A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa premiered on NBC in 2008 and it was a gift I would like to return! In quality and style, it is the Christmas special equivalent to Muppets from Space. 2008 was a hard time for the Muppets. Disney had bought them only two years prior and clearly had no clue what to do with the franchise. This same year, Disney offered up the Muppets in Studio DC: Almost Live!, short television minisodes featuring the Muppets and several of Disney’s tween heartthrobs of the month. Disney obviously wanted to do something with the Muppets, but the company was not sure what or how to do it. During this transitional period, most of the original main cast of Muppet performers had either retired or moved on to different projects, leaving behind veterans like Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz to flounder for direction among new-ish newbies like Bill Barretta, Eric Jacobson, David Rudman, and Matt Vogel, a group who proved themselves more than capable of taking the Muppet helm with A Very, Merry Muppet Christmas earlier. At this time, the focus of Muppet movies was still centered on Gonzo, but Pepe seemed to be taking over the second fiddle position that had previously been held by Rizzo in The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppets from Space, Muppet Treasure Island, and Muppet Classic Theater. The Muppets head to the post office to mail a few gifts, Christmas cards, and last minute letters to Santa before they head their separate ways to enjoy Christmas. As the gang leaves the apartment building, Gonzo promises their neighbor, Claire (Madison Petitis) that he will mail her letters to Santa. Of course after a nice musical number, the Muppets end up causing chaos at the post office and flee the scene. Once he returns home, Gonzo realizes that he still has Claire’s letter. Unfortunately, the post office has closed early for Christmas Eve and the only way for Gonzo to make good on his promise is to hand deliver the letter to Santa at the North Pole. In typical Muppet fashion, mayhem ensues, but they do eventually meet up with Santa. When Santa reads Claire’s letter, we find out that her Christmas wish was to spend Christmas with all of her friends, a wish Kermit and the crew can deliver. The writing for this special is far below the sharp, clever wit that has been a Muppet trademark for decades. The writers rely upon making the characters caricatures of themselves instead of creating any new growth for the Muppets. Poor Miss Piggy barely gets any screen time whatsoever. She gets angry at Kermit, stomps off, and slams a door. We do not get to see her again until the finale. Not including such a dynamic, strong, and beloved character was unforgivable. “Delivering Christmas,” one of the most memorable and the largest show-stopping musical numbers, played like a commercial for the Postal Service instead of a fun part of a Christmas special. I cringed when I heard Kermit sing out, “Let’s hear it for the folks in gray!” While the closing credits ran, I kept waiting to see if the Postal Service had been a main contributor to this special. Way too much time was spent in the post office scene. The best part was when everything went haywire and the slapstick comedy of the Muppets was able to sneak through for a few good laughs. Everything went downhill from there. The most redeemable parts of the movie were the celebrity cameos. Uma Thurman, the beloved Nathan Lane, and longtime Muppet friends Whoopi Goldberg and Paul Williams cast bright beams in an otherwise boring special. Sadly, the talented and short celebrity list was not enough to rescue a faltering special. Even though it only ran for an hour, the special dragged on slowly while the plot itself was rushed. It did not slowly build any anticipation. A problem was identified and with a blink of an eye everything was fixed. Bloopers and outtakes play while the end credits roll. These outtakes are much more enjoyable and provide more laughs than most of the film. Historically, the Muppets know how to keep Christmas fun with just enough sentimentality mixed in. Muppet holiday specials highlight the importance of generosity, kindness, and family except for this one. In this special, a little girl writes a letter to Santa asking that her neighbors have to cancel their plans for Christmas and must stay home with her. The only one who seems upset about cancelling her plans is Miss Piggy, who had planned on enjoying a Caribbean Christmas with Kermie. There is no special meaning behind this special, just the instant gratification of a little girl who had to do without her friends for a few days. If anything, this special made me ache for the good ol’ days of the Muppets. It made me further appreciate the classic Muppet specials I grew up with like A Muppet Family Christmas, Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, The Christmas Toy, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Speaking of the ghost of Christmas special past, keep an eye out for the puppet that was used as the Christmas Turkey from A Muppet Family Christmas returning to the small screen during the final scenes of this special. In other Muppet trivia, in this special, we find out that Zoot, the saxophone player for The Electric Mayhem Band is Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah. The writers behind A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa will be on Santa’s naughty list for years! I give this one 2 out of 5 rubber chickens! See larger image A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa New From: $2.00 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.