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Criticism on Muppet likenesses?

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Joggy, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. Joggy Member

    Anyone here ever had criticism on your self-made puppets because they are too Muppet-like? AAARGH!!!

    I have this sketchbook in which I make doodles of characters I want to build, and characters that are already built. These are a few examples of things I hear from my classmates who are NOT a fan of puppetry in whatever way and they see my doodles.

    --------------------------------------
    "They look an awful lot like Muppets."

    "That's Gonzo!" (Me: 'that is NOT Gonzo. That is Nergil, and he's my main character and he's NOT a daredevil and he has a TRUNK, not a NOSE, and he is LIGHT GREEN! SOOO NOT GONZO! CAPICHE?!')

    "That's Cookie Monster!" (Me: 'again, wrong! Cookie Monster is blue, not yellow, and he has no eyebrow and he's fat and his eyes roll! What are ya, colour blind?!')

    "They DO look an awful lot like Muppets. Shouldn't you create your own style? It's like, you're using other people's work now."

    And top on the list:

    "Uhm Jog... they REALLY REALLY look like Muppets. Are you sure you should continue puppeteering? I think you oughtta stop."
    -------

    I noticed that many puppeteers use the Muppet style, like me, because it's so easy. Once the Muppet style is good, your puppet has personality. That's why I don't want to move away from it. Furthermore I don't copy. I don't make replicas of Muppet characters, use perfect impersonations of their voices or put the same group of personalities together. Heck, I don't even use foam! All I use is fur!

    Anyway, anyone else who has problems like this? And any solutions like witty swaybacks would be verrry much appreciated!
  2. punkNpuppets New Member

    u know, you shouldnt YELL at people for mistaking your puppets for Muppets, they'll think ur a LUNATIC!!!

    n e wayz - i showed a sketch of Phil to some of my friends. one said he looks like a green Bert with glasses and a mohawk. Probably because of his turtle neck.

    most of my sketches i look at and i think look like other puppets. like Washington (the puppet i'm making after i get the Foam Book) resembles Sam from Today's Special, but that was sort of the idea. I wanted to make a Noreen Young-esque puppet. Of coarse, no one said "That's Sam from Today's Special" cuz no one in my school has a clue what Today's Special is (but some know Under The Umbrella Tree)
  3. pdbooch New Member

    Don't let it get to you...

    I think its OK to mimic what's already been done before. how else will you evolve as a puppeteer?
    All artists mimic styles, movements, etc. that came before them. Some artists are just very clever with hiding their sources. Its the logical way to grow in your field. Muppet puppets are great designs, and by "copying" you'll get a better understanding of what works and what doesn't.
    Don't let those goofs get to you. They're probably just jealous.

    pdbooch
  4. Joggy Member

    Thing is though, the Muppet Style was created especially for Henson by Don Sahlin, and later Michael Frith.

    There might be quite a lot of puppeteers who use that style - our very own Terry Angus for one uses it a LOT, but should he? Should anyone else? I've been doing some thinking and I think that whoever wants to be a professional puppet builder/puppeteer should create a style of his/her own - even if it means the puppet lacks in looks and personality. Otherwise the masses will only see it as a "Muppet ripoff" and not accept you.
  5. Super Scooter New Member

    Interesting idea. I've created my own look based on the Muppet-look you speak of.
    I also get the same criticism. "He looks like Cookie Monster" (A little, but not much) "Who's he? Kermit The Frog?" (Puh-lease! The only reason he looks remotely like Kermit is because he's green!)
    So, I think it's okay to, as you put it "mimic" the Muppet style, just change it a bit so it can be defined as your own. With me, I make all of my characters with black mouths and red tongue, where as the Muppets have used every type of mouth. I think it's okay to do that. There's other things I've done to my characters to differentiate them from the Muppets, just can't really describe them. It's something that happens while I'm building them. Dunno.
  6. doctort13 Member

    One possible reason...

    ...that people compare your puppet characters to Muppets is that these are the only puppets that they are familiar with. If they grew up watching Sesame Street or The Muppets Show these could very well be the only puppets they have ever seen. That is sad since there is a whole world of puppetry out there for people to explore.

    As puppeteers I feel that we should help educate the public by exposing them to the various styles, and not get stuck on one design (i.e. Muppets) because it's a simple design. Push the envelope, experiment, and have fun!
  7. Super Scooter New Member

    Mine do look a lot like Muppets, just not the Muppets you might expect (although, I do use a lot of ping-pong balls:D) Mine look more like the Sam and Friends style of Muppet. Rather cartoony, yet rather worn down, like they belong in a real world. (except one. He was one of those Muppet Puppet 'N' Parts dolls that I recreated) I trie to keep mine with that look, the one from Sam and Friends, but I do cross over into other shows and specials when making things with fur.
    I don't see anything wrong with immitating it, like doctort13 said, it's what we know, but it's a good idea to change it up a bit. Do something to it that defines your style.
  8. Sir Didymus New Member

    I've never really had people do anything like that to my puppets. Mine don't really look like Muppets. I think I am getting better at making them as I keep practicing. I have made a few of them that look like muppets.

    Jake
  9. FellowWLover Member

    CopyCat!
    CopyCat!
    CopyCat!



    :D

    (just kiddin' Jog)
  10. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    I get that a lot, too. Then again, there really isn't too many ways to create something new nowadays without looking like something someone else has drawn or made. Especially Muppet-looking, because they made SO many different things, from simple Fraggles and Mahna Mahna to carved foam pigs to...Sweetums and Thog. I don't think it's necessarily a BAD thing, but I don't like it. Insults my creativity.

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