Muppets sort out whether Santa has e-mail

Macy's might have staked its entire Christmas ad campaign around ''Yes, Virginia," the 19th-century newspaper editorial, now a holiday classic, that answered a young girl's question about the existence of Santa Claus. But it took the latest Muppets movie—A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, airing Wednesday at 8 p.m. on NBC—to address the 21st-century corollary: Does the Clausman accept e-mail? The question comes up in the story line when we see Kermit, Fozzie Bear, etc., scrambling to deliver three letters from kids in time for Christmas. According to no less an authority than muppet Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (he's a bald, faceless guy in a white coat), Santa can't read e-mail because of interference in his neighborhood caused by the Aurora Borealis. Thus, the Muppets have no choice but to figure out how to set foot on the North Pole in person. All around, the movie is a great new addition to the Muppet genre, an updated vision for both grownups and kids—especially the part with Nathan Lane as ''Frank Meany," airport security agent. It's sweet without being cheesy or sentimental. So, keep those cards and letters coming, kids.

—Posted by Barbara Lippert