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Excellent Frank Oz Interview (2014)

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by MrBloogarFoobly, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I would say the Muppets are more savvy in MMW than they were in MTI or MFS, but it seems that critics and audiences prefer a more lobotomized version of them. Successful humor these days seem to be rooted in either meanness or idiocy. All nuance is kind of lost and that's where I believe the Muppets' classic humor resides. People blame Hollywood for much. I blamed the industry for not giving the Muppets a solid shot at doing what they do, but when MMW underperformed it was clear to me that audiences desire this dumbing-down of entertainment. I hope I'm wrong. I really do. It just seems that people like you and I are being left out while mainstream audiences are getting the films they deserve -Teenage Mutant Ninja Computer Effects.

    I just saw a couple of really good films this weekend that didn't fare well at the box office. Red State (that admittedly came out a few years back) and Snowpiercer that received a limited release due to the director declining to hack it to bits. And then I went over to Rotten Tomatoes to read some user reviews of the re-release of Ghostbusters only to find that there's an entire generation of people who actually hate the film. Unspeakable! I don't want to sound like some geezer, but I just don't know anymore. Darn kids. They're just brain-dead these days. GET OFF MY LAWN! Hehe.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  2. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    Do I give the impression that I desire dumbed down entertainment? ;)

    Well I agree, there does seem to be an entire generation who were brainwashed into thinking pretentious brooding and CGI explosions equals deep. We've really lowered the bar, lol. Anything that attempts to have a sense of humor is declared "too cheesy." Though to be fair, it's not just young people. I've seen plenty of older people who have bought into that nonsense. They were probably the type of people who only ever loved Star Wars for the light sabers and got bored with all the talking in between, lol. Suddenly Hollywood is rewarding these people and yeah, people like you and me are suffering for it.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  3. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    Not sure what you mean by that.

    MMW is very much a return to form rather than its more simplified predecessor.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  4. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    Don't worry about it. I'd rather not open myself up to more attacks (not by you. The users know who they are).
  5. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Well, we will never know, maybe Disney would have been more interested with SS, and that Jim would get frusterated about it, even though Jim did do a pretty good thing with the partnership which would allow him to have his full attention on productions, who knows what could have gone wrong.
  6. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    Do you live in some magical fairlyland dictatorship where everyone shares your extremely limited view of the world and no one ever has a differing opinion?
    Muppet Master likes this.
  7. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Thank you, it seems like everyone on this forum has this weird image that Disney is the best home for the muppets, and if anyone says anything against it then they are burned at the stake. I even had to delete a post of mine saying that I think the muppets should be owned by a different company, because a member threatened to ignore anyone who thought against it. I mean not everyone thinks that Disney is the best for the muppets, in fact most people outside this forum think the opposite of it, thank you again for standing up for your opinion.
    MrBloogarFoobly and Reevz1977 like this.
  8. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    This is what I'm talking about: this is part of the problem around here, where you can't have a difference of opinion without somebody whining that there's too much "negativity" on the forum.

    Seriously, this guy has been this way for years. I remember back when news of THE MUPPETS (2011) first started surfacing on the internet (including here)... a lot of people were all peaches and cream, because hey, it's Disney, Disney wouldn't dare do anything wrong with the Muppets... and Jason Segel is attached to the movie, he's a huge fan of the Muppets, he's perfect. Well, I thought otherwise, and my reasons were justified: for one thing, up till the movie, Disney repeatedly revealed news of certain new Muppet projects they were working on (a new 10-episode show, a Halloween special, among other things) that they ended up shelving shortly afterwards, how did we know this wasn't going to happen to the movie as well? Also, Jason Segel? His sense of humor tends to be rather filthy, the Muppets were always better than that. Basically, I kept saying in regards to the movie that I would believe it when I see it, and if I see it, I will be happy to be proven wrong. And the whole time, this guy's ragging on me, "D00d! Ur ruining the sanctity of Muppet Central wif negativity! Y u so negative! Ur negativity is ruining the whole forum for evry1! Waaahhhh!"

    This is the problem with the forum today: it's not negativity, it's people who can't respect other people's non sugar-coated and sunkissed opinions and whine about said opinions smothering MC with so-called negativity that's the real problem.
  9. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    My point exactly, just because this is a muppet fan site does not mean that everything that is not good news should be sweetened. About the Jason Siegel thing, was he even good in TM'11, I did not notice, because he spent half the time writting in way too many scenes for himself, and then mediorcerly acting, and even then acting like he was in The Oggieloves, for goodness sakes dude this is a muppet film not, not this preschool film that you envisioned in your mind, sheesh all he did was have a dumb grin on his face, and horribly act like he was a muppet fan, there I do not care how negative I was, but that is my real opinion on Jason Siegel in the film. Now here are my thoughts on Disney. In the original deal did they really want the muppets? They just wanted to get them as an excuse to talk Jim Henson into selling SS to them, why else did they cut the deal when Jim Henson was no longer there? Now that they actually own them, I do not really like that whatsoever. It is bad enough that they do not once put Jim Henson's name anywhere near the muppets anymore, but to never release so many muppet productions, refuse to even mention that the word puppeteer exists, and to put your name all over everything the muppets do is going way too far. Really, it is always DISNEY PRESENTS: DISNEY'S the muppets, seriously, the DVDs and Blu-Rays they make give the word Disney half the space on the DVD, and everything the muppets do has Disney, big and bold, right next to it. Like Disney Drive On: with the muppets, really? They fill up the show with Disney advertismenets, and leave a really small time for an actual plot? Okay, I have said what I think, if you can not stand it, then do not read it, but that is my true opinion on Disney and Jason Siegel.
    MrBloogarFoobly likes this.
  10. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    Agreed with both of you. And if people are so certain that their opinion is correct, where is the harm in debating it? That's insecurity.

    I remember back when The Muppets was coming out, I posted some kind of opinion against the cult of Disney. I received a warning for my post from the admins. Absurd.
    Muppet Master likes this.
  11. fuzzygobo

    fuzzygobo Well-Known Member

    Jim could have been well-served if he was able to strike a deal with HBO. They were good to him in the past, promoting Emmett Otter and especially Fraggle Rock. No greedy CEO trying to get his claws on Sesame Street rights. Storyteller might have found a more receptive audience instead of getting lost in the prime time network shuffle.
    Plus HBO's viewership has greatly expanded, and has always prided itself with quality programming (as opposed to just churning out mediocre "product" to keep the bean counters happy).

    Could've been a match made in heaven. Or at least one Jim might not have had second thoughts over.
    MrBloogarFoobly likes this.
  12. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    Jim left HBO because they wanted more control over Fraggle Rock and to turn it into a letters and numbers show like Sesame Street. HBO would have been a step down.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I see your point, but I still fail to see how things would have been better had any other company bought them or Henson still owned them. For every project Disney didn't finish, there's like... I dunno how many Henson projects. I lost count. How about the long succession of proposed Muppet movies (all DTV projects, mind you) after VMX but before MWOO? Even if they did produce something, it would be "edgy" as in the Black Friday Toy Story reel. The script for the unproduced Fox show was leaked a while ago. It was mortifying!! And I needn't bring up the horror story of what happened with the Fraggle Rock movie.

    The thing that scares me is that if Henson was still in control of the characters, a certain pair of clinically stupid brothers would have wrecked them beyond repair. Look what they did to Hoodwinked Too! :rolleyes: That could have happened! At best, there was that Fox partnership that thankfully ended with MWOO. Say what you will about TM and MMW, I don't think anyone would have liked that direction.

    And also, to be fair, a good number of the fanbase actively hated anything made post-Henson, including MCC, MTI, MT... so it's not just because Disney's in the picture, it's because Jim was no longer doing these things.

    I think its a mix of that and the growing culture of snobby hipster movie goers that poo-poo anything that's a remake or a sequel that want "original movies" (read, completely identical pseudo-indie films). The same kind that whined about how grim and serious Man of Steel was yet also whined about how goofy and cartoonish Amazing Spider-Man 2 is. A lot of the older film goers who would have seen MMW were turned off of the actual Muppet style wacky plot and preferred the first one because it was emotionally manipulative. It's actually under the TV Tropes listing for Sadist Show! Like I said... they managed to comedy ghetto Muppets! WOW!
    Duke Remington likes this.
  14. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    Without Disney, the Muppets would have remained in the purgatory they'd been in for years.
    Duke Remington and cahuenga like this.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    And say another company wound up getting them. I don't think the results are that favorable for them either. Look at Warner Bros. They don't know what the crap they're doing.
    Duke Remington and jvcarroll like this.
  16. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I agree. It's a popular pastime to bash Disney, and sometimes they deserve the criticism, but they've worked harder on the Muppets brand than the Henson Company did (post-Jim).

    I mean, let's look at the other suitors they could have paired with:

    The Henson Company: Well, they really don't seem to be successful at getting projects off the ground. I don't know why that is, but that is the case. I'm glad they sold the Muppets but kept the Fraggles and other properties. Besides, I think they wanted to focus on other ventures.

    Sony/Columbia-Tristar: They had a good partnership with Jim and Lisa Henson served as the president of production at one time, but we all saw what happened with Muppets From Space. Revisions on Jerry Juhl's brilliant script, replacing the director at the last minute, the many critical pans and the fact that it was yanked from theaters two weeks after release all demonstrated that Sony doesn't know how to handle the Muppets.

    Warner Brothers (Time-Warner/HBO): Their track record for a while now has been hit-or-miss. I don't think they much understand their properties either. They have a few scattered hits (Nolan's Batman films, Godzilla and the Lego Movie) but they're also the studio that inflicted the Yogi Bear movie, Green Lantern, the Nightmare on Elm Street remake and many other branded failures.

    Fox: Sure, they're a powerful company and they release some quality content, but they're also very fickle - particularly in the area of television. It's not uncommon for them to yank a program from their lineup if it's only a moderate success. I'm not sure if I'd want the Muppets with them.

    Viacom/Paramount: The home of MTV, CBS, the Daily Show and Spongebob. It could work. Then again, they're known to pull the plug on some of their popular properties like Invader Zim in favor of kid-friendlier fare. The Muppets could easily be reduced to mascots under their direction. It could also go the other way - the way of Spongebob - and the Muppets could be saturated everywhere. It's really a toss-up.

    Universal/Comcast: The home of NBC and the Universal Studios themepark. This is an attractive suitor that worked well for Spielberg for a while, but they haven't had any impressive hits for a while aside from the Despicable Me movies.

    DreamWorks: You know what? I think Jim would have considered them if he were around today. That is, if they weren't struggling right now. This would be my alternative choice too. I can see him getting along with Katzenberg and Spielberg much better than the Disney executives. The only other issue is that Disney has the strongest brand recognition and themepark presence in the world.

    I still think Disney is the best place for the Muppets. The branding, the themeparks, the marketing, the synergy with ABC, ESPN, the Disney Channel, Disney Pictures, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars/LucasFilm and their family of classic Disney properties just seems like the best fit to me. There's room for improvement, but I think the Muppets have a safe place to reside no matter how their projects perform. And I honestly think they'll keep trying to find the right outlet for them.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
    Duke Remington likes this.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The Yogi Bear movie, sadly, actually made money. They were threatening to make a sequel, and hopefully nothing comes out of it. What we got was a poorly cast, dull movie all about a Ranger Smith and a Mary Sue romantic plot tumor with Yogi and Booboo bouncing around in the background. All the while tossing every lame kid's movie cliche possible out there, even the big public confession bit, which was the ONLY REASON the Mary Sue female character was good for... having a camcorder! Eh, but that's going off on a tangent.
    But seriously... I wanted to walk out of that one three times at least, but I'm too cheap. Had to let my Hanna Barbera fanboy crap get the better of me.

    Anyway, WB just doesn't know what it's doing. They're ticking the heck out of the DC fanbase by gimmicky comic plots that no one actually likes (so I hear, as I exclusively buy from IDW, Boom, and Archie). They're trying too hard to be like Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though to be fair, if you can't please the Superman base with any movie, I would have just said &^%$ and made Man of Steel their anchor picture anyway. Why bother making another Superman film everyone has a bone to pick with in another 5 years? But what really gets me is the fact they just do not know what to do with the Looney Tunes. Sure, Scooby-Doo gets 2 DTV movies or more a year. But they just don't know what to do with their own enduring characters. It took The Looney Tunes Show for them to even rerun them on Boomarang. Then they didn't even release the last LTS episode in the US until a year after its cancellation, dumped on a random Sunday in August. At least we're finally getting T-shirts again.

    Seriously, would you trust the "geniuses" behind Loonatics Unleashed to handle the Muppets? At least Disney hasn't turned them into a cheap, cliche storm of an action show.
    Duke Remington and jvcarroll like this.
  18. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I see a world where, if Jim had lived, DreamWorks could have been SKGH instead of just SKG. Radical thought, but the Disney pairing was hitting some snags. The counter-culture home of Shrek (before it all became too much) would have been a good fit for the Muppet brand. However, they really didn't pursue them as free agents so who knows?
  19. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    I see either companies, if not ideal homes for the muppets, because let's face it, without Jim the muppets will never have an ideal home, that is not to say they can not have a good or great home. Dreamworks seems to not be much of a powerhouse these days compared to Dreamworks Animation, so the muppets could have given them a boost, and Universal seems good as well considering that they handled GMC and VMX quite well before.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Exactly. The complaints about Disney's ownership of the Muppets were exactly the same as the complaints of a Post-Jim Henson company. That cannot be helped, and sometimes properties aren't the same even with the same people involved (look at Ren and Stimpy Adult Cartoon Party and the Star Wars Prequels).

    Newer members have never read the old boards, and older members seem to forget how much crap Henson Co. took from some members back in the day.
    Duke Remington likes this.

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