‘The Muppet Movie’ (1979) is a Found Family Classic – Retro Review

Have you ever watched the original Muppet Movie from 1979? If not, I’ve got to say, you’re missing out. And so was I for the past 26 years of my life. Find me a more wholesome movie, I dare you.

This movie has everything: sing-along worthy songs, Fozzie Bear stand-up, Miss Piggy kinda saying ACAB, and enough love to go around. The movie opens with all of the Muppets sitting in a movie theater, ready to watch their own first full-length feature film. This is all meta, as we see in the various scenes when they pull out and reference the screenplay, which I’ve got to say is advanced for a children’s movie. The crowd is going wild, each showing off their distinct brand of humor as the camera pans over them, reminding us what we all love about the Muppets in the first place. Every group of characters has a signature method of joke telling and having this montage really got me teary-eyed and excited to watch them, in love with their own work.

Kermit stands in front of the screen, thanking everyone involved in the production of the film, despite everyone’s attempts at shutting him up so they can start the film, he sticks to his special Kermie ways and continues with his speech. This would not be a Kermit moment unless he was going out of his way to make someone else feel the love around them.

Everyone is super excited because it is, after all, their dream to become rich and famous Hollywood stars. Which is what they deserve to be honest. Right before their movie begins, Robin the small frog, aka Kermit’s nephew asks if this is REALLY the story about how The Muppets came together. Kermit replies that this is approximately how it happened, which is enough to let the viewers at home know what the purpose of the film is: the origin of their found family.

Their screening beginnings, zooming in on Kermit playing his little banjo in a forest playing everyone’s favorite heart-warming number, “Rainbow Connection.” Kermit is a wholesome little frog and he is here to bring us joy with his star power. He is using his platform for good, as they say nowadays. I kinda get the rainbow metaphor now as an adult. All of the colors of the rainbow come together to form one beautiful miracle, just as all of the Muppet characters come together to form their supportive and loving family!

While singing his song, a talent agent conveniently finds him in his swamp and encourages him to make the journey to Hollywood in response to an ad looking for frogs to become rich and famous. The agent, Bernie, convinces Kermit by telling him that if he makes it into the business, he could make other people happy. This is obviously enticing to him, as this is Kermit’s favorite activity. 

On his way into Hollywood, he is stopped by Doc Hopper, a businessman who owns a chain of frog-leg restaurants who wants Kermit to be his spokesperson. Doc is so fed up when Kermit refuses that he spends the rest of the film tracking him down and trying to kill him. As Kermit continues on his road trip, he meets the rest of the Muppets along the way, each one in their own environment trying to break into the movie business. He happily welcomes everyone from their individual endeavors to join him on his journey to stardom. 

Once everyone is loaded into the car, Kermit continues to be chased by Doc and his gang of frog killers. Kermit finally agrees to have a standoff with Doc–Western style. 

When Kermit arrives, he approaches Doc and rather than the two sides having a shootout, Kermit explains to Doc the beauty of love and friendship that he has gained along the way. What really made his journey to Hollywood worth it was the family that he built that now gets to share the reward with him. Doc refuses this logic, but the gang sticks to it until the very end.

The Muppets head into the Hollywood office, ready for Kermit’s audition, which he lands immediately. The movie ends with the group creating their first set to film the opening scene, busting open the roof, and finding the other end of the rainbow that shines through. The moral of The Muppets has always been to seek companionship, and what better way to do that than to celebrate the strengths of each individual as they work as a whole to tell their story. 

The Muppet Movie gave me all the warm and fuzzy feelings that I’ve been needing lately and I urge you all to do yourself a favor and give it a go. You’ll find the rainbow connection for sure.

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