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Why did MFS and EIG bomb so bad?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by BobThePizzaBoy, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Wow I'm not going to quote you Drthooth, but I see what your saying. However I really do think Disney is on the right track right now.
  2. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Honestly, it took Disney forever to even get Mickey and Goofy (et al) in the spotlight again, where they belong. And we have the security of saying that Kermit and company won't come back as yet another Blue's Clues model talk down to kids kiddy show. :D

    Oh.... and for the record, I AM seeing Looney Tunes shirts again. YIPPEE!
  3. heralde Well-Known Member

    Very true! Thing is, Jim had Muppet Show cancelled before it had a chance to go bad (as every TV show eventually does given enough time). He knew it wasn't how long something lasted, but how good it was. If it's not good, it shouldn't continue.

    And just because something retires, doesn't mean it has no legacy. The things that were good about something should continue and do continue, even if it's from the past. :)
  4. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Jim had plans for the Muppets. He wanted them to have a future - especially with Disney. The only point of conflict was Eisner and he's gone now. Jim really seemed to want the characters active even after him.

    I can't speak for what Jim Henson wanted, but the model of what came under him is the best point of reference. One thing for certain, he liked Muppets in theatrical films to be moving, not mostly static like in MFS. TMM was a traveling film, GMC they traveled to the UK and back again, MTM the Muppets went to NY only to travel across the country to find jobs and back again. I know he wanted to do MCC (even though that is a static film). MTI seems very Jim-like in the adventure sense. MTI is the film that sticks out like a sore thumb. One would expect the characters to actually travel through space for a good portion of the film. I still blame the Tim Hill direction for the mundane quality of MFS. Those everyday shots are interesting when juxtaposed to something spectacular. That's the Muppety way of things.

    So, that's kind of my guide post. The whole reason for the Muppets in film is to do things on a grander scale in real life and not just a sound stage. Aside from a few pick-up shots, MFS seemed really canned. Not to belabor the point. MFS plays like a TV special and not a movie. Had it been conceived as a TV special I might have found it more palatable.
  5. heralde Well-Known Member

    Oh definitely, I'm sure he did want them to stay active. I'm just saying he didn't want Muppet Show to still be on the air if it turned bad. He pulled Little Muppet Monster after three episodes because he thought it wasn't up to standard. He wanted the Muppets to continue, but by the same standards he had set.

    And again, there are so many classic actors and teams and artists who eventually stopped making movies or music. It doesn't mean they have no legacy or future, as long as people keep listening to the work they already did. :)
  6. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I was thinking about Little Muppet Monsters' cancellation by Jim as pertains to MFS. If LMM, a show I actually liked, didn't meet his standards, then MFS wouldn't likely have either. The Muppets are still vital as seen on Muppet.com. Once that can be harnessed into a full-length film Disney and the Muppets will have lightning in a bottle.

    I’m content to let good things go untainted and end production, but I don’t ever see the Muppets being ready for the ice flow. More characters can be created, the main cast torch should be passed when it is time and the Muppets will evolve in the ways they need to while keeping true to their roots. I can see that happening. It seems like a fine line, but I don’t really see it that way.

    The Magic Muppet Film Formula:
    Original Musical Numbers
    Various Outdoor and Soundstage Locations
    Good Mixture of Cameos
    The Importance of Togetherness & Diversity Moral
    Quality Comedy (Not Taken from the Garbage Bin)
    A Story that Moves Right Along
  7. heralde Well-Known Member

    Very true, I mean I thought some of LMM was rather charming. True it had some problems, but perhaps they could have been ironed out with time. But Jim of course though was a perfectionist and didn't want his work to be anything less than that, which I understand. :)

    Sometimes I actually wonder how it would have worked out if, after Jim's passing, if they had completely gone in another direction with new characters and situations etc. I mean part of what made the original characters work was their performers' chemistry together. Something very difficult for anyone else to replicate, simply because we're all different and individuals. :)
  8. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Of course, had Jim been around, we probably would have had a much better choice of director, if not himself. I really feel he should have let LMM run its course for the season, and see how everyone else accepted it as an audience. I actually like what they were trying to do in the 3 episodes I saw. However, I can't help think they did it much, much better with Dog City (Nelvana certainly had better animation- and no Language barrier with them).
    Even FTB followed that one. Especially how they were on a journey around the country to find Big Bird. Even EIG had a sort of journey in the film. That's the problem with MFS, as you stated. Mundane looking, cutting out some of the best jokes and gags that Joey pushed for (the ending especially), and using a soundtrack that relied on 1970's funk... which I like, but didn't fit at all. it seemed like the Muppets were doing someone else's movie... the only thing I really think it has over MCC and MTi is that the characters at least play themselves.

    Frankly, I like MFS more than MCC for the reason you all know now, since I've said it multiple times. The Muppets really fgelt like secondary characters, and I think there was a lot of focus, too much, on the human actors. I almost wonder what the film had been like if Richard Hunt was around when they made it. I really think Scooter would have been a great Fred. But there was no chance of that happening.
  9. ferrell New Member

    Eig

    just take a look at the 1-3*'s reviews for EIG on amazon and I think you'll get a basic idea why parents hate it so much..mostly they complain about it making their kid cry or that it scared their kids or it was simply boring or that they (the parent) hated elmo and think he's annoying...lol..Elmo seems to be one of those home video type things where the parents put the tape on as a babysitter but they don't really want to watch it themselves..hence the reason for the movie bombing at the theater but the video doing somewhat better...
  10. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's the general problem. When you make a movie geared at preschoolers, that means you have to take preschoolers to the theater.... something I don't think any parent should do. And if they're that restless at home, on video, where it can be watched in parts and there are no distractions to the audience, what makes them think it will work in public.

    Of course, we have to also discount the fact those amazon reviews are ALWAYS based on people who buy anything and everything with the Sesame Street logo slapped on it to give their under 2 year old a babysitter. You find the DUMBEST reviews there. I never got around to archiving them, but these are people who have little knowledge of the show and it's history, and just whine that there's not enough Elmo to keep their 1 year old happy, and how dated the material is (in the case of older, unreleased to DVD video tapes... which makes me say... really... REALLY? Something on a VHS tape copyrighted 1987 is not current enough for a 1 year old.... REALLY?)
  11. LamangoNumber2 Active Member

    ... Tell that to SouthPark, Family Guy, and other shows that went down the toilet and still keep going.

    10 seasons is just fine. Mystery Science Theater did it...And they have more fans than Muppets, sadly.... Wonder if Jim watched it in 89-90....

    It seems, after Jim died, people sorta...stopped careing. Some of the favorite Muppets went to silent, only finally being brought back.
    Frank left, which I suppose is due to the depression of missing that bearded man standing next to him working the frog...
    Richard Hunt died, tragicly.
    Jerry Nelson left everyone except the Count.
    Louise Gold is retired I beleive.

    Come right down to it, Steve, Dave, and Carol, Kevin, Fran, and Marty are really the only people left from Jim Henson's days...

    Maybe thats why they did so badly...Not enough of the classic humor.
  12. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I always felt it went a little like this-

    Frank already had one foot out the door in order to focus on his time-consuming and successful directing career before Jim died. Getting him back to do his characters even for the Henson Hour was a scheduling challenge. Having Jim gone didn't help him keep up with it as much as he likely would have.

    Jerry was working hard with the Muppets for years after Jim's death until illness slowed him down.

    Louise Gold is still working as a puppeteer on a UK television program with one of Muppet Central's long time members BlueFrackle!

    Jim was already getting away from just doing the Muppets before his death. He kind of wanted Disney to run the machine so that he could pop in and perform at his leisure. Disney ownership provided him with the perpetual green-light for whatever he wanted to do and without the pitching, and wrangling he always had to go through as head of the Henson Company.

    All the performers are freelancers and have other duties and interests away from Muppeteering. When Henson or Muppet projects now get the green light some performers aren't always immediately available. Such is life.

    The thing is, Jim always drove the "Muppet bus" and without the gang's leader things get crazy just as the Muppet gang does without Kermit. This current plan is good, but I hope Muppets Studio has or gets a consistent leader whether it's a producer or performer. Since he's gone, Henson Co can't seem to get the Dark Crystal sequel off the ground and have finally gotten around to reviving the Fraggles. Sesame Street’s puppet leadership under Kevin Clash has turned into the Elmo Show. Disney has finally discovered marketing possibilities in the Muppets to put a solid effort behind them.

    _________

    I always felt the Muppet Show didn't truly go off the air because there was nothing left to say. I always felt Jim wanted to say other things with other characters in other mediums. He had a billion ideas and just wanted to get as many made as he could. That's why I'm not so certain he'd nix the idea of a Muppet Show revival if around today. It's a great platform for experimentation. I still think he'd be doing so much on the web!

    As for Family Guy and South Park. Well, the worst current episodes of Family Guy are still better than the worst season one episodes and the best eps are still very funny. It's got a lot of life left. South Park provides social commentary for current events in a way that isn't totally dated. Having new episodes on the air always makes sense to me. They might think of limiting the number to enhance quality.
  13. JJandJanice Active Member


    Yeah that's what I was about to say.

    Speaking as a huge South Park fan whom owns all season released so far, I couldn't disagree more with that statement by Lamangonumber2. Season two was, without question, the weakest season of South Park. I think South Park has become a much smarter show than it use to be. I think the whole Kenny having to die in each episode was getting really old. I know for a fact that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are much prouder of the newer episodes than anything from probably the first three seasons and they really should be.

    As for Family Guy, well it's found a whole new fanbase as well as some of fans from the first couple seasons. I don't think Family as well written as a show as South Park, but it's good for the simple laugh and there's nothing wrong with that. Doesn't mean it should be taken off the air.
  14. LamangoNumber2 Active Member

    Still, Ten seasons is enough. It worked for MST3K.
  15. JJandJanice Active Member

    I disagree, I want South Park to stay on the air as long as it possibly can or as long as Trey Parker and Matt Stone keep the show fresh like they do.

    South Park and Family Guy, whether or not you like it, still have life left, how come you didn't mention the Simpsons? In my opinion, it's still a funny show, but the heart has been gone.
  16. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I don't believe in setting arbitrary limits that come in round numbers. There are times that the Simpsons got tired and many felt it should be cancelled, but it gets better in waves and it is going strong. Tastefully bowing out is the best way to go, but if they still get a fan base and everyone making it still wants to continue then I have no problem with them continuing. I don't have to watch them. Shows going on for too long doesn't ruin the shine of their prime, just their finale. All in the Family lasted too long and it's considered one of the most classic programs in the history of television.

    Back to the Muppet and Sesame films. Technically both MFS and EIG are considered box office bombs, but have had healthy sales on DVD. These could easily be the first Muppet/Sesame films to hit Blu-Ray seeing that they are both Sony releases (Sony owns Blu-Ray).
  17. heralde Well-Known Member

    That's probably true, and again I say it's a huge imbalance. ;)
  18. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Or The Muppets Take Manhattan could beat it (don't get me started on Kermit's Swamp Years).
  19. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Dude... I TOTALLY need to know the name of that show!


    Honestly, I really feel he wanted to move the Muppets down for kids and focus on the grander creature shop projects. The proof is there with the Jim Henson Play-a-long Videos. Plus, there really weren't all that many Muppet projects directly after MTM... except for Muppet Babies.

    When anyone passes on who creates something that immense, of course things will be off in direction, focus, and general vision is gone with them. At least for a while. Look how long it took Disney to get back on its feet without Walt. And even then, it bows to the pressure of being popular and staying in money while totally ignoring where it came from. I will say the House of Mouse, Mouseworks, and movies like the Three Musketeers are the best versions of Mickey I've ever seen. He's actually... interesting and has a personality.

    Jim was a media nomad. He didn't like to root into one thing... he love to explore what he could do and push everything to the limit. I think he pulled the Muppet Show because he knew that pulling it after 5 seasons leaves you wanting more, without leaving you woefully unsatisfied. He didn't kill the characters then and there, he kept them. It's really different than being a TV show. Sure, you can cancel a show, make a couple spin offs with one or two characters... but it's still a TV show... or a movie based off a TV show. The way Jim treated them, the characters were doing a TV show and then they moved on to bigger and better things. They weren't characters... they became actors in their own right.

    Off topic but I have to comment. I think Family Guy is going into the toilet because of the new audience that Jancie mentioned. Gamer slackers that love crummy internet movies and demand a laugh per second, no matter how clumsily placed they are. Plus, the dreaded adult swim influence. If you ever watched on of their tedious "look how adult we are! We have sex AND drug jokes, and we make fun of stuff from the 80's" shows, you know what I mean. They stole FG's jokes for one, making them less shocking, and more mundane.

    South Park is always fresh because they always deal with current stuff... granted, the same manner of secret cults that control things... blah blah blah... but that Jonas Brothers episode proves that they know what's what.
  20. heralde Well-Known Member

    You know the Muppet performers were always generally pretty anonymous, except for Jim and Frank. And I think at the time that was almost a strength, it made the characters more real to the audience. They didn't think about an actor, they thought about a real person (or frog). :)

    But now I feel like the fact that they were anonymous has almost become a detriment. I mean if anyone wanted to reunite the Marx Brothers (when they were around of course), you couldn't have brought in a replacement for one of them. It would have been very obvious and audiences wouldn't have responded well. Even when the Brady Bunch reunited, fans noticed when one of the actors changed and felt disapointed. They wanted the real thing.

    General audiences of Muppet movies don't realize when actors have been changed. But if they had been more familiar with the actors they'd know the newer movies just weren't of the same spirit. (Again no offence to the newer performers, it's just very difficult to recreate a familiar character)

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