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"The Muppets" isn't the Muppets

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Reevz1977, Jun 29, 2012.


Do you think "The Muppets" was the Muppets?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Not sure


  1. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Well, those Muppafans I have spoken to about the film IRL (including the ones I have had the honor of introducing the film to, loaning out my dvd!) were universally happy with the film and agreed with my assessments that the film was old-school Muppets, but with actual character development.

    I personally was thrilled that the writers/Muppateers chose to address some realistic issues, looking at Muppets put into emotionally troubling circumstances. Of course, it being the Muppets, happy endings all around...but I loved how they arrived there. Just the RIGHT amount of change, I'd say. :)
  2. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    I will say that, regardless of how amazing Steve Whitmire is as a performer, the writers have never really "gotten" Kermit's personality down post-Henson. He has turned into a nice, kind of bland, innocent, friendly frog who helps everyone with their problems. Kind of an Arnold from HEY ARNOLD! really. Henson's Kermit could be mischievous, sarcastic, and, on occasion, a little mean.

    Whitmire is great as Kermit, but he's better when he's doing interviews with him. In my opinion, anyway.
    dwmckim likes this.
  3. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    The problem with obsessing over making a franchise "modern" is that what is "modern" today will very quickly be yesterday's news and your franchise will just end up looking embarrassingly dated because its priorities were skewed. Or worse, they'll look like a middle aged dad desperately trying to appear 20. The quality of the writing should take precedent over whether something appears "modern" enough.

    In any case worrying about being "modern" is neither evolving nor changing. It's just pandering.

    Same thing that happened to Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny really. Just a bland mascot.
  4. bandit

    bandit Well-Known Member

    I agree! That's why it's important that they stay the same at their core. You wouldn't want to mess about with formula too much. When I say evolve, I mean that you want the characters to experience some growth.
    As for keeping them relevant to the times, you needn't drag Snooki into this. *laughs* You can still keep to the same tone as previous Muppet/celebrity or pop culture gags. Still, the inclusions of....say DISCO in our age probably would be a little different than if it happened in a 70's production.That's all I mean. Keep it current...but keep it 100% Muppet, the Henson way.
    Do you see what I mean?
  5. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I do, I just think they haven't see what you meant in the past few years. ;) The Muppets (2011) did do it a little better of course but the balance between plot and humor was a bit off. But that's certainly a preferable problem to the ones the previous films had, hehe.
  6. bandit

    bandit Well-Known Member

    Ahh yes. Well, I have to admit that I have only seen Muppets 2011. I bypassed the previous ones. *lol* I'm only now playing catch up though.....by all accounts it's sort of a 'don't bother' feel to the endeavor.
  7. DannyRWW

    DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    I don't think Kermit has become bland...but I do feel he has gotten a little too serious....but he seems to be played as the leading man/everyman type...like a cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart type (not that Kermit ever played any parts similar to Jimmy stewart in its a wonderful life or anything :) ) Mickey and Bugs on the other hand ...
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It's the writing. I really didn't find Kermit that bland except for (again) MFS, where the movie was all about Gonzo anyway... just... Kermit was there for marketing reasons... but for my taste, Kermit really became the Kermit we know and love in VMX, when he had multiple breakdowns and yelled at everyone, and blew a fuse numerous times. Something Kermit's been doing since forever. The Wonderful World of T-Shirts, The Muppet Show... how about that TMS skit where he tells everyone to "knock it off," then "knock it off with the knocking it off," and finally... "KNOCK IT OF!!!"

    But Kermit is hard to really get a handle on writing. He's the relatively sane one, but that doesn't mean he's always a straight man... he's soft and warm as a character, but that doesn't mean he's always mild mannered... he's very complex, and sometimes the simplest characters are the most complex to capture. Meanwhile, anyone can make a Swedish Chef gag work. He doesn't need that much to be funny, and he's not all that complex. Just have him get attacked by whatever he's cooking, and you got a Swedish Chef skit.

    Kermit was more Kermit in TM than he was MCC and MTI... certainly more Kermit than MFS. But then again, I find MCC and MTI did a meh job on other characters, as I said. Fozzie was en route to becoming an idiot character in MTI.
    newsmanfan and LouisTheOtter like this.
  9. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that was true for others. For me, I had Kermit nightmares after seeing VMX. And not because the movie was deeper or darker or anything, it was just disturbing. Not in an artistic way, just in a disturbing way, lol.
    Pig's Laundry likes this.
  10. Pinkflower7783

    Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Whatever may have went wrong in the past I'm just glad the Kermit that I grew up and loved as a kid finally has his spunk back! :)
  11. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    (frogfan76 likes this.)

    I think i would cry tears of joy if i ever heard Steve's Kermit finally yell "WILL YOU GET OUT OF HERE??!!"

    As for the poll question: "Do you think "The Muppets" was The Muppets? I vote no. I think they were Bananarama.
    Borples and Reevz1977 like this.
  12. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    YES. YES. YES.

    Although there would no doubt be an immediate Fox-news backlash. "Kermit the Frog shouts at his Co-Workers, encourages Bullying."
    newsmanfan and Reevz1977 like this.
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but at least he emoted. Instead of MFS, where he stood their like a Happy face bobblehead going "Get down with your bad selves."
  14. Borples

    Borples Well-Known Member

    One of my favorite parts of TM was Kermit arguing with the others about kidnapping Jack Black. That was pretty close to old-school yellin'-at-the-crazies, there. Could have used a good scene of him being driven to distraction by a potential act in the telethon, though. I know...Gonzo could have wanted to do something even more dangerous and ridiculous...head bowling could have been the compromise. :)
    LouisTheOtter likes this.
  15. Pinkflower7783

    Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Just sayin'

    Borples likes this.
  16. Borples

    Borples Well-Known Member

    Hahaha, I'd never seen that before! It's terrific. Steve is so doggone good at playing that side of Kermit, when he gets the chance. It's funny, I seem to remember that back in the 90s (I think?) people complained that Kermit flew off the handle too much/quickly. And now we seem to be complaining about the opposite problem. Can't make nobody happy nohow.
  17. Pinkflower7783

    Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Can't argue with this! DrTooth knows my stance on MFS. "Oh Piggy do I know you?" :p
  18. Pinkflower7783

    Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Yeah what I liked about that clip was it reminded me of TMS days. And you don't get to see Steve's Kermit blow his top that much. Although with all due respect to Steve he'll never be able to have that appeal that Jim gave to Kermit when he got mad.
  19. LouisTheOtter

    LouisTheOtter Well-Known Member

    Wow - what a discussion we've got going here! Thanks for sharing, everyone. Sometimes it's just nice to come here and see I'm not the only one who cares about these characters and how they're portrayed and positioned in the modern era.

    On the original point of poor audience reaction: The comments I've gotten on The Muppets, from moviegoers ranging in age from 6 to 42 (including a surprising number of teenagers), is that they loved the movie. In the days following its North American release, I was over the moon at the frequency with which my FB friends had friends of theirs (with or without kids) commenting on their status lines to the effect of "We saw it the other night and it was AWESOME!"

    Now, that being said, this wasn't universal. I've mentioned on this forum that two college friends of mine took their daughters (age 4 and 6) to see it and almost felt sheepish about it afterwards, with the husband suggesting they might have been better off to stay home and watch TMS episodes on DVD and that he was sad that "my kids won't get to enjoy the Muppets the same way I did." Well, no, of course they won't, just like we can't enjoy Looney Tunes or The Flintstones the same way as our grandparents did, or we can't enjoy Sesame Street or the Charlie Brown TV specials the same way our parents did. Life goes on and so do we.

    (Footnote to that: His wife later came on FB and said "we seem to be the only people around here who felt that way.")

    But, echoing the sentiments of others here, the concept that The Muppets isn't "THE MUPPETS" is absolute nonsense. This movie took the huge risk of trying to recapture the TMS and first-three-movies spirit while giving respect to the new performers and characters that have come on deck since Jim Henson's death, AND creating something fresh and new that would stand on its own. I shudder at the thought of trying to do any of those things, let alone balance the three of them in one movie - and yet, it worked.

    And it's still working: I had an animated conversation five nights ago at a local music festival with a friend of mine in his '40s who gushed about the movie to me as if we had just seen it for the first time minutes earlier. (And HE brought it up, not me!)

    Finally - I'm not worried about Kermit. He'll be fine. He had his morose sequences in The Muppets (given the break-up of the cast, why wouldn't he?) but as Borples mentioned, he had that great reaction to the Jack Black kidnapping and also had some of his finest moments (inspirational speech at the end) and at least one or two good laughs ("Children?" "Ice cream?" "Laughter?"; to Tex Richman, "Well, you could have just SAID 'No'"). I trust Steve Whitmire with this beloved character and I trust the Muppet brain trust (including Stoller, Bobin and Disney) to give him some attitude when needed.
  20. Pinkflower7783

    Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    I did read somewhere a while back it was probably back in April when Nicholas Stoller was JUST releasing little details about the next movie was you'll see Kermit back to his usual cheerful self. He won't be sad and moping around like he was in the last movie.
    Borples likes this.

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