see the characters from the waist down, but they knew that creating the illusion of walking and standing on the stage would make the appearance even more spectacular. It makes me happy because it reminds me that the people whom I constantly look to for inspiration will never cease to surprise and amaze me., no matter what they’ll get up to in the future.
Of course, we all have different tastes. These are simply the songs and moments that clear my head and help me feel just that little bit better.