Today’s article is the start of what I hope becomes a new series: What Do the Muppets Mean to Me? The series is based off an idea from our staff member Mitchell Stein, who had the idea for a site he was starting. The site never really came to be, since Mitchell came to work for us here at The Muppet Mindset and our sister site, The Mickey Mindset. So instead, we thought we would feature the article here and hopefully spin it off into a new article series.
The prompt is simple: What do the Muppets mean to you? This can be answered in the form of written word, artwork, video–whatever. We just want to know! If you want to submit, email Ryan Dosier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyway… here’s what the Muppets mean to me.
Ryan Dosier – What do the Muppets mean to me? How can you even ask that?! Honestly this is the hardest question I think I’ve ever had to answer. (Even beating out “Do you want pizza or pasta?”) Anyone who knows even one thing about me probably knows that the Muppets are my bread and butter. Jim Henson’s creations are my inspiration, my favorite thing to laugh at, my desired career path, and so very much more.
Putting into words just what the Muppets mean to me is so hard, because they really mean everything to me. I discovered the Muppets when I was 14. Of course I watched Sesame Street and Muppet Babies and the Muppet movies when I was growing up but I didn’t truly have that moment of righteous Muppet discovery until I was 14. The Muppets have been such a huge, integral part of my life since I was a teenager and has honestly embodied my twenties, that it seems impossible for that to change anytime soon.
Becoming obsessed with the Muppets at such a young age defined me. The endless Muppet music shaped my taste in joyful, uplifting, and goofy music. The wacky, offbeat, insane humor shaped my love of broad comedy, subtle dialogue, and wicked puns. The love and kindness and devotion of the characters changed how I viewed my friends and family. But above all, the wisdom Jim Henson and all of the Muppet performers displayed in every project is ingrained in me permanently. I honestly can’t express the words properly to state how much these characters and the men and women who bring them to life have changed me for the better.
My life has been changed by the Muppets in so many ways. If it weren’t for the Muppets, I (obviously) wouldn’t have started The Muppet Mindset. If it weren’t for The Muppet Mindset, I wouldn’t have the unbelievable joy of knowing the Muppet performers, who are the most wonderful, kind, and impressive people in the world. Getting to call Bill Barretta, Peter Linz, Matt Vogel, and so many of these incredible individuals my friends? That’s just icing on the cake. Without these people, I wouldn’t have met the Muppets. It all comes full circle.
The greatest moment in my life thus far was meeting Kermit the Frog. As a Muppet fan, you never expect that your dream of meeting your hero—this icon of pop culture, this shaper of your dreams, this entity—will ever come true. Yes, I had met Zoe, Oscar, Gonzo, Pepe, and Walter previously, but I still never thought I would meet Kermit. Subconsciously, I think I was too stunned just by the idea of meeting the frog to even consider it a possibility. But then it happened. In May, while I was on the set of Muppets Most Wanted, Disney allowed members of the press (and lowly old me) to meet and get pictures with Walter, Miss Piggy, and Kermit. The first two were amazing, of course, but it was Kermit that changed everything. As I approached Kermit (and my friend Steve Whitmire), he turned to me, grinned, and said “Hi-ho, Ryan!” as he waved.
I still don’t know how I didn’t pass out or weep uncontrollably. Scientists will be wondering that for years. When Kermit the Frog said my name and hopped in front of me and pointed at himself on my shirt for the photo, time stopped. I realized clearly and completely what the Muppets mean to me. They’re not just funny, they’re not just cute, they’re not just meaningful—to me, the Muppets are my goals and my hopes and my dreams all wrapped in fuzzy, felty packages. For nearly ten years I had dreamed of meeting Kermit the Frog more than anything. That dream came true on that night in May and inspired my new dream. Meeting Kermit and Miss Piggy and Walter and watching them work just wasn’t enough… I have to work with them someday, in someway.
I love the Muppets and they mean the world to me. I hope this article made some sense and didn’t make you seethe with jealousy too much… I still can’t find the right balance for that. I’m not even sure I answered the question properly… but that’s what the Muppets mean to me.