A Muppet Family ChristmasA warm Yuletide special, A Muppet Family Christmas pairs the Muppet gang with the perennial favorite Sesame Street cast for a holiday celebration. With a blizzard brewing outside, Fozzie's childhood farmhouse on Christmas Eve becomes the backdrop for a medley of holiday tunes--eight in all--ranging from the Muppet band's rousing "Jingle Bell Rock" to Big Bird's sweet rendition of "The Christmas Song." Though the script meanders in part, the 42-minute program shines as a musical revue, seasoned with quick-witted interludes by the culinary comedic Swedish Chef, slapstick odd couple Ernie and Bert, and the diva-like escapades of Miss Piggy. While lacking the irresistible sizzle of The Muppet Movie, the show's finale, which includes Kermit and Piggy under the mistletoe and a cameo appearance by Jim Henson, proves that nothing can dim the Muppets' appeal. --Lynn Gibson Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas Originally a special for HBO, this Jim Henson production (he also directed) was one of the first real forays into the more realistic, less vaudevillian direction for the Muppets. It also included Frank Oz (Muppeteer), Paul Williams (songs), and Jerry Juhl (script), some of the Muppet Show's usual suspects. Emmet Otter and his jug band are trying out in the local talent show, but they face fierce competition from a gang of toughs, the Riverbottom Gang and their rock band. Perhaps the most notable thing is the creation of a sense of poverty and want that suffuses the little production. Even Emmet's mother, who sacrifices her washtub to further Emmet's cause, gets in the act. Fine Christmas viewing for all ages. --Keith Simanton
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