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Cute puppy websites notwithstanding, the Muppets might be one of pop culture’s few remaining cross-generational unifiers. As excitement builds for next year’s Jason Segel-penned franchise reboot, AFI Silver is screening The Muppet Christmas Carol as its annual yuletide Muppet offering, following last year’s showing of the delightfully obscure Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. Released in 1992, Kermit and Co.’s straight-faced retelling of the done-to-death Dickens classic was the first major Muppet project following creator Jim Henson’s passing, and came nearly a decade after the unimpeachable trifecta of The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. The mild success of The Muppet Christmas Carol set into motion a series of underwhelming theatrical duds—Muppets in Space, anyone? The Muppet Christmas Carol’s winning fusion of good-natured holiday schmaltz and signature off-beat charm is particularly noteworthy in light of recent television specials like the 2008 stinker, A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa.
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL SCREENS AT VARIOUS TIMES DEC. 17 TO DEC. 23 AT THE AFI SILVER THEATRE AND CULTURAL CENTER, 8633 COLESVILLE ROAD, SILVER SPRING. $10. (301) 495-6720.