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Mopatop and Hoobs

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by beaker, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Well, I finally saw full episodes of Mopatop and Hoobs...

    I can see why these won't be coming to the US anytime soon.

    Mopatop is actually kind of cool...if youre a big JHC history fan, youll love all the Muppet cameos than span the decades....everyone from TMS, JHH, specials, and even Fraggle Rock show up. It's pretty much a small British version of Bear in the big Blue House...but it has this 'Today's Special' feel to it. Mopatop is adorable tho.

    Hoobs on the other hand...ugh. Everything is 'pippypobbinpeebs and tibbywoppyclock'...yes, it's very British, but it's also very modern kid show like. Whereas in the 80's kid shows had pizazz, this reminds me more of kid show's from the 90's. I havent seen Animal Jam, but this may be on the level of that.

    Suffice to say, I could barely sit thru an episode. The character designs are cool tho, and very colorful.
  2. a_Mickey_Muppet

    a_Mickey_Muppet Well-Known Member



    Wasnt there 2 shows also part of the HIT! deal too? :confused:
  3. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    well aside from the obviuos lack of quality writing on these shows they are also filmed with weird time differences, were here in the states ashow is normaly about 28 minutes long, in the uk they often have shows that alst about 10 to 15 minutes, so they dont quite fit into our standard tv schedules, even if you chop them up for commercials and stuff you are left with a ridiculous amount of time so networks wont bother dealing with them, as for animal jam, i dont think u are missing anything there, it has to be one of the worst henson tv projects ever, :p
  4. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Active Member

    Yeah, they're part of Henson's "Family Classics" library. So HIT has the rights to these for the next 5 years.

    As for Beaker and ravagefrackle, how were you two able to see the two shows? Did you visit the UK or saw them at MT&R or neither? I have never see them, but Mopatop LOOKS like a good show, and I only judge that by the clip at Henson.com. But every time I hear a Mopatop or especially Hoob song on MC Radio, I need to turn the volume down.

    And if you say the Hoobs is on par with Animal Jam, I need to turn the volume down on the TV too.
  5. Muppetsdownunder

    Muppetsdownunder New Member

    The Hoobs is one Henson show that is on TV here in Australia quite regularly, or atleast has been recently. I can't say im a fan of it but I don't mind watching it if I'm having lunch or something just to check out the puppetry as there arent many puppet shows on TV here.
  6. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    The Hoobs is indeed a very modern type show. That's what kids want nowadays - what do you want Henson to do - make something very 80's so a bunch of twenty somethings are happy, see the kids turn off and not see a dime from the show? I also agree it is very British, much more so than Moppatop or Bob The Builder and that may be why every American seems to hate it but then it doesn't make sense to Americanize it if it isn't for the USA. It's probably a bit busy and noisy compared to what is usually dished out to the American kids when they aren't watching our other shows as you say. However, Hoobs IS a good show. It is absolutely nothing like Animal Jam. Hoobs has had massive success - much more so than Moppatop, with over 250 shows in the can, still airing twice daily on a big network channel, high merchandise and video sales. I think technically and musically it is pretty much on a par with Fraggle Rock although obviously the show concept isn't quite as deep and that does make a big difference to an adult watching it. The characters are on a near level though and a lot of older students and people have managed to get into it but it does seem to take much longer than one viewing. I hated it myself at first. I think the point some Henson people on here have made to you guys and i will make myself is that what is 'pizazz' to you isn't what kids now see as 'pizazz'. Give a kid from 2004 a choice from an episode of Fraggle, Muppet Babies and Hoobs and they'll take Hoobs every time. Animal Jam i will agree was very American in the way Hoobs is very British but there was also a poor use of the format. The idea itself was good but the characters had little personality and while there is supposed to be some use of repetition for todays kids it really did the same thing too much and was very bland.

    For the person who criticised the lack of quality writing and "wierd time differences", the person over seeing the writing for Hoobs was one of the most successful writers on Fraggle Rock. The show is a full half hour length thing and suitable for international broadcast, it has been sold to some european countries and there is a canadian version i think.

    I wouldn't speak too soon either Cory - if Hit does lauch a channel in the USA i think you might definitely see the shows on air in the states soon.
  7. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    the time difference thing was directed more at MOPATOP,

    however i hate this notion of people having to write in the style of today because its what kids want, its not what kids want its what adults want, because they listen to some physcologist, or whats have you, so every thing gets written the same way, when i was a kid, ok so it was the late 70;s and early 80's there was lots of gargbage on tv i ll grant you that, but i never felt like fraggle rock or the muppet show talked down to me, which is what these othershows do, the whole i dea behind them was to make shows for toddeleres and infants , sort of like those evil teletubbie things, so with that goes any kind of interesting back story, or detailed plot , and what you get is a mish mosh of bright colors jumping around screaming idiot sayings and nonsense words, and this is what passes for entertainment,

    perhaps i was just advanced for my age, but i dont think i would have ever sat thru and episode of hoops,, and i have watched several mopatops, and was not impressed with it at all, what the heck is he supposed to be anyway????and that creeepy litttle puppyduck, ?????? :eek:
  8. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    well i helped build mopatops head, and puppy ducks body, and hoobs i saw it get worked but had bear stuff to do at the time, so i saw early episodes at screenings in the shop,
  9. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I love this point that gets dragged up. Whether or not it is adult influenced Kids ARE watching this stuff and enjoying it. The ratings, international sales and merchandise sales point to that. If they didn't like it, they wouldn't sit through it and we all know kids are far less tolerant of doing what their parents want nowadays. I know kids who are mad Tweenies fans and make their parents switch it on. While psychologists are involved i have never in my professional career EVER seen a producer bow down and let some psychologist or other specialist dictate a show, they are just part of the advisory process. I do feel some shows talk down to kids more than than others used to but then Bear In The Big Blue House is probably the most guilty of them all nowadays and that gets massive ratings. Yeah we would have never sat through an episode of Hoobs or Moppatop in the 80's but then both TV and Kids were very different then. In the UK where cult kids TV formats are being revived and remade for todays kids quite a bit (Hit Entertainment themselves being one of the biggest names doing this) it actually hasn't been as successful ratings wise as the current stuff, only a few things have really caught on again.

    Moppatops could easily be sold overseas by editing two episodes into one. The way it worked in the UK (being only 11 minutes) was that another Henson show 'Construction Site' took the second half of the 30 minute time slot so the kids programming block on the ITV channel could have a little more variety.

    I actually find Hoobs more entertaining than Moppatops really, although Moppatops is very slow paced and has more in common with the Henson 80's shows so i can understand how guys here take more to it. I find it quite funny how very few people really get the parallels between "Fraggle" and "Hoobs". I think Fraggle must have definitely had some influence on that show, not least the use of music but the kids and outside worlds elements. Wheras Fraggles have their caves and venture outside, the Hoobs have their Hoobmobile and venture outside. Wheras Travelling Matt goes out to meet the kids who he doesn't really understand and is a bit wary of, the Hoobs are exactly the same but just a colorful, wierd speaking 2004 type version.
  10. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    i think again we will have to agree to disagree , but basicly my point is that , parents are using tv as a babysitter much more than they ever did, its sad really.for me watching the muppet show or fraggle rock was a treat, after homework and chores had been done, sitting there with the family for 1/2 and hour and watching great shows,

    what seems to be happening is that since the days of barney and his ilk,we are getting more shows that have little to say , and when they do say it, instaed of using clever stories and parables, they just spell it out for you, , most of this is because the tv is taking the place of parental interaction, they just plop them down and stick in a video or turn on the channel and leave the room, so we have these sort of shake and bake educational shows that dont leave room for critical thinking or exploration,


    and its not just hoobs or mopatop, Sesame street is more guilty of this now more than ever, when we were children the show had spunk, and it always had alittle bit in it for the adults, today its just elmo , elmo , elmo, and maybe a brief street scene, and then that ridiculous juorney to ernie,

    and yes bear does talk down to older kids, but as far as shows for toddlers it actually is pretty good, it is designed to be comforting, and friendly, and while i may not enjoy seeing, at least i feel little kids can come away from it feeling at ease, (perhaps i am just biased because i spent so much time working on bear heads , but i digress)

    at any rate , i wish producers and writers would spend a little more time writing stories and shows that had more substance to them than they do now adays
  11. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I think we do agree for the most part actually. I do feel a lot of shows are like that, and actual content quality has been sacrificed for attractive design and brandability. Just my point is that todays kids are watching it and enjoying it, seeing as they want the merchandise and want to copy the dance moves, sing the songs etc. Yes that is partly down to "conditioning" that has happened and it would be great if there could be more of the critical thinking and exploration of yesteryear but if that isn't what todays channel hopping, short attention span kids of today are used to and don't want (because it's different and kids generally like to stick to what they are used to) there isn't much a TV producer can do. It's kinda like McDonalds - kids are used to fries and will eat little else, sure giving them mashed potato or an apple would be far healthier for them but take fries off the menu and you go bust!

    Hopefully formats will emerge that slowly bridge the gap i guess and bring in a little substance but with so little money in TV at the moment the broadcasters aren't really willing to take chances on new things, which is a great shame.
  12. baby sinclair

    baby sinclair New Member

    Ya luke has a really good point.We also have to remember that these shows are for children and adult very likely wont enjoy watching sesame street because its not even a kids show its a pre school show.SO thats who their targeting.By the way henson company cant stay the same way because people come of age and young blood has to come in and modernize the show's .I mean i'm suprised sesame street and bear in the big blue have done so well so more power to them.
  13. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member


    the point i am making is that fraggle rock is a kid show as well, yet it had a lot more as far a personality and warmth go, i think it is rather defeatist to say that there is nothing that can be done about this,

    the real problem here is that along with the phsyco babble that the producers listen to, the real people in charge now adays are not the creative folks, ie. writers and designers and directors, its the number crunchers and penny pinchers, and merchadisers,

    there was a great interveiw with jim on a special on pbs back when i was little, and basicly he was more concerned with creating a great program that people could enjoy than selling a lot of toys and gift items, i realize many here are collectors and as far as they are concerned the more the better i guess, but a toy line should not be the sole reason to do a show,

    these cookie cutter shows also show a lack of independent thought, they are all almost interchangeable, they lack vison and imagination, they profess to be "educational" but for the most part offer little in the way of reall learning,

    and yes sesame street is a pre school show, but the bits that they did in the late sixty's and seventies were far more entertaining than anything they are doing now, and that a d=== shame.

    basicly these shows are setting back the muppets interms of accesibility, jim fought long and hard to get his creations to be accepted by the main stream, to shake off the stigma that puppets are for little kids, and i think that is something that the company has lost site of, sure having a big merchandising hit is great , but they shouldnt have to sacrifice substance
  14. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I do realize that Muppet things have to be somewhat regional when they are aimed at kids...whereas Muppet Show and for the most part Fraggle Rock was embraced and seen by many continents...certain shows like the aforementioned Hoobs and Mopatop might be akin to a non US Sesame.

    Mopatop episodes run about 8 minutes I think...there are a few episodes you can stream off the official site(I forget the URL) Again, I Can see a lot of diehard TMS and other Henson production fans liking this for the sheer amount of cameos alone...as well as the fact Mopatop and Puppyduck are very likable.

    Hoobs to me was kind of a tellytubby happy shining assault on the senses, but I don't doubt its popularity in the UK. I don't feel kids shows in the 90's thru today have much substance...I recently looked at a cross selection of FR episodes and was in awe of how timeless and magical that show was...but will probbaly never be seen by many people.

    I seriously blame the lack of quality kids programming on the Barneying up of children's programs...which was an old throwback to 70's puppet/children's shows that lacked any backbone. On the I Love The Muppets BBC version they even show the difference between 70's kids programming, and what came to be post Henson. I think JHC, or I guess Disney now(or HIT?) has it in em for more quality programming. I am a huge fan of BITBBH and think it's one of the most wonderful JHC produced shows ever.
  15. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    Oh sure Bear is a brilliant show. It's just the style in which Bear speaks to kids is a talk down style, it has to be because he's talking straight to camera and the age of the viewers. It is in a warmer way than most other kids shows that do that though. I was just using it as an example of a kids show that uses that style, but Bear uses his powers for good in that way while some don't.
  16. jetboy

    jetboy Guest

    I'm going to go against the general consensus, and say that Hoobs is indeed a great kids' program. I too was a little doubtful when I first saw the show, but after now seeing many, many episodes I now 'get it'. The proof of the pudding comes when I see the unadulterated joy on my little boy's face when Hoobs is on.

    To the doubters...........give it a go. If an old cynic like me can come around, you can too. It's actually got a lot more substance/educational value to it than it may look at first. Besides that, the interplay between the characters is most amusing for us adults once you get to know them.

    Great forums here. I hope to visit here often.
  17. Lug

    Lug New Member

    Very interesting thread to read, especially for someone who played Mopatop for 135 episodes and was a creative consultant and OB director on The Hoobs.

    There's been much discussion here about the comparisons between Fraggle Rock, BITBBH and Mopatop's Shop and The Hoobs. My first response would be that you can't compare them, for many reasons.

    Getting a show like Fraggle commissioned today would be almost impossible because of the cost restrictions. We now have to make children's productions in less time and for less money, especially in the case of pre-school production where the licensing fee is tiny.

    Because we have to sell to the US, pre-school production come under enormous regulations. There are guidelines posed by the US which sometimes make it impossible to do just want you want in the writing. It has almost become a case of 'prefect families' and we mustn't say anything negative. You won't believe the discussions and conference calls that go on and the amount of notes on this very subject we have to take in to consideration. This was especially true for Construction Site, which I co-produced, co-directed and performed in ...and which unfortunately came out just after Bob the Builder)!

    Mopatop and The Hoobs were always aimed at the lower end of pre-school too, so they have to be approached in a very different way to other production. For this reason they may not appeal across the age range but it has been my experience in the UK that they have. They have both been critically acclaimed and Mopatop's Shop was twice nominated for a BAFTA and The Hoob's won one.

    Jocelyn Stephenson (writer of Fraggle Rock, and producer and writer of Mopatop's Shop and The Hoobs) and myself have had many long discussion on this subject. If anyone out there thinks we sit and discuss ways of 'dumbing down' they are very much mistaken. We talk about ways of appealing to very young children and how to get the best production possible in a very short space of time.

    I think there are cultural differences in there too, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread. We Brits have watched many US productions for years and become amerced in your culture far more than you have of ours. Whilst we always try to keep other cultures in mind - and I'm talking of other cultures beside the American one - they will always have a British 'flavour'. You might be surprised to hear that Mopatop is HUGE in China, I've seen it dubbed into Mandarin and they did a very good job of it.

    Everything has moved on since Fraggle, for better or for worse, and we have to do far more for less money because there is more competition out there. (I won't even go in to the £/$ exchange rate). I hope one day that we're given the chance to do a nice, juicy, half hour family production. It certainly hasn't been for the lack of trying.

    Mak
  18. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    MAK, your bring up some great points here, and i hope you didnt take any of this personally, I know a lot of work went into both shows on both sides of the pond(by the way it was great to see you working Mop-a Top during the final fitting we did in NY just before we shipped him over ),

    and it is a real shame that Bob the Builder beat you guys to the punch because Construction site had a lot more going for it in almost every way, personaly i wish thier had been a lot more of the british sense of humor in the shows, lol

    anyway hope all is well in the UK


    " I hope one day that we're given the chance to do a nice, juicy, half hour family production."

    DON'T WE ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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