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Am I the only one who HATES what they have done to Fozzie's puppet?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by toadster101, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. toadster101

    toadster101 Member

    The nose is too small, the eyebrows blend into his fur and aren't expressive enough, and the puppet looks sterile and lifeless. Which is upsetting, considering how talented Eric Jacobson is. Fozzie used to be one of my favorite Muppets, but now I cringe whenever he shows up. Is there something wrong with me?
  2. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    No, many people have been complaining about how the character don't look right ever since Puppet Heap took over building them: Fozzie apparently looks too much like a plush toy than a puppet; Gonzo's nose is too big and throws the rest of his proportions off; Animal is too pink and his head isn't shaped right; Piggy's ears are too long and pointy; yadda-yadda-yadda.

    The thing of it is, when you build multiple puppets of the same character, none of them are going to look 100% the same.
    Muppy likes this.
  3. Reevz1977

    Reevz1977 Well-Known Member

    Nope, you are not alone!! I have nothing but disdain for the new Fozzie puppet - I genuinely hate it, which is quite well documented on here.

    Like yourself, Fozzie used to be one of my favourite characters but I no longer care for him anymore. These days, the Puppet looks way off and his character isn't right - this is no reflection on Eric's performance, it's more down to the writing.

    With regards to how he now looks, the excuse of "no two puppets look alike" doesn't really hold water with me. During production of "The Muppets", Disney made out that Fozzie's fur was no longer available and Puppet Heap had to find something similar. Sadly, I can say with 100% conviction, fur the same as Fozzie's or close enough for nobody to tell the difference is readily available, I know this for a fact. This has left me of the opinion this change is 100% done on purpose. Like D'Snowth mentioned, I too have drawn the conclusion that this is to soften the character and make him look clean and more like a stuffed toy - which is probably done solely to push merchandise and appeal to the younger crowd. However the issues do not stop at the fur. His head sculpt is awful, I can't stand his new "fat" jaw and his eye focus is simply dreadful - he looks spaced out for the majority of the time.

    I think there has been a lot of "Disneyfication" of the Muppets appearances, though not all bad. Overall, the characters pretty much all look incredibly pristine now, unlike the rag-tag bunch of characters from the original Muppet Show. They all looked like they had seen better days, which I preferred and felt it gave the characters more of an edge. But, at the end of the day, Disney owns the Muppets, has done a great deal of good with them and can do with them whatever they like - they are not gonna lose sleep over what this fan thinks. After years of bad incarnations, Piggy now looks great, Scooter has never looked better and we have recently seen many of our favourite and beloved obscure characters from yesteryear brought back and re-built, so I guess we must accept the rough with the smooth.

    That said, I really wish they would change Fozzie, I've yet to hear of a single fan, though I am sure someone will quickly jump in and prove me wrong on that soon enough.
    cahuenga, Muppy and toadster101 like this.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    To be perfectly honest, I think there have been writing problems with Fozzie since MTI. They got him sort of right in VMX and TM as far as character goes. I disagree with your feelings about his portray in the new show as far as Bear Write and the thing with Statler is concerned (the latter was a long time coming, I just wish there was another scene). I still think the Fozzie nadir is how he was portrayed as a simpleton mommy's boy in MFS. To be fair, it really seemed that Frank Oz phoned it in, even if that kinda was the case. But Fozzie picking his nose and saying "Mama always says to wash your hands" just... okay, with MFS I don't hate the movie. It's clearly a Gonzo and new characters movie. But what they did with Fozzie and making Kermit a Stepford Smiler just ruins the film. They didn't need to be in there. Piggy was 50 50 in that one. It seems to me there's some weird ebb and flow of writers confusing Fozzie's sweet naivete with stupidity. And I have to admit, I forgave that in MMW because the underlying concept was such a stabbing tongue in cheek rimming of the "Idiot Plot" and evil twins that the characters would have to be incredibly stupid to let any of what happened in that film happen.

    Seriously, though... picking his nose!?! Even fart shoes are less juvenile.:rolleyes:

    But I'll agree... the puppet's ...off. I actually like all the new character designs for the most part. We're getting better Miss Piggies than we've seen in years. Oh, to have the Piggy of today back in 2005. The Electric Mayhem Band had a much needed update or wardrobe that makes them look magnificent. Even Kermit's pretty good looking, even if a little more lime colored. But Fozzie's new fur and Gonzo's lack of expressiveness kinda bug me. The build of Fozzie, shapewise, isn't the worst I've seen of the character. Seems they were very inconsistent the past couple of decades about that head shape. Sometimes it was squatter, sometimes it was more pineapple shaped... Kinda liked the pineapple, I must admit. But I agree. There's got to be some way to kitbash or jerryrig or canabalize or freebleflazing the fur stock to make it the bumpy fired chicken skin color it used to be. And fix Gonzo while they're at it. He seems really stiff.
    cahuenga and Duke Remington like this.
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Well, no. It was supposed to be a big secret, but since it's out in the open now, I was speaking with Terry Angus once, and he did mention that certain fabrics for certain characters are no longer made or no longer available - this is actually the real reason why we're seeing considerably less of Rizzo and the other rats, the fur they used for them is no longer available either. The right fur is always difficult to come by: I usually tend to like to work with Mongolian sheepskin for fur because it's lightweight and has a great appearance, but it's not always easy to get ahold of, so sometimes I have to use luxury shag instead, which is a much heavier and stiffer fabric which makes for some heavy and cumbersome puppets.
    I agree, and it's not just with the Classic Muppets owned by Disney, even the Sesame Muppets have a really clean, almost-flawless look to them: I "blame" it moreso on advances in puppet building since the days of Don Sahlin and Kermit Love. Sometimes I feel like they go to extreme lengths to make the character appear as lifelike as possible, but I feel that in doing that, they're taking away something from them, perhaps like an "edge" that you mention, but there's almost no "warmth" to them anymore. I know in the case of the Classic Muppets they're saying, "Well, everything's HD now, so we have to hide all of these flaws and digitally remove rods and stuff like that because we didn't have these issues before." Seeing rods isn't going to melt everyone's faces, and so what if we see a seam or two? As long as the performers can breathe life into the characters and give them personalities that endears them to the public, that's all that's really important; I think we're losing touch with that to be honest: it's less about the character and personality and more about cosmetics and appearance.
    Drtooth likes this.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yes yes yes and yes. I've been saying this for years, but Ernie and Bert look too darn perfect now. Even Ernie's signature tossled hair is perfectly coiffed. There's such a warmness from the late 70's- late 80's versions of the characters. Somehow the turn of the millennium, those two characters went from being a little rough around the edges to the point where you could see some bumps and "pills" on the fleece they used to being completely perfected and color corrected. A lot of personality was lost with perfecting the characters. They look really artificial now. And that's unfortunately the result of perfected puppet making. I also have to say I'm not wild about how Prairie Dawn looks now, either. Even Oscar looks clean. Though I must say, there was a period where they were using really off looking Cookie Monster puppets of slightly different shades of blue that they seem to have moved on from. They still have some very off looking Cookie Monsters they use for full body bits in the Crumby Picture skits. Then there was that one oddly combed fur one they used for the Lord of the Cookies bit, which thankfully never appeared again.
  7. Duke Remington

    Duke Remington Well-Known Member

    I wish people would stop complaining about the puppets looking "too perfect"--not only are they wrong, but it's also getting extremely annoying and is an incredibly stupid and all-too-petty thing to complain about. :mad:
    sarah_yzma likes this.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yes, but you have to understand D*Snowth made a good point about Sesame Street having the same problems. It's not Disney Muppet exclusive. Heck, there were terrible and downright ugly Piggy puppets even before the buyout. That's not to say there aren't some puppets that look great now. It's just one of those unfortunate things that comes from years of advances in puppet building. And sometimes it is hard to recreate the special imperfections that made the characters look the way they did. That takes a lot of reverse engineering. It's like trying to draw poorly on purpose. And yes, some materials don't exist anymore and it's tough to replicate. That's forgivable.

    And on the contrary, some first season Muppet designs (including Sesame Street) are millions of times worse. Droopy, perma-scowl Bert, that bloated faced Piggy, even the first season Ma Gorg. All complete uggos. And don't get me started on the AM's from the first season of Sesame Street before they developed the "magic triangle." I know they were supposed to be simplistic, but it seems they were thrown together 2 minutes before the skit. Some during, and that's clearly a budget thing going on. If you look at the "Five People in my Family" song, the puppeteers even make a subtle nod to only having a few puppets for every character at the end when they're all mixed up and thrown together. And look at them now. They even have different builds and colors that they didn't 20 or so years ago.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I thought it was just the last two movies that hadn't had much Rizzo, with him being a lot more prominent in other recent productions. He is seen quite a bit on the new show, in addition to them making Yolanda a major character. Though I don't recall seeing other rats on the show yet (and it seems like other rats were shown a lot more than Rizzo in the past two movies).

    Hopefully they can find a suitable replacement material for the rats.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  10. Reevz1977

    Reevz1977 Well-Known Member

    Oooooh sorry, I forgot, my opinion is wrong. Ok
    ConsummateVs likes this.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I really like the Grover puppet they're using right now, it actually looks like a recycled puppet from the 70s: he's even got floppy fingers again! Grover (and really, all of the monsters) hasn't had floppy fingers since the 80s.
    cahuenga and Pig's Laundry like this.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah. Me too. While some puppets suffer a little in the advanced puppet build department, some characters thrive. Grover is one of them.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  13. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    And I don't really think that Bert is hurt by the excessively clean design he has now, since he's kinda supposed to be a neat freak. Ernie most definitely, but not Bert.
  14. Blue Frackle

    Blue Frackle Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but what they have done is bad.

    You mean we are complaining about the puppets not looking "too perfect"? C'mon; I just get the impression that you'll accept any turd they lay in front of you.

    How are we wrong?



    "Beaver Fozzie" - Even Kermit's appalled

    There is a member on here who hit the nail right on the head:


    Yeah, but there was nothing to compare them to, so what's your point?
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Everyone who doesn't agree with him is "wrong," that's how.
    ConsummateVs likes this.
  16. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member


    That is completely astonishing,who made it? it looks exacty like the previous Fozzie puppet. Just,amazing!
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  17. Blue Frackle

    Blue Frackle Well-Known Member

    A member by the name of ButchCat. I'm pretty sure he used to work for the Muppets.



    Edit: Okay, used to work on Fraggle Rock.
    HunterPeeples and Pig's Laundry like this.
  18. Blue Frackle

    Blue Frackle Well-Known Member

    Okay, yeah. For some reason, one man on his own can build better Muppets than one of the largest enterprises in the world.

    HunterPeeples and Pig's Laundry like this.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yes; ButchCat is Terry Angus.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    A long and drawn out one for sure. There is indeed nothing to compare them to previously, and everything that can be said is clearly in hindsight. However, that hindsight gives a nice history of how the puppets were perfected over the years. Clearly, classic AM's were sloppier out of necessity because they indeed had to stick the eyes and stuff on for every performance. Plus, first season. So yeah.

    My point is that we went from imperfect to way too perfect in the course of 40+ years. But when things get too perfect, the little rough around the edges parts that give the puppets personality seem to be streamlined off in certain character.

    I think there's a difference between saying "such and such puppet looks bad/good" and having a perspective of the history of how the characters looked as far as build techniques go.

    But I think we can all agree to one thing. Janice no longer has that embarrassing early 80's side ponytail anymore. Ugh... she had that well into the 2000's. ;)

    Mmmmm... I feel it's yes and no. It's a subtle thing that makes the characters a little more artificial to me. But I do agree that Bert doesn't look as sterile as Ernie does. I dunno... maybe I'm a bit too partial to the late 80's character designs. These things happen when advances do.

    Back to the subject, I completely agree that Fozzie looks wrong in both fur and head shape, but I still think the one that bugs me is how stiff and inexpressive Gonzo looks. I get the feeling he's not that comfortable for Dave to puppeteer either, leading to stiffness of movement. I get something in the eyes being off. Like his eyelids are too heavy or something, to say the least of the nose being a little too streamlined a shape. That said, I can't really blame Disney 100% for this so much as the puppet building team. I'm sure they goad them into a certain look, though. And while I do think the fan made recreations are much, much better and superior in every way, that's...well...cuz that's usually the case with everything. I really wish that Puppet Heap would track these guys down and ask them their secrets and techniques. You know, get some outside out of the box perspective. Fans that have the money, technique, and time usually put in a lot of effort into these things that production companies can't match with multiple people on a show/movie production budget. Shame that some who work on these sort of things officially don't really have that same perspective and the freedom of no production higher ups breathing down their neck.
    cahuenga and Blue Frackle like this.

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