Friday, May 7, 2010

Rainbow Connection by Kermit The Frog

There are things from our childhood that stick with us in our entire lives. These are memories that remind us of the wonder of life, the beauty of innocence and the pure joy that only children experience.

When we revisit these things a lot of times we find that they served us better in our memory. I loved watching the He-Man cartoon as a child but watching it now . . . man is it bad. Even for an extended toy commercial, it was horrendous.

I wish hadn’t recently watched this show, I’d rather have the memory of the watching as a kid and loving it. It doesn’t ruin the memory but it kind of sours it.

Occasionally when we visit something from our childhood and it’s even better than we remember. As much as I loved “Rainbow Connection” as a child, it means so much more to me now as adult.

The opening of The Muppet Movie, the first film to star Jim Henson’s creations features one of the unforgettable opening scenes in film. Like Dorothy singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” Kermit’s version of the “I Want” song speaks to our dreams and hopes.

Kermit gently ponders the way that we find hope in our lives. The first verse is about rainbows, discussing how they are only illusions and that there really isn’t anything on the other side. In the second verse, Kermit explains that the only reason we wish upon a star is that someone made up the idea.

The rising and falling melody is filled with hope and the end of the verses has a gentle rocking pattern which mirrors Kermit’s thoughts. We get the sense not so much that he is being a pessimist but that he needs to find his own way to believe in the future, to make something happen in this life, to find his own rainbow connection.

Kermit's connection doesn’t come from a song or someone else’s idea about wishing upon a star but rather a voice that comes from inside. A voice that “I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it” that tells him “ there’s something that I’m suppose to be.”

“Rainbow Connection,” is a beautiful song of reflection that questions the way that we move forward in our lives contemplating the nature of our dreams and who we are. What makes it all the more powerful is Kermit himself.

I know that Jim Henson was sitting in an underwater tank looking at a monitors performing Kermit’s mouth while other puppeteers amazingly controlled his arms. There seems on the surface so little possibilities for expression in this puppet. The eyes don’t move, there’s no eyebrows and he stays seated the whole song but somehow we believe that he truly is singing this song.

I don’t know how Jim Henson injected so much soul and heart into his creations but somehow he did and of course I didn’t think of this when I was a kid. He was Kermit The Frog and this song was just fun to sing and made me happy. The Amazing things is that as an adult I feel the same way. All my adult realism and logic disappears for a couple minutes when I watch Kermit sing this song and I find my own rainbow connection to my childhood.

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