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Which are muppets?

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by Maestro, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. wwfpooh New Member

    But they aren't made by Henson or its associates.
  2. unclematt Active Member

    Who are they made by?
  3. Quesal Active Member

    Yeah I thought they were made my Henson. After all, a couple of the characters I saw on their TBS special I recognized from Jim Henson's Animal Jam and from other annonomous Muppet ensemble scenes.
  4. unclematt Active Member

    It is Henson's Puppet Up. I am pretty sure they are made by them.
  5. wwfpooh New Member

    I stand corrected then.
  6. unclematt Active Member

    I think they are officially Muppets
  7. wwfpooh New Member

    This may be, but they don't spring to mind when one thinks of The Muppets.
  8. Aleal New Member

    For the record, the Puppet Up! characters are *not* officially Muppets, not least because Henson sold the use of the name to Disney (Sesame and other non-profit or special projects, such as "Panwapa," use the name with special permission from Disney, but Henson can no longer describe the Fraggle Rock characters as Muppets in promotion; that doesn't change what they are, of course). Puppet Up! uses a mix of refurbished puppets from before the sale (and especially from projects like "Dog City" and "Animal Jam" which were *not* sold to Disney) but the new ones cannot be called Muppets and Henson deliberately tries to set them apart; the aesthetic for the new puppets is sort of halfway between Muppet and Creature.

    Almost anything made by the Creature Shop (including the Sinclairs) are Creatures, officially in press material and the Creature Shop Workshop, and unofficially on Muppet Wiki. Muppet Wiki makes sole exceptions for three projects, from a time when the Creature Shop was experimenting with foam-covered "hard puppets" over animatronics, where the aesthetic was more Muppet-like (though perhaps not completely), and where even crew members and performers on the shows (like Karen Prell) call them Muppets: Mother Goose Stories, Ghost of Faffner Hall (which also recycled a ton of Muppets), and to a lesser extent, Dog the toy dinosaur in "Living with Dinosaurs" (one could argue on that one, but he definitely *looks* and acts like a Muppet, in contrast to The StoryTeller or MonsterMaker beasts and so on).

    Finally, though at Muppet Wiki we haven't bothered with recategorizing since it gets messy, there's "The Muppet Christmas Carol." The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Yet to Come were both built and designed by the Creature Shop, and definitely have that realistic Creature look. In contrast, the more cuddly, traditionally Muppety Ghost of Christmas Present was designed at the Muppet Workshop by Ed Christie and compny (though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the technical gizmos came from the London Creature Shop). So in general, what counts as a Muppet depends on three things: where a puppet was made, more importantly what aesthetic was used and what effect it's supposed to add (compare the comically scary Uncle Deadly to the genuinely creepy Skeksis and so on), and thanks to the sale dividing up the house, legal designation. That's as far as official presskits and promotion and Muppet Wiki and such go. What an individual viewer chooses to think of as a Muppet or Muppetlike from the range of Henson/Sesame/Disney-owned productions is up to them.
  9. wwfpooh New Member

    Well said. For me, ALL of the characters that Jim personally oversaw production of--SS, TMS/MB, FR, TDC, LBRNTH, etc.--are Muppets, but anything NOT directly tied with the Henson company (Puppet Up) or those things made by The Creature Shop for other franchises--TMNT & SW--are NOT Muppets.
  10. Aleal New Member

    To add to the discussion, take a look at the direct quotes from Jim and Brian Henson on the topic, at the bottom of this article:

    Here's an excerpt from Jim's long discussion, when the Dark Crystal came out: "Well, no, it's not so much the humor, but I have a feeling that the characters are just not Muppets at all. We hesitate to call them puppets even. I think of puppetry as being something more -- see, I love puppetry and what puppetry is, which is related to ... stylization, simplicity, boiling down to - it's a wonderful form and I really love it. But with The Dark Crystal, instead of puppetry we're trying to go toward a sense of realism - toward a reality of creatures that are actually alive and we're mixing up puppetry and all kinds of other techniques. It's into the same bag as E.T. and Yoda, wherein you're trying to create something that people will actually believe, but it's not so much a symbol of the thing, but you're trying to do the thing itself."

    It's definite that Jim Henson (and later Brian and the company on the whole) made a distinction between Muppets and Creatures (which is why the Sinclairs, though funny, weren't considered Muppets). But like I said, that shouldn't dictate one's personal opinion or feeling.
  11. unclematt Active Member

    They are still Muppets to me.
  12. wwfpooh New Member

    Point taken. ^_^
  13. Maestro New Member

    My goodness, I can't believe so many people have replied to this thread. I never would have expected such a turnout; truthfully I had nearly forgotten about the thread I want to thank you all for your opinions and your discussions.

    Unless I am further swayed, what I have discerned to be Muppets is any characters that are the brainchild of Jim Henson himself, save for the Fraggles, anything created in the Creature Shop, and any of the things created for commercials/advertising. Also, I consider animated versions not to be Muppets but simply incarnations of them.

    I imagine I will receive much argument on this, so let the posting continue! :D
  14. wwfpooh New Member

    Me personally, I still consider the Fraggles Muppets, because they were the brainchild of Henson and were considered Muppets before the partnership with the Mouse House took effect. Ergo, just as Mickey will forever be associated with Walt's original vision for his company, I am sure that Henson's creations--whether legally his anymore or otherwise--will forever be associated to the man who brought them into existance.
  15. Quesal Active Member

    Puppetry has grown as an artform intensely since Jim started The Muppets. So many puppets have been created for different purposes by different people. Personally I'm not surprised at how large this thread has become.
  16. wwfpooh New Member

    Me either, as it's shown how people have varied views as to what a Muppet is.
  17. unclematt Active Member

    I also consider Fraggles to be Muppets.
  18. wwfpooh New Member

    Good. ^_^ I'm glad, for it's nice to connect the Henson creations to their creator, regardless of who currently owns them.
  19. unclematt Active Member

    Agreed whole heartedly
  20. wwfpooh New Member

    I thought so.

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