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Muppet Babies, Childhood's Biggest Letdown
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saxifrage00
I haven’t seen the show in over a decade, but as I hummed to myself in the shower, the lyrics to the theme song of the Muppet Babies suddenly came to me:

Muppet Babies,
We make our dreams come true.
Muppet Babies,
We’ll do the same for you!

If the world looks kind of strange
And you wish that you weren’t there,
Just close your eyes and make believe
And you can be anywhere!


I know that it’s just a cute, topical jingle for a cartoon about some puppet toddlers with over-active imaginations, but children really take such messages to heart. How much psychological scarring was that theme song responsible for as millions of children became young adults and discovered that the world is a sometimes-harsh place that can’t be escaped by playing Pretend? Just think of all the pot and LSD that has been consumed in an effort to recreate that childhood joy of escape! And, what more insidious way to hook the youth of a nation on television as a form of escape, but to offer escape in a TV cartoon?

On thinking on it further, Muppet Babies was a very strange show. They’re so busy exercising their imaginations, why? Because they’re locked in a one-room nursery without respite. I have to assume that it’s for their own protection, because they are humanoid, talking animals, after all.

Nanny was obviously human, but what was her primary purpose? Certainly not to watch over them—they were left to their own devices for nearly the whole day. Occasionally they would escape, only to be cut off in the kitchen where Nanny was reading or cooking lunch, at which point she would promptly turn them around and lock them back up in the nursery. No, she was the warden, and they were locked up for their own protection. As the results of an ethically-questionable government program involving genetic engineering of human DNA, it could hardly be expected that they would be accepted by the human populace if their existence ever became public knowledge.

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Muppet Babies
Sie machen Träume wahr
Nicht für dich nur
für alle, das ist klar

Wenn du Langeweile hast
Und möchtest auf den Mond
Dann stell dir das doch einfach vor
wirst seh'n, dass es sich lohnt!


I'm 23 now and could recite this from heart. I'm still deciding if I should feel scared or nostalgic.

The last stanza is in German actually a bit different. Roughtly translated it is: if you are boring and want to take a trip to the moon, just use your imagination, you'll see it will be worth it. So - we were not that much psychologically scarred.

I loved the show as a kid and used to play Nanny and Muppet Babies with my friends and our plushes. I remember that I always wondered how old Nanny was, if she was just playing or really watching over a bunch of animal kids and why she was wearing this stupid socks. I think I even still have one Muppet Babies comic around here..

I always wondered how old Nanny was

They actually answered that in one episode (sort of). She's like a tree- you can tell how old she is by counting the rings on her socks.

I've barely thought about the show for years, making it all the more startling that I could remember the lyrics all of a sudden. I think both scared and nostalgic are appropriate descriptions.

I hate my brain. I can't keep Middle High German grammar, linguistic trees, history epochs, if I turned off the stove or phone numbers in it for God's sake but stuff like old TV show jingles, Harry Potter spells, Star Trek TNG episode titles and song lyrics stick in there like engraved.

Why can't I write my exams about stuff like that? (I shouldn't complain, though. I wrote my German interim about Star Trek.)

You wrote your interim on Star Trek? How did you manage to get that approved? :-)

Well, I frequently visited the seminars of this lovely teacher, Mr. "Eternal Praise to Him" Esselborn, a guy who wrote things like "The literal Science Fiction" or "The intercultural potential of Science Fiction".

He doesn't look like it but this guy knows everything you need to know about Sci-Fi, may it be Asimov or the latest "Enterprise" episode.

And his seminar about Aliens was allowed as interim subject. So I wrote about conceptions of aliens in short stories from e.g. Lem and Asimov and "Star Trek" episodes we discussed. Saved me my interims. I only wrote about two out of three given topics (you have to write about two seminars and one general topic, I didn't have any time left for the last) but as I wrote the top mark in the "Alien" essay I came through it with an average mark.

dude ... your mind is clearly a scary place to be!

... and I find myself looking for a guided tour. *chuckle*

The scary part is that it's often very normal, and then comes something like this just out of the blue.

You are a strange, strange man.

Sometimes, yes. It does make life interesting, though. :)

As the results of an ethically-questionable government program involving genetic engineering of human DNA,

I wish I could award you karma or something for this. ;)

If only they could hand out moderator points for LiveJournal, I think there would be a lot more interesting a lot less angst.

Of course, that would only encourage the drama queens.

You have an amazing ability to inject a marvelous dose of sureality into my life.

Thanks!

Surreality is one of my favourite things. I'm glad I could oblige! :-)

See, this is why I love LJ--where else would I get Foucauldian readings of children's cartoons?

Was that a Foucauldian reading? I have to admit that I'm not familiar with that kind of literary reading... Is it related to Foucault at all?

However, I imagine that I would get a gleeful kick out of it were I enlightened.

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