The Diary of an Obsessed Muppet Fan – Entry 7, May 2, 2010
Is it bad that I’m too tired to come up with something rude to say to you? …Don’t give me that look! You don’t know my life! You just automatically assume that I’m tired because I was out late fondling some sleezy journal? How dare you, madame? To think, after all of these months of me only dedicating my inner-most thoughts to you that you suddenly decide I’m unfaithful and just plain gross. How dare you.
Anyway, last night I watched John Denver and The Muppets: Rocky Mountain Holiday on–gasp!–VHS. Talk about taking a trip to the stone age, eh? The special has a very simple premise: John Denver invites the Muppets out to the Rocky Mountains for a camping trip. Easy enough, right? Wrong. The special becomes very confusing and diluted and loses any semblance of a plot as soon as they step out of the truck and start singing. Thankfully there’s plenty of fun, Muppety mayhem throughout to buffer this.
The first confusing aspect of this special that I came across was the fact that I couldn’t help but wonder… Is this a John Denver special or a Muppets special? Quite frankly, it doesn’t work terribly well as either. What I think would have worked better is sending the Muppets out on a camping trip and they just happen to run into John Denver in the woods. Along with John Cleese, Phyllis Diller, and other stereotypical 1980’s guest stars. Doesn’t that sound like more fun than hiking with John Denver and singing around a campfire for twenty minutes?
Another annoying/confusing part of this special is that there is literally no plot. The only things that happen are the Muppets walking to the campsite, running into a jug-band (that we never see or hear from again), Fozzie gets beat up by nature, Floyd and John go fishing, Robin is too small, and then the rest of the special is spent singing around the campfire. Everything else that happens in the special takes place in flashbacks of other Rocky Mountain holidays they’ve taken–which makes no sense because as soon as they get to the campsite John says, “I’ve been wanting to bring you guys up to the Rockies for a long time now.” Umm… since last summer, John?
I just don’t understand why all of those flashbacks (e.g., Miss Piggy comin’ ’round the mountain, Rowlf floating in an inner-tube down the river) couldn’t have taken place on this particular Rocky Mountain holiday. They sure like a lot more fun than all of the stuff they’re doing..
And then… there’s the music. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy John Denver as much as the next guy, I just think it’s a little much to have at least ten, maybe more, songs performed by him in the span of 45 minutes. Yes, the Muppets get to pop in and provide back-up harmony every once in awhile, but the overwhelming majority is just John sitting with a guitar on a stump singing about rocks or trees or something. Literally the entire last half of the special is spent around the campfire singing. It gets to a point where it’s just overwhelmingly boring and I think it’s why there’s no real plot–they had to fit in too many songs!
Then at the end there’s this weird thing with a giant, man-eating chicken… and then Robin goes to sleep and everyone else follows suit. That’s basically Rocky Mountain Holiday in a nutshell: too much singing and a giant, man-eating chicken. In the end there’s just too many songs and too little plot in this special. There are some fun Muppety moments (Fozzie’s hands catching on fire, Robin trying to break John’s neck by tying the clothesline too low, Floyd and John fishing, the version of “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” where Miss Piggy is she who’ll be comin’ round) but far too much of this one-hour special is dedicated to John singing while the Muppets stare at him. Enjoyable for one or two songs, but for ten or twelve it’s just painful.
Ah well, maybe there was just more to the camping trip we didn’t get to see. Or… maybe not.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier