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Opinion

Muppets, family, parades, oh my!

Think back some 15 years for a moment. We were all relatively young and in first grade or kindergarten or what have you. The Muppets were still on television in syndication. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade wowed and astounded our younger selves with gigantic balloons of our TV icons floating through the streets of New York City. Our understanding of Thanksgiving was much simpler.

Looking back on those days, things don’t necessarily seem as bright. There are no Muppets on TV. They are, however, back in the theaters, but more on that later. The Thanksgiving parade has been geared more toward the younger generation. But then again, the parade has always been geared toward the younger crowd, has it not?

There are still some attractions for the older crowd, like the Broadway performances and some old balloon favorites. The balloons don’t quite tower like they used to, but the enormity is still breathtaking. At least there are no Snooki or Kim Kardashian balloons.

Our knowledge of history obviously has changed since elementary school. Did the settlers interact peacefully with the natives and have annual Thanksgiving dinners from the 1600s onwards? No. Settlers didn’t quite get along with the natives, for one. Additionally, Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1863 by President Lincoln, more than 250 years after European immigrants started having feasts to give thanks.

Let’s just sweep those shattered illusions under the rug and pretend they never were created. Now back to the Muppets.

When it comes to the celebrated series, there is a real sense of nostalgia, regardless of how familiar you are with the characters. I, for one, never saw much of the television show, but was more familiar with the movies. When news of the movie started to break, I couldn’t have been happier. It’s the Muppets! How can you stand by stoic when the Muppets come onto the scene?

OK, the humor might not always reach you, but there’s something for all ages in the show and various movies. There’s also the emotional aspect of getting to see your favorite Muppets on the big screen in a big fan’s (Jason Segel) ode to the franchise, which can’t be denied. The Muppets are, in a way, another family you can turn to for laughs or to brighten the mood when times are tough. Sometimes you need a bit of nostalgia to remind you of how good life is and how good it can be.

But Thanksgiving has changed. You used to be asked questions of what you learned in school and related things. We parroted back what we had been learning, who our friends were and whether or not we liked our teachers. Now, there are questions of “What are you going to do after college?” and similar big-picture issues.

And we have no grand plan. We make our own lives what they are. Yes, we may be given guidance or direction, but it’s up to us whether or not we want to take that path. Someday we’ll find it, our own rainbow connection.

Views expressed in the opinion pages represent the opinions of the columnists.