Thursday, August 15, 2013

Age Eleven

In 1979, I was eleven years old, and went to see The Muppet Movie.  This was a little bit strange because at that age, I was too old for the Muppets, and even today I look back on the show and the film not as a pleasure of my childhood, but perhaps my first introduction to an experience we come to know as adults as a guilty pleasure.  Seeing the movie may have been more acceptable than watching the show because, at eleven, and in the seventies, there was essentially no entertainment meant for me.

Between Francis Hodgson Burnett and Judy Blume's "Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret" there was no transition.  Back then, eleven went somewhat unregarded.  Hollywood was aware of what Kids Today may still be calling little-little kids, and had gotten an inkling or two about teenagers, but "tweens" were not yet invented and the millennial arrangement by which medium-aged children would become a goldmine had not been drafted.

There were G-rated movies and there were PG ones, but there wasn't much for double-digit-but-not-teens.  Likewise, there were Golden Books and there were paperbacks stuffed with compilations of B.C. comics or excerpts from MAD Magazine, but this was a time when publishing was not dominated by - indeed, not even interested in - the youth market.

And so, eleven-year-olds who understood themselves to be too big for the Muppets went to the Muppet Movie anyway, enjoying it in spite of their maturity - and in spite of the fact that we mostly didn't give a hang about Madeleine Khan and all the other cameos either.

The Muppet Movie is available on Netflix streaming now, and I am watching it.  And, by now, I think I may be exactly the right age to enjoy it without guilt.

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