17 February 2008

And what's wrong with the term 'Toast Bitch'?

Having overindulged to a frightening degree last night at Nigella's, I felt that this morning it'd be only prudent in Trof to sample their healthy breakfast; fasting for Lent from eggs, cheese, and butter and its ilk was a factor in my decision, I have to admit, but today being a Sunday it wasn't the decisive one. No, I simply felt some common-or-garden gastronomic virtue was called for, and so had a bowl of yoghurt with honey and fruit, topped with sprinkling of oats, with a glass of orange juice on the side. It was a deliciously healthy start to the day.

For an encore, I spent most of the afternoon drinking water in Solomon's with the Ginger Beast, before being chauffered to St Augustine's for mass, after which I fear I managed to earn nonchalantly the undying hatred of one of our new altar servers.

On then to the Chinese Buffet, there to continue my nostalgic trip through Manchester's culinary establishments, this time in less abstemious fashion than earlier in the day, and then back to the girls' house, there to delight them with some of my favourite Muppet Show scenes ever...

Not quite a top ten, but nonetheless, allow me to introduce 'Ten' Moments of Muppet Genius:

1. There was the infamous 'Muppera' by the Fuzz Brothers -- that's from Season Four, episode Nine, trivia fans, hitherto only featured on the mindbogglingly brilliant Muppet Weird Stuff as presented by The Great Gonzo and available to rent in a video library near you, assuming you live in Frankfurt.

2. Having mentioned everyone's favourite Weirdo, you need to watch him sabotaging Fozzie's attempt at reading Robert Frost's most famous poem and singing the classic 'Act Naturally', not least for apt deployment of the phrase 'ludicrous things'.

3. 'Hugga Wugga' evolved from the Sclrap Flyapp sketch Jim Henson performed on the Today Show in the sixties, but sure -- surely -- it's intended as a comment on repression in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc in general? Look at the big red monster with those Brezhnev eyebrows!

4. I don't know if you're a fan of The Thomas Crown Affair whether in its original incarnation or in its more recent Brosnan and Russo version, complete with improbable-sex-on-a cold-marble-stairway sequence, but I'll bet you'll not have seen a better take on 'Windmills of Your Mind' than the Muppets'.

5. Of course, when it comes to upstaging originals, Beaker rather pulled out all the stops with his rendition of what many consider to be the worst song of all time. You should listen to everyone's favourite lab technician attempt 'Feelings' before you rush to the same conclusion. You may just enjoy the funniest two minutes of your life. Hell, it's worth it even for Zoot's sax...

6. Yes, the Muppets had their poignant moments. Take Robin's recitation of A.A. Milne's 'Halfway Down the Stairs', for example. An old girlfriend once asked me whether this was included for all the sensitive boys that used to watch. I could but blush and look abashed.

7. There were a whole subgenre on Muppet songs that were basically crap puns embraced with relish. Of these, my favourite has to be this hilarious version of 'I've Got You Under My Skin'. There are plenty more where that came from...

(I'd especially recommend 'All Of Me', 'I Feel Pretty', and Cole Porter's classic 'You Do Something To Me'.)

8. Believe it or not, not every Muppet Show sketch involved a song. I don't think I need to justify why the Koozebanian Mating Ritual should be on this list. If this really affects you, you can get a dustcatcher to commemorate it. And isn't she a beauty? It's all about the Galley-oh-hoop-hoop, really.

9. Rowlf was always my favourite muppet when I was young, while I always had a soft spot for Fozzie. I'm sad to say that my own sense of humour is sadly what you get when you crossbreed those of said dog and bear. Be that as it may, I've always loved their 'English Country Garden' duet. As for Rowlf himself, it's worth reminding yourselves of his love of Beethoven.

10. And finally, because my own resurgence of interest in Jim Henson's greatest creations largely coincided with the short-lived Muppets Tonight, I think you should really make the time to watch Miss Piggy auditioning with Billy Crystal for a part in When Harry Met Sally. The sequence starts about three minutes in. You'll like the Rob Reiner muppet.

If you don't enjoy those, you might as well sit in a box and scowl.

And with that, goodnight.

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