All right, listen. In honor of Halloween, I am going to admit something about myself that is somewhat embarrassing.
Ya know, on second thought, I do that all the time. Let’s try this again.
When I was a child, I was addicted to watching television. In fact, it could even be argued that I watched entirely too much of it. Like any other kid I had favorite shows (“Barney,” “My Little Pony,” “Ren & Stimpy,” “Beavis & Butthead”…), but I also watched TV just to watch it. Lord knows how many hours I spent sitting on the couch staring at the TV screen with my mind a complete and utter blank. When my mom would sit and watch “All My Children” while nursing my baby brother, I would always watch with her. When my parents would sit down to watch “Twin Peaks” after putting us kids to bed, I would listen for the theme music, creep out my room, sneak up on my folks and say, “Hey guys.”
Remember “Dumbo’s Circus”? It aired on The Disney Channel in the early 1990’s. I didn’t love it, and it didn’t hold a candle to “Pooh Corner,” but since it came on before “Pooh Corner” I watched it religiously.
I remember very little from this show. I do remember that the koala was kind of a wimp and the showgirl cat was hot, but boring. In fact, the whole show was kind of boring. While this show probably contributed to my undying love for the “What the HELL?”, it was probably just a big waste of my time. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t exciting, it was just stupid. It didn’t even scare me.
Ya know what scared the Hell out of me when I was a kid?
Yup. “The Muppet Show.” I ended up having to sleep in my parents’ bed on several occasions because I had watched the Muppets sing a creepy song or do a creepy dance earlier that afternoon. Did I ever think to just stop watching “The Muppet Show”? Absolutely not. The Muppets weren’t always scary, and even when they were, it kinda thrilled me. Plus, ya know, what else was I gonna do? Bad dreams be damned! — I wasn’t gonna turn off the Idiot Box.
Quick side note: I’m proud to say I’m no longer addicted to TV. Oh, I love SHOWS, but I haaaaate TV. Perhaps someday I will write about the difference.
That’s a good enough preamble, I think. I now present to you, my TOP FIVE MOST TERRIFYING MUPPET MOMENTS!
Every damn time Frazzle appeared, my heart skipped a beat. I HATED the sight of that freaking orange monster. Everything would be going just fine — GREAT, even — and then that freaky-toothed creeper who spoke in demonic tongues would show up and send waves of terror throughout my five-year-old body. I still don’t like the look of him.
VINCENT TWICE, VINCENT TWICE!
This isn’t funny. This is only funny for parents who have to watch “Sesame Street” with their kids. When I was five, I didn’t know who the Hell VINCENT PRICE was. I wasn’t in on the joke. I didn’t get that this even WAS a joke! I just thought this had been dreamed up to torture me. Late at night, his voice would pop into my head and I’d yell for my poor sleep-deprived mom.
SESAME STREET NEWSFLASH: MAGIC MIRROR!
I don’t know if it was aired on “The Muppet Show,” or if Kermit made appearances on “Sesame Street.” Either way, the bit usually terrified me. This was was especially traumatizing. Even now, 20 years later, the big purple bastard makes me feel a bit uneasy.
VINCENT PRICE HOSTS “THE MUPPET SHOW”!
This one was a big, big deal. I watched it one morning during a day off school, and I had to sleep in my parents room that night. How I endured the whole thing, I have no idea. Every single sketch scared me. The most terrifying bit was the part about the three eyed man — he comes in at the very end of this clip. At least I can laugh a little bit at this now, but at the time….::shudder::
MARLEY AND MARLEY’S NUMBER IN THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL!
(I know this is a feature film and not a show, but it is a Muppet-themed spectacle, so it counts).
This movie came out December of 1992, and since I watched it at home, not in the movie theater, I must have seen it a year later. (Well, I only saw part of it…) My dad had gone out with my older brother, so my mom had planned a “girls night in” for the two of us. She made us a yummy dinner, and then afterwards we put on our matching nightgowns (which may or may not have had red and white vertical stripes and teddy bears and lace collars…) and we sat down to watch, yes, The Muppet Christmas Carol. Everything was going fine — actually, I was even a little bored — until suddenly Marley and Marley (played by Statler and Waldorf) had to show up. They were GHOSTS, they were covered in CHAINS, and they sang a scary song. I made it up to the part where they said, “Our hearts were painted black,” and then I demanded we turn the movie off immediately. I had to sleep in my parents’ room TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW before I was ready to brave it by myself. (Actually, this was during the time I shared a room with my brother, so the fact that I couldn’t go to our room meant I was extra cowardly.) I never, NEVER, tried to watch this movie again during my childhood. I finally watched the whole thing during December of 2009 with my friend Kelly. We were huddled in my tiny Santa Cruz apartment freezing our asses off, eating popcorn and watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. When Marley & Marley sang their song, Kelly laughed at me. I laughed, too, and all was right with the world.
Happy Halloween, everyone.
Happy Halloween, five-year-old Steff. I would definitely babysit you if I could.