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The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by dwayne1115, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. mbmfrog

    mbmfrog Active Member

    Jim,

    I have to ask, in light of the recent issue outing of the Muppet Show comic book series, #4 to be exact, I got to asked....Did you or anyone over at Muppet Studios knew anything about this at all ?


    If not or if you did then how did you take the surprise in the recent Muppet Show comic book issue #4 ?
  2. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    What problem are you talking about.
  3. mbmfrog

    mbmfrog Active Member

    I do apologize if I was a bit misunderstood, but I was hoping that Jim Lewis was one of the few people to co-work with the creative team on the new Muppet show comic book series or any of the other Muppet comics that BOOM studios puts out each month.

    Or at least if he has seen the new Muppet comics what is his opinion on them ?

    Once again I do apologize if I was a bit confusing for you to understand.
  4. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    Hi! Jim Lewis has been involved in The Muppet Show comics somewhat sort of. He might be able to answer your question.

    Dwayne, I think he was just asking if Jim knew about Skeeter's appearance in the Muppet Show Comic Book issue # 4.
  5. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry... but I don't understand what you're trying to ask there, mbmfrog. It sounds like you're saying that The Muppets Studio has no idea what's going on with their characters in an official comic, and I don't think that's what you meant to say. I think what you're trying to ask is this (please correct me if I'm wrong),

    Jim, what is your opinion on having Skeeter return to the Muppet cast in the new issue of The Muppet Show Comic Book? Did you have anything to do with the decision to include her?

    Is that what you were trying to ask, mbmfrog? I'm just trying to understand your question so that Jim will be able to understand and answer it. :)

    EDIT: Yeah... what Super Scooter said too! :p
  6. mbmfrog

    mbmfrog Active Member


    That's exacty what I'm trying to ask Prawncracker: Was Jim involved with Skeeter coming into the comics and what is Jim's opinion on the whole Muppet Comics thing overall so far ?


    Sorry for the confusion.
  7. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    OHHH! I just found out about the retun of Skeeter a few days ago, and was kind of shocked that on one had asked Jim about this. This is really a great question, and now that I know what your asking about, if you don't mind I'll help you out and re word it and send it Jim's way today.

    Great answer and I can't wait to hear the answer on that one myself.


    Sending the questions right now!
  8. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Here we go! great answers as always.


    Questions for Jim Lewis





    !. From dwayne1115: We have talked about so many different Muppet "pairs" Kermit/Fozzie Kermit /Piggy and on and on but we have not really talked about the relationship of Kermit and Sam the Eagle. On the Muppet show and even some in Muppet Treasure Island they have a very funny relationship. However in the past few productions we have seen less of Sam. Is it hard to find where he would fit in to things, or is he becomeing a one line Muppet?



    Part of the joy of the Muppets is that there are so many pairs, so many real relationships among characters. Obviously in cases where the same performer performs two characters (e.g. Fozzie/Piggy and Kermit/Rizzo), it’s tougher to realize these relationships. But we still do it – if only the make the performers suffer. I love Sam Eagle, but as I’ve said in the past (and as his creator, Frank Oz, has said even further {or is that farther?} in the past): Sam is a one-note character. He is focused on decency and patriotism. He works best when he keeps his focus. Playing Sam against Kermit, who tends to be more appropriate and decent, or at least less incomprehensible, than the other characters, is not as instantly satisfying as playing Sam against someone like Pepe or Rizzo or Gonzo, whose behaviors are guaranteed to drive Sam crazy. In other words, Sam and Kermit moments take more work to set up and develop. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do more of them – after all the “MTI” Sam/Kermit interaction is, indeed, priceless. It just means we—or more specifically me—is lazy. I will drink more Red Bull. Promise.




    2. From Super Scooter: Jim, I too dig Mr. Lasseter's shirts!

I know you've commented on some of your influences, but I was wondering if you ever try to slip in any direct references to those influences in your writing. I know there have been subtle referecnes written into Muppet productions in the past (Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, and McCormack), and I was wondering if you still try to do that on occasion?


    There’s a thin line between homage and plagiarism. I walk it on occasion. And I do these references when they (a) work (b) don’t get in the way of what’s going on and (c) won’t get me sued. I, like Fozzie, am an aficionado of the classics, from the Brothers Marx to the Brothers Ritz to the great Olson and Johnson. If their work can be inspiration for our antics, great – but we must create our own original antics as well, if only so someone can steal from us. (By the way, if I were you, I’d take out a Hungadunga and put in a windshield wiper.)



    3. From Convincing John: I have another one I thought of this afternoon.

I'm a big fan of Jim Henson's early work (the Wilkins coffee commercials, Sam and Friends, etc.) As much as I love the Muppet stuff from the 1970's to the "Stand by Me" video, I think 
Does you have any favorite moments from Jim Henson's early career? (And hopefully he drinks Wilkins Coffee to avoid getting blown up?


    My all-time favorite from that early era is a mock behind-the-scenes making-of-the-commercials “documentary” that Jim, Frank, Jerry & Jerry made for a presentation to Wilson’s Meats. (Youtube it, it’s up there). Jim’s voiceover is so dry and bland, so perfect against the on-screen maelstrom. To me, it captures the early sense of this-is-funny-to-us-let’s-do-it spirit that defines the Muppets.



    4. From minor muppetz and dwayne1115: So, I wonder, was there any reason why you produced but didn't write the Studio DC specials? Also,was it a challenge to be a producer, with new writers for the Muppets? Did they really understand who the Muppets where? Or did you and others at Muppet Studios have to give the writers a Muppets 101 class?


    We worked closely with the writers; they were very very interested and eager to get it right. And I think they did a fine job. We didn’t do a “class”, but then again I have no class, so what would be the point? As for the particulars of why we produced rather than wrote, it was mostly a matter of availability.



    5. From new asker mbmfrog: Did you help bring back Skeeter back to the Muppet Comic books, and does this mean that she will be making a come back with ethier the Muppet show Muppets, or with the Muppet Babies?


    I love the fact that Skeeter is back, at least in these books, but I have no idea whether she’s going to ever come back in some other form. Never say never, but never say absolutely. (Gee, with an equivocal answer like that, I could run for office, couldn’t I? Instead, I’ll run for coffee. Until next time!)
  9. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    Hello Mr. Lewis,

    I have two questions I wasn't sure you would be able to answer:

    1. Disney announced not long ago that the fourth season of the Muppet Show was scheduled to be released this year. Unfortunately, they have not even set a specific date yet. Do you know exactly when it will be specifiaclly or is Disney still trying to work out issues in terms of copyright and such?

    2. Craig Shemin had announced at a BAM event two years ago that Henson was planning to release the early works of the Muppets from the early years (50's, 60's, 70's I assume). Is that still in the works or not, or is it just the issue of having to negatiate between Henson and Disney?

    Thank you and God bless. :):):)
  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I don't know if Jim Lewis would know such things about DVD releases (I could be wrong), but regarding Henson's early work I imagine there'd be more required negotiations. Many of Henson's earliest productions are owned by outside companies like Sam and Friends (Universal), the various commercials (most likely owned by the companies that produced the advertised products), and the varous television appearances (owned by whoever owns the distribution rights to those shows).
  11. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    It was just a simple question. I hope it didn't sound like too much though. :o
  12. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    I think it's worth asking. Maybe Jim can actually give us an answer. Don't know till you ask! :D

    My question...

    Hey there Jim! Did you help write any of the material for the Muppets when they were on The Nerdist Podcast yesterday? It was a fantastic interview with all of them and I really hope we start seeing more group interviews like that in the future.
  13. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    Jim,

    When the Muppets appear on radio or podcasts do the performrs actually use the puppet? It just crosed my mind.
  14. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    these questions sound great! I wish i could think of one, Ryan you can send these off if you want to.
  15. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Thanks Dwayne! I'll send them off tomorrow to give people the rest of the day to ask 'em if they've got 'em!
  16. haakonsmary

    haakonsmary Member

    Hi Jim, did you write the character commentary for the Bohemian Rhapsody video, and did any performer improvisations make it into the commentary?

    Also, I know we were all wishing Dave well with his shoulder surgery from a few months ago. So I just want to say we're still sending him the best and hope he'll be able to puppeteer again soon if he isn't already.
  17. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    ANSWERS FROM Jim Lewis – April 29

    From zns…
    Hello Mr. Lewis,

    I have two questions I wasn't sure you would be able to answer:

    1. Disney announced not long ago that the fourth season of the Muppet Show was scheduled to be released this year. Unfortunately, they have not even set a specific date yet. Do you know exactly when it will be specifically or is Disney still trying to work out issues in terms of copyright and such?


    Excellent question and I have no answer. I, too, am awaiting season 4 …and season 5, but I have no inside info on when these will be released, or why they haven’t yet been released. A clear case where ignorance is not blissful, merely frustrating.

    2. Craig Shemin had announced at a BAM event two years ago that Henson was planning to release the early works of the Muppets from the early years (50's, 60's, 70's I assume). Is that still in the works or not, or is it just the issue of having to negotiate between Henson and Disney?


    Once again, a good reason we need an ASK CRAIG SHEMIN thread. He knows more than I…or is it me. Either way, I don’t know anything about this. So far, I’m batting 0-for-2 on these questions. Will I be sent down to the minors?

    From theprawncracker…
    Hey there Jim! Did you help write any of the material for the Muppets when they were on The Nerdist Podcast? It was a fantastic interview with all of them and I really hope we start seeing more group interviews like that in the future.

    Ooh! Ooh! I can answer this one!....Yaaaaaaay!
    Wait. I forget the question….

    Yes! I did help, but as always I merely suggested notions, lines and attitudes; the performers made it a heavenly mash. I loved it, too. Also, it’s great when you have an enthusiastic and knowledgeable and playfully nonsensical interviewer.

    From unclematt…
    Jim,

    When the Muppets appear on radio or podcasts do the performers actually use the puppet? It just crossed my mind.


    No, they don’t. At least not when I’ve been in the room. Of course, when I leave the room who knows what they do.

    From haakonsmary…
    Hi Jim, did you write the character commentary for the Bohemian Rhapsody video, and did any performer improvisations make it into the commentary?

    Yes, and yes. As with the podcast, I provided thoughts, gimcracks and gewgaws which were then woven into a tapestry of delicious nonsense.

    Also, I know we were all wishing Dave well with his shoulder surgery from a few months ago. So I just want to say we're still sending him the best and hope he'll be able to puppeteer again soon if he isn't already.


    I shall pass along your well wishes. Glad to say he can puppeteer now.
  18. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Great Answers as always Jim!


    I'm also wondering about the idea for a comantray, and if we may be getting more muppet comantaries on say Muppet Show or Stufio DC almost live.
  19. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Hey Jim, on Muppets Tonight, was there are reason to keep the musical numbers so short? I think of some of the best ones are the ones uninterrupted by the backstage happenings, such as "The Coffee Song", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and others. "Tonight You Belong to Me" in the Paula Abdul show was such a great number, but it got cut short so quickly.
  20. James Denny

    James Denny New Member

    Hey Jim,

    Hope all is well. I'm thrilled that all the American Muppet fans will be getting to see the new movie on Christmas Day 2011. Is there any chance you can bribe someone on my behalf, or maybe casually drop the idea into a conversation wih some who has sway over these things that a Boxing Day (follwing day) release in the UK would be most appreciated. If the powers that be are unconvinced then remind them how crazy the U.K. went for Bo Rhap, or do i have to spend Christmas in New York thereby incurring the ire of my relatives?
    I am of course aware that I'm asking the impossible of you, unless you are currently moonlighting as head guy in charge of New Muppet Movie Release Date as well as writing cool stuff for out favourite menagerie but hey I figured I'd give it a try,

    All the Best,

    James


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