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I miss the real Kermit

Discussion in 'Muppet Appearances' started by Randall Flagg, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Randall Flagg

    Randall Flagg Well-Known Member

    And no, I'm not talking about the voice or anything, I'm talking about the personality. What happened to the Kermit from the 70s? The frog who was always getting frazzled, losing his temper, flapping his arms around, screaming at his fellow muppets, curling his lip in disdain, blatantly flirting with female costars and annoying Piggy, etc, etc, etc?

    Instead, in all the TV specials we see him in now, he's this cloyingly sappy goody-two-shoes. I noticed it especially during "Letters To Santa", but then after thinking about it, I really can't remember the last time we saw the fun Kermit as opposed to the good-two-shoes Kermit. They've got the voice good enough now, but they really need to bring back his personality.
  2. MuppetLabsBoy

    MuppetLabsBoy Well-Known Member

    I agree
  3. JJandJanice

    JJandJanice Well-Known Member

    Kermit does still do a lot of that stuff, especially firting with female costars much to Miss Piggy's dismay. Didn't you seen the Pizza Hut commericals with Jessica Simpson, :) or even his cameo on Deal or No Deal. He also still gets annoyed every now and again with Fozzie and Piggy. I think you might be looking too much into one side of his personality.

    I do agree, so some level, that the Kermits has gotten maybe a little too (as you put it) "goody-two-shoes." But I don't feel that's just Kermit, I feel it's most of the Muppets besides maybe Pepe. But hey I'm still enjoying them as they are
  4. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    Well, Steve made him into that Kermit for a while, and people complained that he was too mean and snarky. It's a no-win situation, I'm afraid.
  5. ploobis

    ploobis Well-Known Member

    If you watch the bloopers from Letters To Santa, There's an Outtake that really makes me laugh every time I watch it!

    It's when Piggy slams the door then Kermit looks at the Muppet gang and yells "WHAT ARE YOU ALL LOOKING AT? WE'RE HAVING A FIGHT, ALRIGHT!"

    I laugh every time I watch that! :)
  6. Randall Flagg

    Randall Flagg Well-Known Member

    I never saw that, but that's exactly the sort of thing they should be doing.

    Thinking back on the Muppet Show-- back then, if Gonzo did a lousy act, Kermit would likely be flapping his arms around, yelling at him to "GET OFF THE STAGE! ARRGHHHH!" These days, he'd put a comforting arm around Gonzo and say something sappy about how Gonzo shouldn't feel bad that the act failed, and how important it is to just keep trying and to be true to yourself, etc, etc, etc.
    I know Kermit always had a BIT of a sappy side, but it was more balanced in the past with his frazzled side. These days, he's 95% sappy.
    Oh well, I guess things evolve. I'm just missing the good ol' days.
  7. Bellygrub

    Bellygrub Well-Known Member

    I always look at Kermit as the anchor. The wackier the rest of the cast gets, the more anchored Kermit becomes. He's got to be getting used to the rest of the gang by now :)

    :search: I'm trying to remember off the top of my head (and failing) but did we ever really see "frustrated/angry" Kermit outside of the Muppet Show? I know in the Muppet Movie he pretty much plays the eternal optimist. Maybe in TGMC but I haven't watch that movie in years.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Listen, I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but if there's one argument I've heard well enough since I joined, it's the old "why aren't things exactly the way they were before their performer/franchise owner passed on" It's almost as old as the "Why don't we have (character performed by someone no longer working) anymore" and then whining about their voice when they get recast.

    Frankly, I haven't seen Kermit do that since the Muppet Show, not even in the movies. Not even when Jim was still performing him. It's just something that evolved out of the character in movies. Sure, he did do a lot of that in Sesame Street as well... but I really didn't see him get upset at an act on stage since... well there were acts and there was a stage. I don't find him "sappy" at all... LTS, yes, it was a little sappy. It's Christmas. It oozes sap (as anyone who gets live trees will know). It's also like how Fozzie evolved since the first season from being a bad comedian to being a sympathetic comedian who tells bad jokes because he thinks they're funny, and he thinks people will find them funny... or like Gonzo going from crazy performance artist to crazy performance artist who doesn't know where he came from, and feels a little down that no one gets his vision. It happens.

    Plus, I'm sure we could see that exact same Kermit IF we had something exactly like the TMS scene.
  9. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    since DRTOOTH said what i was going to i am just gonna agree with him
  10. Frogster

    Frogster Well-Known Member

    Here's what needs to be fixed in order to get the old Kermit back:

    1. Stop making Kermit so spastic. Steve overdoes the scrunched-up face too much, like Kermit has the jitters or something.

    2. He needs to stop making Kermit resemble the Sesame Street Kermit and start resembling The Muppet Show Kermit. He's too nice, too childish, and too "let's just all get along". I felt like I got diabetes from watching Kermit on Leno last night.

    3. Kermit is the straight man...? Not anymore. The acting abilities of Kermit has left something to be desired, especially since he blew up in front of David Arquette in VMMCM with the "I wish I never been born" bit. Sometimes watching Kermit these days is like seeing your best friend who stinks at singing audition for American Idol. Because even though your friend is a terrible singer, you don't want to be a jerk, so you support him when he goes to audition. Because even though this guys' friends and family support him and say he's good, the larger crowd- the American audience- says otherwise and looks for someone better. And sadly, MuppetCentral, we're really just the 'family and friends.' America has made the vote.

    4. Also, and I know this is nitpicky, but there's also a certain way that Steve works Kermit's arms that I don't like. It's just so noticeable. It's hard to describe, so here's a video of Jim's Kermit, and one with Steve's Kermit. Check out the placement of the arms.



    5. A. Also- and this goes for nearly all the Muppet characters- they seemed to have lost their language of subtlety. This kind of goes with Point #2. None of the characters seem to have any depth, they're as flat as cartoon characters. Next time you get the chance, watch the scene in Muppets Take Manhattan where Kermit is will Gill, Jill and Bill in Pete's Diner, right beside everybody else, who have all given up on trying to find Kermit, then suddenly Kermit starts to cling the glasses to the song "Together Again." There's really not a lot of talk until Gonzo discovers Kermit's right there. It's a serious moment where everyone is upset that they can't find him. It's a pretty memorable scene right?

    5. B. That same movie also has a scene where everyone is asking Kermit what they should do next, and Kermit has just had enough. He doesn't flail his arms, doesn't get uncontrollable, he doesn't even scrunch up his face, he just tells them, in a very stern way, he's really just tired of having all the weight on him. It's the kind of reaction I'd expect from someone if I was in that situation.

    I get it; there are different levels of Muppet fans, and we can't all agree on one exact type of Kermit. There's my opinion of a good Kermit, and then there's yours. I like a mature, friendly, relate-able Kermit who actually shows he's a leader. You don't need him to always either be 'happy-smiley' or 'frowny-face'. That's bi-polar. None of us act like that, they shouldn't either. Yes, Muppets have touched the lives of kids, but a lot of us on here are adults now, and what we liked then we still like today. If Jim can reach both levels, then these guys should be able to as well. From my point of view, I believe Kermit has lost his true appeal (as well as some of the other Muppets) and this is what's made it so hard for them to catch a break with a TV show or movie.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Most of it has to do with a little thing called "character development".

    In all honesty, you have to allow room for a character to grow and evolve in personality, and give us insights into quirks or characteristics over the years, because if a certain character remains exactly the same, then you're going to get bored pretty quickly, and then there's nothing special about the character anymore.

    I hate to bring this back up, but take M*A*S*H for example, that show is a perfect example of how characters grow and develop overtime...
    - Hawkeye started out as a booze-binging womanizer, who after a while stop drinking non-stop, and started to become a bit preachy (mostly because of how much creative control Alan Alda had in those later seasons).
    - Margaret was a tough, by-the-book Army brat who always demanded perfection, and was easily annoyed by the antics of Hawkeye and Trapper (or B.J.), but after a while we saw that she had a sensitive side and had emotions and feelings just as everyone else.
    - Frank Burns actually devolved, going from the un-official villain of the show, to a one-dimensional pathological twerp.
    - Radar's development was a bit of a roller coaster, as he started being worldly and squirrely, constantly sneaking a shot of brandy or a smoke, then he became an innocent and naive farmboy who nearly puked at smoking cigars or having a shot, but then he became hormonal during his final appearance on the show.
    - Colonel Potter came to camp as a tough, by-the-book commanding officer, but mellowed into the sort of grandfather figure of the show.
    - Even Klinger started out as being that weird hairy guy running around in drag to convince people he's crazy so he can get discharged from the service, and what happened? After a few years, he stopped wearing dresses, and started acting like a corpsman, even getting promoted from Corporal to Sergeant... even though Klinger was much funnier running around in dresses.

    It's like Sonia Manzano once said even, a lot of people still watch SST for years after they first started watching, because unlike most shows, the human cast has been allowed to age and grow with the show, which works well because people in real life really do change, and we've all seen Maria grow from a teenager on the street, to a female construction worker when feminism was in the news, to marrying Luis and having Gabi, etc.

    To add another point to Frogster's nitpick, Steve Whitmire has says that often times it's difficult to NOT go overboard with Kermit's expressions because his head is so flexible compared to other Muppets.

    So there... just adding my half-cent's worth.
  12. Frogster

    Frogster Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is character development. And I don't think it's the simplicity of the Kermit puppet as much as it is that Steve likes playing eccentric characters- many of whom have the same voice. Granted, most of Jim's characters sounded pretty similar- from Convincing John to Guy Smiley to Dr. Teeth, and there's others. But that's when you have to know how to play your character. You can't perform Kermit the same way you perform Wembley.
  13. Randall Flagg

    Randall Flagg Well-Known Member

    I don't know if it's character development so much, or if it's an attempt to sanitize things a bit. Look how they cut out Kermit's line on the TMS Season 1 Promo ("What the **** was that?") That wasn't because of character development, that was because somebody thought the line was too much for kids to handle.
    And look at Sesame Street. Oscar is a lot friendlier than he used to be. That's not character development, that's people being too scared of scarring children by having a mean character on the show. Same with Cookie Monster eating healthier food. Same with how Bert used to be meaner to Ernie.

    Kermit is the central figure, so I suspect the powers-that-be want him to be ultra-nice/compassionate all the time. The problem is, by doing so, I don't think they're giving kids enough credit. Old-timers like me grew up watching the "meaner" Kermit, and it didn't scar us for life. We enjoyed it. We could relate to him because who hasn't felt like that at times? Same with Oscar. Yeah, he was mean. Yeah, he insulted Big Bird a lot. But so what? He was funny that way, and what's more, there ARE mean people in the real world. Nothing wrong with letting kids see that.
    I think they're over-sanitizing the muppets. Pepe is the one saving-grace left... one of the few characters who hasn't been watered down for kids... and I'm actually surprised they let him say half the stuff he says.

    Character development is a GOOD thing. You'll get no argument from me on that. But stripping away a character's personality because somebody is afraid that a kid might not be able to handle it is not a good thing, and I'm afraid that's what's happening to the muppets.
  14. rexcrk

    rexcrk Well-Known Member

    I thought that it was cut because it had the CBS logo in the background :concern:

    Anyway, I have no problem with "current" Kermit... but maybe that's because I was born in 1988, and grew up during that awkward period between "Jim-era" stuff and "post-Jim-era" stuff...
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Same with me, except that I was born a year later in 1989, lol.
  16. Randall Flagg

    Randall Flagg Well-Known Member

    AH, ok, so maybe it's just a generational thing. I was born long before you guys (1974). I remember when the Muppet Show first came on the air, and I remember watching the skits on Sesame Street when Kermit would get ****** off with Grover, and when Bert looked a lot meaner, etc. Maybe that's why I have a harder time accepting the newer, cuter versions of the characters. To me, they seem like watered-down imposters, whereas to you guys, they're legit because it's how you've always known them.
  17. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    As someone born in '77, I've noticed a "watering down". However, I don't think current Kermit is "Wembley". He may seem more like a younger Kermit, but it's still Kermit. It's not like Steve can't play non-naive characters. Rizzo was the Pepe of our era. He's mellowed a little, influenced, no doubt, by Gonzo's mellowing, but I've noticed he's taken a shine to Pepe ... because they really are alike.

    I'm still under the impression that Muppet Babies characterizations have slowly been inserted into the Muppets (a conclusion I felt was hammered in during LTS, especially Scooter and his laptop). Others may not like it, but let's face it ... it's not good for the characters to be one-dimensional either. If Gonzo were JUST a daredevil, he'd be a "cartoon". Heck, even Animal took up meditation and made friends with a bunny. When someone as one-note as Animal can have at least a little depth, then I think things are going in the right direction. Animal's part in the Bohemian Rhapsody song had me thinking of doing a fanfic of his parents abandoning a hyperactive child. Kermit is hilarious when he loses control. However, you'd think after getting to know everyone like family over DECADES ... he'd learn to be a smidge more tolerant. If he were just the boss, who never interacted with his employees outside of work, MAYBE I could see him still getting frustrated. However, depending on the show/special/movie ... they all practically live together one way or another. You either learn to get along or leave, especially with the wide range of personalities that are available. Kermit/Fozzie/Gonzo was a classic trio for a reason. It's more noticeable in the movies (and in Muppet Babies), but Kermit has always sympathized with both of them. I DO expect Kermit to be warm towards Fozzie and Gonzo. He may not have to like everything they do, but these are GOOD FRIENDS.
  18. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    I see what you mean. For instance, suppose Kermit had hosted 'Muppets Tonight!' rather than Clifford. We might have seen more of that with Steve's Kermit. Though there were examples when Steve's Kermit did fly off the handle. The best examples I can think of were in "Treasure Island" and VMCM.
  19. ktbear

    ktbear Member

    As someone almost as old as Sesame Street, I have witnessed the evolution of Kermit (Since there are so few videos of Sam and Friends). I remember him as the news anchor of Sesame Street News interviewing the Three Little Pigs. He was also the first person Grover sold his goods too. Having no teeth (to buy a toothbrush), Grover forces a set of teeth on Kermit. When Kermit moved off Sesame Street and over to The Muppet Show, he was the center and soul of the show. No matter how bad things were going, he still plugged along. In the movies, it was obvious that Kermit was the center of the story. There was always a magnatism about the Frog. It's something that Jim had. It was an intregal part of the man and the frog. I think it's a mixture of charisma and the faith that you know this is what you were meant to do.

    If you notice, in A Muppet's Christmas Carol (My favourite version of the tale), Kermit is in it for just a little time. If you take what has been produced since May 16, 1990, you can see the evolution of Steve's Kermit. The man had mighty big flippers to fill. There was a special produced, I think, about 18 months after Jim died. It was the Muppets at the theatre, looking for Kermit and talking about this "Jim" guy who was important to Kermit, but they didn't know who he was. They were worried about Kermit because this Jim person had died. It was the first time we heard Steve do Kermit. It was shakey.
    Over 18 years and 7 months, we have watched and scrutinized Steve's performances of Kermit. He has done everything he can, but what is really missing is something Steve and others will never be able to capture. What's missing is Jim's soul. No other Jim character fully had a piece of his soul in the performance except Kermit. That plus that faith I mentioned earlier, is what makes up the core of Kermit. Now, I noticed that last year's "Letters", Steve finally seemed to have the faith. It's what made that special better than anything done since Muppets Tonight. Unfortunately for the whole world, we will never see a soul like Jim's again.:)
    (Sorry for such a long answer from a newbie. Jim happened to be the subject of my college senior paper.)
  20. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    very well said ktbear

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