There Ain’t No Hole in the Washtub December 18, 2007Posted by davegoblog in Family, Movies, Personal, Pop Culture, Television, Weather.
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is my favorite holiday special to watch this time of year. I don’t remember the first time I saw it, but it fills my Christmas memories with Muppet peace and joy. It’s reminiscent of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” but in this version the humble Ma Otter and her son, Emmet, seek to buy presents for each other in a time after Pa Otter has died. Emmet longs for a guitar with mother of pearl inlays he saw at the music store in Waterville, while nothing would make him happier than to get Ma a decent Christmas present. Both of them secretly enter the local talent contest in the hope of winning the top prize of $50 to use for the other’s gift.
My favorite scene is when Ma and Emmet try out the old ice slide that Pa made – probably the best thing he ever built according to Emmet. There are a number of cuts during this sequence between the Muppet hand puppets and marionettes that always make me chuckle. The strings are there as they slide down the river bank and disappear once the characters are on the ice. Part of the fun for me comes from the laughter and joy that Ma and Emmet share, which lets them ease the loss of Pa and celebrate him at the same time.
The music written by the Muppet-like Paul Williams is an integral component of the story and is finely woven into it via the talent contest. From the catchy “There Ain’t No Hole in the Washtub” to the moving “When the River Meets the Sea,” the soundtrack helps to make Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas another star in the Jim Henson universe.