Saturday, August 11, 2012

Beware the Yuppies

During the 1980s, a new species emerged.  They could be easily spotted by their V-neck sweaters, their disenfranchised outlook on life, and their affluent wealth.  The baby boomer generation were no longer cute, numerous babies.  They were now thirtysomething.  They had grown into young, urban professionals.  They were the "yuppies."

And they were starting to multiply.

Raised by a generation of hippies, the yuppies sought structure and meaning in their lives.  Many of them found lives as lawyers, brokers, and professors, earning high-paying salaries and unsure of what to do with themselves.  To the non-yuppies, yuppies were self-absorbed and unsatisfied with their lives, despite the fact that they had found themselves in positions that many Americans would consider to be the ultimate dream.  A well-structured family living in a peaceful neighborhood would make almost anyone comfortable.  But the yuppies needed more.

The quintessential depiction of yuppie life in popular culture was the drama thirtysomething, emphasis on drama.  This allowed us a look into these creatures lives, allowing others to experience the problems that they encounter in their daily lives.  I would direct you to a specific episode, but honestly, all you need to understand their lifestyle is the opening theme, which I've dubbed "Suffering in Suburbia."

"MuppeTelevison" was not only an extension of The Muppet Show.  It set out to skewer current television trends.  So of course, they were going to comment on this growing culture, and they did so with the pitch-perfect parody "Hurtingsomething."

Prepare to be tortured.

The premise was simple: take thirtysomething and replace the cast with giant monsters.  In all forms of Muppet media, the monsters are used to represent some aspect of humanity.  In Sesame Street, monsters are children trying to get a handle on the world around them.  In The Muppet Show, monsters are our sins, pushed to the extreme.  In Fraggle Rock, monsters are those who abuse power.  And now, monsters are yuppies.

The monsters Anthony and Fern don't act like previous Muppet monsters.  They don't snarl or destroy or speak in mono-syllabic grunts.  They are intelligent and insightful and they just happen to snack on humans now and then.  In the first sketch, as Anthony and Fern prepare for bed, Fern shrieks when she discovers a tiny human that has crawled into the sink.

Anthony catches the tiny lawyer in a glass and proceeds to jokingly scare Fern with it before releasing it outside.  They then have a long conversation about how Anthony's immaturity trivialized Fern's fears, which only adds to the stress of her daily struggles as an independent woman.

It's time for our nightly in-depth conversation about our feelings.

In a later sketch, Anthony reveals that his therapist as instructed him to stop bottling up his feelings in "mason jars" and storing them away.  Fern provokes him into getting angry when she starts to cry before he has a chance to reveal the things she does that bothers her.  He can't stand that he has to walk on eggshells whenever he wants to propose a change in their behavior.

Oh, and they spend this whole conversation eating humans.

This is probably full of carbs, but I'm too angry to let that bother me at the moment.

This is exactly the issue most people have with yuppies.  They take their miniscule issues with their relationships or what have you and blow them into such big proportions that they forget about all the other people who have life much worse than them.  In a world of comfort, these monsters have to create their own problems.  That isn't to say their problems aren't real.  It's just that sometimes it helps to look at the bigger picture.

 Maybe you should spend more time worrying about the fact that your brain is exposed.

Most "MuppeTelevision" parodies were just brief, one-joke ideas based on puns.  But "Hurtingsomething" was inspired.  It showed us that as we evolve, your monsters evolve as well.  The new monsters were the ones who spent their days using complex metaphors to complain about their state of ennui.  Yuppie culture has changed over the years, but there are still elements of these monsters in today's age.  If you think you are or are becoming a yuppie yourself, just remember: at least you aren't currently being consumed by a giant monster.

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