Christmas Silliness

My all-time favourite Christmas movie is The Muppet Christmas Carol. It's the most faithful adaptation of A Christmas Carol I've seen (seriously - two Marley brothers notwithstanding) and there's something about A Christmas Carol that works much better with Muppets than with just people. It's a really, really sugary sweet fable that needs to be treated as a story, rather than given the more 'realistic' treatment we usually employ for movies and TV, and Gonzo as Charles Dickens the narrator is the perfect way to achieve this. Also, it's completely hilarious ('Even the vegetables don't like him!).

During the schoolroom scene, when Scrooge is taken to see his younger self by the Ghost of Christmas Past, we pan across a shelf full of gorgeous Muppet busts of Aristotle, Dante, Moliere and Shakespeare (with Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat on the end, of course).

The beautiful Muppet bust of Aristotle

Inevitably, the shelf collapses and the busts go for a burton

It's an interesting selection of busts, in which Aristotle rather stands out, being a philosopher rather than a writer of more imaginative literature - though he makes a good pair with Dante, of course. I think personally I'd have been inclined to go for Plato or Socrates, or for a writer, maybe Virgil, but Aristotle works as a representative of the Classical world, and the selection definitely needed some Classical representation!

That's not really why I wanted to talk about this though. I actually brought this up so I could share a silly observation I made earlier this year. When I moved to Oxford a few months ago, I took a few tourist-type photos around the town, including these of the busts that sit near the entrance to the Museum of the History of Science on Broad Street.

View across the street from Blackwells book shop

A closer view of the busts - click to enlarge further

Don't the Oxford busts look weirdly like like the Muppet ones?! It's their weird googly eyes that mainly reminded me of the Muppet versions. I can't remember who they all are, but this is outside the Museum of the History of Science, so it's a pretty safe bet that Aristotle is among them.

If you haven't seen The Muppet Christmas Carol, go forth immediately and get hold of a DVD or find when and on what channel it's showing this Christmas. You won't regret it.

A few more Christmas/Saturnalia posts from the archives:
Joyeux Noel
The Roman Mysteries: The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
Chelmsford 123: Peeled Grapes and Pedicures
Discworld: Hogfather

Happy Christmas everyone!*

*Or whatever holiday greeting you prefer.


  1. I love the Muppets' Christmas Carol: I foresee using my younger sisters as a convenient excuse for many years to come. Happy New Year!

  2. Oh, I don't bother with excuses - I love it! Watching it is an annual Christmas ritual, along with Love, Actually.

    Happy New Year!


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