This is possibly my favorite Muppet related video ever. It’s also one of the most heartbreaking, by far.
I love watching the Muppeteers do the voices of the Muppets. Of course it’s not the same as actually watching a Muppet perform a song, but there is something so fascinating about watching a character’s voice come out of the mouth of one of these men. Plus, oh goodness, they’re all so young! Especially Steve, Dave, and Kevin! Steve Whitmire is uber adorable - although, when is he ever not adorable? - with his huge hair and his green suit (an obvious tribute to Kermit), and just look at that smile. I love that, even at such a sad time, each and every one of these men can find their smile, especially Steve, and they’re all able to have fun too. They’re all so ridiculous during the opening Chicken number and “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”. Richard and Frank have such a great time playing off of each other on “Simon Smith”, but then everyone looks so sad when Jerry starts singing “Halfway Down the Stairs”. And 6:45? Look at how Dave comforts Frank before Frank breaks into “Cottlestone Pie”. It just eats at my heart.
I love the moment when they pick Frank up. I don’t know if it was planned or some form of inside joke (it looks like the three planned it and Frank wasn’t in on it, since they’re all sort of exchanging glances as they slowly move in and Frank doesn’t seem to notice until he’s hoisted), but the camaraderie that happens is stupendous (I love how Steve’s giggling like a maniac). And the way Frank looks up at 7:54? It’s almost as though he’s looking up at Jim. I love the look on his face during “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday”. He just looks so at peace.
For the longest time I was sort of upset that Dave only gets one song in this memorial, but eventually it dawned on me: Dave may only get one song, but he gets the song. He got to sing the song that a great deal of people have associated with passing away; associated with heaven. It’s the most important song being sung in the whole medley. Everyone is so solemn throughout it; it’s perfect. The look on Dave’s face at 9:22 slays me, that slight moment where a look of sadness overcomes him. My favorite moment though is at 9:54. I love how all four of the other men are standing and admiring the importance of Dave’s song, while Frank just sits in his chair with a smile on his face, like he’s remembering the wonderful times he had with his best friend.
During the “Wimbeling” song, I love how Jerry and Steve get all mixed up with the lyrics and laugh over it (once again, the fact that they’re able to have fun is remarkable). Look at Frank dance too! It’s adorable. And the face Steve makes when he sings “song” at 10:52 is priceless. And when the camera pans across each of them during “You Are My Sunshine”, gah. Sad doesn’t even begin to cover it. And at 12:00 they definitely show a shot of Jim’s family in the audience, which is where my emotions begin to escalate. And, as usual, “Just One Person” always manages to move me to tears. Kevin trying not to cry. Kevin, Dave, and Frank with their arms around each other. Each of them slowly bringing out their Muppet. Finally, the slow emergence of all of the performers and their Muppets, and when the camera pulls back and you can see Jim’s picture above them all.
A beautifully tragic moment in history.