A Muppet Family Christmas
December 12, 2017
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. We're all aware of The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine, as seen in this clip...
(Cut to footage of Sir Michael in a acting class)
Caine: What I often see, in television or cinema, (he is seen addressing the newly-shot Kermit the Frog) is people who are looking at someone else and they change eyes. Just I'm changing eyes. (blinks eyes) And I'm blinking.
Kermit (Doug): Yes, I see. It's very realistic.
Caine: They are two of the worst things to do. You never change eyes, you pick an eye. Now, which eye do you pick?
Kermit: I guess I go with–
Caine: I look with this eye, (blinks eyes) and if I keep blinking, it weakens me. And I just keep going. And I don't blink. And I keep on going. And I don't blink. You start to listen.
Kermit: Well, I'm listening because I'm wondering why you're not blinking. I wish I could blink. By your definition, I should be the greatest actor in the world!
Caine: As opposed to someone who is sitting there going... (blinks his eyes repeatedly)
Kermit: Who even blinks like that? You'd have to concentrate to blink like that. (looks toward camera) Merry Christmas.
(Back to the NC)
NC: Though it's fine for what it is, it is a shame that not a lot of people are aware of the Muppet Family Christmas special.
(Clips of this special are shown)
NC (vo): Airing on TV in 1987, this special was released on VHS, but sadly, never on DVD or Blu-Ray. Part of the reason may be that it's the biggest gathering of all the Jim Henson characters, with the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, even the Muppet Babies make it in there somehow! But sadly, with copyrights being bought and sold among the properties, they never came together to sort out a digital release.
NC: And I'm here to ask: should they?
NC (vo): Is this something we deserve to see past YouTube and busted VCRs? If everyone came together to push (a shot of the Muppets Warburtons commercial is shown) crumpets and (a shot of Kermit drinking Lipton tea is shown) tea, why can't everyone come together for this?
NC: Well, I'm gonna quickly look over this holiday special to see if it's worth it. This is The Muppet Family Christmas.
(The opening is shown, showing the Muppets (that is, Kermit's personal crew) driving a pickup truck (Fozzie Bear is at the wheel) through snow, at a relatively fast clip)
NC (vo): It starts off with the gang singing the only Christmas song legally allowed to be played as a polka. (which is...)
Muppets: (singing) Yes, we need a little Christmas, / Right this very minute. / It hasn't snowed a single flurry. / Fozzie, we're all in a hurry...
NC: Actually, it's snowing many a flurry, and you should be driving slower.
NC (vo): It looks like they're driving up to give Fozzie's mother a surprise Christmas visit. Which is a shame, because she apparently had other plans.
(Ma Bear is shown wearing a panama hat and sunglasses)
Ma Bear: Christmas in Malibu! Ah, I'm going to lie on the beach and catch some rays! Wocka Wocka!
NC: Okay, is "Wocka Wocka" to bears what "Shalom" is to Jewish people?
(Someone knocks on the door. Ma Bear opens it, and it's Doc (Gerry Parkes) with his dog Sprocket)
NC (vo): It looks like Doc, the owner of the house the Fraggles live in, is renting the house while Fozzie's mom is out.
Doc: Are you my landlady? (Sprocket howls) No, Sprocket, I did not know I was renting from a bear.
NC: Whoa! Did a bear kill your family?! (thinks for a moment) Actually, it's totally possible. But still, whoa!
(Ma Bear hears another knock on the door)
Ma Bear: Now, who could that be?
(Behind the door is...Fozzie)
Ma Bear: Son!
Ma Bear and Fozzie: Ooooaaaahh!
NC: Anyone getting a feeling this is an older version...
NC (vo): ...of Linda from Bob's Burgers? (The clip of Linda Belcher from that show is played briefly)
Ma Bear: California in three hours! Ho-ho!
Linda Belcher: (from an episode Bad Tina, dubbed over Ma Bear) Mommy doesn't get drunk. She just has fun.
(The other Muppets go inside the house)
NC (vo): But Fozzie brings the Merry Men, much to his mom's surprise.
(Sprocket growls angrily)
Doc: Be careful, Sprocket! These could be from some foreign planet.
Ma Bear: Actually, they're from television.
NC: Oooh! Hide your generals! I read the news!
Ma Bear: Plenty of room for everybody.
Doc: (trying not to lose his composure) Excuse me. You promised me a nice, quiet Christmas.
Ma Bear: You're disappointed? I just took three months of surfing lessons for zip.
NC (vo): Okay, she's taking all of this much better than she should be.
NC: (arms crossed) I would sell half of them to Lamb Chop's Sing-Along!
(Cut to Miss Piggy at her photo session, calling Kermit and informing him and everyone else she'll come later)
NC (vo): But Miss Piggy calls and says she'll be showing up late.
Miss Piggy: Teensy-weensy photo session I just scheduled.
Photographer: (offscreen) Okay, now give me more over the shoulder, honey. (Miss Piggy makes a pose) Hold it.
NC: This photographer says he wants these for his personal collection. (smiles nervously)
NC (vo): I'm not even kidding. Listen to this guy!
Photographer: (offscreen) Oh, yeah, couldn't be nicer. (takes a photo) Oh, beautiful! (takes another one) Oh, oh, oh, now do that pouty thing.
Miss Piggy: (comes closer to the camera) Oh, yes.
Photographer: (offscreen) That pouty thing... Ohhhh, oh! (takes multiple photos)
NC: (as the photographer, pretending to be holding a camera) Don't judge me! We're all animals! (turns to his right and continues taking photos eagerly)
(Back to Ma Bear's farmhouse, the Swedish Chef shows up with his kitchenware)
NC (vo): And even more quirky characters seem to keep popping up.
Fozzie: Swedish Chef!
(The Chef, as always, speaks some gibberish)
NC: Wow, that's what his friends even call him? Swedish Chef?
Fozzie: Swedish Chef!
Chef: ("translated" via subtitles) It's Sven, you asshole! (slips and falls) Shit!
(Gonzo greets the arriving (and still living) turkey, who was apparently convinced by the Swedish Chef to come for a nice vacation)
NC (vo): But it looks like he invited a turkey, too, and Gonzo tries to save him from Arma-gobble-geddon.
Gonzo: Don't you realize it could be very dangerous for turkeys around here?
Turkey: Not to worry. I'm a survivor.
NC: (as the turkey, adjusts his jacket) I'll survive like all the other famous turkeys, like... (realizes in horror) Oh, my God, there aren't any... Did anyone see Free Birds? (The screenshot of the two main characters of this movie is shown) Please tell me you saw Free Birds! My life depends on it!
NC (vo): Kermit, meanwhile, has a relaxing chat with his nephew Robin.
Robin: We always come together at Christmas.
Kermit: Yeah. Life would just pass in a blur if it weren't for times like this. Hmm?
Robin: (suddenly starts singing) Jingle bells, jingle bells...
NC: You know, there was a reason you were replaced by...orange you. (Walter from the 2011 movie is shown)
(Dr. Teeth and his band The Electric Mayhem join them)
NC (vo): But the band livens things up by singing "Jingle Bell Rock".
The Electric Mayhem: (singing) Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock, / Jingle bell swing...
NC: (shaking his arms and dancing) Yeah, there's no point to it, but it'll shut up...
NC (vo): ..."Happy the Frog" stool sample!
(Outside, Fozzie finishes making a snowman. At the same time, Rowlf and Sprocket play the piano)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, Fozzie makes a snowman outside while Rowlf plays inside.
Fozzie: (singing) I feel it's lovely weather for a bear and a snowman like you.
Snowman: (suddenly coming to life and singing like Fozzie) Up here, the snow...
NC: (scared) Aaah! Kill it with literal fire!!
Fozzie: Time for Santa Claus and his eight prancing reinbear.
Snowman: That's "reindeer".
Fozzie: No. (throws around some snow) It's snow, darling! (They both laugh)
NC: ...I refer you to my last joke.
(He swipes the screen to...)
NC: Aaah! Kill it with literal fire!!
(In the house, the Chef is tricked by the turkey into believing that Sprocket is an even bigger turkey)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, the Swedish Chef tries to cook...the dog.
NC: (confused) That old Swedish stereotype?...
Doc: He is not a Christmas turkey!
Chef: (subtitled) Don't make me go Seventh Seal on your meatballs!
(Scooter stumbles upon an old home movie, so the Muppets sit down to watch it)
NC (vo): After that, they find some old home movies of their first Muppet Christmas together.
The Muppet Babies: (singing on video) Santa Claus is coming to town.
NC: Ah. The last-known footage of Skeeter before she went to join Avenue Q.
Offscreen voice (Doug): I told you we don't talk about her anymore!
NC: (nervously) Sorry.
NC (vo): Anyway, we know this isn't the earliest Muppet Christmas get-together.
NC: It goes back ages ago. Again, for the Muppet Christmas Carol.
(Back to Michael Caine's acting class)
Caine: If you're fair and you've got blonde eyelashes like I have...
Kermit: Did you just call yourself "fair"?
Caine: ...you wear mascara, because if you have blonde eyelashes, and you're in a movie, you might as well be in a radio play.
Kermit: That's, um...more of a makeup department issue, isn't it? And why does it matter if you're not gonna blink? I'm not gonna see it anyway!
(Caine is shown blinking five times)
Kermit: ...I'm afraid of you.
(Caine continues blinking while Kermit just sits there watching. We go to a commercial, but in a total silence. After coming back, we fade to the turkey flirting trying to woo Camilla the Chicken)
NC (vo): So it looks like the turkey is putting the moves on Gonzo's feathery girlfriend.
Gonzo: Bu-bu-but, Camilla's my girlfriend!
Turkey: You gotta be kiddin'. You're not even a bird!
NC: (as the turkey) Let's just say the attic matches the basement, okay?!
NC (vo): But before feathers fly, the Sesame Street gang pop by to sing carols.
(The characters from Sesame Street, including Big Bird, appear outside)
Bid Bird: (singing, but only moving his right hand) Deck the halls with boughs of holly...
Muppets: (singing) Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!
NC: (as Big Bird, singing) Not with this hand, though, it's faulty. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!
Bert and Ernie: (singing) Sing the joyous song together...
Muppets: (singing) Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la!
NC: (as Bert, pointing to his right) Bid Bird should be dead in this weather. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!
(Bert and Ernie are shown talking to Doc)
Bert: Did you know that "Doc" starts with the letter "D"?
Doc: Why, yes.
Ernie: "Yes". "Yes" starts with the letter "Y".
Ernie: And "true" starts with the letter "T". (Bert chuckles)
Doc: What is this?
Bert: Where we come from, this is small talk.
NC: (shrugs) Why'd you come back to me? That joke was perfect.
- A Muppet Family Christmas actually was released on DVD in the United States in October 2001, though it went out of print after the Jim Henson Company sold The Muppet Show franchise to Disney in 2004. Additionally, due to the full rights to the songs only being secured for television broadcasts, all of the special's home video releases in the US were missing a few scenes. (This does not apply to its video releases in the UK, though.)
- Contrary to the Critic's joke, Skeeter (Scooter's twin sister from Muppet Babies) does not actually appear in the Muppet Babies scene.