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Manhattan Takes The Muppets: At one point in November I had the idea to watch every stupid Christmas special ever created and write reviews. Yeah, you may have noticed a pattern to my terrible ideas. Fortunately this didn't happen, but I did go as far as recording a bunch of those specials on the PVR.

For me the only Christmas special is A Charlie Brown Christmas, with its existential crisis resolved by a Kierkegaardian leap to faith. Also because it was the only Christmas special I'd ever seen until a few months ago, when I saw some Rankin-Bass specials while playing with Maggie. I liked the animation but the stories were a mess. But my point is that all these specials were lying around on the PVR, and yesterday for some reason we watched a Muppets special called "Letters to Santa".

Man, it was terrible. I've never seen anything so bad that involved Muppets. Kermit has been toned down into blandness, even though his negative traits were never really that negative. I don't even recognize Gonzo. On the plus side, its relentless demonization of the TSA provides valuable counterprogramming for today's youth. (Yet the USPS was lionized! I've never seen a television program play such favorites with government agencies.) A pleasant sense of vertigo arose from Jane Krakowski never revealing that she was actually her 30 Rock character doing a terrible Muppets/NBC holiday special while coked to the gills on Teamocil. And Sam the American Eagle is always good, but at this point the Muppets have a problem similar to the Simpsons, where there are so many bit players who have to come out and do their schtick that whatever you're trying to illustrate bogs down.

In this case, though, the main plot was so inane that the show was actually at its best when bogged down in schtick. But afterwards we re-watched the great Steve Martin scene from The Muppet Movie, to cleanse the palate. Now that's a celebrity cameo!

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