So last night I had the extreme pleasure of getting to watch the new Muppets movie with my family. For those of you who were in any way connected to what used to be a weekly schedule set aside for a frog, a pig, a bear and a gonzo you need to go out and rent this movie now. For any of the rest of you, you need to go and rent this movie now. The reason I say this is only because this movie awakened in me a magic that wasn’t necessarily dormant, but all the same needed refreshing. What is entertainment really all about? Why don’t we find things like The Muppet show and the magic and imagination of childhood captivating?
In one of the pivotal moments in the movie Kermit is singing a song about a possible reunion (this isn’t a spoiler for anyone who has ever seen a Muppets movie) and he sings the following, “Would anybody watch or even care? Or did something break we cant repair?” And I feel like he is asking a question we all need to ask ourselves. When did entertainment become so bent on shock and sensationalism that we can’t find delight in great stories about childhood, compassion and care? Did our taste really grow up or just become more base? The beauty of things like the Muppet show is that even though they had us laughing at puppets they also had us thinking about becoming greater. With songs like “Can’t take no for an answer”, “Together Again” and “Rainbow Connection”, they always had us dreaming for bigger and greater things without forgetting those around us who make us great.
But now look at us. We are entertained by sensationalism that doesn’t involve anything of substance. People who humiliate themselves in the tabloids and on YouTube have become our excuse for entertainment. When did shock humor become our standard? I think instead about the words of Paul to the Philippians church, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” – Philippians 4:8. Are the things we are choosing to “entertain” ourselves with worth praise? Is the stuff we call entertainment pure, lovely, right or noble?
I think all to often the loss of childhood involves a loss of innocence that we think justifies “mature” choices in what we allow into our thoughts, vision and hands…but is this really more mature? Or are we really giving into more base desires that in no way validate who we should be striving to be like i.e. Jesus. I for one think that God took great joy in the gift that Jim Henson gave the world in the Muppets. All of a sudden adults and children were laughing as a family at the Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppet-ational show ever to grace the television air waves…and that can’t be that bad.