A Muppet at Heart: A Childhood Fave Revisited

It’s time to play the music,
It’s time to light the lights,
It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!

When I was a kid, The Muppet Show aired at 7 p.m. Legend has it that when I heard the opening music, I would start running around the house cheering and flailing my arms in excitement. Okay, I’ll confess, not much has changed. I did the same thing last year when A Muppets Christmas aired on T.V. What can I say? The Muppets make me very, very happy.

I could barely contain my excitement when I learned that the Experience Music Project would be hosting the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World (open through August 16). The exhibit is relatively small, but chock full of Muppets memorabilia. When I saw my old friends, I went skipping around the exhibit, squealing with delight and burrowing into the giant, neon fur-covered walls (true story: my boyfriend kept hiding from me). 

There are a handful of actual Muppets on display, including Bert and Ernie, Kermit and Rowlf, the coolest, piano-playing dog ever. The Muppets are much larger than I imagined and seeing them up close really displays the incredible craftsmanship and detail. Unfortunately, they are protected by museum-grade cases which makes it awkward to hug them.

There is an extensive collection of Henson’s original sketches and storyboards, which span his entire career including Sesame Street, the Muppets, Fraggle Rock and some of his more adult fare such as the Labyrinth movie. The best part, however, is the Mudgarden Experience. There is a small stage complete with Muppet-sized drums and lots of rock ‘n roll attitude. You can choose your Muppet (modeled after local musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain) and then duck behind the stage and let your Muppet do the rocking. For anyone who’s truly a Muppet at heart (I am!) this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

It's time to put on makeup,
It's time to dress up right,
It's time to get things started on the most sensational
Inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational
This is what we call the Muppet Show!

-Posted by Deanna Duff