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Is there an overrated/underrated Muppet production?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by minor muppetz, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    As well you should :mad: ;)
     
    LaRanaRene likes this.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Muppet Babies was a fine preschool-Kindergarten, maybe first grade show. At least compared to the insipid shout back at the TV garbage Nickelodeon started. Let's face it. The 80's were kind of a mixed bag as far as cartoons go. We all love TMNT, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Disney afternoon. But the cloyingness of some of the more forgotten pieces (especially Paw Paws. Seriously... Screw Paw Paws and everyone who was involved. Even the Smurfs looked Hardcore next to them and their lame complainer is always wrong), and the lameness of some of the network action shows (bowing to pressure from those ACT dinks) were unforgivable and unenjoyable on any level. There are some that are just bad and not Chuck Norris Karate Commandos/Mr. T's stupid thing that wasn't an A-Team cartoon so bad it's good. Just bad bad. So MB wasn't bad if you put it in 80's cartoon perspective.

    As a Muppet project, I sort of agree. It's not the same thing. There weren't many major Muppet projects around that era, so MB was essentially all we got (unless anyone with premium cable channel HBO counts and saw Fraggle Rock, itself a pretty underrated Henson production). And unless you grew up in just the right spot, that was essentially all the Muppets some viewers got. Not to mention the fact it started the horrible baby versions/off spring of famous cartoon characters that gave us such hits as Pink Panther and Sons, Popeye and Son, and eventually Yo Yogi, the WORST and most cynical of the bunch. (to be fair, Pup Named Scooby-Doo is one of my favorite iterations of the character, and Flitnstones Kids isn't all that bad). Not to mention the unfortunate trend downward of Muppet kiddy productions.

    So my verdict is, eh... I was young enough to get into it and like it, and some episodes do hold up nicely if your into it. Toei was much more adapt at realistic/robotic animations for the US market, but by the second season they managed to capture a cartoonier look. The Akom episodes are awful. Too bad Marvel didn't have access to Tokyo Movie (the Japanese company that gave us great outsourcing on Ducktales and Animaniacs) due to a deal they made with Toei in the 70's.
    ____________________________________________________________
    As for a project that's underrated, I feel the BOOM comics, while they have their following, are depressingly overlooked when it comes to some Muppet fans. Even among them, I'd say the most underrated of the comics was Muppet Snow White. There is a consensus among Muppet comic readers it is the best of the "Muppet Classics" subline, and it shows. Among other things, they took the format of MCC and MTI and did them right, by casting Muppets as all the roles, giving one of the worst characters ever created in Muppet history a new lease. Even Piggy managed to have been better cast as the Wicked Queen than she was in the Muppet Babies episode. The EM successfully replaces the Dwarves, giving it a great angle and making them the stars of the book. I mean, Peter Pan and King Arthur were really good too, but Snow White hit a spark, and unfortunately so late in the series run.

    Meanwhile, Robin Hood suffered from lack of direction, too much infodump dialogue, and artwork that was the result of poor communication (the artist swears that he though Boom wanted him to ape Roger's style), but did have a nice collection of characters. Sherlock Holmes wasn't bad, but favored gags to plot, shoehorning Kermit into the stories as a non-reluctant LaStrade, and was a disappointing ending to the line. Amy's Art was top notch as always, though.
     
    dwayne1115 likes this.
  3. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    i feel the great muppet caper is a bit under rated. It was my favorite muppet film as a kid but if you ask someone about muppets films how many will actually mention the muppet caper? some people i've talked to about muppets haven't even heard of it!
     
    jvcarroll and panmanthe2nd like this.
  4. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member


    I would have to agree with you about the comics. I really wanted to see them do those motion comics as well. The sad thing about the comics is there where a lot of people from the comic book industry who really put a lot of heart into those, and it's just sad to see that they are no longer making them.
     
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    If the writers and artists are to be believed, Boom's management back then was the reason the Disney license expired. Personally, I'm glad we didn't get the motion comics, because nothing was as good as reading and imagining the original Muppet performers' voices. The preview of the motion comics didn't really impress me looking back, and I'd rather have seen more effort in releasing the Four Seasons arc back when Boom had the license instead of the almost 2 years under Marvel. or, better yet, a decent closing to the classics line. It's a shame that Muppet Sleepy Hollow was passed up.

    I'm glad to see Disney's original comics line up land at IDW, and I'm happy to hear of a new Darkwing Duck series in the undefined future. I just didn't get the point of Disney pulling the license to give to Marvel when Marvel rarely did any Disney comics under their ownership. Weird, as you'd expect them to enforce them to. They only really did that with Star Wars and recently to boot.

    Then I have to wonder. Could The Muppet Show Comic Book continue without Langridge? I'd love to see more Muppet comics in the future, but will they be as good? I don't want to say someone's the end all be all, but I honestly feel that roger not only captured the essence of The Muppet Show, but improved it (among other things taking the action out of the theater). I have no doubt we'd still get some great stuff. But you wonder if we'd get someone aping Roger's style, or even just doing The Muppet Show in comic form instead of various Muppet stories.
     
    dwayne1115 likes this.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    As far as overrated productions go: VMX. Dear lord, VMX.

    I understand Simpsons are really cool and all, but you have to keep in mind, the Simpsons and the Muppets have two very different styles of humor, and you can't really expect writers from to try and write that kind of humor for the other and vice-versa. Simpsons humor doesn't work with the Muppets, and I doubt Muppet humor would work with the Simpsons unless they did it intentionally in a parodic way. Not to mention, as Drtooth has mentioned several times before, just look at all the pop-culture references that are painfully outdated now. And yes, I'm aware MOZ had similar problems with adult/Simpson-esque humor, but it was a bit more stealth that time around.

    With all the things wrong with this movie, I just don't understand why it gets all the praise and adoration that it does.
     
    heralde likes this.
  7. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    I don't like that movie. You telling me a bunch of people like that film? the only part i enjoyed as kermit and daniel winding up briefly in a star wars universe and kermit freaking out over yoda.
     
  8. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    How is overated, most people here say it was really bad, for me it was a relief for the muppets to go back to edgy adult humor, after all their movies aimed at a younger audience before that.
     
  9. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    ^ i know muppets have always had adult humor but in the muppet show it was pretty subtle. I don't remember them talking about topless women in the show. It's called being subtle.
     
    heralde likes this.
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    We must know different most people here, because I find most people here shower it with nothing but praise.

    Yes, the Muppets' humor has strived into edgy/adult directions before, but it was always a more sophisticated edgy/adult humor that wasn't too off-color for kids - VMX,on the other hand, just got really inappropriate at times, which is why I said Simpsons humor and Muppet humor just don't mix.
     
    heralde likes this.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I sort of agree and don't. The movie is terribly dated in tone, but there are nuggets of pure Muppetiness through the film that manage to shine through. I'd say this film is the exact moment Steve was comfortable with Kermit, and he managed to have that nice balance of sweetness and frustration that was missing from most of the projects before. Especially MFS, where Kermit was just there for licensing purposes and felt like he was lobotomized the entire film. The moment between him and alternate world Piggy brought back the sweetness of the Kermit/Piggy relationship that was long lost.

    But above all, the movie was made back in 2002. Well before everyone started hating the Scary Movie franchise. And the film takes all its humor from there. It's basically Christmas Movie with The Muppets at points. And there are some great moments (The Mel Brooks Sam the Snowman expy, the Gift of the Magi reference...a double reference as a different set of Muppets did that before) and some ones that are just painful (the whole Fozzie segment could have been cut in half, and that NBC plug for Scrubs written with absolutely no research) and ones in between (Moulin Scrooge is dated as frak, but that movie was such an overrated piece of epilepsy, it gets a pass from me).

    MWOZ I feel the opposite. I could go on for pages about what's wrong with the darn thing, but the most glowingly obvious problem is that it so wanted to be VMX. It dressed like it, it talked like it, it went to the same stores and ate the same thing, but in the end we got someone poorly dressed talking slang uncharacteristically, and was so far removed from an imitation, it managed to be completely different by doing the same things, and poorly at that.

    I'd say out of the two, as negatively as one can express for either, VMX was a necessary weasel. It just doesn't play well much anymore.
     
  12. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    The muppets from Oz movie just left me confused most of the time. The only thin I found rather clever was the frank oz reference.
     
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I think the main problem with MOZ was that everybody was clearly expecting a tribute to the 1939 MGM movie, even though we were told ahead of time that MOZ was going to stay truer to L. Frank Baum's original books, which I doubt many people today are even familiar with.
     
  14. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    i can't be too biased with it though. I have never read the book OR seen the MGM movie. if they ever do alice in wonderland dr. teeth better be the cheshire cat like he was in that muppet show episode.
     
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I don't care what it was homaging or tributing, the pop culture-y bits were out of place and sloppily dumped in. I can forgive VMX for being Scary Movie but with Muppets and Christmas, but the overall tone of MWOZ was a dark, pseudo-edgy farce trying desperately to capture the lightning in a bottle VMX captured. While VMX is a horrible dated piece, it took only a couple years to really get dated. MwoZ was dated out of the gate.
     
  16. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    both those films are horribly dated. the first three muppet films are also dated (lol) but who cares? they're still very enjoyable even though MTM makes me really sad, especially when they all leave. :(
     
    heralde likes this.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I don't believe in true timelessness as everything is the product of when it was created. Look at Looney Tunes. Best case scenario you get an episode not made during WW II where they make references to savings bonds and rationing, or an episode that doesn't have television in it because of all the 1950's-ness of the references. I'd venture to say the 1940's Horton Hatches the Egg cartoon is as dated as a Dreamworks movie, if not more. Not that they can't be enjoyable and there are indeed "timeless" enough ones that work on their own humor without too much of their 40's-early 60's ness showing.

    TMM has a lot of very 70's cameos. Even those who are well known today like Mel Brooks and Steve Martin were very much at high points in their careers then. But the difference between TMM and VMX/MWOZ is the difference between G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe Extreme. Sure, the original cartoon was very much a product of the 80's, but some of it does indeed hold up. G.I. Joe Extreme, on the other hand, isn't a product of the 90's. It IS the 90's concentrated down into a Rob Liefeld -esque cacophony of buzzwords, brooding, and pseudo-anti-Heroness. It barely held up the second it premiered, and blew through all its relevance. VMX's Scary Movie when people actually liked it like humor didn't have much of a shelf life, but MWOZ tried so hard to be the same thing when that sort of humor was wearing out its welcome. Say the least of the chaotic mess of what it was trying to be by itself. At least VMX had that whole Christmas Parody movie thing going.
     
    Bliffenstimmers likes this.
  18. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    With Steve Martin, while his stand-up comedy shows were successful and he was one of the best SNL hosts, his film career was just starting. This movie came out the same year as The Jerk, which is often cited as his first movie (though I think Internet Movie Database lists TMM before The Jerk on his filmography page, haven't actually checked release dates to see which came first).

    Though now I wonder, while many of his movies were successful, were any of them as successful as his stand-up comedy and such?

    Thinking of the Looney Tunes example, I can't see much dated-ness in, say, the Road Runner cartoons or Duck Amuck and Rabbit Rampage (there's the fact that CGI dominates animation now, but I can't imagine how those kinds of shorts could be done in CGI).
     
  19. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    okay can we not talk about cgi looney tunes? The idea gives me the creeps.
     
    heralde likes this.
  20. Bliffenstimmers

    Bliffenstimmers Active Member

    Reel FX, in my opinion, has done a fine job in transitioning the Looney Tunes cast into CGI though "I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat" and "Daffy's Rhapsody," both adapted from Mel Blanc's Capitol Records singles from the late 40s/early 50s. There's also apparently a series of Road Runner shorts by the same studio, which I haven't seen, but I can assume they're just as good. I'd say they're some of the closest to capturing the spirit of the classic Looney Tunes in this era. I can imagine a remake of something like "Duck Amuck" could work well in a style like this. Some people might say they're not as good as the classics, but for what they are, they're pretty good to me. It could be far worse, mind you. You can thank your lucky stars that they're doing things such as this and not some of the generally considered mediocre post shut down Warner Bros. cartoons of the mid-to-late 60s, or several other things the Warners tested the waters with; the Muppet Babies clone, that Loonatics thing, etc. Then again, those last 2 aren't fair comparisons, they're reboots/reimaginings rather than following the standard Looney Tunes formula.

    On the subject of under-rated Henson projects, it's a shame the Jim Henson Hour didn't last very long. I guess it was a little bit ahead of its time to be fully appreciated. That or some other reasons I haven't done enough research to know about. Also, though not exactly Muppet related, I've been wandering and YouTube watching the Henson Co.'s "Puppet Up" improv sketches, simple as they are, I get a kick out of watching them. Maybe it has something to do with them doing funny unscripted character dialogue, or hearing puppets talk about more mature subjects (talked about through varying levels of maturity) or both...
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015


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