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Concern about Rowlf

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by GuySmileyfan, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. GuySmileyfan Member

    Hey everybody,

    First of all I'm glad Rowlf was mentioned on youtube and Letters To Santa. But I'm very concerned about him. Since he got a new voice, a lot of people were saying it sounded like Hobo the Bear. And I'm kind of concerned about it if Rowlf will ever get mention a lot in the upcoming new Muppet Movie and what if they put Bobo the Bear? I like Bobo the Bear, he's a funny bear. I'm just concerned about Rowlf's new voice and future appearance. Sorry, I just had a funny feeling about him, because he's one of my favorites. You know.
  2. DLGabriel Active Member

    Indeed, I agree to a point. Rowlf has always been one of my favorites, but personally, I almost hope he gets regulated to small bit parts here and there ratehr than being a main Muppet as he was in the past. I only say this because Rowlf is so entwinded with Jim Henson. To me, when Jim died, Rowlf really did too. I know most people say the Kermit was Jim's main character, and that's true, but you simply couldn't have the Muppets without Kermit. I think the absence of Rowlf as a prominent character is simple because no one will ever be able to truly capture him the way Jim Henson did. Perhaps I may be reading a bit too much into it, but to me, pushinf Rowlf into the background a bit was kind of the Henson company's (and now Disney's) way of saying that while Jim Henson may not be with us any longer, his presence is still there.
  3. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Well I have been going back and forth on this in my mind, and I finaly feel good about Bill giveing Rowlf his voice. I've been playing Muppet Party Crusie, where Rowlf has a preety big role in the game. At fist i thought that everything about Rowlf in the game was off. The voice, his personality, everything. Then i started re wactching the Muppet Show Season One, and realized that I was wrong. Rowlf should be back in the main light and Bill should do his voice.
  4. GuySmileyfan Member

    You're right. Let's hope he be the main Muppet on the new Muppet Movie.
  5. I'm glad to see the return of Rowlf's speech, but I think he needs to be eased in again, not forced to the forefront now that he has it. Personally, I'm glad to hear him speak again, he's been silent most of my life. I didn't notice the similarity to Bobo that much, but it's something to watch for.
  6. GuySmileyfan Member

    So never mind. I feel better now.
  7. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

  8. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Lemme just say, the 2 things I always hear are that Rowlf should be back in the spotlight, but then he doesn't seem "right." And I feel that both concerns completely contradict each other. I think Bill is doing a good job, and the reason why he's not quite "there" with Rowlf yet is that he really hasn't had a chance to perform Rowlf for an extended period of time. I mean, other than an appearance in a now long lost "Making the Video" special about that Weezer song that the Muppets were in, the Youtube short is the most I've heard of him in years. MFS and VMX both had him say one line... one or 2 syllables and even then it was obscured by other characters speaking at once.

    I think that's why we haven't seen him much until recently... I agree, he was a character that was unique to Jim... even more so than Kermit and Ernie. And there will always be a subtlety that's lost when a character changes hands (especially after a long, long time). All I can say is we need to see more of him before he can really gel back to his original personality.
  9. LamangoNumber2 Active Member

    :o: Spare some change? :coy:

    Eh, fans shouldn't be gripeing about this. Just be happy good ol Rowlf is back.
  10. GuySmileyfan Member

    I understand your concern, but remember, we have to be thankful that they brought back the cutest talkin' brown dog, Rowlf. I think Bill did a great job and who cares if he sounded like Bobo.
  11. Erine81981 Active Member

    I'm starting to get used to Bill's version of Rowlf. I'm loving to see Rowlf back into the lime light. I've been listening to the newest Rowlf's song from the "Green and Red Christmas" soundtrack and to me it's starting to sound more and more like i remember Rowlf. Even when i start to hear Bill's version of Dr. Teeth i get all geedy inside. I'm like Rowlf and Dr. Teeth are back! I can't get it out of me to finally see my two most least favorite characters finally getting a line or even a song to sing. :sympathy: :D This is great. I want Rowlf back in the show or even in the movies too.
  12. Redsonga Active Member

    Couldn't it just be like normal actors? You practice playing a character for a certain number of hours a month even when you don't have a show coming up right away and then you're more use to playing them?:excited:
  13. dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Two thoughts on Rowlf:

    Yes he's returned very very slowly, not always among the cast, and when he is he typically doesn't say much. I think this is really just more of a side-problem of "The Muppet Show dilemma" without a regular-exposure project like The Muppet Show to help smooth it out; back during the Muppet Show (where Rowlf got his second chance of stardom), there was always the problem that Rowlf, while destined to be a big part of the show could never really be among the group of characters that were included in backstage plots due to the difficulties of Jim playing Kermit and Rowlf. So we almost never saw him really being a part of the main plotline, so this was made up for by giving him his chances to shine onstage - on the piano and in skits like Vet's Hospital and musical numbers. In season one, you can see him constantly being thrown in where they could use him...most episodes had Rowlf in there one way or another - and each subsequent season, you'd see Rowlf used less - not to where he ever faded as a prominant character, but still not so "priority". He had his place in the Muppet universe, and an important one...but it was hard for him to move his way up to the likes of Kermit/Piggy/Fozzie/Gonzo/Scooter due to the backstage issue. The movies were the best thing to happen to Rowlf as it was easier to weave him into the fabric of the cast...but even then there was still a "seperate but equal" dynamic - he's one of the last of the main cast for Kermit to meet on his journey in The Muppet Movie; he's among the huge group in the Happiness Hotel in GMC, and MTM pretty much by way of format was very Kermit and Piggy centric since it got the others out of the way through the middle of the movie with the exception of their Traveling Matt-esque postcard scenes. A new series would be a great way to get Rowlf back in the semi-forefront again...and really since the Kermit-and-Rowlf-done-by-same-performer is no longer an issue, he could have backstage plots now...i'm actually a bit disappointed that he really hasn't been included in any of the Muppets.com stuff; that would really be an ideal place to use him more (but at least he did get his youtube chance so he's not TOTALLY forgotten there).

    My second thought is the voice thing. Bill does a great job and i realized how great is really was when i watched You and I and George from the first episode of The Muppet Show and realized how close this actually sounded to Bill's take on the character....the big problem is (as others have said) he sounds VERY close to Bobo (as well as to Dr. Teeth...which also sounds very much like Bobo.) It's here that i really think Bill could learn from Jim's experience ... Jim had the same problem playing both Rowlf and Dr. Teeth who had organically developed on their own from different projects and eventually became main supporting characters on the same show (even playing similar instruments!) with very much the same voice. So if you track and play very close attention to Rowlf and Dr. Teeth's voices over the years (each season on TMS and beyond), Jim would work hard at establishing what made the two characters different...Rowlf gained more of a "country dog" type accent and Dr Teeth had more of a hipster-ish element in his voice (he also pitched Teeth a little bit higher...though this wasn't always consistent). For Bill to fully succeed in his role of the keeper-of-the-flame for these charaters, he needs to really give the same amount of attention to the subtleties of each character as he has not two but THREE main characters with essentially the same voice. I'm actually a little disappointed that he hasn't done as well as he has everything in him to succeed in this - he's very good with accents in general so it actually irks me a little that given this is a strength of his that he hasn't used it enough to each character's favor...and he already has a lot of the preliminary work done for him by all of Jim's years of working on the same problem. If Bill (or anyone in touch with him) silently lurks or reads on this forum, i directly address this to you...you were well chosen as the recasts of these characters - i feel you were the perfect choice to do them and this is really an awesome responsibility. It's not one that should be taken lightly, lazily, or haphazzardly. You have all the tools in abundance within you - take some personal time to do voice exercises, workshops, journal-writing sessions, whatever it takes to really focus your thought process on what is it that makes Bobo, Dr. Teeth and Rowlf different characters both psychologically and vocally...spend hours listening to how Jim would differentiate Rowlf and Teeth. I know you can do this and do this well - but it has to be done and i'm sure you've already done some of this...but it needs to be done more especially now that we're on the verge of the Muppets' long-awaited full return. You are a multi-talented performer who has lots of experience in different crafts - singing, acting (with and without puppets), directing - you should have no problem getting to the point where you can get these characters down into thier own unique place...but the work needs to be done; not glossed over. Take the time; do the research - do all those monotonous exercises where you sing a musical scale as each character or read the same monologue as each character trying not to make them sound the same to where it becomes more automatic. Your fans and colleagues are counting on you! And always remember if sometimes the criticisms of your voicing these characters seem a bit harsh, it's only because we fans know that you're fully capable of brilliance but aren't reaching the level you're capable of. Let's rock these beloved characters, okay?
  14. RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    And if he gets cast as Cantus, that is yet ANOTHER Rowlf-ish voice for the poor guy.
  15. Redsonga Active Member

    Cantus' voice is at least a little more airy...a bit like a mellow US Dr. Teeth :3
  16. Beauregard Well-Known Member

    You know...When I saw Rowlf playing piano with Dr Teeth stood beside him in the "music video" trailer for Letters to Santa, it warmed my heart and made me feel all melty inside! In fact, it made me feel 'Glad all Over'...even though that song choice for the trailer *still* annoys me...But that's another issue.

    I've been watching a lot of TMS Season 2, and Rowlf's presence is so soothing...even when he's just in the background playing the piano as Gonzo auditions dancing Chickens.

    I've always felt that Rowlf was a stable pillar of the Muppet community. As D'w said, Rowlf was the last Muppet that Kermit met in TMS and I've always felt that he was the Muppet least affected by the things happening around him. He's mellow and laid back, and I miss him.

    In my own fanfic's based on the Dark Universe where Kermit was never born, he was the only Muppet not truely affected by Kermit not existing, because Rowlf is strength enough in himself...if that makes sense.

    I'm glad he's back.
  17. Baby Gonzo Member

    I think that it is not Rowlf who sounds like Bobo, but Bobo who sounds like Rowlf. Yes, when Bill performs Rowlf or Dr. Teeth, Bobo does come to mind, but somehow, I'm okay with that. Why? Because at least the quality of voice is still there. It's not a stretch. It's as though that voice is coming from the same place... If that makes any sense.

    The one sad thing about Rowlf on The Muppet Show and the reason why he wasn't in the same teir as Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Piggy, ect... was that Jim was performing Kermit, the core character! Though we did see a bit of Kermit/Rowlf interaction, it really wasn't the same or as much as seeing Kermit and the others. Since Kermit and Rowlf are now being performed full-time by different people, I think we have an amazing oppertunity for Rowlf to finally come foward in the group. I hope the writers see this.
  18. LamangoNumber2 Active Member

    Actually, if you listen to Dr.Teeth's voice in a few episodes of the Muppet Show, its more gutteral, like Cookie Monster, especially in the 'Money' number.
    Rowlf's voice was also considered for Ernie, which just leads to my segway of Steve's Ernie and Kermit. The two sound VERY similar, just that Kermit's more mature. Ernie's even more childish than he was in the 80's.

    Bobo could be considered a pure Bill character, yes, but his voice...is different from Rowlf and Teeth's.
    Rowlf has a bit of country Pianah, Begpardon, What in tarnation are among the most western of the brown dog's vocab.
    Teeth only went country during Money, but then took off as the hipster, with a deeper voice than Rowlf.
  19. ryhoyarbie Active Member

    Well you're not going to see Rowlf in the spotlight as long as Bill keeps on having Pepe his #1 character. Bill just has too much to juggle. Pepe, Bobo, Johnny Fiamma, and then Henson's old characters of Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, and Sweish Chef.

    Quite honestly I would feel better if another else came in and did Henson's old characters. Maybe not Swedish Chef since he's a secondary character and doesn't really do anything, but have someone else to perform Rowlf and Dr. Teeth. Someone who can match Henson's voice in Rowlf and Dr. Teeth.

    Baretta just has his three big characters and it's hard to juggle those characters and characters like Rowlf and Dr. Teeth.

    The more muppeteers you have doing different characters, the more screen time and interaction they're going to have.
  20. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    ...You do realize that Eric Jacobson performs Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Animal, don't you? That's three of the biggest main character sin the entire Muppet-verse... yet he seems to do fine and the characters don't suffer from lack of screen-time.

    Bill could easily handle Pepe, Rowlf, and Dr. Teeth. Especially now that Bobo and Johnny seem to be fading into the back.

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