The Muppet Christmas Carol: Great or Ghastly?

We all know it. We’ve all seen every single side of the argument. We all have a decision made and a brick wall built to protect that decision as fragile as a dove. 

Die Hard is in fact, not a Christmas movie. 

Now that I have your attention, I want to open a new avenue of discussion for Christmas themed movies: 

Is “The Muppet Christmas Carol” simply the greatest Christmas movie ever made or is the ghost of Jim Henson here to haunt us? 

This adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is witty, smart, and generally well made. It follows the narration of Gonzo the Great (who is the superior Muppet, fight me) and his sidekick Rizzo the Rat as they spy on Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Michael Frickin’ Caine). This follows his typical story of bah humbug, ghosts telling him he took too much and needs to sit down, weird girls made of candle flame, a very quirky Father Christmas; all culminating in a final showdown with Tiny Tim where Scrooge proceeds to put him in an early grave that forces Bob Cratchit’s hand and leads to a bloody murder that puts Scrooge in an all too late grave. It was Cratchit in the accounting office with a fifteen pound frozen turkey. Game Over! 

I kid about the last part, but this movie could very easily have ended that way. The Muppet Christmas Carol is a cocaine-fueled fever dream that feels way too long and was frankly kinda scary to my young child brain. My family and I watched this drug trip of a movie for about a decade every single Christmas and it still is uncanny how Muppets and humans and horses all belong to the same shared universe. Are all of the Muppets just really hands all below the camera’s view and being made to say these horrible things with even worse British accents? OR do they really also just cohabit like it’s normal to be an abomination in the face of God and country and all natural laws that act as guide rails to our sanity and safety? 

I digress. Watch this movie for yourself and see what you feel afterwards. I’m sure it is a fun and whimsically great piece of cinematic mastery if you aren’t me. And it’s completely family friendly too! I watched it and look at me now.  

Will this make it on your holiday watch list? Or will it keep you up at night with questions of morality and mortality?



Daniel Wartham is a current grad student and spends his free time watching movies and taking walks to Waffle House at 2am. He can be found on Twitter at @DanielWartham.

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