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Should the Muppets retire?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Frogster, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Cantus Rock

    Cantus Rock Well-Known Member

    Thanks Beau.

    The only problem is that unfortunately the Muppets aren't like a pendulum; its not like as their career swings one way (towards garbage), it can just as easily swing back to greatness. It'd take a HUGE altering of the current power structure/decision-making body for such a thing to happen.

    The steps downward were placed as soon as the family sold off to Disney. Now its corporate fat cats that decide the fates of our characters; people who have very little connection with real people in general, much less actual Muppet fans. Its all empirical to the bosses; if it can be marketed, market it, if not, scrap it. "True" and "hardcore" Muppet fans aren't enough to sway the data, unfortunately. And even so, I think its evident that many fans are perfectly fine with the current path anyway. :rolleyes:

    If it were possible, I'd be 100% in favor of a million new Muppet productions in the classical style. Unfortunately I just don't believe that will happen. I'm very much a dreamer, but I am also very much a realist in matters as important to me as Jim's legacy. The realism in relation to the current state of affairs is too overwhelming for me to have pie-in-the-sky hopes.

    I would LOVE to be wrong on this. I would be ecstatic if there was a pendulum-like swing back to the roots. I would publically eat the hat on my head if it were to happen, and I'd enjoy it humbly, knowing that the magic had returned. It just doesn't seem possible. And to me, if its either continued descent into muck or retirement, I'd go with retirement, allowing the Muppets to keep that dignity they've still retained. I know its unfortunate, but the whole situation is unfortunate.
  2. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Whoah! Hold your hat here! Hold on one jimmy-ridddle! The steps were places when JHC sold to Disney? You are joking, right?

    KSY, MFS, VMC, and even half the pre-production of Mwoo were Pre-Disney. Disney is the good guy here so far, they are teh ones who are releaseing Muppet Season Sets.

    Ok, so, let's look at the pure Muppet/Disney productions. MTI. MCC. Two of the best remebered and most classy of the Muppet films. Then Mwoo, which i have not seen. But which was started by JHC.

    Let's look at JHC recent times. MFS, KSY = :grouchy:

    So, we can hardly start out by blammign Disney here.

    However, on yoru other poitns, I am willing to concede. They arn't a pendulem, and it will take time for them to return. But I am also willing to believe they are making their way to returning. If Disney is willing to bring out the quality TMS, surely they will have to watch that, lok at that and see that it is a. better received, and b. more loved that their new productions, no?

    If more TMS Season Sets sell than Mwoo DVD's. Will that not make an impact on them? Dragging the pendulem a little. Or am I wrong in thinking they are trying to be the good guys here?
  3. Cantus Rock

    Cantus Rock Well-Known Member

    You're certainly right; that statement was more of an observation in regards to the TOTAL buy-out, rather than the lend-lease kind of arrangement JHC and Disney had for MCC and the like. Perhaps its just coincidental timing in this instance? And wasn't KSY Disney-related? I know they filmed at MGM down here...I guess they could've just been using the studio though.

    I wasn't trying to make Disney out to be the evil guys; its more of the whole hierarchy; I'd be willing to wager that when Jim was around, there was little to no red tape to go through. Now without the grand leader, the red tape must be immense. So much gets tangled and lost in the web of decisions, ya know what I mean?

    As for the DVD sales, its possible that an impact would be made. However, the sales aren't as important in this context; what would matter would be that 1. TMS sets sell very well and 2. the number crunchers understand the corrolation between the sales and the quality of the old productions. Assuming that people in the company actually think that deep into the equation is probably false, unfortunately. Perhaps Disney has a cultural Anthropologist on staff? That'd be a definite plus for our side.

    Its not that they are the good or bad guys; they're just out for what they believe will bring in the biggest returns. If they can find the relation between high-quality and better sales, they may opt for trying to go the extra mile. But if these sub-par productions can turn a profit, a change is unlikely.

    You seem optimistic enough for the both of us though. :D
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Personally, I don't see how Snoop Dog and Quentin Tarrentino are any worse than people like Alice Cooper and Richard Pryor being guests and cameos. Richard Pryor was trying to get a clean image after he used to be addicted to certain drugs. In fact, that cost him his Saturday Morning TV show, dispite the fact the person who wanted it cancelled (I think he was the network head for some Bible Belt state, as per my memory) didn't even view so much as an episode. Also, as bad as the thought of someone like J-Lo on a new muppet TV show is, how is that any worse than Twiggy the Model.... you know, the one that started the "binge and purge heroin chic" style, which even today cause little girls to become bulemic. But then again, I watch TMS and the like for the Muppets, not the guest stars.

    Aside from that, I think I have found the real problem with Muppet projects. Now, there are 2 things that happen to classic characters. Either they fade into obscurity, causing someone like Classic Media to buy them up, starting a small come back of sorts (mainly a DVD release and a Bobble head), i.e. Bullwinkle, Mr. Magoo, or Underdog. Or, they could be like Disney and Looney Tune characters... they stay in the public eye, and they make constant new productions, but they are never in the league of the classic formats, particualrly since the principle players passed on or retired. I feel the Muppets is the latter....

    In fact, I feel the Muppets current state of things is similar to Looney Tunes. They are still in the public eye, and new products come out every so often. Now the projects (using Looney Tunes here) can be either pretty good, Taz-Mania, Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, or Duck Dodgers or they can be out and out terrible, like baby Looney Tunes, Space Jam, or Loonatics. But even the good ones just don't compaire to the old 40's-60's (and a few 70's TV specials) made by the likes of Jones, Frieling, or Avery (except of course for the cartoons actually made by Jones near the end of his life but I still haven't seen them). I mean, I DID enjoy Back in Action, but the older 6 minute cartoons were more enjoyable. Then of course, there are the terrible projects that make the die hard classic fans or traditionalists angry. These are usually aimed at the most main stream of the main stream, and mainly Little Kids (furthering the stereotype that animation is a children's medium).

    In a way, Oz and Space Jam seem to be a lot alike. I mean, SJ was a film that was basically a more commercial idea (basing it on commercials, actually). Throughout the film, we either see large scenes with Michael Jordan, scenes of Mike and the Toons, in which the Toons basically kiss his butt and suck up, and short scenes of the Looney Tunes themselves doing short schtick, but always coming back to "Where's Michael?" and, "Oh what a great guy he is!" Oz is the same, just change Michael Jordan to Ashanti. Of course, both of them cannot act, but at least Mike had better chemisrty with the toons. I mean, they both had enjoyable parst to them, they were just not that pleasant to watch.

    I mean, MCC and MTI were the best written of the newer projects because we still had Jerry Juhl around. During MFS, they cut all the great and subtle stuff from the script to cater more towards the 5 year olds the parents would take them to see (furthering the confusion about Muppets and Sesame Street both being kid's shows). This clearly was the Studio's involvement. Jerry understandably left in a huff, causing someone to doctor the scripts (a Script Doctor may be the reason a lot of movies start out good, and end up crap). I didn't see KSY yet, but the main complaints I can gather is that they made it a preschool movie (again, Muppets and Sesame Street). Now, VMX I felt was pretty good, aside from the NBC buttkissing to get the movie on the air. Personally, I think the older refferences, the Rudolf cartoon and It's a wonderful Life, work better than the newer refferences, Mulan Rouge, Cirque de Solei, Crock Hunter, and the Jim Carrey Grinch Movie (dispite the fact the newer refferences deserved it).

    For Muppet Projects to improve, I think they should try exctreemly hard to get back Jerry Juhl, and revisit older script ideas (I.E. Muppet's Next Movie, Muppet's Cheapest Movie, which has a lot of Monty Python-esque humor potential) rather than go to every available Simpsons or Sitcom writer to "Borrow" the plot from an older source. My judgement on Disney's treatment of the property rests soley on the next project, since I'm just going to ignore OZ as the Muppet equivillant of Space Jam.
  5. dpurves

    dpurves Well-Known Member

    That's actually a funny point about MJ having better chemistry with his costars than Ashanti did, since Ashanti did actually have physically present characters to interact with, while MJ was probably just acting in front of a blue screen with a bunch of characters to be added later. And I agree that the problem with both these features, as well as some recent Muppet features IMO is that they put the spotlight on the human star(s) and turn the Muppets into more of a supporting role, whereas I've always felt that in a Muppet movie it should be the Muppets who are the center of the plot.

    And to contine the Looney Tunes comparison, you're right that a big part of the problem is that the people who made the classic Muppets who some of us are so **** fond of are no longer a part of this, whether it's because of retirement or because they've died. Therefore it's unlikely that these classic bits can ever be recreated. It's sad, but unfortunately it's a fact of life, and it is time for the Muppets to adapt and move on.

    Muppet's Cheapest Movie? Is this real. I'd never heard of this. Do you know what this and Muppet's Next Movie are supposed to be about? They actually sound pretty interesting.
  6. Frogster

    Frogster Well-Known Member

    Just so people know I said this myself... I do NOT have a problem with homosexuals AT ALL. Like Beau pointed out, he was portrayed that way. And no, I didn't mention Howard the Hog either. I know who Richard Hunt is, and if he was gay, I have no problem with that. I will never attack such an astounding performer such as Richard Hunt. It doesn't change the fact that he was an excellent performer. I don't think that kind of atmosphere should be shown to kids who may have seen that. Your personal life is different from the show that's put out to the public. Obviously Jim felt the same way, or else we would know if he was gay or not. I think that if he was gay, it was kept quiet, because maybe the Muppeteers felt that if parents found out that the person working the second half of the Two-Headed Monster or Gladys was gay, they may become biggots themselves, and worry about how it may affect their kids. I know that sounds somewhat outlandish, but there are people who think gayness spreads like a disease. But anyway, I just felt that Scooter should NOT have been shown that way... he's my second-favorite Muppet, and it was insulting to see him that way.

    And yes, I guess overall, that the problem isn't exactly with the Muppets, it's the projects... let's keep at this issue, shall we?

    I'm sure there were people who were on drugs the time they were hosting TMS. But now, in a way, people like Snoop Dog and Tarantino's lives are more well-known to the public, because of our world works, and how it's developed. And I know it was the '70's. I think Jim just ignored that stuff so he could have a good show. Then, once the week was over, they could get back to their lives. Their problems weren't his.

    I don't think you can really blame Disney much... they are trying to help them. But it's just that the Muppet performers that are still around today should notice how things have changed, and figure out how to get things back to where they started. The commercials are a good start, although Simpson's not much more of a role model than a tube of tooth paste.

    But MWoO, I don't know what it is, but you've gotta calm down, bud. If you notice the very first thing I wrote about in this thread, when I asked if the Muppets should retire, I said "In My Opinion, yes. You don't have any right to go off on me, as well as the others, the way you have here lately. We're all here to talk about Muppets, from today and yesterday, and it seems as if we all love them here, nomatter how bad I think they've been lately. Like Cantus Rock, I haven't stopped liking the Muppets. I just highly disagree with the road they've taken. It just seems, to me, like they're diggin' a grave. You can argue with me all you want, but I'd like to ask you to try and rent "The Kermit And Piggy Story." This was the first Muppet thing I ever saw in my life, even before SS, and I still watch it today. I know Eric and Steve aren't Frank and Jim. But Kermit and Piggy will- or I should say, should- remain the same. They altered them, and they're losing key demographics in their audience. But nomatter how much worse or better they get, I'll always love them. Kerm's my fav. You may think I'm cursing the performers and using them as punchlines now, but I'm not. I have great admiration for the performers, because like I said earlier, at least someone's still doing them. So, unless you can start respecting peoples opinions, I suggest you keep it cool.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    This was posted years ago on Tough Pigs.... I think just after VMX whent into production. There were numerous Muppet Scripts they actually that were floating around to be the next muppet production. Also included was a Halloween special called "Muppet Haunted House", as well as a "Muppets Go Medieval" type movie, in which they actually wrote a few songs for (the title WASN'T really the Muppets Go Medeval, but it was centered around that sort of genre, making the Simpsons bit actually funnier).

    >>And to contine the Looney Tunes comparison, you're right that a big part of the problem is that the people who made the classic Muppets who some of us are so **** fond of are no longer a part of this, whether it's because of retirement or because they've died. Therefore it's unlikely that these classic bits can ever be recreated. It's sad, but unfortunately it's a fact of life, and it is time for the Muppets to adapt and move on.<<

    And when they are recreated, they just don't work as well. indeed, many Taz-mania episodes were patterened after old Looney Tune cartoons (none of them, actually starring Taz, interrestingly enough). Personally, I still hate the idea of retiring the Muppets, since it would be like retiring Looney Tunes or Disney characters (though, between you and me, I got more milage out of any Bugs Bunny cartoon than anything Mickey ever did. I do enjoy Goofy and Donald, though). I mean, the current projects aren't that good, but I guess it's the head of whoever owns control of the Muppets at the time (depending on what film it is) who picks bad scripts or bad ideas. Besides, I personally, see the Muppets as celebrities, unlike cartoon characters. I'm holding judgement till the next project.

    The main complaint I am SICK of hearing is "X performer is lousy at doing Y's role" Sometimes I do find Steve's Kermit a bit abrasive, and I still can't get used to his Ernie. But I like them recasting, or rather continuing, roles. I mean, EVERY major character has always been played by someone else upon the original's death or retirement... (BTW, Did you know Disney stopped voicing Mickey after his mother saw a cartoon and replied about how stupid the mouse sounded?) Let's go back to Looney Tunes... after Mel blanc Died, numerous performers had to take over the roles of something just one person did. We had Joe Alasky (one of my favorites of the bunch), Billy West, Noel Blanc, Jim Cummings, and various others either playing a large portion of the parts (Joe plays Sylvester, Daffy, Tweety and various others from time to time) and some play one or two (Jim plays Taz and he dfoes do Yosemity Sam's VO once in a while). They are also constantly bounced from performer to performer. Now, what makes the Muppets hard to recast is that they usually need to use people who have a lot of experiance of puppetry, sound enough like the character, and to be able to think, feel, and in a sense BE the character. As I've said before, it's more than just reading a script while doing an impersonation. That's why certain recasts aren't perminant.

    To sum it up, don't go blaiming Eric Jacobson not sounding exactly exactly like Frank Oz for Muppet Oz being a mixed production.
  8. dpurves

    dpurves Well-Known Member

    And of course the fact remains that once the performers either retire or die, the only choice is to either retire the character or recast. Even when the voices are pretty close, I do find it distracting to hear *someone else doing <insert name>'s voice*. I can't help it. And when they're completely off, it really throws me. But I could never imagine myself saying to retire Kermit because his voice is different now. I'll adjust, because to me the important thing is having these characters around.

    Believe me, I'd find it a lot easier to deal with voice changes if the product they were presenting were more entertaining to me. A good story can make up for a lot of other shortcomings.

    Also, good point about the Muppets requiring way more than just a voice-over actor. A lot goes into making these guys tick.

    Finally, I agree with your assessment of Disney. I've always loved the Muppets. I always loved Looney Tunes. The Disney characters just never did it for me. It's like they were always trying to be too nice, while the Muppets and Looney Tunes characters seemed more interested in being themselves, both for good and for bad.
  9. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    I have to disagree with you saying that the Disney is trying to be too nice. They are just a slightly different form. To be honest, I feel bad for the Disney company because lately it seems like they are always having to defend or save their butts. I may be getting slightly off topic so I am sorry if I do. I am so sick and tired of these other cases when people sue Disney for their own stupid actions. Like those stories when someone falls of the big ship Columbia at Disneyland and gets injured or killed and then they sue the company even though it was their own **** fault because they were doing something they weren't supposed to do like stand on the rail or something.

    Disney isn't quite as edgy as the Muppets or Looney Tunes. I think part of this is because society won't let them be. Everyone is way too hung up on being politically correct when it comes to everything. Remember when they had to re-do Pirates of the Carribbean? That was so lame. They shouldn't have had to change that ride just to make it more PC. You can't alter history. That is how the pirates were, chasing women around and things. Don't give them a chicken to run around with. I think Disney is walking on egg shells and it is sad.
  10. Frogster

    Frogster Well-Known Member

    I definitely have to agree with you there... Disney just seems to be a little too careful that when it comes to POTC, they suck the fun out of it to protect little kids' ears.
  11. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Well-Known Member

    EEE-YIKES! Holy crap; you guys, put down the fire arms!
    *Gets atop a lone busted soap box*
    First off, I got serious issues with these personal insults; especially against some of my best friends here on MC. MWoO; I got a problem with you, it started in the MWoO review thread. I asked simply that you respect other's opinions, you manipulated that into me being discriminatinf against those of lesser post counts (which it was not). Beau saw trouble and asked us all to take a step back and take a look at what we were doing. I hafta' admit; I didn't want to, but respecting Beau as I do, I knew he was right, and I PUBLICLY apologized to you, an apology which you never acknowledged, and now I come back here and see you dumpin' on my pals Luke and BEAR, and that get's me hot. Back off and play nice, we're all very happy to have such a knowledgable user here, but your word isn't gospel, so sometimes, just agree to disagree.

    To all of you who disagree with Luke; GOOD! I agree with the guy mostly (and not just because he's my bud), but these different views are so freakin' healthy. Most of you have disagreed in such a healthy way; and in all honesty, are making spectacular points on why the Muppets shouldn't retire. Healthy opposition is just what this forum needs to keep it exciting and fun! Yes, it's hard not to get a little steamed when someone disagrees, but you're doin' so well at pushing your opinions in a good way, that it helps guys like Luke and I continue to be open.

    Me? I'm the kind of fan (yes, there is NOT just one kind of fan) that isn't going to accept whatever comes across the table just because Kermit's face is smeared on it. So I think the Muppets should have retired when Jim passed... to a degree. I love 'em, I need 'em, but I want 'em taken seriously and not just slapped on every corporate bumper sticker that flashes the frog some green. As far as guests are concerned, I really don't care who the Muppets bring on, as long as it doesn't affect their integrity. If Snoop Dog wants in, let 'im; but don't make Kermit get on some talk show and advocate Snoop's pornography line. Are the Muppets made soley for kids? NO! But if you think they're soley for adults, you got some news comin' to you! Think about it, how many of you were/are adults when they first became interested in the Muppets? I'm so sick of people making the Muppets out to be for adults only, they're for everyone; and there is a happy medium for both. Television is not what it used to be, and it's not supposed to be either; but that doesn't mean that there needs to be a white flag thrown up to d*** and fart jokes, sexual inuendos and the reality show craze. There are already outlets for that, the Muppets are unique enough that they can pass all that. However, if they're gonna' just continue trying to be like everyone else, then yes; I think they should retire.

    *falls off soap box and hopes no one noticed that part*
  12. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    *pretending not to notice the falling off the soap box part*

    Well said, Vic. And as for what you said about different views being healthy- It's like my uncle said one time: If we all agree on everything, we'll just be sitting around like a bunch of bobble heads.
  13. dpurves

    dpurves Well-Known Member

    Bravo! There really isn't much point in asking people's opinions if you're going to blow up the second they disagree with you. And that's all these are: opinions. You believe what you want to believe and I'll do the same. There's never any reason to start throwing insults.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well... not just that... I mean a lot of their cartoons were banal and pointless. I am of course referring to the millions of cartoons in which Pluto gets his head or tail stuck in a sweater, hermit crab shell, or anything like that. Remeber, after a while, they even stopped making Mickey cartoons because the character is pretty much just bland, at least compaired to Goofy and Donald (of whom I both enjoy). I mean, while a lot of Looney Tunes shorts are repetitive, they are still much funnier and better written. Plus, we had a lot of clever stuff like "What's Opera, Doc?" my personal favorite non-Daffy cartoon (that would be the Original Duck Dodgers).

    But getting back to the subject, I feel the problem lies within the anger of a lot of fans about the current projects. Personally, saying the Muppets should retire because of OZ is like saying an actor like Robert DiNero should have retired because of crappy films like Showtime and Hide and Seek. I mean, I still think the puppetry and puppet acting is still the top of the feild (just look at the hack Sesame Street ripoffs you see on cable channels). But, like DiNero, I feel that the Muppets, Henson, or whomever is in charge of them should look into productions with a little more care.

    I mean, I agree that the entire media has slipped down a spiral path to oblivion (and taking the Muppets, along with other things with it). Personally, I see 2 problems in the media. On the one side, there's gratuitous sex and smut on reality TV shows and such, and on the other side is ultrasafe and sound family sitcoms featuring untalented, unknown comedians (Pretty Much ABC's entire line up). Now, I feel the prudish censors are hovering over the wrong things, while Jerry Springer is still on TV. I also feel that the pop culture refference boom is related to the unfunny, overhyped Will and Grae show. Personally, I think the only good daring, edgy programmings are Nicktoons like Spongebob and Fairly Oddparents, Adult Swim programming like Space Ghost, and the new TMNT show on 4Kids.... all cartoons, mind you. Shows either take things too far, or stay away from any controversy, making them bland, unrealistic, and forgettable. In both cases, these shows are just plain awful, and shockingly reminicent of RBTV from the Bullwinkle movie (for the millions of you who haven't seen it, it hypnotizes the masses, making them compliant).

    At one point, I made a comment I regret saying about the Muppets not selling out. Well.... the Henson kids sold out to Dizzy, and Dizzy sells out like razy (even when Uncle Walt was in charge. The Wonderful world of color was made to hawk color TV's remember?) In recent years, Dizzy sold out to the tweenage girl and 7-10 year old boy market. Which is why you see Hillary Duff programming 24/7 on the Disney channel, and you see Digimon and Power Rangers on Toon Disney (instead of Ducktales, a really great project millions of fans love). I think that's the reason OZ was about a pop singer who wanted to be a pop star, which really pulled the project down, IMO.

    And finally, my one peeve about discussing the good old days? WHen people can't stop blaiming new characters for how projects are bad. This is exactly like when posters say "Elmo is a terrible character that ruined Sesame Street." The new characters were made to fill the void left by characters they haven't been able to recast. Personally, I think Pepe, Johnny, Sal and Bobo saved MFS for me. and, I have to give them credit for not continuing Andy, Randy, and all the new Pigs from MT. It goes to show at least there's some care at least where characters are due.
  15. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    No, you misunderstood me. I was defending Disney. They are wonderful in providing family entertainment. It is the stupid people of the public that get way to sensitive with things that makes them feel like they always need to watch their backs. They have been providing wonderful family fun for about 70 years and will continue to do so.
  16. Frogster

    Frogster Well-Known Member

    My apologies, Bear. I still see where you're coming from.

    And hey, Vic,
    Thanks, pal.
  17. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    I also think Disney is doing their best to keep the Muppets alive and running. They are doing this for us, not themselves. Sure, they get the money, but they know that we are here and that we want to see the Muppets on top.

    They have a lot of new projects lined up for the Muppets including theatrical feature films, their own series, and guest spots on other shows. This is all according to the interview with Eric Jacobson. :o
  18. pppapazo

    pppapazo Active Member

    Well, that's a little naive. Disney is, of course, doing it for the money and only the money. If Disney didn't think the Muppets could be profitable, they wouldn't have bought them. And the moment they think the Muppets aren't profitable anymore, Disney will have no problem stopping new projects.
  19. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Well-Known Member

    I'm not saying you, BEAR or Eric is wrong, but I can't imagine Disney would do anything for "us" per say. I believe they see the Muppets vast intentions, but my personal feelings is that they see dollar signs instead of Dogs, frogs, chickens and pigs. I believe they also know that along with newbies to reel in as fans, they're aware of us too and they know that for the most part, we'll bite. That's not to say their intentions are evil either. I'd be interested to read that article though, is it here on MC?
  20. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    Don't call me naive. I am aware that money is a factor. The fact is, the Muppets have a popularity and the general public loves them. They would not buy something that the public didn't go for. They are profitable enough that we would all invest in them, but it is also unfair to say that all Disney thinks about is money and themselves.

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