The Muppets returned to the big screen for their every-so-often movie. This one was more of a nostalgia filled love letter to the franchise by Jason Segel who produced, wrote, and stars as Gary. During the song “Man or Muppet” my wife and I were laughing so loud that people turned around and looked at us like we were in the wrong theater or something. We loved the movie. I’ve heard that the Muppets are not appealing to many kids these days; our son loves them and this was his first movie in the theaters ever. He fell asleep half way and woke on our way out of the theater saying, “Where’s Kermit?”
The film revolves around Gary and Mary, a couple who’ve been dating for ten years… ten years! Gary really does love Mary, but he has a lot of things in his life that he feels need to be resolved before they can get married. One of the major issues Gary is concerned with is his little brother, Walter, who has never fit in anywhere. People laugh at him. Gary has always looked out for his brother and that relationship gets in the way of him and Mary.
There’s a common saying among people who are interested in becoming Christians but think they’re too sinful to be accepted by God: “If I walked into a church the steeple would crash in upon me.” Gary’s waiting until his life is perfect before he takes the next step with Mary, but his life will never be perfect. Same thing goes for people who are waiting to clean themselves up before accepting Christ, they could never get clean. Gary is pretty comfortable carrying on like things are, he has a great time with his best-buddy brother, and he has a girlfriend that loves him as he is, if it works, why change things? Poor Mary has to put up with this though. This is like the Christian who has one foot in the world; he thinks he can have his cake and Jesus, too. But Jesus has to put up with him. Both Mary in the movie, and Jesus in reality have a right to be jealous and to expect more.
Wait, are there Muppets in this movie? Oh yeah, so we learn that Kermit and the gang have all split up and are pursuing their own things after the closing of the Muppets Theater. Unless they can collect $10 million the theater is going to be demolished by an oil tycoon who wants the oil under it and also hates the Muppets because he can’t laugh. The only way to get the money is to put on a show; time to get the gang back together. They go on a road-quest and pick up the team members one by one. When Kermit shows up, they quickly drop everything and follow him.
The Muppets were all waiting for this day. They knew it would come and when it finally did, all of them (except Piggy, kinda) were ready and willing to follow. Gonzo was so prepared that he had a button to destroy his entire company… a company he probably could have sold for $10 million, but that’s not as fun as putting on a show. The reason they were willing to follow Kermit was because they trusted him, because Kermit is the real deal. When Jesus showed up on Earth, many people were waiting for the Messiah to come, and when He asked them to, they dropped everything and followed Him. They did it because Jesus is the Real Deal, and they could tell. The same thing applies to us, when Jesus says, “Follow me.” we must.
Essentially, the major theme of the film is the distinction between being solo and being together. On their own, the Muppets were all miserable, no matter how little or big their success, they were incomplete. The same goes with Mary and Gary, they were not fully together, and that was a bad thing. Walter also finds that he is a Muppet, and belongs with them. Without Walter’s whistling talent, the telethon would have been incomplete. Walter stepped up and joined the Muppets, the place he belongs.
Perhaps one of the most interesting examples of the themes could be seen in Uncle Deadly, the dragon-like Muppet who works for Tex Richman. He realizes he’s on the wrong team and decides instead to do what is right and help his fellow Muppets. This is a great visual example of repentance that both us and our kids can learn from. In the end, Gary finally asks Mary to marry him, Walter becomes an official Muppet and Tex Richman suffers a heart changing head injury. All is right in the world. Mahna mahna.
- Have you ever felt lonely? What do you think it felt like to be Fozzy, Gonzo, Piggy or one of the other Muppets when they were all alone?
- Kermit asked his friends to stop everything they were doing and follow him. Why did they follow him? Jesus did a similar thing with His disciples. Why did they follow Him? He asks us to follow Him, what does that mean for you? (Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 8:21-23, Matthew 9:9)
- Gary waited 10 years to ask Mary to marry him, even though he knew they should be together. For him, it was something that needed to wait until he was done making everything else in his life perfect. Mary didn’t care if Gary’s life wasn’t perfect; she loved him, even with his problems. A lot of people plan to wait to come to Jesus until they fix themselves up. Why should we come to Jesus, even when we are not perfect? (Proverbs 20:9, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:1-9, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31, Matthew 9:11-13)
- Uncle Deadly, the blue dragon Muppet, realized he was one of the bad guys. Instead of continuing to do bad things, he decided to turn around and help the good guys. Do you think Kermit and the rest will welcome him to the team, or will they say, “No, you were bad, so we won’t accept you!”? What does Jesus say when a bad person turns to good and asks to be on His team? (Luke 15:7, Luke 23:39-43)
- Walter was afraid to share his talent in the show, but without him the show was too short. The Muppets needed him to do his part. Now is a good time to find your part in Kingdom work. What can you do now to help in the church your family goes to? (Romans 12:4-7)