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Classic Muppets vs Current Muppets

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by mupcollector1, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    I kind of had this thought on my mind for awhile but wasn't sure how to put it on the forum. So I'll just start off with this. I'm a fan that mostly likes the classic stuff from Jim's time as well as the early to mid 1990s. I thought Christmas Carol, Treasure Island and Muppets Tonight was wonderful and as close to how Jim did things. And basically afterwords to me and my own opinion, I kind of think things slightly went towards a different direction after Muppets From Space to put it nicely. I really liked It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie even though Sam the Eagle's personality was not fully there. But afterwords....I don't know if you know what I'm trying to get at. I liked the new Muppet movie, no complaints from me, but just in terms of Muppet Comedy and Music which formed it's uniqe style to me seems that it's not there anymore, even like Sesame Street today seems to have lost it's comedic / pop rock music charm. But I do see that in the current things like the new movie, they still have that harmony between the characters which Jim had since the days of The Muppet Show. But in terms of the wildness, zanny, crazy, dysfunctional irreverent comedy and the rock music both Sesame and The Muppets, just doesn't seem to be there anymore. I'm glad that Crazy Harry got to do a couple of explosions lately but still....it's not fully the same. I remember thinking of a lot of the wonderfully wacky things The Muppets did on The Muppet show like Geri and the Actrics and I'm just laughing like crazy listening to their cover of "Do a Diddy Diddy". It's like The Muppet Show got better every season and developed a more Monty Python surreal element to it as the show continued since it was filmed in Britain. Even on Muppets Tonight they would take risks like Spamula Hamerson, and crazy sketches like Thor gets a Library card and The Potato Punk Rock Band that break dances and gets mashed. Even the number "There's a lot of coffee in Brazil" with Bill Baretta's character's head exploding at the end.

    You know what I'm trying to get at? Just the weird wacky comedy, disfunctional yet innocent characters, the surreal slapstick and the bad pun jokes which was a trademark within The Muppet comedy.

    And like I mentioned, the rock music. Both Sesame and The Muppets had that and the comedy too (Even though Sesame was a little more tame of course). Like Christopher Cerf and his rock parodies on Sesame, and when Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem had that Jazzy Frank Zappa Psychedelic style within their music, even Nightlife from The Great Muppet Caper (What great music that was). And I think I mentioned in another thread I wrote, how The Muppet style music was very strong in terms of Brass and Drums that kind of had a Rock Broadway Musical feel to it, know what I mean?

    Anyway I don't want to complain too much, and you know I love how The Muppets are still going strong and very excited about Muppets 2 coming out but like I said, I was watching and listening to the classic stuff and to tell you the truth, I miss it.

    I don't know why things can't be like what they were back then anymore?
    Is it because of PC ethics in terms of people not thinking cartoonish violence and explosions are funny anymore?
    Is the music not there because it's about keeping up with the current times?

    Though I think also it's mainly because a lot of the people who worked on The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight isn't there anymore. Jerry Juhl Passed, Jim Lewis I'm not sure if he's still working with The Muppets. He was a Muppets Tonight writer right? And Brian Henson it's hard to say if he's still involved or not. But I think what Brian did in terms of creative work was amazing. Muppets Tonight, directing the 2 Muppet Movies, and even Dinosaurs was just pure genuis. (I'd just love to see his upcoming rated R puppet movie by the way.)

    As of Sesame, I've heard that Sesame Workshop did testing showing the classic episodes to todays current children because they were planning on airing the classic episode reruns on PBS as well as the current Sesame, and the classic episodes didn't test so well. That's from what I know.

    Anyway I don't mean to complain, but I just wanted to express how I felt as a fan and see if there's anyone out there who agrees with my opinion. If not, all I want to say is I don't want to get into a unfriendly debate if you know what I mean. I just want to focus on the positive. :)
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  2. heralde Well-Known Member

    I've heard that story. Frankly I'm skeptical of the results, hehe. You don't know which episodes they chose or how they presented it. You have to do it with a plan. It was a good idea for Sesame Street to talk about divorce too, but their execution was off. The same could have been the case here.

    But in the end, I'm with something Jon Stone said. If the kids don't want Sesame Street the way it should be, then they don't deserve it, lol. Unfortunately that's not how TV works.

    As far as the Muppets, The Muppets (2011) was the first post-Henson film that I felt even came close and I genuinely enjoyed. It's not entirely the Muppets' humor but it's a step in the right direction. The past films for me had writing issues or took on a bizarrely mean spirited vibe (which I would also mainly attribute to writing issues).

    Well I'll amend that. Muppet Christmas Carol didn't really have any writing issues. It's a good kid's holiday film. I just don't see it as Muppets.
  3. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    When any creative force of something either passes on or moves on, they take something with them that's intangible, yet unmistakable. Look at how long it took Disney to get back on their feet, only to lose it again, and sort of get back on their feet a second time. Even when it's as simple as a writer or creator leaving a TV show for something else. Even when those guys are still around and want to change the format of a show (like all that crap they put the Flintstones through). You can't go home again, because it's just not possible.

    You can copy something really hard, but you just copy it. You can't get its essence because that's a secret formula that no one has access to.

    However, I'll applaud an effort. We'll never have Termite Terrace style Looney Tunes shorts back... even when Chuck Jones was still making the occasional short, there was something essentially missing from them. We don't even have to be that recent. When Friz Freling came back and did stuff in the 60's, there was something missing (and some of the cartoons made in that era are the worst in LT's history). But stuff like newer shorts, Tiny Toons, Taz-Mania, Duck Dodgers, Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, and even Looney tunes Show I can applaud, considering that we'll never have another "What's Opera Doc?." But something cheap and meant to make cynical dollars, like Loonatics Unleashed and Baby Looney Tunes that no one can possibly enjoy that really makes LT fans seethe... yeah, try as best as you can to give us something close to what we remember.

    Think of it this way. Have you ever tried to draw a cartoon character, and the best you can get is it looks very much like them, but not quite? Your own style betrays you. In writing, drawing, whatever... you can try to make Muppet humor as best you can, but you'll always throw in something that you think is funny. And that's a very personal thing.

    So, I don't think we'll ever see Muppets in the same way they were under Jim, and I accept that. I just don't want to see something completely alien from what to expect.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  4. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Yes I totally agree. I remember from time to time I would think things just weren't the same without Jim and it's true. But then I think of Muppets Tonight and Muppet Treasure Island and to me, that's super close. And I'm still trying to figure out what made them work so well. Was it Brain Henson being involved with both? Jerry Juhl writing the two movies? The only Muppets Tonight writer I kind of reconize is Jim Lewis but I probably need to go back on Muppet wiki to research the other writers, again to me I thought that show was just genuis. lol It had lots of the Muppet Humor from Monsters eatting other characters to explosions, but perhaps it didn't have that surreal element to it if I was going to compair it to TMS.

    Did you mean the current films or the films from the 90s? Because I didn't reconize any mean spiritness in the current stuff or anything I consider mean spirited. Though I know looking back on the ol' Muppet Show days , The Muppet characters have always been disfunctional and irreverent at times. There were times when the characters told each other to shut up or Marvin Suggs locking up Rowlf in a closet just to steel his spotlight in one episode. But I just take it as The Muppets' trademark situation comedy. But they always forgive each other and care for each other at the end of course which really presents their innocents. I was just watching the Dizzy Golespy (sorry about the spelling) and how Dave Golez performed the sound expecter and threatened to shut down the show if it was too noisy but by the end he ended up being a Dizzy fan the whole time and just joining in on saxophone. But of course Waldorf and his Statler look-a-like wife booed the show and Dizzy came up and said "that's it, the show is canceled" Waldorf and his wife cheer "Yeaaaah"!. That's the best example I can give.

    Even Muppets Tonight went further in risky edginess then The Muppet Show but I just feel that it was the 90s and they could get away with a little more than they did in the 70s. Plus in my opinion The Muppets have always been on the edge of things and it's one of those things that I find hilarious about them. lol But in terms of Muppets Wizard of Oz and Muppets From Space, I felt there was toilet, blue, body humor that shouldn't have been there because I know in my heart Muppets just don't do that kind of thing, if any they do it with class. Like one episode of Muppets Tonight they had a cannonball running in a panic "Which way to the little cannonball's room?" I found that funny but not how it was done in those two movies I just mentioned. Know what I mean?
  5. Hubert Well-Known Member

    Another thing that I think played a part, which I wrote an article on my blog about recently, is how it seems that a lot of inspiration got lost when Jim passed away, that the inspiration the Muppets always had wasn't present in full force like it was when Jim was around. I do think that that is something that has been captured in the newest movie, though, and I think they are beginning to get back on the right track.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  6. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with what you said about Looney Tunes. I'm a HUGE fan of the shorts myself. I always thought the LT trademark explosions influenced The Muppets because it seems like those two were the kings of explosions in comedy. lol

    But yeah if you look at the shorts and compair it to the stuff today, it's not as wacky and crazy in the days of Chuck Jones, and even Bob Clampett. Anything close to Clampett is John Kricfalusi and even he's struggling to get something back to TV, I check out his blog from time to time since The Ren & Stimpy Show is my favorite cartoon next to the classic 40s and 50s shorts ;). But yeah just the fast pace, cartoon violent fun, I think a lot of it is many people today don't have a sense of humor and take everything way to seriously. Which is sad to me because I love wacky humor. Perhaps love is too small of a word in terms of how much I care about wacky humor. lol

    But yeah I agree, talented people are very hard to replace. Like Tex Avery for example, he's a one of a kind fella. :)

    Though I do have to say I'm starting to get back into Tiny Toons and Animaniacs a little bit, I've seen some clips on the net and just cracking up now because all the jokes went over my head when I seen the show as a kid. For example there's a parody of Night Before Christmas where Jack Skeleton has a Pumpkin head and the characters do their Halloween version of the theme and Jack is just getting slammed around and crushed to the point where he finally says "How much longer til' Mothers Day?" then he gets hit by lightning. lol Plus also the inside jokes on Soupy Sales, Nightmare at Elm Street, etc. lol And just all the adult jokes that got sneaked in. That what I miss about cartoons, I rarely see that, even the fast pace WB wackiness. :)

    But Anyway, I was also thinking of how the Muppets made lots of TV appearances promoting the new movie which is great that they were popping up on TV allot. But part of me was remembering back in the day when The Muppets did short comedy sketches on variety shows and they were so weird and funny. Like I would just love to see Hugga Wugga performed on America's Got Talent or even Geri and The Atrics. lol Or Marvin Suggs, lol That would be awesome. :) Something that the audience wouldn't expect. Something just crazy and wacky like that on some tame talent show. Because like I said, it seems like the world is way too serious today and some of that good ol' comedy and music I garentee would but smiles on lots of faces. :)
  7. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Right. In the new movie, they do bring back the harmony element on how the characters really cared for each other which I'm very happy about. :) There was several times where I just wanted to cry happy tears. Especially "Pictures in my head", it was so hard to keep my tears under control and not so watery. lol

    But yeah they have that part. But in my opinion not so much so the humor and music they once had.
  8. Hubert Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I still wasn't completely satisfied with the music, though I thought the humor was much better.
  9. heralde Well-Known Member

    I meant some of the ones from the '90s and early 2000's.

    That's different. That I enjoy. ;) The Muppet Show was edgy. Whereas Muppets Tonight and some of the later movies, has others have said, felt like a child trying too hard to seem edgy.
  10. NextJim1225 Member

    True, true. TMS was never really aimed at any audience in particular. It was just a variety show with something for everyone. MT and many other things after that had a particular audience in mind which kept the writers and performers in a box, per say. The classic Muppets were also trying too hard (before the new movie) to be like the times and era today. And because they tried to be something they're not, ergo following the crowd, many people lost respect for them and sorta forgot about them. Their original soul, style, and essence really started to come back in the movie, its promotions, and such. Now the Muppets are in the media again, popping up on tv, and folks have a new found appreciation for them and puppetry in general. If we would have had this thread 4 years ago (well first off, I wouldn't be on this forum) I honestly would not have thought the Muppets would be just as sensational, inspirational
    Duke Remington likes this.
  11. NextJim1225 Member

    celebrational, or muppetational as they were just 30 years ago!
    Duke Remington likes this.
  12. dwmckim Well-Known Member

    :boo:: They don't write the old songs anymore.
    :sleep:: Nope...only write news ones.
    Vincent Liu and mupcollector1 like this.
  13. Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    All I'm gonna say is times change. Which isn't really a bad thing.
  14. heralde Well-Known Member

    No definitely not. :) It's just that good writing shouldn't change, hehe. ;)
  15. Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Won't argue there! I will say the times haven't always been great to the muppets in terms of quality but thank god that quality is back!
    Duke Remington and heralde like this.
  16. heralde Well-Known Member

    Yeah and I mean I do agree that it can be good when times change. I wouldn't have wanted Sesame Street to stay in Disco Land forever ::shivers::, lol.
  17. Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Nope instead it went to Elmo and Abby land "shivers"
  18. heralde Well-Known Member

    Good point, now Disco isn't looking so bad, hehe.
    Pinkflower7783 likes this.
  19. mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Briefly mentioning Disco, I really like Shalamar myself. :)

    Anyway what I think was great about The Muppets was they were timeless like the classic Looney Tunes

    And just in general for any classic fictional comedy characters, it's just sad when if I walk into some sort of pop culture store and see characters in general dressing Gangsta Rap culture or buttons that you can get for $5.00 that will have a picture of them with some quote that didn't relate to the character at all like "Yo, recognize this?" "Sweet" "Having a Bad Day", etc just all these corny modern slang deadpan catchphrases basically.

    But back to The Muppets, one of the things I missed around the Muppets Tonight era was there was these Muppet Parody calenders and they spoofed tv shows and movies, I've loved it. And it was NO PHOTOSHOP, NO PHOTOSHOP, NO STOCK PHOTOS COPIED AND PASSED! They used the photo puppets and specially made the pictures. I LOVED THESE but now it seems like any image of The Muppets in terms of merchandising it's just stock photos from 1999 or early 2000s. But that's just me, however if it was stock photos themselves unedited from the 70s - mid 90s, I won't mind as much. Again, just my opinion. :)

    But like I mentioned before, I just miss the slapstick and brass rock music element of The Muppets, the bad puns and irreverent sitcom dramas with the characters. Even Kermit's anger management problems lol "YOUR FIRED PIGGY, YOU ARE FIRED FIRED!" lol That was probably the maddest I've ever seen Jim's Kermit. lol One of my top favorite Muppet Show episodes. lol

    I just love when the characters are themselves. And what I loved about The Muppet Show is if you watched the characters closely and their personalities, sometimes it'll make you think what was their past like. Miss Piggy's past which it seems she makes up most of the time lol How Gonzo had a thing for chickens. And also how Miss Piggy would always have cheap attempts to impress Kermit and just drag Scooter along. lol I miss that. lol Even the one time where Bobby Benson got arrested during season 4. lol

    I remember Steve Whitmire was talking once about how Jim wanted Kermit's personality to evolve and keep evolving after him with his new performer. For some reason, I don't clearly understood what that meant. I know that Kermit evolved though the years to what he became by the mid 80s. But I remember reading about how characters shouldn't copy or something like that which I also don't understand fully. Because the original character of course their personalities were created and evolved by the performer, and I would think that in terms of a new replacement performer. They would need to be just like their previous performers character because who the character was. But this is just in general sense, I'm not talking specifically about the current performers, they're great, I'm just talking about the theory I heard in general which I kind of found confusing. And of course the difference between The Muppets copaired to some voice actors of animation taking over someone's character is that in animation is usually just a voice that gets recorded but with The Muppets it's getting into the soul and heart of the character and how the previous performer felt about the character. And of course you just can't clone a performer (Unless I talk in scientific terms which would totally go off subject completely lol), there's only one. And it's not 100% perfect but it's as close as you can get. Anyway, I wanted to ask about that and put my two cents in about it as well. :)
  20. Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    You can't have Kermit stay in the 1970's though. He has to be developed and up with current times. Jim alway made sure Kermit was up with the times in which he lived. It's no different then today. Even Steve said you have to always be developing Kermit's personality you can't let him get stale. Jim only said if anything ever happened to him Kermit had to go on right away.
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