A Muppet Family Christmas

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A portion of the cast poses for the closing shot.

The best-remembered of several Christmas Specials featuring the Muppets; it could probably be better called A Henson Family Christmas. It originally aired on ABC in 1987.

Fozzie Bear has packed up the Muppets crew and brought them with him to surprise his mom for Christmas. There's just one problem: mom's scheduled a trip to Malibu and rented out the farm house to Doc (of Fraggle Rock), who's looking forward to a quiet Christmas in the country. Throw in the Fraggles themselves, the Sesame Street gang, and even a bit of Muppet Babies, and Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes used in A Muppet Family Christmas include:
  • Alliteration: Bert and Ernie's "small talk" with Doc.
  • Art Shift: In a meta sense. The Muppet Babies segment is puppeteered, matching the rest of the show but differing from the cartoon. The puppets (with the exception of Baby Animal) were re-used from The Muppets Take Manhattan, officially going from Piggy's dream sequence to actual backstory status.
  • Bat Family Crossover: The only time you'll ever see the four cornerstones of early Muppetdom (The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, and Muppet Babies) in the same place. Don't expect it to ever happen again, as the Sesame Street characters are now owned by a different company, Fraggle Rock is a fading memory only known to those with cable, and Muppet Babies will be tied up in legal red tape until the end of time.
  • Bilingual Bonus: As usual, most of the Swedish Chef's dialogue is a lot of incomprehensible babble interspersed with enough English to follow. But when he first arrives at the farmhouse, he greets Kermit with a cheery "Glaedelig Jul!" Yep, that means "Merry Christmas" -- in Danish, not Swedish.
  • The Cameo: During the final sequence, Uncle 'Traveling' Matt is singing alongside Doc and Sprocket.
  • Carnivore Confusion: One of the Swedish Chef's shticks; in this special the turkey tries to get out of being cooked by siccing the Chef on Big Bird instead.
    • The Swedish Chef also mistakes Doc's dog for a turkey as well, which leads to what may be the best line of the entire special:

Doc: I don't care if the turkey says the dog is the turkey! The dog is not the turkey! The turkey's the turkey, you turkey!

  • Christmas Songs: Lots of them. Sometimes they're justified, such as the Sesame Street caroling sequence.
  • Continuity Nod: When Doc introduces himself to Ernie and Bert:

Bert: Did you know that 'Doc' starts with the letter D?
Doc: Why, yes.
Ernie: 'Yes'. 'Yes' starts with the letter Y!
Doc: True...
Ernie: And 'true' starts with the letter T!
Doc: Hey, what is this?
Bert: Where we come from, this is small talk.

    • As Kermit looks out the window at the blizzard Piggy's trapped in, Doc casually turns to the Count:

Doc: There is one worried frog.
Count: Aha! That's one! One worried frog!
Robin: Oh, he's not the only one.
Count: That's two! Two worried frogs! Ah ah ah ah!
Sprocket: *confused questioning whine*
Doc: Search me. More small talk, I think.

  • Cool Old Guy: Doc proves to be one of these, once he gets past his initial grumpiness.
  • Creator Cameo: See "Crowning Moment of Heartwarming"
  • Cuteness Proximity: After the Muppet Babies segment, Doc admits that "even weirdos are cute when they're babies!"

Gonzo: I knew you'd learn to love us!
Doc: I didn't say that.

    • Oscar, though, doesn't share the opinion of the Sesame Street play:

Mrs. Bear: Oh, aren't they adorable.
Oscar: Don't encourage them!

Ernie: C'mon, Bert. Somebody has to play Mama, and you lost the toss!

  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Or rather, Importation Expansion Plot Hole. The first thought of many young Britons on seeing it was "Why is Sprocket owned by some guy called Doc? What happened to the lighthouse keeper (from the British version of Fraggle Rock)?"
  • Furry Confusion: Several:
    • Rowlf has a conversation with Doc's (Muppet but non-anthro) dog Sprocket.

Doc: (amused) Don't you hate it when you can't speak the language?

    • An anthro turkey hits on non-anthro chicken Camilla.
    • Kermit gives Piggy a mink for Christmas - a live one that proclaims herself Piggy's biggest fan.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Miss Piggy at one point asks a rude man very quietly but firmly if he'd like to have children someday. (Yes, threat of castration, or at least a really good Groin Attack. Just one of the unique spins Piggy brings to the Season.)
    • This is one of the scenes which were deleted from the video release.
    • At one point Doc comes in from the snowstorm and says "it's cold enough out there to freeze your Winnebago".
    • When Fozzie tells Kermit his new partner is a snowman, Kermit responds with, "The heck you say!"
  • Grumpy Bear: Doc, who's had his holiday plans upended. And Oscar, of course:

Oscar: (while caroling) I will NOT sing this song!

  • Half Dressed Muppets: You can tell that the gathering at the end of the show is a special occasion, because even the Muppets who are normally not dressed (e.g. Kermit) have put on special duds.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners/Ho Yay: Lampshaded with Bert and Ernie, who play a couple for a presentation of Twas the Night Before Christmas. (Bert's humiliated that he's "Mama", Ernie responds that someone had to and he lost the coin toss.)
  • I Am Not Weasel: Fozzie's mom mistakenly refers to Kermit as a lizard several times.
  • I Got a Rock: In this case, it's apparently a good thing. The "nice yellow pebble" has been a Fraggle gift thirty-seven times, then is given to Robin, then is given to Grover.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: You'd be hard-pressed to get a copy of the uncut network broadcast version on an actual tape, because the official home video releases had to cut out several scenes due to music-rights issues. And don't bother hoping Disney will release a Special Uncut Edition, since the video rights for Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock are owned by other companies.
    • The European release supposedly has most (or all?) of the songs intact, and is only missing a couple scenes. Still, don't expect it in America anytime soon.
    • The full, uncut version of the special is available for viewing in the library at the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV & Radio) in New York City and (presumably) at their West Coast branch in Beverly Hills, CA. The special is also shown for the public in the Center's theater during the Holiday season.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: The turkey seems rather nonchalant about being, as Gonzo notes, "in the wrong place at the wrong time".
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Duh.
  • Mind Your Step: There's a running gag about an icy patch in front of the door. "Careful of the icy patch!" greets each new visitor - after they've already slipped.
  • Offscreen Crash: Can be heard while Piggy is calling Kermit from a Phone Booth during the storm.
  • Peking Duck Christmas: Subverted. The Swedish Chef first intends to cook a turkey for Christmas, until he sees Big Bird ("Gobbla gobbla humunga!") and tries to kill him instead. Big Bird, in his innocent oblivious way, completely charms the Chef, who decides that his feast is going to feature "shredded wheat and cranberry sauce."
  • Pet the Dog: When trying to figure out sleeping arrangements, Rizzo considers bunking with Oscar - and the usually-antisocial Grouch admits he likes the idea of having a rat in his trash can.
  • Pretty in Mink: Piggy's dress for the finale has fur trim; and then, of course, Maureen the Mink takes this trope Up to Eleven in the literal sense.
  • Running Gag: "Careful of the icy patch!"
  • Santa Claus: Doc
  • Shout-Out: When it's pointed out that Gonzo's not a chicken like his girlfriend:

Gonzo: Well, nobody's perfect.

  • Snowed In: The gang must weather "the worst blizzard in fifty years," while Kermit worries about Miss Piggy, who is apparently lost in it.
  • Snowlems: Fozzie builds a snowman who promptly comes alive and shares his sense of humor.
  • Statler and Waldorf: Fozzie gets the shock of his life when the hecklers arrive at the farmhouse, and he's informed that they are old friends of his mother's who visit her every Christmas.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: "Well, everybody, it's Christmas Eve and the tree is trimmed, so it's time for our annual carol sing!"
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Fozzie actually gets some laughs when he teams up with the snowman. One of the woodland creatures even calls them the funniest comedy team in the business.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: You know it's cold when the snowman wants to come in and warm up.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: Robin the Frog defines it for the Fraggles as a time when "you gather together with the people you love, and you wish each other peace on Earth."
  • Under the Mistletoe: Kermit and Piggy at the very end.
  • The Unintelligible: Good thing they didn't have Beaker do a solo on the more obscure carols...
  • Visual Pun: Grover plays a mouse for Twas The Night Before Christmas, and he's carrying a bowl...
    • Don't Explain the Joke: ...which, as he spells out, he is not stirring. (As in "Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.")
  • What's a Henway?: Part of Fozzie's and the snowman's act.
  • You Mean "Xmas": The Fraggles have never heard of Christmas, but coincidentally happen to celebrate a very similar holiday, the "Festival of the Bells," at the same time.

Statler: Hey, this page is comparing us to Cthulhu!
Waldorf: Well, you're an Old One, but you sure aren't Great!
Both: Do-ho-ho-hoh!