The world is full of ugliness. People hating and hurting one another. Politicians selling our financial security and civil liberties to corporations. People crushing people to buy cheap TVs. Cops pepper spraying innocent peaceful protesters. Couples being denied the right to marry. Justin Bieber.
And then there’s the Muppets.
For 98 minutes, we were transported to a world filled with singing, dancing, rainbows and jokes. A world filled with family, friendship, love and nostalgia. A simpler world where the characters embrace their own cheesiness while laughing at themselves in a fun-not-insulting way and poo-pooing how dark the world has become.
In a nut shell, it was a big basket of childish warm fuzzies. And I loved it. Every minute of it.
Perhaps I loved it because I grew up watching and loving the Muppets. Perhaps it’s because “Rainbow Connection” is still one of my all time favorite songs. Perhaps it’s because I am still a child at heart and love show tunes and spontaneous group synchronized dance routines and talking puppets.
But I think it’s more than that. We are exposed to the uglier, darker side of the world and humanity more and more every day. Violence and horror are the entertainment of choice and reality shows profit off of the shallowest examples of humanity. Churches have become full-time pulpits for preaching hate and more people are struggling every day to keep their homes, feed their children and afford the most basic health care. I know I am growing more cynical and pessimistic as I get older, no matter how hard I fight it. My belief in unconditional friendships, family and love have been shaken. My hope for a better future grows weak, and my patience for things to get better and brighter wears thin. I just don’t see a lot of good in this world or people these days and I am rarely inspired by anyone or anything. The Muppet movie is a symbol of defiance against all that. It showers us with happy smilely hugginess, bombarding us with non-stop good ideas, good thoughts, good actions and good characters. It is an escape into a childs world of imagination and silliness but, more important, also a world of innocence, friendship and love.
There are countless good messages throughout the film: Believe in others but also believe in yourself. Don’t let go of important people in your life. Mattering to one person is all that it takes to matter. Trying is as important, if not more, than succeeding. Just because you don’t fit in where you are now, doesn’t mean you won’t fit in somewhere at some point.
These are all awesome ideas. And they’re all presented by colorful, silly, fuzzy animated fabric friends who remind us that goodness and happiness and love and fun are still wonderful qualities to embrace and exude.
So get a friend, grab a loved one or treat yourself to this movie. You may think it’s hokie, silly and juvenile, but before it’s over, it’s going to make you smile. I guarantee it. And with the world the way it is today, being able to smile, even for a moment, is pretty damn awesome.