The Muppets: Ode to Miss B

muppets

My soon to be wife and I were speaking about my secondary school (that’s high-school to American readers) drama teacher, Miss B, and it was telling that she described her as “nuts”. Although I totally agree that Miss B was bat-shit crazy, those like my fiancé who were not part of her class can not appreciate the genius of the woman. For me, I credit her for changing my life for the better.

Very early on in secondary school, her classes were the only reason I bothered to turn up at all and considering that I lived in an area were truancy was common place, this was a pretty big deal. What outsiders did not and don’t understand is how much she challenged her students to think different and embrace being unique.  The very first time I ever went to the theatre, full stop, was on a school trip with Miss B and although it was to see a boring ass version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet it was an experience I would never forget. She made up for that bore-fest by taking us to see Blood Brothers (has this ever been adapted into a film?) and The Lion King.

Miss B instilled in me a love of theatre that has yet to ebb away and more importantly she  gave me and other students a soaring sense of self confidence that I have used to my advantage long after school had finished.

The biggest compliment I can give that one teacher is that she made everything, every aspect of life seem joyful.  So when I sat down to watch The Muppets movie, a film oozing with joy,  I could only smile and think of her Miss B.

The Muppets movie is very much like Miss B – you have to embrace the unconventional or you may misunderstand the film. In the world of The Muppets, there is no discernible difference between a human being and a puppet – to the extent that they can be part of the same family. The story is about a puppet and human who happen to be brother. The film follows the brothers as they head off to Los Angeles where they try to round up the famous Muppets crew for one last show to save their old theatre.

The film won me over from the off with its opening musical number which is so quintessentially Disney, but with a hint of mischief, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. It had me singing along by the second verse and I couldn’t get the song out of my head a week after I watched the movie.

The music in the film is really stellar and I have to give credit to Disney for upping their game in this department over the past couple of years. In the 00s you felt like they had forgotten the art of great musical films but with Princess and the Frog, Tangled and The Muppets it seems like Disney has rediscovered their golden touch.  I loved the over the top nature to every one of the songs in the film, especially the Are you a man or a Muppet? song, featuring Sheldon Cooper.

The highlight of the whole film for me was Chris Cooper, the expert villain actor, bursting unexpectedly into rap song. If you’ve ever seen Cooper in the first Bourne Identity film, the idea of him rapping is absurd but the joke is that he pulls it off and is actually… dope.

Take away the music and you are still left with a very good story with fantastic characters. I was never a huge fan of The Muppets but this film clearly illustrates how utterly unique and heart-warming each puppet is. Kermit and Miss Piggy get totally out-shined by their co-stars – I absolutely loved Animal and his back story.

Watching this film had me feeling like I was in a Miss B lesson – there is a clear and unashamed love for theatre throughout that becomes infectious. The film’s central message of ‘being true to yoursel’ was pretty much Miss B’s mantra throughout the time I knew he,r so I pretty much bought into the characters straight away.

The Muppets is a truly fantastic film that I would urge anyone to watch, but this article was a roundabout way for me to say thank you to Miss B for everything. I hope my little girl has a teacher that has the same positive impact on her as Miss B had for me.

 

MrCTBear@gmail.com

@chocoteddyfilms

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