Sing Like No One Is Listening*

I mentioned recently that my sister Julesie gave me Season 1 of “The Muppet Show” for my birthday. One of the best sketches from the DVD set is one that most of us (all except for Jim of course, who, because of a childhood full of “wasteful” activities that kept him away from the television**–like playing outside and reading–does not have a brain that is a magnet for catch phrases, funny lines, or addictive tunes like the rest of us) have had stuck in our heads for two weeks now:

For about a week after we five sat in my family room on the night of my birthday celebration and watched it, the younger boy used to walk up behind me, singing “Mahnamahna…”, and then–just as sure as you’d reflexively ask “Who’s there?” to someone who said, “Knock knock!”–I’d sing back, “Doo doo doo doo doo…” And we’d continue on, laughing all the way. We’d stop and go on to other things, and then, there it was again, out of nowhere: “Mahnamahna…”

And so it went. While it drove me nuts that he did that, because I physically could not neglect to respond (and then the song would get stuck in my head for several hours), it was fun, and funny.

A couple of nights ago, Jim and I were sitting in the family room, our dinner plates set up on tv trays as they so often are when dinner is prepared later than the average time and we’ve got a show that the four of us enjoy watching together. The boys were finishing up in the kitchen, getting their glasses of water and their utensils.

And then I heard them.


“Doo doo doo doo doo!”


“Doo doo doo doo!”


“Doo doo, doodoodoo, doodoodoo, doodoodoo doodoodoo doo doo doo, doo, doodoodoo!”

It was such a nice moment in comparison with the usual, which is either silence between them, or sniping at each other.

Jim and I smiled, and of course didn’t tell them when they entered the family room that we actually heard them harmonizing while they were in harmony.

*I’ve always loved the full quote by Mark Twain: “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.”

**though he DID watch “The Muppet Show”.



  • sandra

    You seriously just made me cry a little. When my brothers and I were younger and my father still lived at home (before he started drinking), we used to do the same thing! Now, when my brothers and I do it out of nowhere, my mom will turn and smile and say, 'oh, that's your father'. Oh, memories.

    Now, I'll have this stuck in my head all day!
    (im in my room and started singing and my brother replied all the way from the living room, doodoodoo! hahaha)

  • Eternal Lizdom

    I have many happy Muppet Show memories. But I think that Mahna Mahna is something you could walk into any crowd and start singing and EVERYONE would join in!! Maybe that's what Obama should do as he works to improve our global relationships…

  • Wineplz

    The Muppets are a sign of good parenting. 😉

    The Muppets are a huge favorite at our house, too. Bought my husband the Time Life set several years ago for Christmas and it has brought years of enjoyment for our whole family. We have so many favorite episodes and skits we've lost count, but the Senior Wences, John Colburn, and Elton John get a lot of play in our home. 🙂

  • PJ Mullen

    I need to get those DVDs for my son, I just played the video you embeded for him. I was a little disappointed when the sound track from this skit was used in a dr. pepper commercial a few years ago, but this is still some classic stuff.

  • Katie

    LOL oh noooo!!! I ALWAYS get that song in my head every time I hear it, and it doesn't leave for days!
    I'm toast! hahaha 😉

    (p.s. have you heard the cover version by the band Cake? So good!)

  • terri

    The Muppets, and this particular piece, are a staple of my happy childhood memories! Isn't it great to see your kids appreciating something you love so much?

  • Heather

    I will be singing that ALL night now! The muppets are something that I will always honestly remember and smile, and will seriously just be a happy memory of childhood forever.

    Thanks for the smile 🙂

  • NYC Girl

    Hands down my FAVORITE skit on the Muppet Show! I'm gonna try it on my sister and see if she remembers! 🙂

  • Mama B

    That is a favorite in our house too! My daughter (2) LOVES the muppets and both my kids have been able to sing, and respond, to Mahnamahna since they were 18mo!

  • i am the diva

    that is so sweet!!
    i have season 1 and just bought season 2 a couple of weeks ago!!

    and ALSO!! i found this video on youtube yesterday, i've watched it about a bazillionty-twelve times…