Happy Birthday Jim Henson! In honor of what would have been his 76th birthday, we present two posts on the subject of Muppets…

Humor in America

Tracy Wuster

Over the past few weeks, I had several discussions with friends and acquaintances about the upcoming Muppet movie.  People were excited.  I discovered that people my age grew up with the Muppets–first with Sesame Street and then the Muppet Show, with some Fraggles thrown in.  My earliest movie-going memory is seeing a Muppet movie, probably “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984), with my dad and brother.  I may remember it because my dad snored through the previews, movie, and credits–despite my brother nudging him constantly.*

But the Muppets are lodged in my memory for more than my dad’s critical response to the film, of which Statler and Waldorf would no doubt have approved.  My sense of humor was shaped by the show and movies in ways that are hard to define–a mixture of bizarre (Gonzo and his chickens), cornball (Fozzie), counterculture (Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem), anarchic (Animal…

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