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Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

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

  1. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I liked that part where he mentions us;)
  2. Joggy

    Joggy Well-Known Member

    I always have problems whenever God is depicted in books, cartoons or movies. We do not know what God looks like (heck, maybe He has no visible shape), so why try and put a human actor to stand in for Him (or in this case, Her) in a movie?
  3. sidcrowe

    sidcrowe Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Joggy :)

    Now the troops are rallying around me :D

    Right. WHY depict God in--of all things--a Muppet movie?

    There are so many interpretations, so by choosing one, you slight so many others :(

    When God is included in a film, it's usually done for a shock laugh; rarely is it done with taste.

    I liked the George Burns "God" in "Oh, God!"

    The character was sweet, wise, and kind...and gave sound advice about respect for ALL life.

    Whoopi's character didn't care, and the mention of Spongebob just shows how much longevity the writers intend this "special" to have.

    I don't enjoy cheap portrayals of the supreme being :(

    For the record.....the George Burns "God" character was NOT exclusively Christian ;)
  4. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Whew! Lots to respond to here. Let’s see:

    Whoopi as God:

    As a Christian, I didn’t like the idea of casting Whoopi as God, or the way it was played either. Please hear me out before you dismiss me as close-minded, racist, or sexist.

    First, the issue of whether God is a “he” or not. God created Adam in God’s image. God creates; God has no need to sexually reproduce. Adam, created in God’s image, also originally wouldn’t have had the reproductive organs which we normally associate with “male” and “female.” When God realized that Adam (being a lesser being than God) could get lonely all by himself, God took part of Adam and made it into a new person. Thus, man and woman complement each other and need each other, and God loves men and women equally without playing favor to either gender (“…there is no longer male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” – Galatians 3:28). God is neither a “he” or “she” in the sense of needing a mate, nor is God an “it.” God is simply complete. There are numerous references in scripture to God as “Father,” many from the mouth of Jesus himself, so “he” is the best way to refer to God if any gender must be assigned. The fact is, though, that God is far beyond our simple comprehension of “gender” (or ethnicity) as expressed here on earth.

    So portraying God as a male (and, let’s face it: more to the point, a white male) isn’t entirely accurate. What bothers me more is the general trend in today’s media that any portrayal of God HAS to subvert the traditional Christian image of God as Father (e.g. Alanis Morrisette in “Dogma”). Must we assume that because something is traditional that it inherently isn’t right? (Aside from that, goddess worship – as opposed to God – is associated with the wicca movement, which is an offshoot of witchcraft and Satanism. I’m not saying the Hensons are Satanists. I’m explaining why it’d be a bad thing to continue to go down the road of portraying God as a female.)

    Also, “The Boss” did seem largely unconcerned about people; she just seemed more interested in being a couch potato. (And yes, Kermit did refer to her as God in an interview, so there’s no mistake about who they meant. Also, “divine intervention” and “works in mysterious ways” are concepts linked with the traditional Christian portrayal of God.) And even more to the point, the scenes were just BORING. They were overlong and not very funny. They were mirroring the device from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” yet in that film the heavenly scenes had good pacing and were over quickly. If only this film had that same sense.

    The one nice thing about all this is that it’s allowed us to have a rather deep and meaningful dialogue than we would have otherwise.

    Dirty jokes:

    I applaud Jessica’s daughter Emiligh for not wanting to watch the movie. (Such maturity at such a young age!) I sympathize with the others who had kids and didn’t want them to watch it. I don’t agree that the Muppets have to “get with the times” or that they have to do this to make more money. Whether something is right or wrong has nothing to do with whether or not it’s fashionable or financially profitable.

    BUT the thing that gets me and that’s driving me nuts is that people are saying that the Henson Company has abandoned kids and forgotten their legacy. Sorry, but there was a lot going on in those original TMS’s that we just weren’t aware of at the time. I saw the Rudolph Nureyev episode of TMS recently on the Time-Life video and was rather shocked at what Piggy suggests to Nureyev in the sauna scene! There are other examples of this too. I think it most ironic that one of the posters who went on and on about how sleazy the Muppets have become included a line in his/her signature from Janice (Jim-era) about being naked!! The fact is, most kids just miss it. As adults, we’re more sensitive to it now.

    My main problem was with the rating the telefilm received. With this kind of material, the TV-movie should have rated a “TV-PG.” Then the ratings would have done their job in actually warning parents. But with a “TV-G,” how was anyone supposed to know?

    I don’t have a problem with the advertising campaign. It highlighted the fact that this was a fun holiday movie with the Muppets, and that’s what it was. I would have disliked an ad campaign that focused heavily on the more salacious moments, because then that’s what they would have been trying to sell! (And that wasn’t really the main thrust of it anyway.) That’s what happened with “Greg the Bunny.” Every advertisement highlighted the characters doing something foul and vulgar, so I stayed away. When I actually watched it, it turned out that the dirty stuff wasn’t the main point of it anyway, and there was a lot to be enjoyed about it. But the advertising actually kept me away! (Since Greg the Bunny was on Fox, I shudder to think what the advertising for the new Muppet series on Fox will look like.) As a side note, starting the advertising two weeks beforehand was not a bad thing. No matter how high-profile the show is, advertising for TV shows rarely runs more than a week beforehand – otherwise when they say something airs Friday, people won’t know which Friday they’re talking about.

    I think “s**ks” was too much, but why is “she’s hot” so bad? I thought “hot” was just a generic expression that means “she’s very attractive.” Of course, if you’re using it in the sense of that Nelly song, it’s pretty bad. But I didn’t think “hot” was such a bad word. Of course, maybe I’m just revealing my ignorance about the meaning of the phrase.

    I’m also still a little curious about Emiligh. I wonder if the movie had been better-paced if she might not have asked for the TV to be turned off? I have to wonder what her response would have been if she had watched “Shrek” (a thoroughly entertaining, much better-paced film that I nonetheless wouldn’t show to any of my young cousins or nephews).

    Joggy, I appreciate your willingness to take a stand. But how do you know it’s as bad as you think? My guess (though I certainly don’t know) is that you’ve watched other films with at least a PG rating. What makes this film so different? I would suggest watching it with an open mind. If you still don’t like it, fine, but to say that you hate something when you haven’t even seen it…

    Kermit contemplating suicide:

    Someone commented that this was too creepy or dark. Hello? It’s another moment directly from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the movie that they were spoofing! (“Life” is a * family * classic, too.) I thought they did a really nice job of presenting it as Kermit just blowing his top and then later realizing that he didn’t really mean what he said. In fact, I was amazed at how funny the scene was played. The way Kermit kept screaming it over and over at Daniel reminded me of when Kermit blew up at Piggy for telling the tabloid reporter that they were secretly married. (“You are FIRED, Piggy! FIRED! You hear me? You are FIRED! FIRED! FIRED!”) Both times, I cracked up.

    On a much (relatively speaking) lighter note, to Misfit Toy:

    Yeah, Forrest Green wasn’t exactly a highlight. But I think Monsterpiece Theater was, and I don’t see how there’s a significant difference. You could argue that one is funnier than the other, but that doesn’t fit in with the main point of your argument, that the Muppets aren’t allowed to reference pop culture.

    Well, that’s enough for now. Better duck and get ready for the next barrage of replies. ;) Thanks for everyone’s honesty.
  5. punkNpuppets

    punkNpuppets Well-Known Member

    nothing wrong with SUCKS either. in fact, i dont really remember anyone saying SUCKS in mcm. i also dont remember any boob jokes.
  6. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Re: Chilly Down

    Um...kinda what he said. LOL!

    I am kind of disturbed that people are magnifying the smallest parts of the film and depicting it as the whole. God was barely in it and Whoopi was very careful not to be the least bit offensive. I really didn't take it as "God as a woman". I really took it as God taking a temporary form for the benefit of an angel. If you want to get technical, angels have no sex either. What's with this whole theological debate anyway? It was a TV show people. When it was brought up that God was a male in this discussion, I just lost all hope. Chilly is right about the origins of "He" and "Father" in the Bible from what I learned in numorous Christian sponsored theology classes of my youth. I really found nothing in the Heaven sequences offensive.

    Off of that subject...whew. I feel that a lot of people are judging the film before seeing it. From the comments I have heard so far, it is less an issue with the Muppets and more about the state of American culture. After watching the special again last night - trying to notice every offensive portion, I was amazed at how much has been blown out of proportion.
  7. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    First off, to whoever captured the old loveable fun Joggy please return him to his normal position. We dot stand for Muppet-napping here!^_^

    Now then, if you are familair with the Jim Henson Hour there was more boob and blatantly sexual inuendo(remember the 'sex with bean bunny' ratings ploy on that one episode?) than all of this movie contained.

    And no its not a different situation...from what I had heard from people who had seen KSY I automatically thought it would suck beyond belief. It's judging a Muppet film before you see it, and I made that bad mistake(Not saying KSY is the greatest, but for a film that was filmed in a real swamp and not some sets its good)Youre all for the Muppets coming back and not being an old forgotten nostalgia of the past to remeness on right? IAVMMCM is a pure treat for any fan of the classic Muppet theatre, as Joggy you alone would get a big kick out of all the endless Muppet fan goodies.

    In all fairness I think its just the apathetic times we live in, heck Ive been caught in it myself. We fight with eachother, proclaim how JHC is going down the tubes, bicker, talk about how the Muppets arent what they used to be...but this is all just the residule effect of the horrific 90's lingering around. I have hope we'll be out of this fog, all of us soon.
  8. WemblinKate

    WemblinKate Well-Known Member

    First of all, loved it. The whole tricks on christmas classic movie bits, adding the comment about us, moulin rouge parody, it was great. I was laughing the entire time. But I have to say this, the new character, Harold I believe is his name, he's the choreographer for the Muppet Christmas show and he's a pig with a bandanna around his forehead. OK, no joke, this character is my musical theater director at my school. He's a tubby gay man who wears bandanna's around his forehead, very sweet but knows that we are crap. Even the voice is like the same, it was scary and funny all at the same time. And I love my director and this isn't mean to insult him, actually it's a compliment, he's now a Muppet the lucky guy! It was just a scary thing I had to share with you all.
    -Wemblin' Kate
  9. sidcrowe

    sidcrowe Well-Known Member

    Instead of ogling boobs, I would've had Pepe stepped on accidentally, and then he looks up and says "Hey, these legs are niiiice!" :D

    I still liked the special ;)

    Um....I never literally said that I think that God is a man :confused:

    I'm afraid Froggy might not like me anymore :(
  10. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    You know I like ya, Sid! ;) Now quit that. LOL!
  11. Natalie

    Natalie Well-Known Member

    Just to set a couple things straight:

    I never said it wasn't depicting God, because obviously it was, but they tried really hard not to use religiousy terms so as not to offend many people (obviously it still did offend some).

    Also, no, I didn't think there was anything inappropriate in the movie, with or without muppets. It just seemed like there was maybe a slightly un-kid-friendly atmosphere to it.

    Ok, go on, I just needed to clear that up.
  12. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    In a way I think maybe thats part of the intended effect(maybe not, but still) to stir things up a bit. It's good were talking.
    This year weve had embarassingly bad drama and flame wars concerning the Aids muppet, the Snoop thread, the 9 days conspiracy, etc. Im confident we can discuss all the issues brought up in the film with maturity.

    Like I said, I get a good sense about Whoopi and David...they seem like good people...just my goodness did their scenes in heaven bog down the pacing of the film.

    As for Harold the choreographer...(this was mentioned on the TP site, but I also was thinking this) he wasnt the only Muppet 'outted' the other night on the film. that's all I will say^_^
  13. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I think they are taking this direction because they feel it's a good chance of them gaining some more popularity and thus more money. As a company they are at a dead end with their backs against the wall - the family targetted stuff hasn't worked enough for them popularity wise, and financially their future is unstable with EMTV on their backs to cut costs every waking hour. I'm not saying what they've done is right or wrong but clearly they've had to make a move to improve things and making other family targetted shows and movies the same as others that clearly haven't been as acclaimed to the point they would have liked is just like throwing away a blank cheque. If they had just made another 'Muppets Tonight' or 'Muppets From Space' and it went the same way as the others it's highly uncertain as to whether they would get more chances in the future to do new things so i guess they feel they want to try a new direction to try and get things on the right track again.

    I don't think it's that they are abandoning kids or want to - in media the direction of a brand is usually very tightly focused and it's clear they've had a long period since Jim died targetting kids and families specifically (MCC, MTI, MFS, MT). Obviously with this whole 'edgier' concept and also being booked on the more risque late night talk shows they are taking a chance at shifting the target to the nostalgia market and the 18-30 males. That's not to say that they don't want the kids and families to watch, just that their main target is those 18-30 males so the content is slightly more focused towards them. If the kid and family market was working for them i guess they wouldn't have changed direction at all. Granted Jim was a big fan of doing some stuff which were nods to adults and flew over the kids heads in TMS but there hasn't been much of that in the period since.
  14. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E Well-Known Member

    <<Well, that is the God of the Bible and that's a different case if you even believe the Bible or not.>>
    Sorry, but I must reply to this.
    People believe different things; "Christians" believe different things. While some believe that God created the earth, others believe in the big bang theory (This was proven during the debate on whether to teach evolution or creationism in school). While some believe that being gay & a christian is alright, other have strong feelings against it. And While some believers -- mostly old school -- hate JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, GODSPELL and JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT because, according to them, God & music above two deciples don't mix, others love these musicals. People interpret the bible & testaments in their own ways. There are quotes in there that "do" in fact imply that being gay is alright. Nowhere in that book does it say "God hates rock music." And the big bang theory: The theory "does" make very good sense; it just depends on whether one decides to believe it or not.
    My point after all this? It doesn't matter if God is portrayed as a man "or" a girl. Personally, I believe God is male. Yet, I have no problem with God being portrayed in a movie "as" a woman; let alone an african american. It's a muppet movie! The powers-that-be obviously thought "God ... hmmm ... Whoopi Goldberg? That'll be fun."
    "Fun" ... a muppet movie is "fun," not some Christian thing like VEGGIETALES.
    But, it is up to you. Don't like Whoopi playing God? Alright; fine. No harm done. The world isn't going to end. To each his own.
    Just like the bible.
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Well, it's not like this was a Muppet version of Kevin Smith's Dogma.

    As for the whole 'new' direction JHC debuted recently with Kermit on Late Late and the NBC film...it's the only choice they have now. I mean sure they can churn out more purely kiddy 'safe' sentimental stuff, but is that a sane financial decision? Heck no.

    I would hate to see Muppets go the way of Greg the bunny or Crankyankers...those shows give 'primetime puppet' shows a bad name before The new Fox Muppet show even has a chance to air.

    I am so grateful Fox is giving JHC a chance with the show, given th current state and climate of things with the company. Some fret about what could be in the pipeline as far as direction with the show...well this aint 1977 anymore.

    I cant wait to see what JHC has up it's sleave. I feel its imperative they make it at least tv-PG...in an era where unfortunately Muppet stuff in stores is still next to non existent next to Simpsons and Osbourne stuff they need to keep current...not by bowing to cheap jokes, but by bringing in smart, edgy, subversive humour that works on both ways.
  16. ResidentLilly

    ResidentLilly Well-Known Member

    I don't know what I love more...the actual movie, or the fact that so many people are TALKING about it here and in the real world.

    That's gotta be a good thing, right?
  17. Rizzo

    Rizzo Active Member

    Sidcrowe, I never meant to suggest that you did say that God was a man. I was speaking generally to everyone, and I suppose I should have gone into more detail so as not to confuse anyone. I was actually intending to support you, I felt that Whoopi was not a good choice for God either. Sorry, I should have been more specific.
  18. punkNpuppets

    punkNpuppets Well-Known Member



    cuz i dont recall
  19. Natalie

    Natalie Well-Known Member

    hmm...I don't remember them saying sucks either...when was it?
  20. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Well-Known Member

    As for Whoopi as God, I have to say that I agree with the gist of what Sid has been saying. It didn't offend me, but it was a pretty lame, even predictable, choice on how to portray God. I think they could have gone with some twinkling lights in the sky to a much better end.

    About the pacing... Emileigh has never seen Shrek. but I can tell you that, exciting or not, Emileigh doesn't go for "mean" in her movies. And that is how she saw this one, as "mean". To her, it had a hard edge that she didn't enjoy watching. I think the sexual stuff probably contributed to the feeling, but I doubt she could articulate that part. (I am trying to think of something else she has balked about, but am coming up short right now. If I think of anything, I will post it so you can get a handle on how she thinks.)

    Thing is, I don't know why everyone is so shocked that I say this. Many of you wished for edgey Muppets, a lot have said they don't want "kiddie fare", and still more are looking for contemporary, adult entertainment from the Henson franchise. You got it! So why the surprise that I am saying it is no longer appropriate for children?

    Seems to me some people here have been trying to convince parents like me that we are "blowing it out of proportion" and that this movie was "tame" compared to much of what else is out there. Again, I say it depends on your perspective. It may be tame compared to what is popular these days, but as you said, "whether something is right or wrong has nothing to do with whether or not it’s fashionable or financially profitable".

    Many of you have referred to "sexy" comments from past Muppet endeavors. True, they may be found. But the difference (as in that Janice quote) is that in the past those moments were hidden here and there for the savvy viewer, they were random lines, not integral parts of the plot.

    And why do I care so much about this? From my perspective, when a parent watches a film with their child, they are giving a sort of silent endorsement of the content of the film. And in this case, Emileigh outright asked me why we were watching it! I think that says a lot.

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