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Racial Coding in The Muppets

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Epictetus, Dec 11, 2011.

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  1. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I didn't find it about race at all, is the weird thing (hears Stan's "I don't get it" speech to Token). This is more of a class issue than anything else. It's also not new. Fozzie is ALWAYS the poor schmuck:

    1. The Muppet Movie: Fozzie is in a run-down bar.
    2. Muppets Take Manhattan: Fozzie is left to hide out with some bears in a cave.
    3. Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie: Fozzie is a homeless pickpocket.

    Runner-up: You kinda get the impression Fozzie is just "the reporter standing next to Kermit, the one with the actual reporting career from before this movie was made" in Great Muppet Caper.

    I can see the "urban versus suburban" angle, but to me, it's not about race but about financial security. Smalltown can't come up with even a homeless guy that doesn't look more like a poor guy just didn't take a shower yesterday. The town is so well funded you can have an elementary school teacher have a functioning car (why is that even allowed?) in a classroom. Everything is clean and nice and everyone is happy to burst into song for no apparent reason.

    Fozzie is stuck in a place where dreams aren't shared and where there's no real money coming in. He lives in an alley with thrown-out furniture. There is no pulling together to reach a better life. I've taught kids like that. They come from families like that. "You're just some white woman, Ms. Masters. You don't know what it takes to survive in the ghetto." Yeah? Well, first of all, you have to want more. Second, you have to pull together to make meager funds do something productive. You may not be able to solve all your problems, but there is a lot that can be fixed with some creativity and willpower. And my neighborhood growing up became "ghetto" before we left. I never had a problem living in such an area. I'm still one of the two members of my family who have no problem going out in an urban area at night.

    Fozzie is a valuable character, but he works better when he's part of a functioning team. Kermit never dragged him along for the cred, he brought Fozzie in for the fact that Fozzie can be genuinely funny.

    If you go along with the idea that the shows and movies are just a bunch of actors playing roles, then that means the Moopets (and before them, those hackers in JHH whose names I can't recall) are working WITH the Muppets -- or they wouldn't be in the dang show/movie! It's not that hard to see Kermit hiring the Moopets for the comedy they can bring. Kermit believes everyone can succeed, even when the cards are stacked against you. There are times he forgets that counts for him too, but whatever.

    The Moopets are not about race at all. It's about the difference between succeeding and scrounging by.
    newsmanfan likes this.
  2. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    Good grief, whats next? Lol, has this idiot ever been to Reno? I live about 80 miles north of there, it's our nearest big city for shopping. It's like any other city in the States; has its nice and not-so-nice places. And yes, there are shootings (among other dangers) from time to time. I suppose this idiot would think that the city of Oakland is just putting on a show of being crime-ridden, that the gangs are all actors trying to make a bad name for every ethnicity outside of whites. Dumb.

    As for Smalltown U.S.A.... THIS IS A MOVIE!!! It's part of the STORY!!! It's supPOSED to be unrealistically ideal and quaint!!! Go back to the brain-donors' office and ask for yours back, if you ever had any to begin with of course. Again, IDIOT.

    Cheers!
    :)
    Anthony
    heralde likes this.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    If this is the case, then I guess I must be racist too, as my own hometown of Knoxville is pretty much just like Reno is depicted, and yes, I DO actually hear gunshots occasionally: we have projects, we have ghettos, we have shootings in public places, we have armed robberies, home invasions, carjackings, and even insignificant things like when my license plate was stolen a few weeks ago. I guess I must be even more racist to say that Knoxville is pretty much "New Toledo", considering Jamie Farr has said similar things about Toledo, even his character Corporal Klinger on M*A*S*H has told us stories like, "My mother was mugged when she brought me home from the hospital", "Half my mail comes from Death Row", "I know enough high people in low places who can keep up out of daylight for weeks", etc?
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Indeed. The whole point is the characters come from a cartoonishly fictional place like Smalltown, they leave full of optimism and child like whimsy, under the impression the Muppets live in such a happy bubble, only to find out a cold, cruel reality struck Kermit and Fozzie. That's why I don't get complaints about a distraught Kermit either... even the best of people (errr... rather frogs) have their worst days when they just don't see any silver linings. Most of the other Muppet characters went onto happier things (Sam being on Fox News, Piggy in France), but Kermit's alone with his thoughts and Fozzie wound up falling into a very bad career drop. There's SUPPOSED to be a contrast between Reno (or the run down mansion Kermit kept an eye on) and an essentially fictitious 1950's style happy clean suburb. If nothing else, the opening song is a clear reference to old style musicals and their peppy "Everything's going to be great" optimistic musical numbers (only, they did it with care and respect, and it doesn't come off the slightest bit sarcastic... maybe that "Life's a Fillet o' fish... yes it is" Line... but nothing at all jaded).

    Stuff that happened to Fozzie happens to celebrities all the time. One minute they're on the couch next to Leno's desk... the next minute they're at a boat show.
  5. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    -----------------
    I'm just not seeing the "racist" stuff either. Are two stereotypical kinds of neighborhoods portrayed AS EXTREME STEREOTYPES of their kind? Well, yeah. That's kind of the POINT. Smalltown is so hyper-ridiculously, never-really-existed, ideal small-town (the kind the conservatives insist everyone will have if they're in power and allowed to gut the few safeguards preventing people from sliding into Reno...er, Badtown, USA) that it's obvious we're supposed to snicker at it...likewise the alley in Reno. NO place is THAT much of a toilet or that much of a Pleasant Valley Sunday! I personally found the stereotyping funny as heck.

    And as to the Moopets being racist? Uh...yeah right. Methinks somebody needs to get out of their ivory tower once in a while and see some actual PEOPLE...
    --------------------


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