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Take the basic story of It's a Wonderful Life. Add Muppets.
This 2002 movie is what you get. And it's every bit as good as you'd think.
An angel named Daniel (David Arquette) watches Earth on Christmas Eve in horror. Kermit the Frog and his friends, through a series of mishaps, misplace their theater's December rent payment to the wicked Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack), who wants to tear down the theater to build a nightclub. Determined not to let the despondent Kermit give up on his dreams, Daniel appeals to his Boss (Whoopi Goldberg) to review the situation and intervene.
Daniel himself is sent to aid Kermit, who is so distraught by the events that he wishes he had never been born. As in the original film, the angel grants the wish, taking Kermit on a crazy trip through an alternate existence in which Miss Piggy is a theatrical has-been who does telephone acting, Fozzie is a pickpocket, and Gonzo is homeless, among others. Then when Kermit tries to un-wish the situation, Daniel's not entirely sure how to put the world back to normal...
- Adrenaline Makeover: More of an Adrenaline Costume Change; Piggy changes into a martial arts ensemble really quickly to face off Bitterman.
- Biting the Hand Humor: After Daniel wonders aloud how Bitterman could take control of so much in the Kermit-less universe, Kermit comments, "Corporate synergy... it's out of control." He then crosses his legs revealing the NBC logo on the bottom of his foot (this special was produced by NBC). Ironically, the Muppets would later be bought by Disney.
- The Cameo: Several celebrities appear as themselves, including Carson Daly, Kelly Ripa, and Regis Philbin.
- Coincidental Accidental Disguise: While carrying a big sack of money, Fozzie gets covered in green paint and is mistaken for The Grinch by a Who girl who randomly appears for this gag.
- Conspicuous CGI: The giant dragonfly concocted by Whoopi Goldberg just because she can.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Rachel Bitterman
- Crazy Cat Lady: Piggy has been reduced to one of these in the reality where Kermit never existed.
- Cue the Flying Pigs: Courtesy of Miss Piggy; Bitterman still refuses to believe it though.
- Darker and Edgier: The world in which Kermit was never born.
- Eye Scream: To get to the alternate universe, Daniel sprinkles snow into Kermit's eyes. To get out of it, Daniel actually spits into Kermit's eyes.
- Face Heel Turn: Pepe the prawn, who leaves the Muppets to work for Bitterman, followed by his inevitable Heel Face Turn back.
- Fun with Acronyms: Bitterman Bank And Development (B.B.A.D.)
- "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Spoofed in the beginning of the film, when several Muppets exchange gifts only to discover that they've given up prized possessions to do so.
- Harmless Freezing: Kermit is frozen while sitting in the park after losing the theater, Daniel sends him flying into a nearby trash can before warming him up with no ill effects.
- Hong Kong Dub: Briefly during Piggy and Bitterman's showdown.
- Hotter and Sexier: Well, okay, it's still the Muppets, so for the most part it's kid-friendly... but man, did they manage to cram in a lot of innuendoes in this movie. For one thing, they put on a show based on Moulin Rouge with Miss Piggy singing "Santa Baby."
- Ice Queen: Rachel Bitterman, who is so cold that even the Muppets can't melt her heart.
Bitterman: I hate you Muppets!
- Impossible Thief: In the alternate reality, Fozzie picks Kermit's pocket and steals his wallet. Daniel lampshades the impossible part when he points out that Kermit doesn't have pockets.
- In Mysterious Ways: The Boss invokes the trope toward the end of movie.
- It's All My Fault: Fozzie, regarding the rent money mishap and impending closure of the theater.
- Jerkass: Rachel Bitterman.
- Let There Be Snow: The finale.
- Meaningful Name: Rachel Bitterman is a very bitter, cynical individual. Inverted with her father, with whom the Muppets are implied to have had a good relationship.
- The Muppets: Of course.
- The Other Darrin: Starting with this movie, all of Frank Oz' characters have been recast -- Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Animal (and Yoda) are performed by Eric Jacobsen, while Sam the Eagle is Kevin Clash. Scooter and Janice also get significant dialogue for the first time since Richard Hunt's death, and are now voiced by Brian Henson (for this movie only -- they'd both get recast again for future projects).
- Our Angels Are Different: Heaven, at least the part where Daniel works, is a giant cubicle farm.
- So.. basically I die, then go to work with Dilbert?
- Parental Bonus: As usual with the Muppets, particularly the scenes in the alternate reality.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia: Not quite, but very nearly when Kermit kisses Piggy toward the end.
- Race Against the Clock: Bitterman is counting on the Muppets failing to pay the rent by the time specified on the modified lease so she can evict them and tear down the theater.
- Recycled in Space: It's a Wonderful Life WITH MUPPETS!
- Santa Claus: Fozzie accidentally gives the rent money to a street-corner Santa (actually a Salvation Army volunteer) instead of delivering it to Bitterman by the deadline.
- Shout-Out/Mythology Gag: A big one to the original The Muppet Movie, when Kermit discovers that in the world where he never existed, Doc Hopper did successfully open his chain of french-fried frog legs restaurants.
- The Muppets' stage show is a very drawn-out Shout-Out to Moulin Rouge, complete with color-change, "funny green root beer", and "Saltine" the performer. Heck, just look at its name: Moulin Scrooge.
- While in the park, Kermit sees a statue of himself with some children, which has this (first movie-inspired) inscription: "For the lovers, the dreamers and you..."
- Show Within a Show: A few, starting with the play being performed in the Muppet theater.
- Station Ident: Because the movie originally aired on NBC, there's a humorous moment where Kermit displays the NBC peacock logo on the bottom of one of his feet.
- Statler and Waldorf: In the alternate reality, they go broke at Bitterman's nightclub buying drinks for girls.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: A Running Gag features a frog attempting to pull his free, and instead stretching it to ridiculous lengths.
- Wildlife Commentary Spoof
- Wonderful Life: Kermit needs to be reminded that he has one, hence the story.