Friday, December 14, 2012

Random Muppet #29: The Grinch

On the Muppet Wiki, there is a "Random Muppet" button which sends you to the page of one of the thousands of Muppets in existence. I will press the button and discuss the importance of the Muppet that comes up, no matter how obscure. No skips. No redos. This is the Random Muppet Challenge.

(This week is the special Christmas Edition. For Christmas.)

Random Muppet #29: The Grinch

He's a mean one.

Performer:  Anthony Asbury

Muppet Universe of Origin:  The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss

Most Significant Appearance:  The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, August 17, 1997, "The Grinch Meets His Max"

Unfortunately, as we all know, the Grinch's most significant appearance is in the 1957 Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or the 1966 animated adaptation of the same name, wherein he attempts to steal Christmas from the Whos in Whoville and, in doing so, learns that Christmas is not a physical object that can simply be stolen.

That was in no way related to Henson, so it must be ignored (save for the backstory it provides the Grinch).  The Grinch in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss seems to be a slightly younger incarnation of the character, before he reformed from his hateful ways.  He still delights in ruining people's fun and is all around a huge bully.  But, as in the original story, there is one character whom he considers his friend, his confidant.  That is his trusty dog Max.

Still a sad sack.

In "The Grinch Meets His Max," we learn of that fateful day in which Max became the Grinch's sole companion.  The Grinch was in severe discomfort.  Not only were his shoes too tight, but he had an itch in the middle of his back that would not go away.  People refused to help the poor soul because he caused them so much strife.  But newcomer Max inadvertently helped the suffering soul and became life-bound to him, whether he liked it or not.

And the rest is history.

Why Is He the Most Important Muppet?  What Is the True Meaning of Christmas?

Just because it is Christmas doesn't mean the world stops.  Awful, tragic events can still occur and they don't take a break because it is the holiday season.  In Whoville/Seussville, all of these negative occurrences are embodied in the Grinch.  He is a force of mayhem and havoc.

As seen in his original story (and in a very similar episode "The Cat in the Hat's Flower Power") when the Grinch attempts to thwart his neighbors, and remove everything they love about the holiday, they still find reason to band together and sing merry tunes.

Ain't nothin' gonna break our stride.

The Grinch learns from this display that try all he might, he cannot completely tarnish the human spirit. We have a way of bouncing back and getting through the toughest of situations.

Since he is now a physical character, he can learn, grow, and more importantly, love.  Max is his last lingering connection with humanity before his small heart grows three times sizes.  It is evidence that he is capable of reform.  And what better time to change for the better than at Christmas, the yearly reminder that we need to keep things positive and not let the bad in the world keep us down.

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