My Favorite Muppet

allmups

Some readers of this article may be disappointed. There is no mention of Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, the Cookie monster, or Elmo. The characters in The Muppet Show and films are not the same that can be seen on Sesame Street. I think children know this, but adults may not. But although some characters will be absent from this article, they will be in our hearts forever.

I’ve seen the Muppets TV shows, films, and heard Animal sing a duet with John Denver on a Christmas album. Their selection was: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I’ve liked everything I’ve seen. I began to wonder: Who is my favorite Muppet? I limited myself to the “regulars” –characters playing a major role in every production. (I might have to do an article on My Favorite Supporting Muppet. Animal? Or Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, with Animal as drummer. Hmmm.)

kmp

Kermit and Miss Piggy. It’s almost impossible to evaluate these characters separately. Not since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has a Hollywood couple had such an on-and-off relationship. But I’ll try.

Kermit is a leader, sometimes by choice, sometimes by default. I don’t think he takes to the role naturally. He reminds me of Tom Hanks’ character in the film: “Saving Private Ryan.” He’s the man for the job –and he does it well. He is a leader when necessary, but he does not need to always fill that role. He’s respected by (almost) everyone.

Miss Piggy is a Diva. Everyone knows it, except her. In her mind, all she wants is her fair share of, well, whatever she wants. She plays her part with energy and effort. She hopes it will bring her the praise, respect, and rewards she wants and (in her mind) deserves. Even if her performance doesn’t get her what she wants, she continues to play the role she likes and needs. Most people go along with her because they sense the loneliness beneath her bravado. It’s why they don’t dislike her charade.

fozzie

Fozzie begins every day believing his jokes will make people laugh. He is a frustrated, well-intentioned stand-up comic. His jokes may flop or Statler and Waldorf will verbally abuse him from the balcony. He may feel poorly at the end of a day, but the morning will bring a new dawn and he will make another effort. He and Miss Piggy are more alike than they know.

rowlfp

And, then, there is Rowlf. I pronounce his name Rolf. Others say Ralph. Say his name as you wish. He will ALWAYS be Rowlf. He is the Muppet having the most fun, being the most positive, at ease. Best of all, I don’t think it’s an act. He plays the piano well and with great enthusiasm, his large ears flying and flapping, his mouth wide open in song or joy. Every time I see him, I smile. He makes my day. So: guess who my favorite Muppet is.

rowlfic

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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