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I miss the real Kermit

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

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Indeed, and that being said, you're right, Steve did have quite some flippers to fill in, and sure it was inhibiting; I remember Steve even saying he's had dreams since Jim's passing where Jim would show up while he's playing Kermit, and he would think "I shouldn't be doing this, this is Jim's character!", but Jim always said to him "No, it's fine, I'm just watching, go ahead."
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I bring this up a lot, but I remember how Dave Golez was talking about how when Steve was first assigned Kermit, he just couldn't even take him out of the case. It's one thing to perform a character someone else performed... but to perform a character that was one of the signature characters of someone you were very close to that's no longer with you... that's a mighty big dilemma. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him to do that.

    And as I said when someone else was performing Kermit for those 2 appearances and once at the D23 when Steve was unavailable, if I were a Muppeteer, the one character I'd hate to have to perform is Kermit. he's such a subtle, complex character that came from Jim, and that Steve had to find within himself. Same thing with Rowlf... I think Bill's doing pretty good with him, but he's the other one of Jim's signature characters.

    That said, I wanna address this:

    I'm sorry... I don't buy the "Oscar is nicer" jazz at all. And here's why

    These are 2 skits made in 1971, the show's second season
    Ernie eats Bert's Ice Cream and Oscar intervenes
    Ernie loses his Rubber Duckie, and Oscar helps out

    I don't know about you, but I find that to be Oscar's friendliest behavior, even today. He's such a complex character that evolved out of just being a grump who tells everyone to "Go Away"... to me, he's always been grouchy, but he still genuinely cares about people, Slimey especially... but still Big Bird, Telly, and the humans. I recall a time since the 80's where he wasn't just grouchy, but he liked to spread grouchiness to others by pulling pranks. It happens... the character evolved.

    As far as Cookie, they've been trying to say he eats healthy foods since the 70's, as this PSA will show. Dude eats EVERYTHING and ANYTHING... even if it's nailed down. He ate large holes out of Sesame Street in one special in the 90's.
  3. muppetinsider

    muppetinsider Well-Known Member

    Two words:
    Jim's Gone.
  4. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Very tactfully put... :rolleyes:
  5. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    I don't understand this "Steve-can-only-play-one-character-and-it's-not-Kermit-it's-Wembley-Steve's-Kermit's-arms-don't-move-right-Steve's-Kermit's-face-is-shaped-wrong-Steve's-Kermit's-this-that-and-the-other-thing" jazz.

    "Kermit's arms are positioned wrong?" The clips that you offered show Kermit's arms in the exact same position! And by the way, huzzubawhanow?

    "Kermit's face scrunches wrong/shaped wrong?" What? How can anyone control the shape of their hand? I suppose you expect Steve to apologize for not having has hand's surgically altered so Kermit will look 100 % perfect instead of... wait... how does Kermit look wrong? I don't get it! You very rarely see Steve do the exagerated Kermit scrunched faces that Jim did. Didja ever see the double-scrunch? The complete face distortions Jim would do with Waldorf, let alone Kermit? Yet STEVE'S go over the top?

    But returning to civilized conversatin, I think the last time Kermit really got frustrated and blew up (outside of more recent and bashed productions) was in The Great Muppet Caper when he and Piggy are arguing in front of the pond. He was pretty chill in The Muppet Movie, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. Basically all of the '80s TV specials he's unflappable. I think it was just the stress of running the theater.
  6. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    thank you, ive been trying to tell this to people for years, he even ate a phone and every other type of device trying to get a letter to santa.

    but yes,Kermits been this way for years even during some of the Jim years
  7. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    I would agree with Randall here. I wasn't born the same year or around the years of the 70's but i was born in 1981. I remember all the stuff of Jim's preformences and everyone here is pretty much right. Kermit had changed. I remembered how Jim played Kermit in those years i was starting to watch Sesame Street and reruns of The Muppet Show. Steve's version of Kermit is kind alike Wembley mixed with Rizzo and it kinda gets a little weird. And i'm not just saying that that's how i see him preforming him as but there are time i kind wished he had some the same type of moments where Kermit would get mad or flirt (which he does ever so often).

    When i first heard that Muppets Studio/Disney was going to be doing the Wizards of Oz speical and all. All i kept hoping was that Kermit would do more stuff with Fozzie knowing that Kermit and Fozzie are the best of friends. And later on when i saw Fozzie with Kermit on a talk show instead of Piggy or Gonzo i was thrilled. But i love to see Kermit and Fozzie more and i don't know Kermit with Fozzie are kind more funny but i knoiw it would be more funnier if Fozzie would give Kermit more like pokes at him for Kermit to bite back or something. It to me would seem more like Kermit's character but i too have gotten a little more comfortable with Steve's preformence.
  8. SkeksisGirl

    SkeksisGirl Member

    I'll admit that it does seem that the Muppets have become too... well let's face it... Disney. Cute and cuddly and not with the snark that everyone loves, but wanna know my opinion?

    As long as it isn't anything like Muppet Wizard of Oz... I'm happy.

    Yes, Steve isn't Jim. He'll never BE Jim, and wanting him to be Jim just leads to badness.

    Have I seen some of Wembley shine through in Kermit? Yes, the time that stood out for me the most was in MTI where Piggy's rope breaks and Kermit grabs her and has the spazzed out eyes. When I saw it I was like "Wembley in the house!" But you know what? I liked that, for some reason. Most likely because Wembley was always my favorite Fraggle.

    For the Kermit/Fozzie BFFs, they were, because Jim and Frank are BFFs. That's one of the reasons there's so much Rizzo/Gonzo because last I checked Dave and Steve were BFFs.

    Things change, and all we can really hope for is that they change for the better. The latest skit on Youtube shows us that maybe we'll be getting what we want.

    I mean personally, I loathe Pepe. I hate him for some reason, but meh... I'll live.

    I think it was incredibly brave of Steve to step into Kermit's flippers, and when he wasn't there for those two episodes I panicked. I was worried it would have been my 10th Birthday all over again.

    I dunno, I guess I'm just happy to have some Muppet stuff coming my way.
  9. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Ever see Grover trying to sell him something? LOL.


    Convincing John
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Well, to me, it's kind of like Pepe is to the Muppets as Elmo is to SST.

    They're both kind of the new kids on the block who suddenly get a lot of attention, and become a part of the core group so fast as if they've been a part since the beginning.

    Yes, I am aware that the red monster was around since the beginning, but the character of Elmo (that we know) didn't really surface until the 80s, and didn't really hit his stride until the 90s. It's almost the same with Pepe, have a bit of a mediocre part of MT, but then after a while, became a part of the group, and now it's kind of hard to imagine the Muppets without him, like for some these days, it's hard to imagine SST without Elmo.

    But in all honesty, I'll take Pepe over Elmo anyday.

    Now, getting back to the subject about the characters seemingly mellowed and watered down as of late, I think it's just the opposite with Pepe, in fact, compared to the other characters, he's rather "raunchy" - still being a kid at the time, I was shocked he said "It's going to suck" in IAVMMCM, because when you're a kid, to use "suck" like that is almost as bad as saying a swear word (at least with my old-fashioned parents who sheltered me greatly that I had to learn what things like sex and masturbation are through school). Then last year when he was on Craig Ferguson (ugh), and Craig asked him what he liked best about women? "Breasts", Pepe replies without hesistation. Even talking about some footage he's watched from like the Discovery Channel or something about the aquatic world, he found to be "Scary as h-e-l-l!"

    When I think about it, in a way, it's kind of like something Jim tried to avoid from the start - being typecasted as strictly a children's entertainer, and because puppets are usually aimed at, and are associated with children, my thinking is that these companies who end up buying them try to make sure they're as "kid friendly" as possible, even though I wouldn't consider a movie like IAVMMCM to be completely kid-friendly (I mean, would you want a little kid to see Scooter cage dancing?) Jim always tried to make sure the Muppets could address all audiences - clever wordplay and banter that grownups could laugh at because they actually get it, while the kids would laugh simply because of the absurdity of it all... but maybe that vision has drifted away, and again, these companies are trying to make sure the Muppets are aimed mostly at children.

    But again, there's still aspects that haven't been completely softened down and such, and again, I believe Pepe's a fine example of that.
  11. Rugby

    Rugby Well-Known Member

    I also miss Jim's Kermit. He had a quiet confidence about him. He didn't feel the need to work so hard for approval. Sometimes less is more. Also, Jim's had a magical warmth about him seen in many of the Christmas specials that just can't be duplicated. I think what maybe bugs me about Steve's is the Big Bird-like niavite in the inflection in the voice. I wish Steve could go lower with the voice as well. I've always felt that I was meant to do Kermit as I have a natural ability at moving my hands in sync with voice and doing Jim's voice pretty well. But whatever. I don't mean to put Steve down. It's just how I feel. My Kermit is gone and that's life. If I can survive losing my Dad, I can deal with this.
  12. JJandJanice

    JJandJanice Well-Known Member

    Excatly, you pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. People sometimes don't seem to understand how complex Oscar the Grouch really is as a character. Some people label him as the "villain of Sesame Street" or the "meanie/bully" or whatever. That's not him at all, which is why I was a bit bummed to see him on the "evil imagation characters side" on the three part "Imagationland" episode of South Park, though like it's been stated some just don't see how complex of a character he really is. It's like what Caroll Spinney himself said in his book, even if Oscar was really hungry, he would always let a kid eat first, that rings so true. I don't buy that whole, "Oscar become nicer over the years" junk either. The dude may got annoyed with the humans and fellow Muppets on Sesame Street, but he wouldn't want to see something bad happen to them. That's why he's hands down my favorite SS Muppet, :grouchy:
  13. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    This is really... insane. Not three months ago, the boards were in an uproar that Disney tried to replace Steve... now he's not good enough again?

    I suppose this is an argument that shall remain as long as there are Muppets. I love Kermit. He is one of the good things in life. It is true that no one could ever truly replace Jim (20 years later), yet Steve IS Kermit now, and I don't believe that there is a human being alive who could do a better job with the character... or voice, since that seems to be what some are so hung up on.
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there's something seriously wrong with this picture.
  15. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Meh. That's why I really don't care, not even when Kermit seemed to have a frog in his throat in two spots (sorry, it was obligatory). Frogs have different life stages. This is just one of Kermit's.
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I say Cookie Monster is only a Cookie Monster because "Cookie" is his name... while it is his favorite food, he'll eat ANYTHING, and even tried to eat Guy Smiley on one occasion. I can get into all sorts of reasons why they wanted to have Cookie promote a healthy diet (most of which the bad press they got when
    McDonald's became a sponsor... something Zurteck had no problem with I must point out)... but to me, Cookie Monster does eat Cookies... but only after a well balanced meal of a brick wall, a truck, the number 5, the moon.... Maybe he needs the roughage to get rid of all that stuff in his system.

    Yeah, it's something that tended to evolve off him, especially in the movies. While he does get easily frustrated with sketches on the Muppet Show as well as with certain people on Sesame Street, that side of Kermit only works in short sketches, not 90 minute full lenght movies where you explore deeper aspects of Kermit...

    Though, I think we're forgetting VMX, when an angry, frustrated Kermit shouts out the entire cast, Piggy especially.
  17. Randall Flagg

    Randall Flagg Well-Known Member

    I wasn't here three months ago, so I missed that. When/how/why did Disney try to replace Steve?
  18. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    First off in regards to Oscar - he is a Grouch. What does being a grouch mean? Being jaded, beaten down by life's experiences, having developed a thick skin, building walls around one's heart as opposed to wearing it openly on one's sleeve. (Something i can certainly relate to as i get older and life generally worse) A grouch still has a heart underneath it all and deep down would like to show it, but it's going to take a lot of work and time for it to happen. Oscar SHOULD have his nice side whether it's 1970 or 2010. I don't see his character having been that sanitized; if anything i find it refreshing that he's still been able to remain as negative and grumpy and cynical as he has (the one Muppet that would actually refer to Elmo as "the little red menace" just as many of his RL counterparts had been doing)

    As per Kermit, when it comes right down to it, we would still be having these debates about Kermit EVEN IF JIM WAS STILL ALIVE AND PERFORMING HIM. Look at how different Kermit was in 1976 on the first season of TMS and just four years later in 1980 on the last season of TMS. The longer characters are in existence, the more they're going to evolve no matter who's playing them.

    Some words on the subject from one of the people who knew these characters' souls the best - longtime Muppet head writer Jerry Juhl...from my interview with him about a decade ago:

    JUHL: I personally feel Steve's certainly done a wonderful job with Kermit. It's always tricky, hard, and emotional both for the writers and the performers. Even when we decide to do it, the performers may have their own feelings. Ultimately, it depends on the project at the time.

    ME: Steve Whitmire really has done an amazing job with Kermit. Also with Ernie.

    JUHL: We really allow the performers to make the characters their own and Steve really has made them his own. We would never want a performer to be doing a copycat imitation, it's a true acting job in that sense. Since our comedy is character-based, they can't be static. They need to be able to grow.

    ME: One piece of criticism that keeps coming up though is that Whitmire's Kermit is too "passive" and not as excitable as Jim's. Yet this really falls more into the writers' arena as opposed to being a particular fault of Steve's. In the films, Kermit's been playing other characters, Bob Cratchit and Captain Smollet, and on "Muppets Tonight", he's been in the role of executive producer and not on the front lines dealing with all the craziness.

    JUHL: That was actually a conscious decision. Brian [Henson] and the writers of "Muppets Tonight" both felt they didn't want Kermit back out front again. Because then there would be the direct one-to-one comparisons between the old show and the new one. The Muppet Show was two decades ago and now we're in a new era and a new generation of comedy. I think the decision to make him the executive producer was a good idea, that seemed to be where Kermit was naturally headed. Then you can have Clifford come crawling to Kermit and Kermit saying, "Yeah, I understand, I've been there."

    ME: The extraordinary thing about the Muppet cast in comparison to other families of fictional characters or even a lot of sitcoms aimed at adults is that the characters are always growing and evolving rather than remaining static. The downside to this is when fans complain, "Piggy's changed" or "Gonzo's mellowed" when in truth the basic essence of the character hasn't altered but they learn and grow and develop just as we all subtly change over the years. They gain more dimensions, even the ones that start out as one-note characters like Beaker, Animal, and the Swedish Chef. But then as a writer, how do you feel when you hear such criticisms?

    JUHL: The last thing we want is for the characters to become predictable. When I see those comments, I don't know what to do. Sometimes I'll look at older tapes and ask has this character gone in a different direction? Still, I'm a strong believer in having the main characters evolve and keeping them fresh and finding new places to put them. Otherwise, they would just be corporate icons. They need the space to move on and grow and to allow the writers and the audience to find out new things about them. So, I'm sorry if it disappoints some people, but it's like all my friends that I've known for a long time too, they've changed over the years as well.
  19. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting that, dw.

    No one knows the why, but as for when and how, there were two television appearances in September/October in which Kermit was not Kermit. He wasn't played by Steve. At the VMAs, Lady Gaga brought faux-Kermit as her date, and earlier in the year faux-Kermit sang on America's Got Talent. But that's all in the past, and I can rest comfortablly knowing that Kermit is once again in good hands.
  20. Randall Flagg

    Randall Flagg Well-Known Member

    Cool, thanks for the info.

    Like I started this thread saying-- I have no problem with the voice or the mannerisms, really. My problem is with the writing. So I don't fault Steve for that at all. I just don't particularly care for the role the writers choose for Kermit these days. Also, I can understand the reasons for changing him a bit, but I still think Kermit was a funnier, more likeable character in the past. And I think if Steve were given different material to work with, he'd have no trouble bringing back "classic" Kermit. He's certainly talented enough to do it.

    Regarding my comments about Oscar-- I have to admit, I very rarely see Sesame Street these days, so maybe I was off-target when I said he changed. But the few times when I HAVE seen the shown, he seemed less aggressive than he used to be. One of the classic Oscar scenes I think of is the one from Christmas Eve On Sesame Street, when Oscar is yelling at Big Bird on the subway train station, telling him what a stupid bird he is, and then a train rumbles by, conveniently muffling what we can assume was some foul language. That's classic Oscar to me. Sure, he comes around by the end of the show, and he helps look for Big Bird, but until that point, he's an agressive little grouch. The few times that I have seen SS in recent years, I never see him act quite like that. And even the muppet itself looks a bit cleaner these days. The mean eyebrows seem a bit less mean, and the green fur is a bit cleaner.

    Interestingly, I was reading some people's comments about CEOSS recently (on a different site), and a lot of the younger fans complained that Oscar was TOO grouchy back then, which again leads me to believe he must be different now, but I don't watch the show enough to say that with any certainty.

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