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With all seriousness, I've been doing some thinking...

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by manoftheSTREET, Aug 17, 2002.

  1. manoftheSTREET

    manoftheSTREET Well-Known Member

    Many people have said that after Jim Henson died, things went downhill for the Muppets. I think there might have been some foreshadowing in a special...

    1990's "The Muppets At Walt Disney World", which aired on NBC, began with Kermit and crew trekking to a Southern swamp to meet his cousins for a vacation. It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I remember that the others may have been a little annoyed at Kermit for dragging them along. (Stay with me here...I'm coming to my point)

    When they do reach the swamp and say hello to the Fab Frog's cousins, Kermit takes out his guitar and sings a familiar song.

    Before he can even get to the second line of "Bein' Green", his friends annoyedly cut him off, saying without saying that they don't want to hear that song.

    I think that's sort of symbollic...Henson's passing basically meant no one wanted to hear the old song anymore...neither the public nor the executives. Efforts are greatly being made to remedy this, but I still have a small twinge of doubt as to whether it'll work.

    Are my fears and claims justified? Serious answers only, please.

    For the record, I have always been and always will be a Muppet fan no matter what.


    John "manoftheSTREET" Kilduff
  2. matleo

    matleo Well-Known Member

    Well I think even Jim was aware of the fact that at that time they had done all they could with the Muppets and I think he saw the deal with Disney as being a chance to take them in new directions vis a vis MuppetVision 4D. But I don't think it's quite to the extent that you may fear. One of the other things you'll notice in that show is Scooter's introduction of Bean Bunny: "The rest of us all got sick and tired of being cute, so we hired Bean here to do it!" So yeah I think in some ways it was symbolic of the fat that Jim&co. were ready to move in directions and that kermit & co. would move with them. there's an interview with Steve Whitmire in the articles section of MC where Steve Whitmire even talks about Jim wanting to develop a new sidekick for Kermit since Frank was becoming less and less available. I don't know if I've answered your quesiton or not, but I hope it wases any fears you migh have. It's sometign I had never really thought about myself until now.


    A little of topic, but, if you want to see soemthign sorta similar and very eerie, there's a black&white film John Belushi did for SNL called "Don't Look Back" where he plays himself at age 80 walking around a snow-covered graveyard and discussing how he's outlived all the SNL cast members. Now that will send a shiver down your spine!
  3. Cantus Rock

    Cantus Rock Well-Known Member

    I will just say "ditto" to Matt's statement. But, I'm sure that once Jim pulled himself together fully (He was still mourning Dark Crystal and Labyrinth then right?), and put his mind into working again, the Muppets would have come up with some new and wonderful stuff. So yes they might have been tired of the old stuff (even thought we all aren't!), but if Jim had lived longer, the new stuff would have been magical all the same. :)

    My real comment is on the John Belushi thing you talked about Matt...that is just really, really creepy...I'd like to take a look at it :)

  4. Gonzo

    Gonzo Well-Known Member

    There was definitely a change in the air--and you could see it a year or two earlier with "The Jim Henson Hour" as well...it must have been difficult for Jim, who had seen SUCH success over the previous 2-3 decades, to have a show cancelled after one year on NBC, and the commercial failures of both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth (although both were artistic successes...).

    I think he was striking out for a new direction, but don't think that direction was ever fully realized (and has been only partially realized today). I still feel like the Muppets are rudderless....like they're literally floating around at sea waiting for someone to direct them. Who will it be?

  5. Jackie

    Jackie Well-Known Member

    Swamp Years just proves that they are quickly floating away out of people's memories...
  6. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Well-Known Member

    Although I think the Muppets are certainly struggling right now (more than they would if Jim were still living), I agree that the Muppets may have seen a slight decline in the 90's no matter what.

    Jim's passing certainly didn't help, but I agree with the others: the public may have been tired of the traditional Muppets, so Jim may have wanted to sell to Disney to get back to the basics, meaning creating and performing (both of which would involve NEW stuff, as well as keeping the older material preserved/refreshed).

    I think that since Jim's last material (Witches, TMNT, etc.) involved new techniques, he had newfound freedom to make a "better" performance that the audience would be able to embrace more (keeping his status in mind, they would be more open-minded to new ideas). Along with this, he could recycle old stuff, and keep his original characters intact with his audience.

    At least, that's my thoughts based on what happened right before he passed.

    As Jim said in an interview once, if the audience likes what they see and continue to love the Muppets, they'll watch. If they get tired and bored, they'll probably go away.

    - Billy :cool:
  7. suggsy

    suggsy Well-Known Member

    It seems like Jim got bored easy and wanted to move to the next thing. It's been said often that he was never too attached to the characters and always felt the puppets were tools. When they started Muppet show I doubt they thought too much about Sesame street. Once Jim got into the Drak Crystal phase I think he was done with the TMS characters. But they were popular so so he did a couple fo specials and one more movie before he went.

    I'm actually not a fan of dark Crystal (ducking head). I find it too dire. Labyrinth however I really liked. The Terry Jones Pythonesque script did a lot to help the mood.

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