Winter holidays tend to drive people slightly crazy. This is true almost everywhere, but the annual departure from reality and taste is especially obvious here, in New York City, where, for no apparent reason, the streets are being besieged by puppets. Glassy-eyed marionettes jerk through ballroom dances in shop windows; ominous porcelain figures form pagan tableaux at Saks 5th Avenue (which also features female mannequins in wedding dresses, posed next to male mannequins with carrot noses â€“ call it Bride of Frosty). But, in the midst of a relatively barren winter, when the most talked-about exhibit is a collection of flayed and mutilated human corpses (â€œBodiesâ€¦ The Exhibitionâ€ at the South Street Seaport), one can only give thanks for the fact that Muppet Christmas specials are playing non-stop at the Museum of Television and Radio.
Although the Muppets are ostensibly kidsâ€™ stuff, theyâ€™re also a major touchstone for nearly every twenty-something in the city: the fashionista who describes her dour, shaggy indie rock boyfriend by saying