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Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by brkndwnbus, Nov 20, 2012.
Heartbreaking. This is just heartbreaking. I feel horrible.
Yeah that's why I said earlier I didn't think the comparison was valid and not sure why it was made.
Thought I'd share one of my favorite Elmo moments.
Some of the anecdotes in the book Street Gang paint a picture of him being something of a hot head behind-the-scenes from time to time.
I've been to Tau Bennet's YouTube channel and was just watching the vid where he interviews moviegoers at the Being Elmo premiere via his reporter puppet character. It ends with him talking (in character) to first Elmo and then Clash himself. Clash said how proud he was of Tau and looked forward to seeing him progress. It just hurts to watch that. I don't know what the poor kid is thinking right now. I hope he can keep his dreams together despite this blow.
My heart is heavy with the whole situation, Mr. Clash was and still is one of my idols and heroes. I just pray for him and his family and hope that in the end there can somehow be a positive outcome for his life and wonderful career. As he served as an inspiration to myself and many others, not only as a fantastic entertainer, gifted puppeteer, and strong black man.
When I sit here and hear all these wonderful things people have to say about Kevin, even people who have not meet him it really touches my heart, and I'm sure if Kevin reads any of this it would his as well.
You Are Welcome! I know, Love, Friendship, and Being yourself, is what the Muppets are all about.
If Kevin were to read these posts he would feel the Love for him, as Elmo Gave love to all of us.
What was wrong with Richard's life? He was a gay man - so what? So am I. I'm proud of him. He did nothing wrong.
That was a ridiculous comment.
And as for the whole Kevin issue - he didn't rape anyone. Was it a dumb thing to seek considering his career? Sure. But for goodness sake, it was just poor judgement. It wasn't like he took out the Elmo puppet and talked to "kids" and asked them to have sex. It was his private life - he kept it seperate - he didn't mix the two. And these weren't "kids" in the strictest sense. They were young adults, looking for sex too, or else they wouldn't have consented. NOT that I'm saying what he did was OK - he just should have known better, especially considering his job.
Pretty overwhelmimg stuff here. I was originally just going to drop in and rather than do a longer post, just simply express a short simple:
"Elmo very sad"
But i also didn't think it would be a good idea to post without reading through the thread first and there's a few things that shouldn't pass without comment... (apologies in advance for typos...yet again my system is acting up and am having to retype after having nearly finished and lost everything...)
*** Kevin has resigned from Sesame Street. This does not mean he'll never work again as a puppeteer on other projects and i would trust he'd still stay involved with The Jim Henson Company and/or the Classic Muppets (for the newbies joining us "Classic Muppets" is fanspeak for the Muppet Show gang of Muppets currently owned by Disney). The guy is one of the most talented puppeteers in the industry truly among the Top Tier in terms of pure ability. He can get movement and expression out of puppets in ways very few can match...and that's not even going into his additional gifts of vocals and characterization. His overall non-Sesame career is not over nor should it be. It would be a colossial waste if he didn't continue working on other projects. I don't imagine he'll be working on properties that are aimed specifically for children for awhile but will still probably continue with family friendly all-ages projects (i.e. the difference between working on something like Pajanimals vs. The Classic Muppets). Heck, he could probably still work on stuff behind the scenes such as puppeteer training. We've not seen the last of Kevin Clash or his artistry; we're not saying goodbye to any future performances...it's just the Sesame Street days that are behind him.
*** Whether innocent, guilty or (as is usually the case in interpersonal relationship cases where there's two sides to every story) somewhere "in between", Kevin has a lasting legacy of testimony to his character as a loving generous person who has fully embodied the Hensonian practice of leaving the world a better place" The guy has tirelessly given of himself to others and at the end of the day that will always remain his legacy - the first and the last chapter and a whole lotta pages in between. Compare that with his accusers who are quite sketchy to say the least. It's not my place to say who's right or wrong as these are all people not in my own personal life...but i *do* know who's certainly more trustworthy and has the stronger track record of overall strength of character and will remain why i shall continue to be a huge supporter of Kevin Clash. Ironically enough, sad though it may be for those of us on the other end of the tv screen, his very act of resigning itself is yet another example of said character - he's putting the needs of Sesame Workshop's goals/mission and all the children they help first above his own personal needs. Similar to how his initial leave of absence last week was at his doing, he has chosen to distance himself from Sesame rather than the other way around to best allow Sesame Workshop to function at its best. It may leave us sad but Kevin is a class act when it comes right down to it. (Psst...wanna have some fun? Try saying "Kevin Clash: a class act" ten times fast.)
*** Don't worry about Elmo. Back in 1990 when Jim died unexpectedly, that was a major blow because it was the first Major Loss. Since then, the Muppet teams at Henson/Disney/Sesame have had to come to grips with and accept the harsh but inevitable reality that human beings can only continue working for so long and that one day each and every one will be lost. In some cases it's planned or expected such as upcoming retirement or ill health/old age and in others it's random - no one is immune to being suddenly lost in a plane crash, natural disaster, random act of violence, etc. Even if none of this was going on in Kevin's personal life, there's no way Sesame Workshop wouldn't have years ago outlined some basic plans in regards to "What will happen if we were to suddenly lose Kevin (or Joey, or David, or "insert name here")?" We as fans don't like talking about recasts but an entertainment company with iconic characters worth millions MUST confront these questions (well, they *could* choose to ignore them but they'd be the worst kinds of fools to do so) and i'm sure there's already plans in place for the day when Kevin's no longer available which has now come. Sesame Street will survive. Sesame Workshop will survive. And yes, Elmo will survive. Remember underneath it all the little fella's a monster and those Muppet Monsters are pretty resilient! In no time at all, expect to see Elmo singing and laughing with his friends and dare i say even continue to eat up the show at levels that we sometimes find distressing
*** There is no comparison/parallel to Richard Hunt. Both Kevin is and Richard was gay. That's the only commonality - end of story. What's happening with Kevin is not "because he's gay" (though his public outing was a result of it). The things confronting Kevin are due to the nature of relationships other people are claiming to have had with him. That's not a "gay thing" - it could just as well happen - and has - to straight public figures. Nothing of this nature happened to Richard. Many of us didn't know until after he passed away that he was gay and/or HIV Positive. (The first time i found out was reading it in the obituary section of The Advocate - ironically the first issue i was brave enough to purchase instead of just leafing through it at the bookstore ) Remember this was 1992 when even though a very large portion of the population were enlightened enough to know "gay" did not equal "bad", depictions of gay people on television was still scarce. AIDS/HIV still had a stigma attached to it due largely to ignorence/silence/lack of people in leadership (Reagan/Bush Sr et al) not speaking up. Again, i say that learning/knowing either Richard or Kevin were gay should in and of itself not cause Muppet fans to think differently of them. (I still can't even wrap my head around people who profess to BE Muppet fans who have followed decades of messages of inclusiveness and tolerance and diversity and respect for different people holding onto homophobic attitudes but the forum often smacks me back to reality whenever gay topics of discussion come up) Being gay or straight is a whole seperate ball of wax than what kind of relationships one has or how they treat other people they get involved with. I can understand full well a Muppet fan having doubts about Kevin's innocence, ethics, morals, or judgement after hearing about actions/activites Kevin's been accused of...but i shudder more violently than if i had eaten one of Oscar's sardine sundaes when i see someone say that just the very idea of either Kevin or Richard or any other member of the Muppet Creative Team's being a gay person "shatters" them or causes them to "question how they feel" about them. When i read stuff like that, i just want to say "turn in your Muppet Fan card please".
Sad day? Yes. Has the sun stopped shining on Sesame? No. (Not to say there aren't occassional overcast or rainy or snowy or windy days...after all how else would they teach about "weather" and "seasons"?) But Sesame, while dealt with the loss of a huge creative talent, will continue to survive and teach and make millions of kids (and adults) happy just as Kevin will continue to give his gifts and talents to the world one way or the other.
That's a very lovely picture.
Must admit I'm still a little overwhelmed by this news. I feel like this really won't sink in until I hear the new Elmo voice.
From the AP's most recent write-up:
"Episodes with Clash performing as Elmo will presumably continue well into 2014. Taping of season No. 44 will wrap by mid-December and will begin airing next September, according to someone close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity."
...and...here's a site with a poll asking if you believe the accusations against Clash. As i write, it's currently at "86%: No" (before someone linked to it on a Muppet fan board!):
I want to give all my prayers and love for Kevin, Im sure we will miss him so much on Sesame, but I hope he would come to The Muppets franchise and we would see Clifford again! and Im sure the Henson familly would support him like all the fans at Muppet Central.
Usually people in Kevin's position are given the opportunity to resign, perhaps to keep some royalties on his performances, rather than the shame of walking the plank and being outright fired and losing everything. So I'm sure he wasn't given much choice in the matter given Sesame Streets history of caving and kowtowing to fundamentalists groups, who don't respect anyone's right to due process before being marched to the bonfires by an angry mob. This story was at least a week ripe when this statement suddenly broke and made the issue fresh in everyone's mind again. Even the New York Daily News posted a retraction of sorts when it claimed the accusor was a convicted criminal serving time in jail (my friend thinks Kevin was extorted by this convict to keep the information secret and he balked. )
In any event, true, or untrue, I'm reserving judgment till Mr. Clash has his day in court. Until then I think it's a sad day on earth when allegations alone can end an entire career; love; and livelihood. But that's just par for the course given the culture of fear we've been bred to pay for. Kevin Clash isn't the first victim of this character assassination by media to sell sensationalism nor will he be the last, certainly.
Thanks for your comment, Dwayne.
I still hope that these accusations turn out to be false, and we discover that they're just a money grab by the accuser. We'll have to wait and see. In any case, it's a sad time in many ways.
I agree with that completely. That can be said of a lot of actors, Bruce Vilanch of "Hollywood Squares," Reginald VelJohnson of "Family Matters." Homosexuality doesn't make anyone any less of a person.
Well, that's good news. If Kevin does decide to reconsider this, he'll have time before they film new episodes, but I guess the way things are going that still seems unlikely. *sigh*
As Elmo will still be in the parade Thursday, I wonder which puppeteer gets the thankless task of performing Elmo (to Kevin Clash's prerecorded vocals).
There are those that theorize that Paul Ruebens did that on purpose to kill off a character he was sick to death of that wasn't intended for children anyway. But he's since been able to have a career being himself, even doing VO work for kid's movies and TV shows. I'm glad to see he bounced back. Now they're trying to go after Fred Willard for doing the same thing. Seriously, that's what home video is for.
But seriously... Woody Allen married his own daughter. Adopted, but underage daughter.
It's sad that he was actually sexually abused at one point, but to troll after older men as a result and only mentioning one with deep pockets? How come there are people jumping to defend that? It's wrong on both counts, let's just agree to that.
If I can shift the discussion to comment on some things said about the "end of elmo" earlier in this thread...
This smacks of the same sensationalism that has caused Mr. Clash to feel the need to resign. Whether the fast-paced information frenzy of life leads to people jumping to that kind of conclusion, and the media feeds off of that, or instead we are led to fear such things *by* the media, I don't know. I only know that we must step back and look at this realistically.
Yes, there are some people who can't tell a performer from a character. These tend to be the same types who don't understand that except for one episode of M*A*S*H I recall, no TV show actually takes place in 30 minutes' time. The problems solved on sitcoms are solved the same day sometimes, mroe often the next day or within a few, sometimes an episode takes place over weeks. To someone who is able to watch TV with any kind of discerning eye, they can tell that.
Was Mr. Clash identified with Elmo? Yes. But, the opposite need not be true. Look at something like Star Trek, where William Shtner was Captain kirk, but the most recent movie featured a young man playing Kirk in his Academy days, and while I'm not the biggest fan, I was a huge TOS fan when I was little, I couldn't imagine anyone but Shatner int he part, and yet when i finally watched the movie witha college buddy on vacation this past summer (I hand't watched a ST movie for over a decade, but don't watch movies at all really anymore) I thought to myself, "Yes, that's Captain Kirk." Why? Because he enough amnnerisms and such that were like Shatner portrayed him that I could say, "You know, he plays him a little differently, but i can still see it's the same character."
That's because the character is in a fictional universe where he exists independent of the actor. I don't care if it's an 8-year-old playing "Star Trek" with his friends (and yes,that was me in the '70s) - that 8YO may not create universe canon, but he is being Captain Kirk.
It's so much more so for Elmo, where just a voice is used. Yeah, Elmo might sound a bit different, just like the guy who played Kirk didn't have the same somewhat overacting style Shatner did (the typical "Your'e trying too hard" thing - which was also like I would do). But, he had enough similarities it was very good. In the same way, Elmo will still have the same mannerisms int he same univese in which he exists independent of who plays him.
Indeed, this should be a chance for Sesame Street to educate kids about TV, that it doesn't matter who the people are who play the characters. Maybe if we educated more kids from the beginning that what they see is just a fictional unvierse and anyone can play a chaacter for pretend, maybe it'll kick in that the actor is not the character and performers themselves won't have people asking why they did stuff when it was just a part they played.
Now, if we can only get Oscar to start grousing as he's watching TV, "This show is dumb! They just went tot he next scene and a whole day went by on my show. I thought everythign was supposed to be solved in 30 minutes!" With Gordon explaining how TV works.
Or not; I don't watch TV like that anymore, eitehr. I miss the '70s and '80s sitcoms.
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