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Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

Discussion in 'Muppet Appearances' started by MikeWatt, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. scarecroe

    scarecroe Well-Known Member

    Joggy, the Muppets have always used implied sex humor. The only reason why it's done so blatantly these days is because people have sadly become even more stupid and likely won't get the smarter implied sex jokes.

    Well, that's a little obtuse don't you think?
  2. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Well-Known Member

    Hey Scott, thanks for asking.... lemme explain this a little better. Maybe you will see what I mean.

    I was very excited to watch The Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie with Emileigh. In fact, even though it aired late, I made sure she was well-rested in order to stay up past her bedtime in order to watch it with me. I planned to cuddle on the couch, eat popcorn, and enjoy a funny and maybe even heart-warming Christmas story with my child on a holiday weekend. In fact, I sort of assumed I would buy the tape, and that we would watch it together every year, not unlike Charlie Brown's Christmas.

    Five minutes into it, I was giddy! It seemed to have so much potential, but it wasn't too long before Emileigh was complaining. I know she is older than your daughter, and she is also perhaps especially perceptive for her age, but never the less, she was picking up on things that she didn't like.

    You ask what I wouldn't want her exposed to, and it isn't that I wish to shield her. I just think that there are more clever ways to veil "adult humor" (as you said, so that kids don't even realize it, even if we are blushing) than were used in this movie. To me, it was lazy writing.

    Hearing Muppets say "suck" and "she is hot"... well, the Muppets lost points with Emileigh for those things because I have taught her that it isn't a nice way to talk. (Do you like to hear pre-schoolers say that something "sucks"?) She winced. And then she just thinks that the characters saying that stuff aren't nice... in fact, she brought it up to me today... "Remember that mean movie last night?" And after so many instances, she was in tears. She was *sad* to see what was going on. She asked me to turn it off. And it was well before the club scene.

    And the thing is, this was totally unexpected for me, since it was billed as a Christmas show! I know most adult fans want to see more "adult humor", but was this the right project to bring it out in full force? I think it could have been done more tastefully and still pleased both audiences. (For instance Piggy singing Santa Baby was perfect. It was sexy and funny for adults, yet not offensive for kids.)

    IMO, they took the cheap and easy road. I am not saying it was a bad film, and yes, it was far more tame than most popular media, but is that the standard we want to go by? I was really caught off guard by this movie. Parents don't have much to turn to today, and if they can't depend on Muppets (remember I watched TMS as a child with my own mother), I think it is a shame.
  3. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Well-Known Member

    This is a good point. How are parents supposed to know what the target audience is? I guess we should tape it, and watch it first, but how practical is that? I figured Christmas=family, but in this case, I was wrong.
  4. Janice & Mokey's Man

    Janice & Mokey's Man Well-Known Member

    Joggy doesn't sound like Joggy...he sounds more like Dwayne...lol
  5. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I don't think the film was "smarmy" in the least. Most of the parts in question took place in the alternate universe portion anyway. I also don't think the Muppet Show has ever been for or catered to preschoolers. That's what Elmo and Big Bird's job.

    Hearing a preschooler say "sucks" would certainly disturb me and I'm pretty liberal as things like that go. It is often said in daytime television these days and is common language to hear in public. Okay, it was a little tacky, but if one is to go down that road, we should never hear the Muppets say "shut up" either. How much of this stuff has to be pasteurized for kids? They don't need to hear it coming from the Muppets, but it is the parents' job to instruct their own children on such matters. It really isn't that big of a deal IMHO.

    Now, saying "she is hot" is not insulting at all. That's going way overboard! What was Pepe supposed to say there? "I admire her intelligence and so I will help her with her plan." Now that would have been some crummy writing. Come on, now. :D

    I agree that this special was geared to the teen to thirty something fan base. Is that so wrong? It all can't be the same note "Tickle Me Elmo" stuff.
  6. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Well-Known Member

    It is a parent's job, you are right. I am only saying that any message the Muppets might deliver will not go over as well if it is wrapped in a lot of crass language and unsavory situations.

    I know that my opinion on this is not a popular one here, but then again, most of you don't view this from the perspective that I do. You said yourself that this movie was geared for teens and adults. I just think it is a shame that the Muppets can't be counted on to make something the whole family can enjoy together. Friday night after Thanksgiving... seems like a real opportunity was wasted to me.

    Naturally, you disagree.
  7. scarecroe

    scarecroe Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'm on the same page now. I see just what you mean, and you're right. Gillian just turned two a couple months ago and, as you must know, is repeating everything she hears. I have to remember now which episodes Miss Piggy calls Link "stupid" now so she won't repeat it.

    "Sucks" and "she is hot" is definatley not cool.

    The way I reasoned it with Piggy was like this: if she repeats "stupid," I can teach her that it's not a nice word to use. As she gets older, I can use it as a tool on character study. That all people are different and sometimes use "naughty" ways to express something, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad people.

    This is something I'm beginning to battle with in relation to real people anyway. How many swears do you hear people spouting off in public around little ears? Letting her hear Miss Piggy say "stupid" is a good way to allow her to neutrally perceive someone who's got their heart in the right place, but perhaps doesn't quite know how to say it properly.

    Does that make sense? It's more clear when I reason it in my head, I know that.
  8. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean. I go through this all the time with the word "hate". I have tried to teach Emileigh how strong the word "hate" is, and that it is not a nice thing to say to someone. Yet do you know how many times people say "hate" in regular conversation?! Myself included! And each and every time Emileigh will say, "Hate is not a nice word". And I say, "You are right Emileigh, there are better ways to describe what I mean", and then I go on to do so. And it is a good conversation starter, as you said. It forces me to re-evaluate my own choices all the time. And offers plenty of opportunities for me to teach her about the world and the other people in it. (You should have seen the look on the face of the woman on the beach when Emileigh told her it made God sad to hear her say "God D$mn it!". Of course then I have to teach her about tact and diplomacy. There is a fine line between being right and being fresh!)

    Thing is, in this particular case, it wasn't just a few shut-ups or whatever. That happens all the time. That we get past with a knowing look passed between us. We know it isn't the nicest way to talk, but we don't let it ruin a good time. This movie was full of a lot more than that. And I bet if you watch it with Gillian in a year or two, you will see just what I mean.

    Thanks for taking the time to consider what I am saying! Believe me, I wanted to endorse this movie. It was funny. I am not saying it "sucks" (heh). I just was sorry that it isn't appropriate for a broader audience. I think the Muppets could be a beacon in a world of very poor programing for kids. I know most people don't wish the same thing.
  9. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member


    Bugs Bunny was known to say worse things than "sucks" when I was a kid.

    Would I let my niece and nephew watch this movie? Yeah. They are at an age where it would have flown above their adorable little heads. The "sucks" comment only bugged me because it was one stop short of "don't have a cow, man". We see where the Simpsons' influence is here.

    "She is hot" is offensive? Now, I just don't get that. Having a kid say that would be cute. Of course they would be quickly corrected, but it's completely harmless.

    I saw the special with my parents (I am in Houston for the holidays) and wasn't the least bit embarrassed at any part of the film. Well, Pepe's cleavage gazing was leading to an uncomfortable feeling, but stopped just short of it for me.

    Your opinion is certainly valid here. This is just an issue about a show, not a person. Therefore nothing here is really taken personally. Does that make sense? Besides, I usually let the past be just that. Whether like a steamroller or a ripple of wind, I tend to move forward. :) As Cory has mentioned - I felt the Christmas spirit of the movie too. Glad you're still around here as well! :)

    I'm glad I don't have to look at things like a parent. That's a tough job that I never want to have. Geez, I can't even keep a cactus alive! And the brief periods of time I have spent as an active uncle on this trip have worn me out. I did learn one thing - never do anything really fun for a kid's amusement because they will always say "again" about a hundred times!:eek:
  10. punkNpuppets

    punkNpuppets Well-Known Member

    okay, i say "SHE IS HOT" all the time, well, if she's hot! haha! frogboy is right, WHAT'S WRONG WITH SAYING SHE IS HOT???

    and "SUCKS"? i say "THAT SUCKS" all the time too! sometime i even say the full version, you know what i'm talkin' bout! you know what i'm saying!..............................you dont know what i'm sayin', eh?

  11. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Oh boy...

    Boy do I have my platter full...

    *I'm not even gonna comment on the Whoopi thing. I thought it was brave and very tatseful what JHC did, my only complaint was that those scenes kind of slowed the pace down.

    *Yes, there are apparently gay muppets. I firts got a sense of thi from that one frog in KSY. Whether its the kind of
    protrayal (ie: flamboyant choreographer pig) thats welcomed Im not sure. I wouldnt think twice if JHC officially came out with a 'no two ways about it' non vague gay character.

    *It made me kind of sad to read Jess' post. However, I was very happy with what she posted in a way. You see a lot of parents dont let the kids think for themselves. How many kids have been sheltered from say The Simpsons or other shows without a choice? It sound slike Emileigh made the decision.
    And I'll be honest, the scene with Pepe coming off like a horn dog to Joan Cusack were pretty...far to the left of TV-G, as was the getting drunk/mentioning of getting drunk scenes.

    *But I would agree...JHC, now in its vulnerable financial state, has realized a main bulk of classic Muppet fans are teen to middle age. This was not the case back in the 70's and 80's but times have changed. JHC knows full well most of the folks watching this special are going to be college kids, teens, and adults with nostalgic memories yet weened on the more recent pop cultures and trends.

    *Language and inuendo. Well...that was the first time I ever heard a Muppet say the word 'sucks'...but oh boy, Ive heard the Muppets say things I would get bleeped for on here(pitch to CBS, Muppetfest q & a, Rowlf on Arsenio, Land of Gorch, etc)

    That said, a lot of us arent parents, so it is very hard sometimes to relate to how a parent would gauge or react with a toddler or young kid. I look forward to the day when I can share the joy and celebration of the Muppets Ive been afforded my whole life.
    I also think that were just in an awkwar dperiod right now, hence the more 'unused to humor/inuendo' but things have a neat way of entropy back to golden times.

    Finally...Joggy! Ack...dont make the mistake I did about KSY! I heard so much bad buzz about KSY I lamblasted it before I even saw it, and boy was I wrong. So I know youve heard various things, but I think one lesson I learned is to just wait til ya get to see it in full. Its sad to hear people come to preconcieved conclusions before seeing it, as this is a rare occation...the first brand new muppet film since MFS!
  12. scarecroe

    scarecroe Well-Known Member

    I guess Parent Muppet Fans are going to have the most difficult time with any new project. When Pepe said "sucks," I laughed out loud because I was alone. As I haven't watched it with Gillian yet, I'm going to have to be sure to steer clear of moments like that, or deal with them in an appropriate matter.

    It's still tough for me at this point because at Gillian's age, you can only instruct on what not to say, you can't reason with them as to why. I suppose it's a easier at Emileigh's age. We're getting there.

    Whatever the content, I'm looking forward to sharing new Muppet things with Gillian and dealing with the controversial stuff as best I can.

    I think we should start a support group. Someday, more Parent Muppet Fans will rise up and join hands and sing the song of Muppet Potty Mouth.
  13. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Re: Jes

    Cactus? LOL Jamie, youre too much, heh. (Im still getting over the 'squishilicious comment Boober baby made, too funny!)
    But I think it is absolutely awesome we can all come on here and post what we thought good or bad. Yes, I know a lot of things in the film may have rubbed people the wrong way whether it be religious, sexually, or drug/language wise...but in this day and age I thought it was all tame. 'Sucks' and 'Shes Hot' are so G rated I dont know what else to say. Weve heard the Muppets say the h, c, and b word before.

    But there was just something about when Kermit got frustrated...it totally reflected my frustration in my personal life this year...and the 'everyone matters' song/speach. It touched a raw nerve in a good way...we all need to be wahacke dby a frozen fish now and then. It's very refreshing to see Jess and Joggy posting again. I think all ex and non active MC members should be welcomed back.
  14. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Well-Known Member

    Re: Jes

    Agreed. And The Simpsons was (I say that because I haven't seen it in years and don't know what it is like today) a very funny show, also not appropriate for children.
    Oh boy. This statement makes me really understand how differently we see this. Hey, I saw some toddler t-shirts on the boardwalk you might like... one said (in childish writing) "Forget milk and cookies, I want titties and beer!" Or how about "I wish my babysitter worked at Hooters!" Some people think that is cute too.

    Seriously, kids take on their attitudes about sex and respect very, very early. This is something our society seems to be missing. If we think it is cute for our toddlers to talk and dress (ever been to the children's department lately?) sexy, why are we surprised when our pre-teens and teens are so sexually active? And before you say it, yes, it is a parent's job to instruct and advise. It is a monumental task, and having sexual themes in Muppet movies, for pete's sake, certainly doesn't help any!

    Heh. Well I would hope not! You are a grown adult. How do you think a nine-year-old might feel?

    Anyway, you are right, it is just a movie, and I am not trying to stir up a debate. I thought my perspective would add something to the discussion, so I posted it. Nothing personal....
  15. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Hey Jess,

    I also can't see it from your point of view (although having the IM at hand kinda comes close to having a kid - the amount of screaming she does) although i've gone through countless legal courses about what can and can't be picked up on by kids during prime time TV but it's no comparison to having a child watch something with you though i'll try to share some thoughts.

    Basically (and i have this on incredibly good authority) the kid demographics suck - the Muppets just are not appealing to kids nowdays even when a project is specifically made for them. Henson cannot and will not stay afloat if they continue to cater to kids - and the people who own them will not let this happen. The demographs are apparently ok-ish on a family scale but nothing stunning (eg:- Muppets Tonight, MFS) so they are left trying to woo the nostalgia audience who are mainly 18-30 males who watch the Simpsons. Hence rather than stick with the family audience and join an upwards battle at getting puppets to work for a family audience again they are apparently happy to take what overspill they can in the future and go directly for the 18-30 males. Obviously this means an edgier style, which i personally enjoy (i would - i'm right bang in the middle of their target demograph) and i think has some small chance of working for them to a degree though they're never gonna have an audience share like Homer & Bart.

    I do agree with you though and think that perhaps Henson and NBC got the promotion wrong on this. The timeslot was very much a family one and when you look at the NBC promotion for it and also the title itself they've made absolutely no attempt to make it look different from any other family Muppet movie - without watching it you'd think it's 'Muppet Family Christmas' with guest stars. Obviously thats not the case - it's much edgier and to Henson's credit - much of the promotion they did pointed out this new style and more adult path so people were forewarned but NBC could have done a lot more to make parents aware. I guess it's probably deliberate of NBC so they pick up the families as well as the 18-30's but it's not so good for Henson as they have to take the flack for it later.

    As for whether this should have been geared towards families more and be edgy but to a less degree, i'd probably say yes. The best thing would have been to gradually initiate viewers into the Muppets new style and still provide something 90% family orientated but instead they seem to have decided to go straight into what 'Team Todd' want the Muppets to be when they get to 'Fox' for the TV show. I can't blame them - it was an opportunity too good to miss to showcase the NEW 'Muppets' and test the audience reaction for the new Fox show but yes, it does cheapen them somewhat but i guess they are hoping any newfound popularity will make up for that.

    It's tricky to comment on the actual movie content as i haven't seen the whole of it yet, but from what i've seen and heard it wasn't totally unsuitable for families with kids a little older - i think if i had to make the call i would have toned them down another 15% or so, but then the Muppets are also amidst desperate times and really need the Fox show to work above anything else - and with good figures and demographs so i can see why they needed to take this approach. Its good for big kids like me but it is a shame for families with smaller children hoping to introduce them to the brand !
  16. scarecroe

    scarecroe Well-Known Member


    I wouldn't say it's harmful, but I wouldn't say it's not either. It takes many worker bees to build a conglomerate. Each bee is insignificant unto itself and society, but add them all up over a period of time and you've got a problem on your hands.
    Yeah, well, you're what, 22? You're expected to know what's appropriate. Two seconds of questionable dialogue is an entire process with a 2 or 3 year old to ensure that they don't get the wrong idea.
    You're right in that it's a tough job. The tinyest, most minescule grain of everyday life that you might take for granted can be a mountain of issues when dealing with a young one who is just learning the ropes of life. The Muppets present a wonderful test area for the real world I think. The Matrix's "Compound" if you will :)
  17. DramaQueen86

    DramaQueen86 Well-Known Member

    I think all the "crudness" in the movie shouldn't have been included, but hey what can we do? The world is going to trash anyway. If it were up to me I wouldn't try to corrupt the next generation with the Muppets!
  18. punkNpuppets

    punkNpuppets Well-Known Member

    i mean, it's not like SESAME STREET's getting SEXUAL!!! remember how Janice said "Look mother, it's my life and if i want to live on a beach and walk around naked...." and "I don't take my clothes off for just ANYONE even if it IS ARTISTIC!!!"

    and that gay pig is just there to show that's it's NO BIG DEAL to be GAY!!! actually, i take that back, he's just there to make fun of Richard Simmons. but still, it IS no big deal to be gay.

    and most importantly, we always need a little sex humour. it's what makes the world of comedy go 'round. i used to like Bill Cosby, but then i realized, why should i care about what he talks about (usually chocolate pudding). but i can't think of one thing that makes me laugh that has a little sex humour (except for vintage Sesame Street). Simpsons, South Park, Beavis & Butthead, Crank Yankers all have alot of sex humour and I love them. MAD TV also has alot of sex humour too and it's my favorite show!

    i'm sure we all love alot of sexual shows, but i understand it's kind of hard to see the Muppets getting too dirty, it was hard for me to handle it at first. but then i came to my senses. The Muppets aren't just for kids.
  19. punkNpuppets

    punkNpuppets Well-Known Member

  20. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    As Luke pointed out, we are indeed in different times.
    It doesnt take a media detective to know the Muppets demographic with kids is pretty dismal. Thats what Sesame, Bear, Animal Jam, Mopatops, and Hoobs are for. We are in an age where a majority of Muppet fans are 'all growns'd up'. I still think the Muppets are and will always be family friendly...they just work on several layers or levels...it would have been a BIG mistake to make this film condacending and all smarmy trying to force a sense of total G rated ness(thats what would have happened in 1993) However, NBC did kind of drop the ball by lack of longterm advertising(they just started hyping this 2 weeks ago it seems) AND the big mistake: Making this mostly geared toward older people while promoting it as a family film. Bad mistake. I actually am quite refreshed and hopeful what team Todd's new vision of the Muppet show is. Whether the new yet to be unveiled 'edgyness' is to everyones liking who knows.

    But I have to say...its apparent Pepe is the runaway character, and is perhaps the first Muppet who could truly transcend the Muppets to costar with a human in say a romantic comedy or something. Seriously. I mean if Kermit can reference out sites than anythings possible.

    Now we all get a ruse out of sexual and inappropriate inuendo.
    And there was a point about appropriateness for a 9 year old. Well speaking as a 11 year old watching Jim Henson Hour, and hearing Kermit and Bean Bunny debate over 'Sex with Bean Bunny' would bring about ratings(or countless female body part references in skits) I was exhilarated! I realized how ahead of their time the Muppets were, that they could appeal to kids and to adults at the same time. To clear things up, thats why I talk about 1989 being the Muppets last great hurrah.

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