“If our ‘message’ is anything, it’s a positive approach to life.” Many fans of the Muppets know that these are the words of Jim Henson, which few would argue with. He may be dead, but I am going to argue with him. How can I do such a thing? Read on.
I will start with Sesame Street. This series was made to teach young children important lessons for children, such as sharing, letters of the alphabet, telling the truth, numbers, shapes, etc. One of the themes that has been taught many times on Sesame Street is a simple concept: get along. This is very important.
Jim Henson’s next big thing was The Muppet Show. A bunch of crazy
people characters try to put on a variety show, and tend to fail miserably. Many of the characters seem to dislike each other, but that dislike doesn’t seem genuine. The Muppets actually share a common bond: the dream of entertaining. For this dream, the Muppets will come together, put aside their differences, and work as a family.
Fraggle Rock was created to bring peace to the world. It created different species that had a hard time understanding the ways that they were the same, and the fact that they all needed radishes. Once again, Jim Henson, although he did not perform as much for Fraggle Rock as he did for other productions, he taught us to learn about how much we need each other and ought to strive for harmony.
The Muppets taught messages of optimism often, and most of the movies teach people not to be greedy, but throughout the different series, the main message seems to be “peace.” Peace had always been something that hippy Jim Henson wanted, and yet, people still fight. They always will. We Muppet fans know that Jim and his wife separated (though they never officially divorced). We know that he never had enough time, and he was always travelling. We know that he got extremely stressed when he and Michael Eisner could not agree on the terms of the Muppets’ sale. It seems like late-’80s Jim had not found peace. However, we as Muppet fans can try and bring some more peace to the world. Isn’t that a part of our mission? Making “millions of people happy” includes helping the world become a more understanding, loving, peaceful place. It would make Jim happy too.