The Kidd here...
Things got really philosophical and deep very quickly when asking people to choose whether they're a man or a Muppet.
It's always great to hear from fellow Muppet fans, who are bursting to share their love of Jim Henson's creatures and how they've impacted their lives, their childhoods, their treatment of others. It was quite rewarding to read people's explanations as to why they thought they fell on one side or the other in the man/Muppet decision, especially regarding their long histories with the Muppets, but, with only three MUPPETS Combo Packs signed by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to be awarded, it was going to get tough to narrow things down.
Believe me... I got enough "hand in the ass" jokes to last me a lifetime, and I can't believe I didn't see the abundance of them on the way when I first started this. But, in order to win THE MUPPETS, it really struck me that you needed to truly understand who the Muppets were and what they were all about... what was beneath the surface of your favorite characters and really the very spirit of their continued existence.
After reading through every single entry word by word, I found the three that really seemed to embody the Muppets.
- Alan Overton
I've always known I was a muppet (or, as many of us prefer, a felted-American.) I was a toddler when my mother sat me down to watch the very first episode of Sesame Street, and it was very obvious to me that I had much more in common with the muppets on the screen than the humans. I was curious, generally happy, and could go from dejected to ecstatic in an instant, just like the brightly colored birds and monsters and neighbors on the show.
When I was in middle school, my father and I would watch the Muppet Show together, with him teaching me that what they did was real comedy because it worked on so many levels. It was complex without being confusing, and it didn't rely on making people feel bad or using swear words. He taught me that laughter should be used to make things hurt less, not make other people hurt more (even if they were people we disagreed with.) And he taught me that truth can sometimes be held up higher on a base of absurdity, than it can on one of cold rhetoric.
By the time I reached high school, I had begun to notice that I was different from the other kids: a bit more innocent, maybe a little kinder, definitely fuzzier. I came to embrace my true muppet heritage, and have never regretted it. It helps me make good decisions as both an academic and designer, because I know the right questions to ask myself. Questions like, "How can I help people with what I do?", "How can I give my students lessons that will help them to grow into people they will be proud to be?", and, most importantly, "What new can I learn today?"
- Adam Bertocci
I'm a man because the Muppets entertain me, and they have for years. Oh, I'm sure that Muppets who aren't in the show enjoy the act as well. But the Muppets know what side their bread is buttered on, in the end. You don't snap up a standard rich-and-famous contract from a legendary Hollywood type by only appealing to your own demographic.
I'm a man because I'd love to be in that best of both worlds, where from one point of view I am controlled and sheltered by artists and craftsmen and geniuses, but on the other I am my own unique and indispensable personality and no one would ever confuse me with a pile of limp felt, with mere material. I'm a man because I don't have the talents and traditions of the Jim Henson carnival behind me, nor the ability to make people smile just by showing up and being myself, before a single word is even spoken.
I'm a man because no one refers to me as Adam the Man, or Adam Person—because Muppets stand out among their species. Kermit wasn't a Frog, he was the Frog. It's hard to compete with that.
I'm a man because I am neither simplified nor stylized; I am cursed with representation and realism and rotten verisimilitude, and if the Jim Henson Company had built me to begin with, I'd be something from the Creature Shop—no slouch itself, a creator of wonderful and timeless things, but how strange it is that we can relate to the abstract shapes and limited palettes of a Kermit the Frog or Fozzie Bear (or Cookie Monster or Big Bird or Fraggle…) than we can to the detailed and fascinating and specific shapes of our own worlds and lives. It is because they are so simple that they are so universal: the Muppets are not defined by their physical constructions (even Henson admitted the term never meant "marionette/puppet") but by the words they speak and the songs in their hearts.
It sounds pretty great. And from what I've seen from movies and TV, it seems pretty great, too, though I never seem to meet many of these folk in person. Maybe I just hang out in the wrong crowd.
I'm a man because I want to be a Muppet.
- Brian Bradway
Herdy Schmerdy es du Moopet.
Gersh gurndy man-dee, es da okee-dokee. Gersh gurndy es da Moopet-dee es da verdy-goot.
Congratulations to our three winners. Signed copies of THE MUPPETS will be in good hands.
Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their love of the Muppets, and thanks to Walt Disney Home Entertainment for something special.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
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