Dec 19, 2012
Christmas Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Ghost of Christmas Present
Jerry Nelson (voice, face)
Don Austen (body)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Best known role...
Ghost of Christmas Present
"Come in and know me better, man!"
WHO IS THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT?
The Ghost of Christmas Present is the second ghost that Ebeneezer Scrooge meets one fateful Christmas Eve. Easily the most joyful and personable ghost Scrooge meets, he is essentially the only one with a real personality (besides Marley and Marley). This ghost comes to visit Scrooge after the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to see his childhood and time as a young man working for Fozziwig. The Ghost of Christmas Present arrives just after Scrooge witnesses his heartbreak again.
The Ghost arrives in Scrooge's home jubilantly, playing festive music, surrounded by festive items, and overly large. His laugh shakes his body and warms the heart. The Ghost of Christmas Present is carefree and whimsical, but often forgetful. He introduces himself to Scrooge twice, leaving Scrooge to say, "You're a little absent-minded, spirit." To which the Ghost responds, "No, I'm a large absent-minded spirit!" It is this joyful nature that leads Scrooge to trust this Ghost more than any of the others.
The Ghost of Christmas Present leads Scrooge into Christmas morning. Everyone is cheerful and everything is bright this Christmas morning. The Ghost leads the town in a wonderful song, "It Feels Like Christmas." He takes time to sing with even the smallest mouse on this special Christmas Day. Even Scrooge begins to dance with the Ghost as the spirit of the season overtakes him. When the song ends, Scrooge is elated by the Ghost, saying, "Show me more!" It is because of the Ghost of Christmas Present that Scrooge finally starts to realize the importance of Christmas Day.
So the Ghost takes Scrooge to home of his nephew Fred. There, Nephew Fred plays a game with his house guests and his wife Clara. The game is akin to 20 Questions, and Fred stumps his guests with an answer that is "an unwanted creature." Clara wins by guessing Ebeneezer Scrooge, leaving Scrooge, who was previously enjoying the game, very crestfallen. The Ghost of Christmas Present, however, is still just as joyful as the move on from Fred's house.
Next, the Ghost takes Scrooge to visit the home of his employee Bob Cratchit. While there, Scrooge sees the meager meal prepared by Mrs. Cratchit for their four children. The Ghost makes sure Scrooge pays special attention to the Cratchit's youngest son, Tiny Tim, who is ill but still full of joy and life and goodness. Scrooge is touched and moved by Tiny Tim, but as the Ghost of Christmas Present fades the scene away from Scrooge, he is left wondering about the child's fate. The Ghost says that if things continue the way they are, he foresees an empty chair by the fire and a crutch without an owner.
As Christmas Day draws to an end, the Ghost becomes old and begins to fade away. "My time on this world grows short," he tells Scrooge. Ebeneezer, who is so moved by the holiday spirit, actually mourns the loss of this Ghost as he disappears. Perhaps the mourning is because Scrooge knows he can now only be left with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come... but more likely he already misses his jovial companion that was the Ghost of Christmas Present.
WHY DOES SCROOGE NEED THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT?
It's obvious why Scrooge needed to be visited by this ghost, perhaps more than any of the others. The Ghost of Christmas Present instilled in Scrooge all the wonders of Christmas. His song, "It Feels Like Christmas," is not only a joy to listen to, but it is a reminder of why Christmas is so wonderful. "It is the summer of the soul in December," sings the Ghost, reminding Scrooge that the season can provide warmth and light in even our coldest and darkest month. Scrooge sees family and coworkers in an entirely different light because of this Ghost. He even feels empathy for the Cratchits thanks to this Ghost. Truly he changed Scrooge for the better.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org