Erica Rodriguez – Hi-ho fellow Muppet fans. My name is Erica, I’m 20 years old, and I’ve been a loyal Muppet fan for about five years now (I’m also an anime fan and an internet culture and pop culture enthusiast, but that’s another story). Like with most people, the Muppets have been a part of my life since the very beginning. During my childhood, I grew up watching Sesame Street, Muppet Babies, and a few Muppet specials that my parents recorded on tapes including (but not limited to) A Muppet Family Christmas, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, and The Frog Prince.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I was watching a tape with the latter two specials recorded on it, but this time around I discovered something else that was recorded on the tape that I never noticed or watched before. It was an episode of The Jim Henson Hour called “The Secret of The Muppets” and it was one of the coolest things I ever saw, not only because Jim Henson himself hosted it, but also because that’s when I first learned about all of the behind-the scenes effects, the puppet builders, and the puppeteers and I loved every minute of it.
Then one day a few years later when I was 12, it was 2004 and I was casually watching TV in the living room when all of a sudden my mom came in and excitedly told me to change the channel to one of the news channels because they were talking about something that Sesame Street was celebrating. Interested, I changed the channel and sure enough they were celebrating their 35th anniversary and some of the Sesame Street Muppets, along with Bob McGrath, were being interviewed. From watching this, three things stuck with me: 1) Learning that Sesame Street started all the way back in 1969, which blew my mind. 2) Very brief, but memorable, clips from the very first episode which included Gordon with hair, Big Bird with a pinhead instead of his usual rounded head, and Oscar with orange fur! 3) TRIANGLEBOB TRIANGLEPANTS!
During my middle school and high school years, I stopped watching all of the tapes that I grew up with everyday during my childhood, but every once and a while I would have the urge to go back and watch some of those old tapes again and almost every time I did, it was Muppet-related. This kept happening until one day sometime between late November and early December of 2007, I was 15 and I was watching one of the many old Sesame Street episodes that my parents recorded. Suddenly, I remembered those clips from the first Sesame Street episode that I saw a few years before, and how much I wanted to see more of that. Around this time, I was also spending more time on the internet than I ever did before and I just recently discovered the beauty that was YouTube, so I asked myself, “I wonder if I could find more clips like that on YouTube?” and of course I did and everything snowballed from there.
I spent several days watching hours of old Sesame Street clips including the ones from that first episode, I discovered the Muppet Wiki and spent hours looking through that, I watched several episodes of The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock for the first time in my life, I watched several behind-the-scene clips and documentaries countless times, and I even made a milk pitcher-shaped cookie jar for my ceramics class in high school with Cookie Monster swimming through the milk trying to get all the cookies floating around.
More recently, I saw The Muppets in the theater last year which was one of the best movie theater experiences that I’ve had so far, and I finally attended my first Muppet event a few months ago when they held the Jerry Nelson tribute at The Museum of The Moving Image. It was an amazing experience that not only I enjoyed, but my parents and older sister also enjoyed. For the past two years, my obsession for the Muppets has mellowed down a bit, but my love and loyalty for them have not.
To conclude my insanely long testimonial (sorry about that), I would like to thank all of the awesome Muppet fan-sites that I visit constantly and the people behind those websites (including Ryan and The Muppet Mindset of course *wink*), all of the wonderful Muppet writers, builders, and performers that have brought and/or continue to bring the Muppets to life, and all of my fellow Muppet fans who help keep the spirit of the Muppets alive and who took the time to read my really long article. Good day to you all and thanks for reading.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org