Matt Grant

Miscellany

Musings on pop culture, thoughts on life, or updates on current and upcoming projects - find them all here. 

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Throwback Thursday: Muppet Babies

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I would post about a retro pop culture event. 

On this date in pop culture history, 1984: The Muppet Babies premiered on CBS! That's right, on September 15, 1984, lil' baby Kermit rode his tricycle across the animated floor of the nursery and sang,

"When your room looks kind of weird, and you wish that you weren't there, just close your eyes and make believe and you can be anywhere..."

On paper, Muppet Babies was a concept that should not have worked. The idea for the series first came from The Muppets Take Manhattan, where, during a dream sequence in which Miss Piggy fantasizes about what it would be like if she and Kermit grew up together. Muppets Take Manhattan is number four or five on my Muppet Ranking, mostly because of said sequence, which is not only jarring but also kind of weird. But apparently the idea was so popular that the Jim Henson company decided to turn it into a 30-minute kids show. The only adult character was a woman called "Nanny" whose face we never saw, but who dressed like the Wicked Witch of the West. Why a human being is watching over a room full of talking baby animals is anyone's guess. 

But aside from the weirdness of the concept, Muppet Babies was awesome. I loved it growing up, because there was a lot of encouragement to use your imagination. Everything took place within the nursery, but Kermit and Co. imagined all sorts of scenarios to occupy their time. I remember that there used to be doors in the nursery and hiding behind them would always be scenes from movies like Nosferatu or Star Wars. It was a fairly high-concept show. However odd this blend of concepts seemed, it worked. The show ran for six years, and another year in syndication after that. 

Today, we salute you Muppet Babies - an odd, but oddly delightful, idea you were indeed.