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The New Movie: The Muppets

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Psammeadboi, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. terrimonster

    terrimonster Member

    I'll be hugely disappointed if Pepe doesn't have much of a role in this. I'm a big Pepe fan, but that's not really why I'll be disappointed. Bill is a fantastic performer, and Pepe and Bobo really give him opportunities to shine. I'm sure he'll do a great job with Rowlf/Dr. Teeth, but performing someone else's characters can really constrain a performer. When I watch clips of Pepe interviewed on talk shows (Bonnie Hunt comes to mind), I'm reminded of Frank Oz's appearances as Miss Piggy and Cookie Monster (think Cookie on Martha Stewart). From what I've seen, Bill seems to be the new standard-bearer for the spirit of Frank and Jim. All of the current Muppeteers are great performers, but Bill really seems to "get it," and he's great at thinking on his feet and diving into his characters. But maybe that's just because he and Dave are the only ones who primarily perform characters they created.

    It's part of what I see as the biggest potential problem for the Muppets going forward. From Sam and Friends through Jim's death, and even into MT for that matter, the Muppets were always a very fluid group. Characters were constantly phased in and out, and even one-shot characters became main characters when they worked. But the Muppets need another outlet in order to thrive. The Muppet Show happened because of the skits done on Ed Sullivan and other shows, most of which featured puppets that audiences didn't already know. I'd love to see videos on the Muppets Studio YouTube channel that don't necessarily feature the core characters. Give Eric, Matt and David the opportunity to be more than the replacements for Frank, Jerry and Richard. Let them develop new characters. Let Bill work more with Pepe, Bobo, Carl and whatever other of his characters can capture an audience. Let the Muppets be inventive again.

    I'm really excited for the movie, and especially excited to see some classic characters come back. But the idea of a "core group" of Muppets, even in Jim's day, is something of a myth. If they limit themselves in terms of characters, I'm afraid they'll also limit themselves in terms of creativity.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'm beginning to wonder if the back to the beginning isn't so much a force for why they didn't use Pepe, so much as a force for why they aren't all that familiar with him. Though, I still say, he single handedly saved every movie he was ever in, especially MFS.

    I don't think Elmo in Grouchland was so much a bad film because it focused entirely on Elmo, it just wasn't a great film because it felt so artificial and they added too much Elmo's World style fourth walls, disrupting the flow of the movie. If another SS movie were EVER to get made, Elmo would no doubt be in it, but I think the next one should focus on Grover (since he's had a resurgence of popularity thanks to Eric). But I doubt we're going to see Sesame Street try a legit theatrically released film in the near future.
  3. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I don't think they're trying to stagnate the Muppets' creativity. It sounds more like they're trying to channel the original three movies, which were ultimately the most successful (that is basically what Segal said early on).

    And the idea of a character like Pepe having a cameo isn't so unusual, even in the original films some characters only got a few lines. It such a large cast afterall.

    If this movie ends up being good, it would be a shame if some fans dismiss it just because of one character, who probably isn't completely disapearing anyway.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, but really... if we don't have the classic characters, we hear nothing but whining about how they aren't there, and we always blame the new characters who are created to fill in the gaps. look at Muppets Tonight. So many people just complained about the lack of classic characters (many of which were yet to be recast permanently... even temporarily), and hated half the new characters and new segments featuring them.

    So what do we wind up with, either we have a batch of new characters causing us to say "What happened to X" or people recast to continue these roles that get a "Oh, that's what they sound like?" Personally, I think all of them have came a long way since they started... Matt was hand picked and recommended by Jerry, David has been doing Richard's roles for sometime (as early as the Cosby Show, where he was Sweetums), and Eric has come along nicely. As for Bill's Rowlf, well, Bobo was sort of a tribute to Jim's characters (said so in an interview) so there's a little Bobo in Rowlf now, but not all that much. A character IS a very personal thing.

    Again, when it comes to this specific script, the writers are more familiar with classic characters. I cannot stress that enough. Same reason why the Muppet Show Comic Book only had the Muppet Show characters. So, they might have just that much of a handle on the characters, guiding the performers, likewise the performers guide the writing. I don't know how much of the Muppets is scripted, and what's improv, but let's not forget, without improv, Piggy wouldn't HiYAAAH, Bert wouldn't faint, and half the characters wouldn't be the way we see them today. Maybe Bill added in a little more Pepe in those scenes, maybe the performers guided the writers for Pepe... we won't know until the film is out. And even then, that's not to say Pepe won't be in any future projects.
  5. terrimonster

    terrimonster Member

    No, of course they're not trying to stagnate creativity. I'm just afraid it will be a side effect. I kind of mixed my thoughts on the current state of the Muppets in general with thoughts on the possible limited use of Pepe in the film (again I'm reminded why "The Muppets" vs. the Muppets will cause confusion in conversation). I'm very excited for the movie, Pepe or not. I think limiting Bill's talents by restricting him to others' characters could prevent the movie from being "all it could be," but not from being good or even great.

    The rest of what I wrote was really about the future of "the brand" apart from the movie. I hope the Muppets aren't hamstrung by an inability or unwillingness to branch out and experiment.

    Edit:

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the old characters shouldn't be there. I even get the reason why this movie is old-character focused. I'm just not seeing ways in which the performers are going to get to try new characters in the near future. I think they all do fantastic jobs with the roles they've inherited, but the Muppets' best chance for continued staying power is if they're also allowed to branch out.
  6. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well call me crazy but it makes sense for fans to want to see the characters who were responsible for the best years of the franchise.

    I didn't mean for that to sound as snarky as it did, btw, lol. Just saying. :)

    As for Muppets Tonight, I only saw one episode and it actually featured a few of of the classic characters. I still didn't like it. Bottom line it was the writing.
  7. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    I know some people feel "The Muppets" (i have a feeling this is going to become forum-netiquette: placing "The Muppets" in quotes or italics when discussing the movie vs. the troupe...i really hope they rename the dang thing) is shunning the newer characters but at the same time - look at how many classic minor characters will be in it...ones that we NEVER thought we'd see again or would be rebuilt/refurbished or appear on the big screen - i'd say that right there is a huge tribute to the large cast of glorious characters that have made up the Muppet menagerie. This seems to be a good acknowledgement of How They Got Here and which is what a successful retrospective does - give the past history its due and uses that as a springboard from which to develop further and gets people excited about the journey.

    I just say RELAX! Whatever Muppets do or don't appear in the movie does not mean they won't be in other projects! This film will be very Muppety - and we'll all be blown away when we're there in the theatre and seeing the surprises the film unleashes on us...i mean right now we're all going by bits and pieces...small photos that have leaked from the shooting - imagine how much we DON'T know yet! Just enjoy the ride.

    As long as there's been Muppet freaks, there's been people who watch each movie with their own mental scorecard - "oh so-and-so's not in this so i guess i don't like it". This isn't just the post-Jim projects either...people get upset that Link's never had a speaking line in a Muppet movie. Or that Bo got cut from TMTM. You can't please everyone and there's only so much you can do in a movie. But it seems like they're trying their furry little hearts out to really give the fans something special.
  8. terrimonster

    terrimonster Member

    I want to amend, revise and clarify my original comments in this thread. I got distracted from my point and wandered into my hopes for the Muppets aside from my hopes for "The Muppets." I'll be disappointed if Pepe isn't in the movie very much. It won't dampen my enthusiasm for the movie, and I don't think it will take away from the quality of the movie. In fact, I won't be all that disappointed by the relative absence of the character. I will be disappointed on behalf of Bill Barretta. Bill Barretta joined the Muppets as an originator of several new characters, a few of which have stuck. That's a huge accomplishment post-Henson. I feel bad for him that after all he's done in terms of creativity and character development, he's going to be largely stuck performing someone else's characters for this movie.

    I'm sure it's a great honor to be trusted with Jim Henson's characters such as Rowlf, The Swedish Chef and Dr. Teeth. But at the same time, there's limited freedom for creativity when taking on an established role and essentially doing an impression. As Drtooth said, Pepe saved his share of Muppet projects. Some of this was due to writing, but I think a lot of it was due to Bill's talent as a performer. Of his most recognizable original characters, Pepe is the only one that could really work here. It wouldn't make much sense to have a big role for Carl, and putting Bobo and Rowlf together only draws the obvious vocal comparisons.

    Bill Barretta is the only current core Muppeteer to rise and thrive in the post-Henson era with, and on the merit of, his original characters. I don't think the Muppets would be as strong as they are if not for him. So just in the context of "The Muppets," it would be nice if out of recognition for Bill's tremendous contributions to the Muppets, his biggest original character got some significant screen time, in addition to the roles he's taken over. If not, it isn't going to take away from the film or dampen my desire to see it.
  9. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    You know the saying, "There are no small roles, only small actors?" Well, when it comes to the Muppets, there may be small Muppets in stature but as Pepe so famously says he's not a shrimp, he's a king prawn. Ergo, "There are no small roles, only King Prawns"...meaning maybe Pepe or others may still only end up with three lines but when it comes to The Muppets, it's quality not quantity. Even if Pepe ends up with three lines, they may still end up the best, funniest, applause-generating lines in the movie.

    A lot of my fave Muppets are the minor supporting characters. Crazy Harry and Marvin Suggs will never have starring roles but their small appearances here and there always make me light up like a Christmas tree even though they almost always are just cameo appearances. When it comes to the Muppets, screentime doesn't affect their effectiveness or enjoyability.
  10. terrimonster

    terrimonster Member

    Good point. A couple of good lines could make it feel like he's one of the stars, even in what otherwise amounts to a minor role. I think most actors would take one memorable line over 500 forgettable ones.
  11. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    It does appear that they've minimized Pepe's role. I hope this isn't true because he's helped keep the Muppets connected to modern audiences for over a decade and he's certainly paid his dues. :rolleyes: I think they can plant Pepe firmly in the ensemble while giving Rowlf and Scooter more to do than the beloved prawn.

    My Muppet geekdom feels this is the appropriate hierarchy of Muppets:

    1. Kermit
    2. Fozzie
    3. Miss Piggy
    4. Gonzo
    5. Scooter
    6. Rowlf
    7 & 8. Pepe & Rizzo
    9 & 10. Bunsen & Beaker
    11-15. Classic Electric Mayhem
    16. Sam Eagle
    17 & 18. Statler & Waldorf
    19. Swedish Chef
    20. Robin
    21 + the Muppet monsters, extras and secondary characters.

    This is just my take on it, but I think a lot of fans would roughly agree here.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Wasn't Marvin's appearance in the first movie, the one where you basically hear "Ole! Ole" and see him spinning around, and then once again during the end credits his biggest role in Muppet Movies? Link's film career was a silent scene during the end credits of the first one, sitting at the wedding audience in MTM, striking a gong in MTI, and waiting outside the bathroom in MFS? Not a word spoken in 4 films. But then again, Pepe has been a major part lately. Somehow, I'd love someone to make a movie ALL about Link.

    Which leads me to this...

    Again, this all seems like a writing thing. Let's say you're writing for the Simpsons, and you've been a devoted fan the first five seasons, and somehow never got back into the series. You wouldn't write anything with newer characters because you're barely familiar with them, and focus largely on characters that were bigger around that time. You wouldn't put Cletus in there unless you were instructed to, and Ralph wouldn't be popping up every five minutes to say something dumb, and it would feel more like said older episodes. heck, you'd probably put Marvin Monroe in there somewhere. But then again, once you get feedback, if you don't add those characters in, someone else might. So again, we don't know until we've seen the finished product. Remember, this is all based on the leaked draft.
  13. terrimonster

    terrimonster Member

    That would have great potential for awesomeness.
  14. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Just thought of a fun example of how the substance rather than the length of the part can be fun, memorable, and delightfully Muppety. Picture if you will, Link's first line in the movie ends up being something of a tongue-twister and he flubs it up - to which Piggy turns to him and admonishes, "After 30 years, you FINALLY get a line in a Muppet movie and you BLEW IT?" Pepe: "UN-believable. Sometimes the pretty ones should just be seen and not heard, okay."
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I agree. In fact I'll just say it: Pepe was the best thing to come out of the post JH era. And I even feel Pepe was the saving grace to a lot of otherwise so-so Muppet productions.

    From 1999 til 2010, both JHC and Disney built Pepe up to be one of the MAIN 5 characters, right next to Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo and Fozzie. He's continually been one of the shining stars and scene stealers in countless, countless tv appearances, specials, commercials, etc. To me its NOT "the Muppets" without him. Again, my enthusiasm isn't dampered if he's not in it, but it's just odd. I just don't get how you can have a MODERN Muppet production without him. He's one of the only few Muppets that always makes me literally "LOL" from just the oddball things he says.

    To me it makes no sense, and feels like a mix of a slap in the face and a "retcon" for Pepe to be MIA.

    I truly have this feeling that current writers for Muppet entertainment were absent from the last two decades. Why else does Langridge, Segal, etc seem dully unaware of Pepe or the fact he's one of the main guys? And again, it's not their fault...theyre kind of stuck in this lalala 76-84 romantic period of the TMS run and the original films. A lot of fans stuck in the nostalgia cycle seem to be.

    I'm sorry if some fans are tired of Pepe, "don't get it", or find him too ubiquitous for his own good...but can we name any post JH character that has as good as chemistry and timing as he does, especially when it comes to the main core?
  16. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Same here. Though sometimes the more minor characters have a "breakout" moment of cult favorite status, or the "boba fett" effect. like Beaker and Chef. I agree tho, I love me some Lew Zealand, Luncheon Counter, Droop, etc. Notice though, how more recently Beau has been featured more prominently in online videos. Bobo as well, who has fast risen to one of the more core line of characters.

    By the way, what are some ideas you'd have for "Where are they now" scenes? I love how they're going to run with that, like Animal at an anger management course. I see it as kind of a nod to TMTM. I'd be laughing my pants off if Sam the Eagle became a conservative radio commentator, Swedish Chef got his own cable cooking show or Crazy Harry ended up at a remote frontier Pakistani training camp.
  17. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    From what I recall, the order in the 80's and 90's seemed to be:
    1. Kermit
    2. Piggy
    3. Gonzo
    4. Fozzie
    5. Animal

    tho, since 1999 Animal got bumped by Pepe and Rizzo, or at least has to share the 5 spot. So to me after seeing all the online Muppet stuff(youtube, muppets.com, cora kitchen, specials, etc) it's more like
    1. Kermit, 2. Piggy 3. Gonzo 4. Fozzie 5. Pepe 6. Animal 7. Rizzo
    8. Beaker 9. Swedish Chef 10. Big Mean Carl 11. Bobo 12. Beauregard 13. statler 14. waldorf 15. bunsen 16. sam eagle

    Though, remember that time 1988-1992 when Bean Bunny was considered one of the main characters?

    Btw, Robin has seemed MIA for awhile. I have noticed one significant changeup: with the new film, they seem to be reverting to a late 70's gang, whereby Scooter and Rowlf have returned to being in the main core. I think it's welcomed, tho again where's Pepe and Rizzo?
  18. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Brilliant! Oh man, brilliant. Disney should be hiring you.

    I think the Muppets are at a place where they can be doing self mockery references, like Rowlf lamenting how he has to take whatever work he can get as times have been tough(Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora)

    Pepe coming in at the end saying "what, Im not classic enough ho'kay? And they think they could just write me out of the script, hun-be-leeveabull!"

    I have a feeling theyre going to have a LOT of fun with the meta referencing.
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    More Cameos

    Okay, I'm pretty happy with Whoopi and extremely happy with Neil (still wanted him to be the villain, though), but I for one am ticked off by that other one.

    Really? A Disney Tween Pop star? This is what I was afraid of and rallying against. Disney DOESN'T need to advertise any of its junk in a Muppet Movie. That's why VMX felt awkward. NBC felt they needed to promote everything under the sun, killing the replayability. And really, Disney has been doing a fine job distancing themselves from the 2005-2009 tweencom movement. Why did they have to muck it up? I hope that one IS a rumor.
  20. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    I'm also shouting "WHOOPIE" over Whoopi and as per NPH, IT'S ABOUT TIME! I mean the guy's as much a Muppet Freak as Jason and for them to work on the same show, you know he's had to have bugged him on the set of HIMYM on a daily basis with "you're going to write ME a part, right?", "So what do I get to do in the movie?", "If you don't get me in the movie, I'm not going to tell you where I hid your pants!"

    Surprisingly enough, i'm not surprised nor upset over Selina Gomez. Did we expect there wouldn't be at least one token Disney tween star cameo? If it was going to be anyone, i'd rather it be Selina than pretty much anyone else. The girl's way overexposed, sure - but she's also one of the few Disney Channel crop who i feel legitamately deserves her success, is extremely talented, and still seems to be handling her success well (as opposed to Miley or Demi). Her appearance will just get more people interested in and paying tickets for the movie resulting in more potential fans. And besides, given that this is a cameo and not a more substantial role like what Segel, Adams, or Cooper is playing, even if you don't care for her, it shouldn't disrupt from your enjoyment of the movie. Let her have her one to three lines and move on.


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