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The new Muppet movie and TV series

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Chilly Down, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Hey, MC gang,

    One thing that hasn't really been discussed on the forum yet is what we?d like to see in the upcoming Muppet Christmas TV-movie and Muppet series for Fox. No one knows for sure how often the writers, etc. check this forum, but I suppose we ought to give them some kind of an idea of what we're looking for in case they check in, right? So here are some of my thoughts:

    --First, characters we'd like to see. Pepe is a definite; after the LJS commercials he should have a little bit of recognizability to the rest of the audience, and we Muppet fans are all dying to see more of the little shrimp--sorry, king prawn. Let's see more Bobo too! (Heck, all of Bill's characters are great. I'd love to see Clueless Morgan again if they can find a logical way to work him in.) Since it's widely rumored from a lot of sources that a new performer has taken over Piggy, there's a good chance that we'll see her back in action as well. Any chances we'll also have Fozzie or Animal? Since Bill Barretta is now performing Rowlf and Brian Henson has the Newsman, let's see more of these characters also. While neither voice is a dead-on match, the writing for these two at the Fest was perfect and the performers accurately captured their personalities. If these two show up again, I'll have no complaints. (They can even bring them back slowly, but let's not let the live gala be a fluke!)

    --I'd also like to see more of Sal. Note I didn't say Sal and Johnny Fiama. I have nothing against Johnny, but he never made me fall on the floor laughing. Neither did Sal at first--but then, curiously enough, he made me laugh all weekend long at the Fest. Sal was the only character they had deliberately sent for Brian, and Bill usually had Pepe on his hand, so Sal was forced to interact with other characters for a change through Brian's improvisation. And he was GREAT. (Of course, the whole "Get outta Johnny" bit was very funny and memorable too.) In the live show, Sal popped up frequently -- and he was hilarious -- while Johnny only showed up as background in one of the production numbers. I'm not saying that we should get rid of Johnny. What I'm saying is that I'm intrigued at how well Sal interacted with the others, and I'd like to see this direction explored more in the future to see where it leads. Who knows? Sal may about to be explode into prominence the way Pepe did in Muppets From Space.

    --Let's also get at least one musical number in the Christmas movie with the Electric Mayhem; they're missed by hardcore fan and non-fan alike. ("Jingle Bell Rock," perhaps?) Even if Janice can't take a vocal solo and even if Animal doesn't growl, we've still got the puppets, plus John Kennedy as Dr. Teeth, Jerry Nelson as Floyd, and Dave Goelz as Zoot. That should be enough for now. And maybe Janice and Animal can get instrumental solos.

    --For that matter, Jerry Nelson's characters have gotten a lot of short shrift over the past decade. Let's see Floyd in a prominent role, and also have some featured scenes with Robin and even Fozzie's mom, okay? I miss these characters, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    --As for Kevin Clash: hmm. Still don't know what needs to be done with this guy. He's a brilliant performer who gives life to Elmo, arguably the most famous Muppet in the world right now after Kermit. And yet none of his TMS characters can register on the public?s consciousness. We've given Clifford plenty of chances, and he'll probably be in the movie and the series. But he's a comic hero like Kermit or Rowlf, not a completely wacky character like Fozzie or Gonzo, and after all this time he still hasn't found his "hook." Nothing personal against Clifford; he can still hang around, but let's try to find another character for Kevin to be his "star" character. Maybe Polly the Lobster needs to be given another shot? Of course, there's also the possibility that Kevin could inherit some of Frank's roles, which I have no problem with. We'll see, I guess.

    --Mo the Frackle. OK, when they introduced this character on Family Feud, it was just to fill in for performers and characters who couldn't be there. But I found him more funny than most of the other characters a lot of the time. I think the writers have something to explore here.

    --Unintentionally, the Muppet universe has wound up with very few strong female characters played by females. Here's hoping that trend gets reversed. Maybe Red Fraggle (Karen Prell) wanders out of a Fraggle hole one day and decides to visit with her new Muppet friends indefinitely? Maybe it's a little bit of a stretch, but hey -- what else are they doing with the Fraggles these days?

    --Of course, not mentioned in this group are all the characters I expect I'll see anyway, like Kermit, Rizzo, Gonzo, Bunsen and Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf, etc., etc. Naturally, I want to see them, but I don't think it's something I have to really worry about. : -)

    --There's a lot of difference of opinion on Muppets from Space, but one thing that almost everyone agrees on is that the boarding house segments were excellent. One thing that hasn't really been covered at length in other Muppet productions besides MFS is what everyday life is like for the Muppets, and I think there's definitely more potential here. Naturally, this would more likely be the format for the series as opposed to the movie. (Is this what Brian was thinking of with his proposed Muppet Sitcom a few years back?) I believe the original boarding house scenes were actually shot in someone's house, so naturally that couldn't be done over a weekly basis. They'd have to build a similar set, but I say it's worth it.

    --Does the new Muppet sitcom format mean no guest stars? Jim always had humans interacting with the Muppet characters, and he felt that the few projects without them never worked out. So will we see the first regular human characters in the TMS universe interacting with the Muppets on a weekly basis the way Bob, Maria, Susan and Gordon interact with the Sesame Street characters now? Maybe Kermit hires a butler and a maid to help clean up at the boarding house, and each week's episode is about how they get somehow caught up in the crazy misadventures of the household's residents. OK, that's a little corny, but I'm just brainstorming here. What does everyone else think of this? (The other side of the coin is: I've never missed the humans in scenes where there are just Muppets around.)

    I should note that the above are just suggestions and ideas. After having written several stories of my own, I know how hard it can be to balance old and new characters and still write a compelling story. I won't be picketing the Henson studios if the film and series don't turn out exactly like I hoped. But hey, if you don't say what you?d like to see, there's no way to get what you want!

    So that's all I can think of for now. What would everyone else like to see? Feel free to respond to the points I've already made, or to comment on something else I haven't thought of yet.
  2. BlueFrackle

    BlueFrackle Well-Known Member


    I would love to see Scooter and Janice brough back, Even if Janice just does solo numbers !

    And ofcourse the rest of the Electric Mayhem, Maybe even Lips !

    I think Clifford should stay, He is a main member of the Muppet family.
    Its hard to believe but he has been around for 13 years already !
    And i think another great Muppet that Kevin performs is Leon, From The Jim Henson Hour .

    See ya
  3. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Chilly (Brrrrr!)--

    After much discussion with my rubber chicken, we have decided to come to the conclusion that we most certainly do agree with all that you said.

    Me? I wish they would concentrate MORE during the upcoming projects on the already set of characters, including Clifford, Johnny Fiama, and who/whatever else, and play off of them for a while instead of coming up with new characters. I think they DO need to voice Janice and Animal, and if either voice is at least close enough I'll be happy...Bill's Rowlf was dead-on to me; Brian needs to deepen his voice for the Newsman then that's great! Johnny and Sal are a team, and I think that needs more exploration, and there were plenty of characters on The Jim Henson Hour and Muppets Tonight that could make decent comebacks.

    I DO want to see more interaction with Jerry Nelson's characters now, and more use of Jim and Richard's characters.

    Now would be a great time to reintroduce female characters to the cast from years' past, or create new ones and get Karen Prell and others a job back with the JHC! They're great performers.

    And, of course, I'm always available. I'm a heckuva great puppeteer, and single. Ladies, take your pick!

  4. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member


    I hope they Beauregard gets to be in the Christmas special and the new Muppet series. And Janice, Dr teeth the Electric Mayhem, Sweetums, who's he performed by now?, also I'd like to see the Sweedish Chef, Bork Bork, Miss Piggy, Of Course, don't forget Gonzo!, Scooter, and maybe Rizzo.
    Bye for now,
  5. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    I'd guess more characters for Kevin is a given - since Clifford was such a huge presence on Muppets Tonight, it didn't give Kevin much of a chance to develop any other major characters...so now that Clifford won't be the lead, they can work on getting some new characters for Kev...and given his strengths with character development, there could be some new break-out stars.

    I'd like to see a congruency of previous Muppet history - like Kermit having to attend to stuff at The Muppet Theatre and then called upon to deal with something at the KMUP studios - at least acknowledging their existence and having them in the background or consciousness.

    One of the main problems w/ Muppets Tonight was not that they used so many new characters per se, but rather they put TOO much emphasis on them right away - and that was amplified by the shows airing in a different order than how they were produced...with a few weeks of its debut, the classic characters were almost non-existant in some episodes and there was too much focus on characters that seemed like they were being thrust on us before we could really care about them.

    More of a careful mix between the newer and the classic characters should fix this faux pas.
  6. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    John Henson.
  7. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member


    I knew it was a Henson didn't know which.

  8. dan

    dan Active Member

    First of all, I really love the Muppets. I want to be clear on that. Secondly, I'm very excited about the new series. But I am a bit concerned. Lately I've been watching some Muppets Tonight episodes on tape and I gotta say, that show had some problems. There was no interesting interaction between the characters. Not having Kermit in charge was an absolute disaster.

    I want to quote to you something here from the "OF Muppets and Men" book about Kermit being in charge of the Muppet Show and why it was manditory:
    Jerry Juhl said this "People tend to think that Kermit is just a straight man, but he is much more than that. He relates to the other characters on many different levels. More important, they HAVE to relate to him. Without Kermit, they don't work. Nothing could happen without him. The other characters do not have what it takes to hold things together. Kermit does have that ability, but at the same time he understands the others,he cares for them. The fact is that Kermit loves anarchy but is able to impose just enough discipline to stop things from falling apart. No one else can help him because none of the other characters knows how. Thats why he gets frazzled, because it all comes down to him. He is the one who has given them their chance. Without him, the show couldn't exist."

    And on Muppets Tonight, he pretty much didn't exsist. He performed in numbers and stuff, but that isn't what Kermit was ment for. Kermit playing second fiddle to another muppet doesn't work. I love how Jerry Juhl broke it down, and hes 100% right. Kermit MUST be in charge.

    Also, I hate Clifford with a passion.
    I thought Kevin at the fest was brilliant and quick witted, and I hope he finds more characters to do. To me, Clifford is almost supposed to be another Floyd. But man, let me tell you, Floyd is just about the coolest cat of all time. Clifford bites. Seriously, is Clifford cool? If someone out there think Clifford is cool I'd really like to know why.

    Bill's characters are great. Sal is great.
    I hope I never ever see Andy and Randy pig again ( even though their designs were really nice) they are sooooooooo annoying.

    We need Piggy and Fozzie back in major roles and I miss Scooter, Rowlf and the Electric Mayhem like crazy.

    Theres all my hair brained muppet loving veiws for the moment. I hope the spies are listening..:)
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I do know that Piggy will be in the new show. WHat I want to see is The Electric Mayhiem, Scooter, Rowlf the Dog, and maybe even Elliot Shag or Baby Sinclair (It didn't have to be probable, Just who I'd like to see!)
  10. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem Well-Known Member

    I want as many of the Muppets as possible, of course!!

    Also, I'd like to see them carry on their tradition of celebrity guests in some way. I think this brings in even casual viewers who normally might not watch, and it's fun to see how the Muppets interact with the celebs & how the celebs react to them!!
  11. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Like I said before, and I'm 100% unanimous in this decision (LOL!): They have great characters from the past they can still use! (Wonder if THEY thought of that??)

    I agree, Fozzie needs a comeback, and if the other guys are too afraid to do it...they can call me!! I'll give them my phone number...again.

  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    More FOzzie, More Gonzo! More Beaker! More More More!!! And some others I forgot!:cool:
  13. pezbalubah

    pezbalubah Well-Known Member

    I agree that Rowlf, Scooter, and The Electric Mayhem need to be brought back to be main characters again. For the TV show they should have guests but if it's not a variety show, they can have them visit the Muppet's house like they're friends, and maybe work in musical guests like having them come over to jam with the Electric Mayhem or having the Electric Mayhem open up for bands at concerts (and there can be scenes backstage). If anybody's seen the Chris Issak show, it can be something like that, except with Muppets and without the naked women. I can totally imagine Green Day interacting with the Muppets, (Tre Cool, the drummer of Green Day has said that Animal is his drummer idol). As far as Clifford, he should be a minor character and not in charge as he was in Muppets Tonight. I never saw Muppets at WDW, what did Clifford do in the Electric Mayhem? I certainly hope they never make Clifford rap for the Mayhem.
  14. dan

    dan Active Member

    If Clifford raps for the Electric Mayhem, there is going to be no coming back. I will have to write off the muppets and just watch the old shows and movies.

    That would be an absolute nightmare for me. They need to keep Clifford out of the band. There is no room for him.
  15. Gonzo

    Gonzo Well-Known Member

    The only MT characters I want to see any more of are Johnny Fiama, Pepe, and possibly Sal. I found Bobo to be very unfunny. Same with Phil Van Neuter, same with Seymour...

    Out of Janice and Scooter, I'd rather see Janice revived.

    Rowlf is a must-have.

    I'd love to see Jerry's characters again, especially Floyd, Robin, and Camilla....I'd love to see Gonzo re-teamed with Camilla, and have a Rizzo-Pepe team-up more often. Gonzo's perpetual pairing with Rizzo has separated him from the rest of the Muppet fam.

    More of Miss Piggy. Bring her back. Make her the diva we all know she is. And maybe give her some sort of assistant or ingenue, more prominent than Annie Sue, to be a new female character.

    And make my Main Frog the host/center of the chaos.

  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Aw, now; Clifford is okay, but he needs to be kind of like Floyd, who doesn't really say much, and when he does it's important. I liked his role in Muppets From Space, he wasn't trying to be "all that" and certainly shouldn't be taking Kermit's role. I think nowadays that Steve has got more of the "Jim Kermit" in place that we'll see TONS more Kermit involved in the show, but keep in mind that these folks perform tons of puppets in different productions, and so we'll have to excuse their brief and minor abscences. Rap works okay in songs, and I hear those songs on the radio. I doubt seriously that JHC will allow any kind of rapping that promotes violence or sexual inuendoes that you sometimes hear blaring from the vehicles next to you at the red lights, but sometimes Rap works...however, Clifford is more raggae in my mind, and I think they should stick him there, or with funk-rock. And I'm not against seeing Lips back, either.

    But, that's just me.
  17. DrGoshposh

    DrGoshposh Active Member


    I have to disagree with you Dan on the whole Clifford issue.

    I love Clifford, and think he is a good show of Kevin's abilities as a comedic performer, and a creator. I think the problem that most people have with him around here are problems with the whole series of Muppets Tonight! The show didn't really know what it was before going on the air. I think they were afraid to put Steve's Kermit in the same role as Jim's Kermit (since, indeed, the way the character works in the context of the show, had a lot to do with the way things were Jim ran the company -- a fun-loving leader trying to keep control in this sea of madness, and frequently getting caught up in the madness himself). They turned to a strong performer and a decent character, but they didn't really have it figured out how it would all work together. That is why I think people hate Clifford. (Of course since I like him, I just may be blind to what others hate.)

    As for the show, I was thinking recently, since part of the beauty of the Muppets had to do with the fact that the on-screen relationships of the characters had a lot to do with the behind-the-scenes dynamic. With the Henson-Oz relationship, you had the guy in charge (Jim) paired with his comic genius friend (Frank). This duo led the Muppets. My thought was to create a really great leading character for Brian Henson (the guy in charge) and pair him with some of the pre-existing character of Bill Baretta (his comic genius friend). Let this team drive and define the Muppets for a whole new generation. I don't quite think any pre-existing Henson-Baretta teaming would work (though I love all of them). A new Henson character would have to be devised. I always saw Brian as the reluctant leader (or at least that would be a good caricature of him), and I think that’s the kind of leader the Muppets need. This dynamic that worked so well between Henson and Oz, and it could be the ticket to restoring a sense of direction to the Muppets.

    My plan would mean they would have to abandon classic characters in order to develop this new team, so it probably wouldn't be too popular among fans or the Henson brass.

    Anyhow, that was my idea. I’m looking forward to what the come up with.

  18. dan

    dan Active Member

    Yeah, I miss Gonzo and Camilla too. I hope Jerry gets super involved as well. Floyd is one cool cat. Rizzo and Pepe does seem like a good team.
  19. Jackie

    Jackie Well-Known Member

    Oh i find Bobo to be TREMENDOUSLY funny!!!

    "Jalepenos, Jalepenos, gettin my friend some Jalepenos!"

  20. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    ...and i would definately be a member (if not the president) of the More Dr Phil Fan Club!

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