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In Defense of the TV Films

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Princeton, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    What took this thread so long to take off?
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    While I don't consider LTS a movie by any means (it's too short to be one), I really thought it was good, but could have been better if they added one extra scene with th other Muppets feeling terrible about not going with Gonzo and Kermit... especially Miss Piggy. The whole project could have been much better had they revised the last act. It would have been something for Paul Williams Elf to open the door to Santa's Workshop, and have all the Muppets in there, instead of saying "we're Closed" (or more accurately "we're running over time and budget, and we still have 97 more commercials to run").

    Seriously. NBC had like a 5 minute commercial break every 2 minutes of Muppet Special.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Just about all commercial breaks are five minutes these days.
  4. KrazyJoe

    KrazyJoe Well-Known Member


    I'm so confused! Who hates those? I watch 'Letters to Santa' and 'It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie' every year! I always praise 'It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie' for being the film that brought back the 'old school' Muppets. I love that movie. I'd never heard anyone 'hate' it before.

    Personally, I've never been crazy about Christmas Carol, Treasure Island or Wizard of Oz. I feel like we only get to revisit the Muppets every few years. When it's time for a new movie, I want to spend time with Kermit and Fozzie, etc. Not with Bob Cratchet or The Cowardly Lion. I don't care for the Muppets playing a role. I like them as themselves. That's just my personal quirk, though.
    Ruahnna likes this.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    As for me, I think LTS and VMX were the best Post-Henson Muppet projects until The Muppets came along. Not that I don't see the obvious problems with them.

    VMX is very much a product of early 00's humor. It has a pacing of an early Family Guy episode, with cutscenes and the same sort of rapid fire pop culture gags as basically everything else back then. While it don't necessarily make the film suffer all that much, it does date itself. Unfortunately, it makes the weird Crock Hunter bit cringe-worthy, especially in hindsight. And you can totally tell which parts were written by the special guest Simpsons writers. Sam's dialogue seems pretty much interchangeable with Sideshow Mel.

    LTS, as I've said before, is too darn short. It has so much potential, but it just doesn't have time for it. Watching the TV broadcast is even worse since the commercials were relentless (thanks NBC). It's a good special, but there should have been more of it.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  6. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member


    One thing I absolutely loved about VMX is that it has two epiphanies for me: 1) It's the one time where the Kermit/Piggy dynamic gets a positive reaction from me and 2) It's the one time that I don't absolutely hate Eric as Piggy (though Moulin Scrooge is EXTREMELY touch and go). Then his performance as Piggy in The Muppets is probably his second best performance (and I can actually tolerate her in that one, but that's more a compliment to the writers; Piggy was the one character that movie didn't screw up). MWoO, he didn't even make an attempt to make her sound like a female (though it is probably my favorite portrayal of Piggy; she's been evil ever since TMS, so in a sense she didn't even have to act in this one).
  7. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    I think VMX was a great movie. It showcased the classic days of TMS, and Steve Whitmire really became Kermit in this one. Many muppets made their comebacks as well like Scooter, Janice, Rowlf, ect. It was also the last and in my opinion best Robin role performed by Jerry Nelson. The plot was awesome, and I loved it. MWoO wasn't well written making Dorthy want to be a pop star is not a \n effective plot. If they had stayed with the classic story like MCC and MTI did it would've been more liked. LTS was a little unneeded and it didn't live up to much. In the end, that's what I think of those TV films.
  8. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    Actually, VMX was the first Muppet film without Nelson. I'm not sure who voiced his characters in this film, though.
  9. Mo Frackle

    Mo Frackle Well-Known Member

    LTS wasn't a movie.

    Nelson was in it. He looped most of his characters' voices. The only Jerry character completely performed by someone else was Lew Zelanad (Bill Barretta briefly began performing him around this point).
    Duke Remington likes this.
  10. FletchySRF3088

    FletchySRF3088 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I always wondered why they didn't have Jerry loop his voice for Lew Zealand :confused: I thought Bill Barretta did a really good job though.

    Also, sorry about this, but can't resist pointing out that there is one Statler line they left unlooped towards the end of the film ("Historical landmark!").
    Duke Remington and Mo Frackle like this.
  11. Mo Frackle

    Mo Frackle Well-Known Member

    Yep, that was Steve (likely) performing Statler for the first time.
  12. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    As others said Nelson while not puppeteering still gave the voices for Robin, Pops, The Announcer, and Statler. He is also still credited for being a muppet performer. Steve Whitmire performed Statler for puppetry, Dave Goelz did Pops, and I don't know who did Robin.
  13. cahuenga

    cahuenga Well-Known Member

    I think Alice Dinnean did Robin...I saw a pic of her performing Robin singing at the end of the movie..
  14. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    1) One parallel I found between VMX, MWOO, and LTS is that they were all directed by Kirk Thatcher. Do you think that these three films fall short because of his direction or because of how each film was written?
    2) To those who said that Statler, Pops, and Robin were voiced by Jerry in VMX, are you absolutely sure? Because they don't sound like him.
    3) Even though the thread is primarily about the early 2000s TV films, we've talked alot about the Kermit/Piggy relationship through the years. Now that both MMW and the new Muppets TV series have debuted since the thread was updated last, how do you think the relationship was handled in those projects? In MMW, Piggy was much less evil as she was delusional. And I think the new TV series improved on Piggy's character. Now if only Scooter was so lucky.
  15. muppetlover123

    muppetlover123 Well-Known Member

    I believe the problem with some of these projects was the writing. I'm sure a lot of people here have mentioned that. I didn't read through the whole thread. Frank Oz even says a lot of people are fans of The Muppets but they can't really write for them.

    I wish (and I'm sure every one else on here does too) they would let the performers/Muppet team write and create a special/tv film. I'm sure they would be able to come up with something cause they've been working together for so long! Anyway that's my two cents. I still enjoy all the projects in certain ways though.
  16. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    1) I think Kirk actually did a great job directing all of those projects. It was definitely the writing that was the problem
    2) Yes, all of Jerry's characters were voiced by him except for Lew Zealand
    3) Yep, the last two movies and especially the most recent TV show added a lot of depth to Miss Piggy's character. I mean, for the first time since the early 90s, she actually felt like an interesting, fleshed out individual. She was given reasons for her actions and she learned from her mistakes. She wasn't an empty shell of herself that only got angry and spouted catchphrases. For the first time in a long time I didn't cringe whenever she was on screen, wondering, alright, when is she gonna do that tired karate chopping bit again. I'm really excited for them to use this new and improved Piggy in future projects, as I am also excited for Chip, Gloria Estefan and Yolanda to become main parts of the group. As for Scooter, yeah, I thought what the writers did with him was pretty over the top. Although, I would like to see them keep some of the dorkiness they added to him, just to differentiate him from Walter a bit more. However, I thought in the TV show they made him a bit too naive. I think Scooter was always optimistic like the rest of the group, but I always thought he had just a slight more of a cynical edge to him and he was a bit more practical than many of the others. I mean, sure he was a bit nerdy, but the new show writers took it to the extreme, basically making him a completely different character.
  17. Mo Frackle

    Mo Frackle Well-Known Member

    Don't quote me on this, but I've heard that the writing suffered at least partially because of TV executive meddling.
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Again, I think the main problem with the writing was bringing in Simpsons writers. Simpsons and Muppets have completely different styles of humor, and you can't really expect to bring one style over to another and expect it to work well. Imagine if they tried to bring in Family Guy writers.
    scooterfan360 likes this.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The one TV movie that wasn't directed by Kirk Thatcher was KSY - that was directed by David Gumpel. It was also the one TV movie that didn't bring in "outside" writers, but rather, was written exclusively by Muppet writers (Jim Lewis and Joey Mazzarino).

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