The Rainbow Connection (The Muppets). 40 songs for 40 years, 1979

It’s hard to believe that this iconic song from The Muppet Movie didn’t win the Oscar for Best Song (which went to the less enduring It Goes Like It Goes from the movie Norma Rae). I would have been indignant if I’d known this at age seven. Even today, I can sing pretty much the entire Muppet Show and Muppet Movie records top to bottom from memory.

Looking back, I’m particularly impressed with the levels of humor at work in the Muppets. Take Fozzy Bear (please!—rimshot). To a young kid who laughs at knock-knock jokes, he’s a riot. For grown-ups, the overwhelming corniness of the jokes themselves is the funny part. It’s hard enough to make something funny for one audience; making something that is funny to two different audiences in totally different ways illustrates the kind of ambition that has made The Muppets such a classic.

Of course, this song isn’t funny at all. It’s as poignant as My Funny Valentine, even if it is sung by a frog.