I fully expected to despise 2013’s Lady Gaga and the Muppet’s Holiday Special so much that I did not watch it when it aired on Thanksgiving night on ABC. When it popped up on Netflix, I complained loudly and heartily to anyone that would listen to my rants. Of all the timeless, classic Muppet movies and specials that could have been made available for streaming and whoever “they” are had picked this?! Regardless, I added it to my queue and started the show. I was pleasantly surprised! I am not sure why exactly I thought it would not work. I love the Muppets, Lady Gaga, and pretty much all of the guest stars. I just had an ominous feeling. Perhaps I am still jaded from Muppets from Space or even worse, Studio DC: Almost Live. A show with Miss Piggy, RuPaul, and Sir Elton John is pretty hard to mess up! Having watched classic Muppet variety show specials, it was a new and scary territory, but I really enjoyed it. Lady Gaga performed songs that were mostly from her latest (at the time of airing) album ARTPOP. In between these songs were skits with the Muppets either performing Christmas songs or schmoozing with Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is an exquisite entertainer. She is almost as famous for her outlandish costume antics as she is for her singing, but she has great chops and can really sing. As I watched her perform, I easily saw her channeling the greats like David Bowie, Cher, Madonna, Elton John, and Cyndi Lauper. Many Muppet fans have completely ripped this special apart and I did not tune in with an open mind by any means. This special is sort of like fast food. It tastes good and satisfies a somewhat embarrassing craving, but it is not memorable. It really did not add anything. It was just a kind of fun television special that was on for about an hour and then it was over. Henson would have been pleased overall with the special, but he may have insisted on a little bit more sentimentality from the Muppets. He would have appreciated Lady Gaga’s avant garde style. In fact, she would have been a great consultant or addition to the making of Henson’s The Cube. Gaga is proving to be quite a friend of the Muppets; well except for maybe Miss Piggy. She took Kermit the Frog as her date to the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and makes a cameo appearance in 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted during “We’re Doing a Sequel.” Her colorful and unique style matches well with the colorful abstract design of the Muppets. I really wish the Muppets would have been included in Gaga’s duet with Sir Elton John. It would have been a nice reunion since he was a wonderful guest star on episode 214 of The Muppet Show and his duet on this special was a bit boring. The Muppets do pop up and dance during the end of the song, but some banter between them and Sir Elton would have been more fun. If anything, they seem to be awkwardly superimposed in front of Sir Elton and Lady Gaga. There was no chemistry between the two. It felt like two stiff colleagues making an appearance together instead of enjoying performing. Most of the Christmas songs were saved for the Muppets. Miss Piggy does a great version of “Santa Baby” although her backup singers try to steal the show. Gonzo, The Electric Mayhem Band, Kermit, and Rizzo talk about their favorite holiday memories and odd gifts they have received, but Animal, Beaker, and Swedish Chef deliver some great versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.” These little blips of Muppets singing Christmas songs are too few and short. They leave me wanting more. Of course, no variety show featuring the Muppets would be complete without Scooter keeping everything running as stage manager or Waldorf and Statler heckling from their perch in a balcony. During the finale, keep an eye out for two Frackles in the back row of the Muppet characters. These Muppet throwbacks brought with them a sense of familiarity and nostalgia that added a polish to the special. The only part that did not seem to work was a duet between Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” There was too large of a deficit musically between the two. The performance harkened the style and elegance of the musicals of the 1960s, but Gordon-Levitt could not pull off his half of the performance. Although he possesses the charisma and looks of a dapper leading man, his singing was fair (at best) and the choreography left him out of breath, further weakening his average singing voice. I just really could not wait for the song to be over. The show is just fun. Due to Gaga’s barely covering costumes and at times suggestive lyrics, parents may want to watch this one with or before the kiddos tune in. It ain’t Shakespeare, but it is worth a look. I give this one 2.5 out of 5 rubber chickens! Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.