Jarrod Fairclough – Last weekend I sat down with my best pal
Beaker Matt to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. I’m a hardcore super fan who can recite the film in its entirety, and he owns the DVD and watches it once in a blue moon. In Part 1 we discussed the music, Michael Caine and horror films, so join us for Part 2 where we talk David Rudman, Humble Bragging, and ask the big question – Can ghosts die?
Jarrod: Now, the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Jerry Nelson! He’s about to sing one of the most popular Muppet songs ever, ‘It Feels Like Christmas’. It recently got added to the finale of Walt Disney World’s live Christmas show.
He also has a glorious beard, much better than the one you tried to grow last year.
Matt: Well that’s just rude. And it was two years ago.
…Jarrod is now singing along…
Jarrod: Darn tootin! The set was built to be an optical illusion so it looks a lot deeper than it actually is. But Brian stuffed up this shot where we pull back because you can tell it’s all a lot smaller.
Matt: I’d be angry but I’ve not made a film of this caliber to compare it to.
Jarrod: We’ve often played this ‘20 questions’ game about you when you aren’t around.
Jarrod: Fun Fact: One of the Belinda/Betina puppets returned earlier this year in an episode of The Muppets.
Matt: Is Frank doing all the child pig voices?
Jarrod: Nope, that’s Steve and Dave. When I went to the set of The Muppets last year I heard Steve doing his Piggy voice, and it’s absolutely perfect. I can almost guarantee if he wasn’t playing Kermit, he could have easily gotten the job instead of Eric.
Matt: Psssst, nice humble brag!
Jarrod: Also, David Rudman is the child-frog that isn’t Robin/Tiny Tim. Who else does David Rudman play, Matt?
Matt: He plays Michael Caine playing Scrooge!
Jarrod: Well, that can’t possibly be true. He also plays Cookie Monster! Remember when I interviewed him earlier this year? How’s that for a HUMBLE BRAG!?
Matt: You are the pits.
(‘Bless Us All’ begins)
Jarrod: I have a confession. I usually skip this song when I’m watching this movie by myself. I just can’t get in to it.
Matt: Because no one loves you?
Jarrod: Too real, man. Too real.
Matt: I’m probably going to replay it when it’s finished just to spite you.
Jarrod: It’s so dull! I mean, I love the dulcet tones of Jerry Nelson, but it’s so slow.
Matt: It’s certainly no boot-scootin’ country song!
Jarrod: So The Ghost of Christmas Present is about to disappear. I never understood if he dies, or if he went to another dimension. But he sparkles like a pretty Christmas tree, so he’s got that going for him.
Matt: Can ghosts die?
Jarrod: It’s those sort of questions that keep me up at night.
Jarrod: Now, I know I’ve spoken about how terrifying this movie is, but you can’t look at the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come and tell me he isn’t nightmare inducing.
Matt: I kind of want him to have a squeaky voice. He does look like the typical representation of death though which is a tad scary.
Jarrod: So in the original ‘more Muppety’ version of the movie, he looked almost exactly the same, except he had Gonzo’s nose protruding from the hood.
Matt: I don’t think that’s true.
Jarrod: Listen to the commentary. I have. Many times. COZ I’M A NERD!
Also, if I die before you, can you make sure none of our friends talk about me like those pigs are speaking about Scrooge?
Matt: I can make them do that, no guarantee I’ll follow suit though.
Jarrod: I’ll take it. Also don’t steal all my stuff and sell it to a creepy English spider.
Matt: But you have such lovely buttons!
Jarrod: Did Scrooge really not realize everybody hated him? He seems so surprised when everyone’s saying horrible things, when he literally threw a Christmas wreath at little Bean Bunny at the beginning of the film.
Matt: Yeah but who has time to think about the future. Earn money yo!
Jarrod: Do you think his name was actually ‘Tiny Tim’ or do you think it was just a nickname like ‘Handsome Matt’?
Matt: I guess. In the original book he was actually 10 feet tall.
Jarrod: That’s true. Don’t fact check that, Muppet fans… Also the original had far more Gonzo/Rizzo chapters.
Matt: If it hadn’t been his grave, do you suppose he wouldn’t have learned a lesson after all?
Jarrod: It would have been a weird ending, wouldn’t it? ‘This grave, Spirit? Who the heck is Joe Hennes?’ And then he would have woken up and probably tried to stab poor little Bean Bunny. I mean, what’s the actual lesson? Be kind or a potato looking woman will steal your buttons and give them to a spider? Because lesson learnt!
Matt: What use do the dead have for buttons anyway? He sounds like a bit of a loony right now.
Jarrod: That’s a possible reason for his behavior change, he may have had a mental breakdown. This is also the only time he reacts to Gonzo and Rizzo in the whole movie. Did he know they’ve been there the whole time? It all adds up to a nervous breakdown theory. Also, you look like Beaker.
Matt: In reality Scrooge’s wearing that scarf and only that scarf.
Jarrod: What’s more scary? The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, or Michael Caine’s singing?
Matt: Same level.
Jarrod: He gives the rats coal for the fire, and in the first focus group, the children thought he was punishing them because coal is traditionally the gift a ‘bad person’ gets. Brian Henson admitted he totally spaced on that, and it was too late to change it, so he was hoping no-one would notice.
Matt: Yet look where we are.
Jarrod: He probably wasn’t expecting the invention of IMDB’s Trivia section at that point.
So Scrooge just offered to have dinner with Bob Cratchit and the family, but didn’t he just wake up? Are they eating dinner at 9am? I do love brinner.
Matt: You take issue with that and not the synchronized singing that’s been going on all movie?
Jarrod: Look, I’m just saying it makes the whole film totally implausible.
And we’ve come to the end! What have you learned here, Matt?
Matt: I can break into song down the street and everyone will know the words?
Jarrod: Exactly! MERRY CHRISTMAS, and God bless us, everyone. Except you, Matt.
Matt: Pleasure to see you. Now get out of my house!