I am the archetypal child of the 80s. This is the decade that most of my childhood and teenage memories come from; the friends, the schools, the fashions and the tv programmes. (If you want a potted account of living in the UK in the 80s, look no further than here. And don’t judge me when I say I identify with about 90% of that list.)
Ah yes, the programmes. The A Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, Grange Hill, Press Gang. I can feel a wave of nostalgia engulfing me as I type the words. Press Gang? You remember Press Gang, right?? Oh. Ok, so maybe that’s just me.
And of course there was that pinnacle of weekend viewing, so good it was like a religion to school children of a certain age: The Muppet Show. So strong is my affection and regard for that programme, I feel it requires extra punctuation: The. Muppet. Show. Followed by a Gonzoesque trumpet salute.
But before I drown in my own reminiscences, there is a point to all this sentimentality. Unless you’ve been living in a media-free cave for the last few months (or have no children, either would do it) then you’ll be well aware that they have recently released a movie, the first in 12 years or so the interwebs reliably inform me. They? The muppets, duh. Or, The Muppets, as the movie is ingeniously named. Yes, that was sarcasm. Oh, do keep up.
I saw the trailer a couple of months ago while at the cinema with Nick and the girls and frankly I don’t know who was more excited about the prospect. (Obviously we introduced them to the joys of the muppets at an early age as part of their cultural education.) So when it was released a few weeks ago, we made plans to see it the next weekend.
Having looked forward to it so eagerly, it was almost inevitable that I would not have my expectations met. While the film was laugh out loud funny at times, it turned out that the trailer that had made it look so unmissable was basically a montage of the only good bits in the movie. The bad bits: a very slow and unfunny start, corniness to the point of vomiting that only an American show can achieve (this element clearly passed me by at the age of 10) and travesty of all travesties, the star of the show WASN’T EVEN AN ORIGINAL MUPPET.
Although it wasn’t terrible, I left the cinema with a vague sense of disappointment, not just at the muppets but at myself, that perhaps I was lacking something intrinsic that would have enabled me to enjoy it unreservedly. Slowly the awful realisation dawned: had I finally become too old for the muppets??