the lovers, the dreamers, and me

So, if you're reading this you probably already knew, but in case you missed it, I'm going to be co-hosting the Castle to Castle Bitesize Muppets series, which I am so, SO excited about. I talk a lot about Disney but perhaps not so much about Muppets, and I envisioned someone asking me, "Hey, Ria, why Muppets?" No one asked but I will TELL you why Muppets in this post, as sort of a way to get my own thoughts in order, and explain my background with Muppets and how they've been such a huge part of my life.

When I was growing up, I watched "The Muppet Show" on the Disney Channel, and I remember the first time I watched The Muppet Movie with my dad. So much of my dad's sense of humour, and subsequently a lot of mine, came from the Muppets. We were always quoting Muppets at each other, especially lines from the movie. I watched The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan, but neither of them stuck with me as much as The Muppet Movie. The combination of hilarity and heart-felt warmth is the standard to which I hold all other Muppets offerings, and I am very rarely let down.

While I loved the Muppets as a child, I believe the Muppets have even meant more to me as an adult. Looking back, I can see where the Muppets really shaped me; my sense of humour remains very Muppet-esque, and the qualities I admire most are qualities I also associate with the Muppets (kindness, supportive and uplifting friendship, optimism in the face of defeat, love for friends and family and found family). If anything, my adult life has been more steeped in Muppets entertainment than my childhood. The first thing that comes to mind is actually not about my personal history with the Muppets, but without the Muppets, I never would have met my husband. We met at college, and Ben wrote his admissions essay answering the prompt, "Who is your hero?" by writing about Kermit the Frog.

We actually only spent one semester going to the same school, and during that semester we took lots of road trips of varying length, from Austin (about 20 miles up the road) to his hometown (90 minutes - 2 hours away, depending on traffic). I kept a big binder of CDs in my car, and on our first trip up to Austin, Ben found my copy of the 25th anniversary of "The Muppet Show" album that mostly has songs from the show but also includes some from the movies. We were particularly fond of starting our road trips with a sing-along to "Movin' Right Along," and nothing quite helps Austin traffic as much as a rousing rendition of "Sailing for Adventure" from Muppet Treasure Island, a big favourite Muppet movie for both of us.

My tradition of quoting The Muppet Movie all the time continues with Ben; we've been together for almost 7 years now and hardly a day goes by without a joke answered with, "Good grief, it's a running gag," or a hearty Statler and Waldorf-style laugh in unison. We played "Rainbow Connection" as well as Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem's version of "Tenderly" at our wedding reception. The Muppets are so dear to both of us, I even get a little misty-eyed thinking about how much it means to me that the Muppets have been there my whole life and they continue to be such a big part of my life. We got to see the premieres of two Muppet movies together (he was working at a movie theatre when Muppets Most Wanted came out and we got to see it three days early, even!) and we rewatch "The Muppet Show" and our favourite Muppet movies all the time.

I may not talk about it all the time but the Muppets have been and continue to be a constant presence in my life. I'm so unbelievably excited to have this opportunity to explore more of the history I haven't looked into before, and I'm sure I'll get emotional about it over the course of the series because the Muppets truly mean so much to me. I hope y'all have as much fun listening to it as I'm sure I will have presenting it. :)


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