Confederatefrog

A Confederate flag in The Muppet Movie

521.finalnumber

Johnny Cash before a Confederate flag on The Muppet Show

Civilwarbonnet-dogcity

Artie wearing a genuine "Civil War bonnet" on Dog City

Greatmuppets-generalgrunt

Uncivil war in coloring book Great Muppets in American History

Topherpiggy-civilwar

Civil War drama from Mis Piggy and Topher Grace

The Civil War is the common American term for the conflict dividing the United States of America into the Union (the North primarily) and the Confederate States of America (the South), springing primarily from longstanding issues over slavery and its advancement into new territories. Also known as the War Between the States, the Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1864, during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Other prominent Civil War figures include Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Harriet Tubman.

The end of the Civil War permanently altered American life: slavery was abolished, the stage was set for changes in civil rights (which would take decades), and elements of the divisional differences and loyalties continue to linger (in public monuments, iconography of the Confederate flag, and in popular culture). In popular memory, the Civil War has often been romanticized in such works as Gone with the Wind, while the novel The Red Badge of Courage took a more realistic approach to the fears and dangers of the battlefield.

Over the years, the Muppets have periodically invoked Civil War imagery, figures, or events. In keeping with a common comedy trope, exaggerated Southern characters are apt to express loyalty to the Confederacy or scorn towards the North.

References

  • The Sesame Street 1976 Calendar, with an American history theme, notes several Civil War-related events and dates, including the end of the war and the births of Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
  • In episode 521 of The Muppet Show, when country radio station WHOG broadcasts from the Muppet Theater, the main stage is decorated with a Confederate flag.
  • The 1988 die-cast Muppet Movie Minis figure set, while spoofing Gone with the Wind with most characters (and behind the scenes crew for others), Fozzie Bear is cast as General "Wocka Wocka" Jackson, referencing Stonewall Jackson (and not actually appearing in the source movie).
  • In the Sesame Street song "Danger's No Stranger" features the lyric "Don't mention Sherman in Savannah," referencing General Sherman's razing of the city in his march to the sea.
  • The 2006 book Before You Leap has Kermit the Frog discussing his ancestor Robert E. Flea, who might have ended the Civil War had he not been trampled at the Battle of Bull Run (by a bull).
  • The 2015 pilot presentation for The Muppets, Miss Piggy and Topher Grace star in a Civil War movie, as a field nurse from Atlanta and Confederate soldier respectively. Stirring music, a Confederate flag, the smoke of battle, and the body of a Union soldier add realism, undermined by Piggy's decision to use a French accent.
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