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Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part II: The First Time It Happens by Nicholas Napoli


The First Time It Happens
by Nicholas Napoli

Back in 1996 thanks to the internet I discovered Muppet Vision 3D but sadly it wasn’t coming out
on video, it wouldn’t air on TV, you wouldn’t even be able to download it in the future, guess I
was going to America then. For the next five years I made sure to let my parents know how much
I wanted this and after telling my sisters magical stories about Disney World I soon had them
protesting alongside me.



I had read online, looked at pictures, basically when it came to Muppet Vision 3D I had done my
research. I wanted to witness the Muppets in 3D, travel on a plane for the first time, visit a store
full of Muppet merchandise, meet Sweetums oh and visit America as well. One of my biggest
excitements was the hope that one day I would meet the Emperor Penguins Orchestra as their
conductor (a Penguin himself) is named Nicky Napoleon… that’s almost my name! I wonder if that
was one of the last Muppets Jim Henson ever named? If I’m correct Nicky Napoleon only ever
appeared in puppet form on the unaired episodes of Little Muppet Monsters.



Sadly cameras are not allowed inside but on a happier note my Grandparents gave my family the
best gift ever… they got me to shut up. America here I come!



Do you know who Angus McGonagal is? If so I don’t need to tell you about the roller coaster of emotional happiness I felt when I finally saw the Muppet in all their third dimensional glory. If you
don’t know who Angus McGonagall is then just use your imagination. I thought this was as good as it would get but then came the Muppet store, I grabbed my basket and filled it up, then I grabbed my second basket and filled it up… this was where I was going to spend all of my holiday money.




 After about four hours shopping I finally made my way up to the cashier, where I met Becky, she was so sweet but a complete and utter liar too!

“Oh wow you must be a really big Muppet fan aren’t
you?”
At that point I was a teenager and she had breasts whilst I was buying Muppets and a lot of them, I was a bit shy but then I kissed her right on the lips. “We’re expecting soft toy versions of
Newlyweds Kermit and Miss Piggy” she said.

That’s cool I thought to myself but what made be smack one on her were the words that came out of her beautiful lying mouth next “we’re also expecting Sweetums” I was in love.

“Shut the fuck up bitch… are you serious?” As it turned out she was full of shit but at least now I had a reason to convince my parents to take me to MGM Studios everyday… I was in search for Sweetums!



After I paid for my merchandise I decided to stay inside and shop some more when suddenly my Dad comes rushing inside in a panic. “Nicholas! Stacey! Kaylie! Quickly come outside!” What was wrong? Were the Seven Dwarfs beating up our Mom? We all rushed outside and I could not believe what I saw next… was this really happening? My Mom was barricading a Miss Piggy even larger than herinto a corner. A Kermit walk around was actually waiting by a door as if they were getting ready to leave. My Mom doesn’t remember exactly what happened but apparently Miss Piggy was leaving and she asked her to stay.

The person inside simply continued to walk away after Kermit so my Mom pulled her into a corner and tried to keep her there until I arrived.


When we got there Miss Piggy was so scared of my Mom that she immediately signed my sisters’ autograph books as did Kermit. My Dad nudged me to go over and as much as I wanted to I couldn’t
because even though I knew I was in America meaning none of my friends were around I was still so embarrassed. My embarrassment had made it all the way to America with me and was going to ruin
my chances of getting a picture taken with my idols. I had given my little sister Kaylie my autograph book so that she could get them to sign it for me.


When Miss Piggy saw the second autograph book and how extremely red I had become upon my eyes meeting hers she charged right at me.

I felt so awkward, I could feel the pimples practically popping off my face, my extremely long-thin body waving all around the park. Miss Piggy grabbed my hand and began to dance with me, our faces touching, our bodies making heat together and the frog just staring on at us. I was humiliatingly happy as we became one moving together from side to side… I wanted this to stop but at the same time never to end.



Never Before And Never Again… I knew this wasn’t the real Miss Piggy and that the Kermit looking on at us was probably just a pissed off teenager who wanted to go off to lunch but I was in the moment. Swee-Oink-Oink the sounds of love and it was beautiful, I never wanted her to let go of me. After my Mom caught that magical moment on video forever Kermit as well as my sisters joined me and my new girlfriend for a picture and that picture has always hang on a frame in my room up to this day.

I wonder who was in that costume? For all I knew it could have been a real pig but seriously though it’s so funny to think that it might have not even have been a woman inside the costume but I have never held on tighter to anyone in my life. Then for the first time ever I wanted to punch Kermit right in the face as he pulled Miss Piggy away from me and they both disappeared. I later tried to grab Miss Piggy’s attention during the Disney World Parade but sadly I don’t think she recognised me.



Well if you thought my trip to America couldn’t get more exciting just wait until you hear this story. During one of our ten minute breaks from Muppet Vision 3D we walked around MGM Studios and came upon a studio that was offering a tour of the Home Improvement TV show sets. Every night my sisters and I would sit down to watch Home Improvement on the Disney Channel and we loved that show.


How is that more interesting than meeting a fake Miss Piggy I hear you ask… well it’s not, it’s what’s about to happen next that made my trip, ready for this? Our tour guide (who I think Alan
Arkin’s character in The Muppets (2011) was based around) was just about to become a little more interesting. “In this studio they are currently preparing to film the new Muppet Movie” casually
mentioned the tour guide as if no big thing. I was calmly able to ask “excuse me did you say the new Muppet movie?” before bursting out into a thousand little Kermit’s of joy.


“Yes” replied… let’s call him Boober. I couldn’t believe Boober, I hadn’t read anything about this on Muppet Central or Tough Pigs and they always knew exactly what store the paper used to print the actual screenplay for a Muppet movie was purchased from so I’m surprised there was no mention of this anywhere. Back then you could only rely on two Muppet websites for your accurate Muppet information now we have four… isn’t the progress of humanity so very interesting?


“Can we go inside?” I asked but Boober being the Boober that he is said that we couldn’t go in apparently it was a closed set. “But are the Muppeteers there too?” I eagerly asked and Boober
depressingly replied “no” yet he later said “but I think the Muppets are all in there waiting for production to start”. I had just danced with a fake Miss Piggy but might it be possible for me to do
it with the real thing? Would I actually be able to see the real Kermit? Touch the real Gonzo’s nose? Pull the real Rizzo’s tail? Wear the real Fozzie Bear’s hat? Or maybe even perform with the real Pepe the King Prawn? I was not going to let this opportunity pass me over, I was determined to see those Muppets “damn it I’m practically one of them” I thought to myself.



Boober if you want to be a party pooper that’s fine by me but I’m not letting this opportunity go quietly and I didn’t. As Boober, my family and the Chinese couple continued ahead I stayed behind
and as I tried to open that door I came to realise one thing… it was locked. What was I to do? I couldn’t believe it the real Muppets were right on the other side of that door, which ones I had no
idea but I couldn’t care less I just wanted to stick my hand inside a Muppet!

 



I had no time to think up a plan because from around the corner a Gorg dressed in a security guards uniform began to chase me. I was forced to rush back to my group of Fraggles in the hope
that I wouldn’t get caught or worse yet kicked out. I shouldn’t have given up so easily, maybe had I managed to sneak my way inside I would have overheard the evil EMTV German tycoon telling
Statler, Waldorf, Bobo Bear and Uncle Deadly about his plan to take over the Muppets. With the help of my brother Gary and his girlfriend Mary maybe we could have stopped his evil plan.

 



For those of you wondering what Muppet Movie they were preparing to film it was Kermit’s Swamp Years. I bought that film the moment it was released and could not believe that all those puppets, those sets, they had all been behind that large metallic door.

 
A few weeks later our holiday ended and I was back sitting on my Rock of Gibraltar looking out across the ocean at Africa and Spain.

I remember thinking to myself that I had only been in
America for three weeks and had been so close from meeting the real Muppets had I been able to open that door. This was meant to be, I am meant to meet the Muppets, my friends could ridicule me all they wanted but I couldn’t care less. I knew I was going to go back there someday, I was determined to meet the Muppets… I won’t stop until I become a Muppet!


Twelve years later it finally happened! I got invited to meet The Muppets! If you’ve actually read my story until the end I imagine you’re either a pretty big Muppet Fan or my Grandmother so you’ll be able to relate. If a casual Muppet fan is given the chance to meet two Muppets they would simply meet two characters but when you’re a I-Know-Who-Tattooey Rat-Is Muppet Fan like me you meet four characters! The Muppets and their performers and I was about to meet four of them and a year later I would meet them all. My whole life I had been waiting for this moment, I had been ridiculed for saying it would happen, I have even lost love because of my passion/addiction but at the end of the day if you really fight for something you believe in then I guarantee you will succeed or your money back... or you’ll fall flat on your face but either way it’s always an interesting ride.




Thanking Nicholas so much for Part II.
Part III coming soon....

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