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A Bill Kuchman Pop-Ed: 5 Reasons Why 'A Muppet Family Christmas' Is Superior to 'Muppet Christmas Carol'

Around this time every year, I start seeing excited Facebook posts about Muppet Christmas Carol being on TV. People gush about the special, even changing their Facebook profile picture to Muppet characters. Based on their enthusiasm, you'd get the impression that Muppet Christmas Carol was the greatest Muppet-releated Christmas special in history. I have news for these people — they've been living a lie.

A Muppet Family Christmas is superior.

While Muppet Christmas Carol is the special many people think of when they think of a Muppet Christmas show, A Muppet Family Christmas actually outdates that special by five years. Unlike Muppet Christmas Carol, which is a retelling of someone else's story, A Muppet Family Christmas is an original story about how the characters from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock all came together to celebrate Christmas. A Muppet Family Christmas is basically the Avengers of awesome Christmas specials.

"But, Bill, there's no way anything could be better than Muppet Christmas Carol!" you shout at me, even though you're yelling at a computer screen and there's no way I can actually hear you. A Muppet Family Christmas is better. Here's why.

1. A Muppet Family Christmas brings together The Muppet Show, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock
Like I said earlier, A Muppet Family Christmas is the Avengers of Christmas specials. Jim Henson brought together his three most iconic franchises (sorry, Dark Crystal fans) for A Muppet Family Christmas. Sure, Kermit has bounced around between The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, but when else have you seen these three groups together?

With The Muppets and Sesame Street now owned by different companies, odds are we'll never see a collaboration like this again. Disney couldn't even get Elmo in the 2011 movie The Muppets — how would they get the entire Sesame Street gang on board?

2. Fozzie sings with a snowman
Forget being green, being a bear comedian isn't easy. As a struggling comedian, nothing ever seems to go right for Fozzie. His jokes fall flat. He has to perform with The Moopets. There are two elderly men who always seem to be there to heckle him. So when Fozzie finds a snowman who can not only sing but who also appreciates a certain corny brand of humor, Fozzie is ecstatic.

Unfortunately, the scene from A Muppet Family Christmas featuring Fozzie and the snowman singing Sleigh Ride isn't on any of the home video releases of the special. Apparently no one ever got rights for the song beyond the original television broadcast. The only way you're going to see it is through bootlegs or YouTube clips. Yeah, that's how cool A Muppet Family Christmas is — the man doesn't even want you to see it in its complete awesomeness.

3. The Swedish Chef attempts to cook Big Bird 
First off, did you ever notice that the Swedish Chef has real human hands? Somehow I only recently caught that. It's kind of disturbing — a felty Muppet with real hands. I guess it was a necessary design feature to allow the Swedish Chef to find his way around a kitchen.

Does Muppet Christmas Carol feature a storyline about one character attempting to trick another character into being Christmas dinner? I didn't think so. Luckily for Big Bird, the Swedish Chef was unsuccessful in his quest. I'm not sure what the gang had for dinner instead. Maybe they found a bunch of boxes of Croonchy Stars.

4. The Muppet Babies make an appearance
Doc's right. Even weirdos are cute when they're babies.

I guess you could count the Muppet Babies as a fourth Henson property that joined the festivities for A Muppet Family Christmas. If you only know the Muppet Babies from their Saturday morning cartoons, you probably aren't used to seeing them as actual Muppets.

5. Jim Henson is in A Muppet Family Christmas
In Brian Jay Jones' recently released and extremely awesome book Jim Henson: The Biography, we learn that A Muppet Family Christmas was one of Henson's favorite Muppets specials. It's no surprise then that Henson had a cameo in the special, appearing with Sprocket toward the end of A Muppet Family Christmas.

In fairness, Henson couldn't appear in Muppet Christmas Carol, as he had passed away a few years prior, but it's still a major plus for A Muppet Family Christmas.

I leave you with a full version of A Muppet Family Christmas, complete with awesome 1987 commercials. Do yourself a favor and watch it to learn what a superior Muppets Christmas special looks like. Just watch out for the icy patch.

A Bill Kuchman Pop-Ed: 5 Reasons Why 'A Muppet Family Christmas' Is Superior to 'Muppet Christmas Carol' Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 12/12/2013 Rating: 5

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