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Sesame Workshop Trying To Have It Both Ways(Bert/Ernie issue)

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by beaker, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Well there you go, Glee which is very gay friendly yet wildly popular amongst many American families. I think by now most people, even churchgoers, kind of just chuckle at the fundamentalist attitude on gays. Israel, which has long been a very religious conservative nation and still is in some regards, is now immensely pro gay in a lot of its attitudes and laws. So things change. I actually see gay people used in more normal family friendly settings on tv now then before when it was more of a "gag" or cheap angle.
  2. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    @Dr tooth:

    1. Yeah I couldnt get into Will And Grace. For far too long it felt like gay men were portrayed as these kind of judgemental snip-snap charactatures. While Ellen and the very gay friendly Roseanne treated gay people as normal characters, Hollywood in the 90's only wanted stereotypes. Stereotyped black people, latinos, etc. Modern Family to me is a very special sort of show, because it's one of the few tv shows Ive seen that I find hillarious in ways usually only hard tv-14 comedies can be...while it also deals with the normalacy of divorced people and other situations once considered taboo(interracial marriages, gay couples, etc)

    I really cant get into shows like Friends, or even Zooey Deschenel's new show...I cant relate to those types of people. I can absolutely relate to the Seinfeld and Big Bang Theory characters though. I think relating is a part of everyone's funny bone, as much as absurdist situations come into play

    2. Indeed, as much as many Muppet fans consider the movies/shows/etc "canon", the point of the Muppets is there is absolutely no canon.

    There is no "magic" on Fraggle Rock. Kermit openly talks about how Fraggle Rock was filmed at York studios in Canada. Pepe, Gonzo, etc in interviews talk about how they are all actors, and the movies are just movies. Kermit and Piggy have a relationship like one of my best friends does. Where its on again/off again, love/hate, but they always get back together and never get married.
    The Muppet Babies do not exist. They exist as a cartoon and within the world of Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppet Family Christmas, but the real origins of the Muppets are that they are all actors who got discovered and met randomly. Gonzo talks about his real life in some interviews Ive seen, as does Rizzo.

    So yeah, we kind of have to piece together bits from interviews, stuff performers have said and then glean certain reoccurring themes from the shows and films. Its amazing to go back to the 1955-1969 period, because its such a completely different time. I mean Sam and Friends...it still blows my mind. Kermit, Harry the Hipster, Yorick...it was like a weird late night cable access show long before cable. I think a lot of people forget Rowlf was the main Muppet star next to Kermit, and there has always been a kind of sadness associated with Rowlf that can be seen in a lot of post JH shows and films. In the Cooking with Cora Rowlf talks about how he'll take any job now. To me that's canon...how Rowlf has been kind of pushed to the back like an old 80's wrestler or movie star
  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The funny thing is, I actually said it was tantamount to Blackface years ago and everyone thought I was mad. It was such a horrible show. I can take (even love) the shrillness of Cosmo in the fast paced pop culture heavy Fairly Oddparents, but when it came to the shrillness of Jack and Whatever Megan's character was called in the pop culture heavy Will and Grace, I wanted to pull my hair out or run out for some Excedrin. It's like Excedrin Migraine #452: Will and Grace episode. But the last straw with that show? It made even John Cleese unfunny. John Cleese is one of the people in the entertainment industry I feel is a personal god... right up their with Weird Al, Jim Henson, and various voice actors like Rob Paulsen and Jim Cummings. To see John in such a painfully unfunny state was TORTURE!

    It seems that there are a lot of nice juicy tidbits that the performers like to come up with. Like the Scooter "my mother was a parrot, we don't know about my dad, it was during the war." aside And as fans of a franchise we love seeing tiny weird little things that come out of the characters mouths that speak to their origin. But are they official, or do we just piece them together?

    As far as Muppet character ages are concerned, they're written to represent a certain group, sure... but how many of them actually say what age they are? I know Elmo is heavily promoted as 3 1/2 years old (their main audience AND a reference to an old Looney Tunes gag)... Ernie said he was six that one time in a video. No one else really says anything. And to me, only Elmo, Zoe, Big Bird, Prairie Dawn, Robin the Frog, and Snuffy are kids (babies like Natasha and Alice pretty much are a given). Oscar's in his late 50's to me, Grover has to be at least 16 to have to be able to have that many jobs...If Ernie and Bert are kids, and Ernie's 6, then Bert's an awkward teenager... but somehow it feels like he's older. And how old would you say the Fraggles are? Teens? 20's? Boober's gotta be in his late 20's-mid 30's to me. Matt? Probably anywhere from 40-60. It's character interpretation. The things that aren't explained are open to interpretation, and people see what they want to see because it helps them relate to the characters.
  4. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    It's funny when Kermit says he's 56...Im like, was he a tadpole on Sam and Friends? He's in his 70's then. But to be fair, should we be applying cartoon age(Bart, the eternal 10 year old) or real world age? Some characters seem to grow more complex. Piggy certainly became more beautiful(she looked gosh awful to me in the first few TMS seasons) Some characters seem to get younger.

    My biggest problem, since we are talking about representing different people(we have elderly, middle aged, toddler, child, teen and adult muppets) is there is hardly any female leads. "Poogy" is going to be the only new female?

    If I was to have made the new Muppet film, Id have a late teen Skeeter, Pepe as one of the main characters and created a few other uniquely new muppets(maybe even bring in some jim henson hour or muppets tonight guys)
  5. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    Brian and Steve from The Sarah Silverman Program are also two great non-stereotypical gay characters. They're just fat, nerdy stoners who happen to be gay.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    All this talk of stereotypes, it brings to mind that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry mentions that people used to think he was gay because he's a thin, single, neat-freak (and in later seasons, voluntarily shaves his chest), and did a bit about how if a man is big, fat, sloppy, and lazy, he must be (straight and) married. Come to think of it, stereotypes have pretty much changed somewhat since those days, because thanks to those same Hollywood nutjobs who force us to worship like size 0 stick figure women want women to worship silky, smooth, hairless men, so now, it's like men HAVE to shave their body hair so as to not to repulse women (and apparently women are happy about that, thinkig it gives men an idea of what they have to go through by constantly shaving their legs and armpits so as not to repulse men)... yeah, well, it'd take me HOURS to shave that much, I've got hair in places I didn't even know hair could grow, but that's besides the point (and I wouldn't shave like that anyway, because men ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BODY HAIR).

    As far as character ages and changes are concerned, it all depends mostly on the writers, and/or the performers; I mean I could got into a long-winded talk about that, but I don't think I will.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The Muppet show only had like a handful of female characters anyway, most of them unmemorable one season characters. And even then, most of the females were performed by males. Something like Sesame Street with more influential little kids watching the show is where that's far more important. Skeeter's a stubbornness on the part of Henson/Disney to refuse to acknowledge Muppet Babies as anything other than a little show that made merchandise. I'd love to see a Karen Prell or Leslie Cararra puppetered version of Roger and Amy's version of adult Skeeter, but that's not gonna happen.

    And who's to say Poogy's actually a woman?
  8. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I don't care how it was back on TMS, Im just saying its 2011...wheres the cool female characters? I LOVE Zondra, Janice, Mildred...but speaking role female characters are far and few between. And Skeeter could be presented simply as Scooter's sister, doesnt have to acknowlege or tie into Muppet Babies at all. Fraggle Rock had two very strong female characters that were extremely prominent. I think Prell and a lot of the newer/veteran JHC and SW women performers could come up with some amazing teen or college aged muppet female characters. If I was working for Disney, I'd be pitching all sorts of fun ideas at least for online video stuff. Pepe is like the only post JH character that has had any spotlight or success
  9. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    You can say that about most TV and movies. ;)
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Because, making any character that isn't a white straight guy is tough. Any character flaw would send shockwaves out to overly sensitive not white males. It's no win. People want representation, but they hate when they're written as anything that could be viewed as a stereotype so we get flat generic characters. And then they complain about how flat and generic and white they are. Look at what happened with Princess and the Frog. She was almost named Maddie, and some group said "AAAH! No! That's subservient maid's name!" Then they changed it to something else and it was like "That's a WHITE girl's name." And yet, they have those extremely racist Metro PCS commercials.

    As for females, why do you think SW has such a hard time with adding female Muppets to the show? Same reason. If they're too girly or flawed or something, someone's going to complain about how much of a stereotype or bad influence they are, and when it comes to adding females to a TV show, they all have to be tom boys or kickbutt princesses. I can't believe I complained about Kristin Wiig's version of Lola Bunny now. She was a kickbutt princess they added to a movie to get more girls to see it. And they insisted that she has to be Bugs's equal, but better than him. I can never say a kind word about Venus DiMilo, who killed the franchise and DIDN'T need to be added. They always insist on adding positive female leads to male friendly shows (that girls actually watch anyway), but they can have bimbo airheads as leads in shows for girls and no one ever complains about it. Look at Bratz and Maxie's World. I don't care what pro-social values they fling out there, it's all about buying fashion dolls. That's why I like stuff like She-Ra and Pepper Ann... strong female leads in female shows. Why are the girls better in boy's shows?

    Above all, other than the Moopets and Walter, there's really no room in the project for more new Muppets, male female or whatever. If a new show happens, THAT would be the oppertunity to add in more females, hopefully they'll try to get Skeeter (Roger and Amy style) into the cast that way.
  11. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    Ernie and Bert aren't gay, put this bullocks to rest. Ernie/Bert were created as a homage to the odd couples of comedy. There is absolutely no subtext to their relationship.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I read it was because someone complained it sounded too much like the term "Mammy", which apparently they say is a black stereotype term, but honestly, living in the south, I hear just about everybody, irregardless of race, use the term "Mammy", with no problems whatsoever.
    Right, even Carol-Lynn Parente said the 40 years book that had Cookie Monster been a female character for example, they'd constantly be in trouble because people would complain that she's bulimic, or has an eating disorder, etc, and that's basically why it's a challenge for them to add female Muppets to the show... even Street Gang says Zoe was all just a ploy to have a female Muppet on the show that could sell as well in stores as Elmo, which is why she ended up being a counterpart to Elmo.
  13. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Oh man I loved Pepper Ann. Yeah She Ra and Jem were awesome. Sadly you never had too much of that stuff...I can't imagine how tough it must be growing up in America as a girl when madison avenue and the idiocracy of society pretty much dictate a mostly male world and most of the female aimed stuff is fluffy pink dreck.
    Society sadly teaches girls that they're only worth is how they can use their looks or sexual power to get a guy or move up in the world. Italy is a thousand times worse from what I hear.
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Society today is just simply corrupted and decayed. 'Nuff said.
    Yorick likes this.
  15. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well for a lot of people it calls to mind Al Jolson singing "Mammy" in black face.
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Okay, yeah, I guess I could see that then.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I give mucho thumbs up to stuff like Kim Possible too... Even Recess (with Spinelli and Gretchen). Oh, and I LOVE Word Girl. It's so sad that April O'Neil of BOTH TMNT cartoons was a stronger role model for girls than any of the Bratz. Even the dub of Winx Club had some sexist connotations ("Don't touch the hair" was a lyric in the theme song). Now they got a new dub.. very wooden acting.

    I ask you... why the heck is it so hard for them to get a Wonder Woman show out there? An animated one, that is? Granted, I like Marvel's line up of females that aren't almost exclusively girl versions of the male characters, especially the X-Men (Storm, TOTALLY Storm!), but Wonder Woman's usually just the token girl in a group of famous male heroes in Super Friends (to be totally honest, I never really watched Justice League... I know they had more female leads).

    But the funny thing is, most girls I know (online, of course) grew up watching the Boy cartoons. They're probably bigger fans than the boys were.

    Really. No one ever says Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin are negative White straight Christian Male stereotypes. No one complains when they do something stupid or reckless. I wish ALL cartoon characters of all races and sexes could be treated that way. But someone gets a bug up their butts and complains... then we get useless token characters that are more white than the whitest white guy you know. Accent free people from other countries that are good at everything and have no personality (of course, we can still make Italians talk-a- like-a this-a and mock the French... someone so much as mention Asian culture and martial arts in the same breath and you got like a million angry letters EVEN though it's a genre of film).

    Women can only be kickbutt princesses or Mary Sues. Piggy isn't a great female character just because she's strong. She's deeply flawed. She's loud, bold and up in everyone's face, kinda egotistical... but deep down, it's like she needs to keep that up. I will say, Roger and Amy did a BETTER job with Skeeter than the Muppet Babies writers did, where she was just a Peppermint Patty type character. Red Fraggle? Oh, MAN I love Red. She's sporty but deeply flawed in being competitive. Mokey's beautifully artistic, but also completely absent minded. Not a ditz, not a bimbo... absent minded. Actually, I always felt that Fraggle Rock was a lot deeper than Sesame and The Muppet show... even deeper than some of the movies. But Sesame Street has the most important world wide job of the three.
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Maybe because they're... not? I mean, especially considering Homer is yellow, not white. :p

    Buesides, don't they basically reserve THAT stereotype for Flanders? :p
  19. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    What the media, and often women's groups, don't understand is you can't have decent female characters unless you allow them to be what they are--human.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It's not just women's groups, as I said. Everyone just has a bug up their butts. Though, I'm surprised the Indian community sat back and let a bunch of Goofy caricatures that make Apu from the Simpsons look politically correct get shoved into television casts a few years ago... luckily we're getting less disgraceful characters like Leela in Sesame Street and Raj on Big Bang. I was highly impressed by Outsourced, but they didn't give that show the time of day (replacing it with that SWILL Whitney). But those Metro PCS commercials. I'm not Indian, but I find those commercials howlingly offensive. Like if it was 1945, they'd be African American guys with idiot blackface accents.​

    I'm in the middle of PC. On the one hand, I find the fact that a lot of these groups are actually holding themselves back by not allowing flawed representations in a show, but on the other hand, I TOTALLY cringe at the embarrassing racist caricatures they had in cartoons, right up until the 70's... even in some of my favorite classic cartoons. yet, I think everyone overreacted about Speedy Gonzales. And don't get me started on how Asian groups freak out when someone does an accent, even a slight respectable one. That's why in Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi, the cartoon versions of them spoke with American Valley Girl accents.​

    Back to the topic, the worst part is, the writers and creators are so afraid of these angry letters and feel hindered and hampered when writing and creating said characters. There are a LOT of great women in cartoons, even today. Most of them are Super Heroes, but team members of various groups. I know that's why the new My Little Pony has such buzz around it. Series writer (or something, I don't follow it) Lauren Faust was TICKED OFF that there weren't any decent girls cartoons. Now we got Bronies.

    The above all is, you can never know who's gonna like what until it's created.​


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