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Your Thoughts: Letters to Santa Writers' Interview

Discussion in 'Muppet Appearances' started by Phillip, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Phillip Administrator

    On December 17, Muppet fans will receive one of their best Christmas gifts in years. The Muppets return to prime time on NBC with the new special, “A Muppets Christmas – Letters to Santa”. The television special was written by three newcomers to the Muppet scene Andrew Samson, Hugh Fink and Scott Ganz along with Muppet veteran Paul Williams.

    Disney has hired the trio to write for the Muppets so it's likely we'll be seeing more projects from Andrew, Hugh and Scott in the future. They have been collaborating together for years. We had a chance to chat with these gentlemen to find out their thoughts on “Letters to Santa” and what it's like to write for the Muppets.

    Read the interview and let us know your thoughts...

    http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/interviews/letters_to_santa.shtml
  2. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Woah! This group appears to know what they're doing. This sort of trio-logic reminds me of the Kermit-Fozzie-Gonzo dynamic. Early reviews indicate this is going to be good. I hope it is and also that the characters have found a stable voice. A voice that isn't too kiddie or snarky, but one that walks that sharp-witted line like only the Muppets can.

    Most other projects since Jim have been hollow or had "something missing" for longtime fans. The bits I've seen here make this speciall appear "full" by way of characters and heart. They really seem to have the Muppets down. And maybe rushing through this is the best way to do it. That's how it was done in the Muppet Show days.

    Also, thank frog for the absence of dated humor. I am very glad that's been addressed. No crock-hunter or J-Lo jokes. :rolleyes: The Muppets are better than that. The only question is - what's up with Segel's screenplay? :confused:
  3. Erine81981 Active Member

    Yes they do Jamie. They are in it for the fun of it not to make money off these beloved characters. This i think is going to be a wonderful special with the Muppets. Like i read on what's their facebook page. Chirstmas time is a good time for the Muppets.
  4. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    ...I'm stunned. Those three reeally seem to know what their doing. This special is going to BLOW me away--and they're ALREADY working on more projects! YES! MAN I hope they get their way and get more scenes on the DVD... how AWESOME is it that they want a DVD? :excited:
  5. Ilikemuppets New Member

    Oh wow! This was a truly amazing interview into the insight of the writers and this special and what's going on with Muppet studios! Love their take on how they went about writing this. And it's amazing that the characters are so layered and have so much depth to them that they pretty much write themselves. It’s almost as if the characters are writing for them.
  6. TheJimHensonHour New Member

    Wow that was so nice, the bit at the end made me tear up just a little bit.
  7. MWoO Active Member

    I like what Andrew said about the celeb cameo's. It is really funny seeing celebrities serve muppets. Thats whats great about them, the muppets are treated as being bigger than the celebs in their movies.
  8. Dobie New Member

    I've already got Tivo set to record this, and if Santa gets my letter I should have a DVD burner to preserve it, but does anyone know if this will be available to buy before Christmas? I'm thinking they'll probably wait until next year for the release, but maybe if we all believe hard enough, they'll offer it for sale right after it airs!
  9. TML Member

    Personally, I am a huge fan of the Very Merry Muppet... movie. It seemed the most "Muppety" thing to have been done in years. I just re-watched it the other night and I love it. I don't know if this new hour long special can top it. The preview bit with the Muppets in the mail room seems kinda Zack and Cody to me. A little childish and over done, but not in a good way. The VMMC movie has them in the old backstage and uses Scooter well and puns every Christmas classic. And all the celebrities play characters too.
  10. redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Just finally read this article and it's got me even more excited about the special, as if that was possible! I'm just sad I have to watch it after the fact due to a caroling event with my choir. But I will watch it and I know it's going to be just outstanding! This article just confirmed that for me. These writers are amazing and I commend them for their work!
  11. uppitymuppity Member

  12. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    This is one bad review, not "reviews" as stated. EW gave it an A-. Not that I trust reviews anyway. As the guy said "the Muppets deserve better", but by way of a quality critic that knows his stuff. Every piece of entertainment is bound to have a few contrarians bent on being disagreeable for the sake of it. I still don’t get what this guy wanted in a 45 minute Muppet special. The clips I’ve seen already have more than enough to keep this fan happy.

    I have never heard of this reviewer and they don't appear to know much about Muppet movies or specials. They liked the music, but not the numbers? The 5 minute sneak peek musical number tells otherwise. Also, star cameos should be brief. They're best that way and Jim's movies reflected that.

    This guy also believes Kermit and the gang flying in first class is as Muppety as hanging on for dear life? Have they even seen Muppet Caper? This seems to be just another Joe-Viewer that doesn't know a Gonzo from a Grover.
  13. Vic Romano Active Member

    I've been really excited since we first heard the news about this because of the positive direction the Muppets have been heading lately, and this interview just reinforced that excitement. These guys seem to understand what makes the Muppets great and the fact that they also seem to regard the characters with such respect and love should really help make the magic happen.

    What I'm most thrilled about was the writers willingness and enthusiasm for input from the veteran performers. They're not just paying us lip service; they really seem to want to make a classic Muppet special.

    And I know he's probably very busy, but was there ever a conversation, one way or the other, to involve Jason Segel in any way on this to get his feet wet for the upcoming movie?
  14. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Agreed on all parts, Jamie. How they could possibly go the whole review without mentioning the HUGE cast of Muppets is beyond me... At this point, there's no way I can possibly be disappointed by LtS.
  15. uppitymuppity Member

  16. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I liked that too.

    Again, who is this new guy? :confused: Is he just a random blogger or a serious critic? Neither review listed was particularly bad. They both noted room for improvement. I don't know why a person who dislikes Christmas would review a Christmas special - and one with Santa right in the title. The Muppets and Christmas have a long, long tradition that this self-professed fan is somehow unaware of. Maybe he would have liked it better if the Muppets were searching for the Great Pumpkin.

    Either way, we'll see tomorrow. I don't expect to be 100% happy. I am a fantastic after all. But I expect somewhere in the 90s.
  17. Frogster Active Member

    I read the article by Phil, then I read the review. So...

    The three people who have written this show (I'm excluding Paul here) are just simply fans. They spent time either talking about Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy, Gonzo, Pepe and Rizzo, or how they loved certain moments from the past. And by past, I mean only stuff before Henson died. And how they summed up Piggy... wrong. Piggy isn't a character who's just ready to be vain or brutal at a moment's notice. She had moments like that on TMS, but she had heart too. Just because Frank didn't ever talk to Eric doesn't mean that he should not have tried harder at understanding two iconic characters like Piggy and Fozzie. Heck, I'm no Muppeteer and I know this (you do, too).

    The writers- as well as the performers- need to be aware of this. There were times that Piggy was sweet towards others, and not just to get Kermit's attention. They are just remembering certain aspects about her, and that's not cool. Gonzo, Pepe and Rizzo seem to be the only ones who are authentic and it's only cuz that the guys playing these characters are the ones who originated them. Fozzie has become clueless and repetitive. And Kermit... seriously people. Back on TMS Kermit had no problem telling his best friends that their acts stunk. Kermit had no problem letting off steam every now and again. Kermit wasn't always polite, but that doesn't mean he was a mean person- not by a long shot. In essence, Kermit got crap done, because he was the leader. If someone's gonna perform Kermit, that person needs to know that you're taking a leadership role that millions will be seeing. Also, characters like Rowlf, Scooter, E.M., and Robin should have bigger scenes and come before Beaker and Bunsen, and Rizzo and Pepe. And where is Beauregard? Dave, you're still around. Put down Gonzo and Bunsen and get a fan favorite out. Beau was in way more scenes than :confused: & :eek: back in the old days, and Bunsen came two years prior. Only times I've seen him in YEARS is when he's in the back, cleaning up.

    And now, the review... I don't have to watch this to know that, if I'm gonna watch this and I feel somewhat ashamed of watching modern-day Muppets around my family, I'm gonna watch it alone. And the guy who wrote the article helps me understand why. It's because Bill, Dave & Steve run the characters now. Pepe is hilarious, I'll give him that. He's fun to watch, and he adds zest the Muppets need. But there is such a thing as overexposure. Pepe and Rizzo should just take over Statler and Waldorf's job, cuz they're the real comic relief. Everyone else's scenes derive from just filling the stereotype that non-Muppet fans have of them.

    If you guys wanna know why I always write posts like this, it's because I have family members and friends who see previews for this stuff and wonder why I still watch the Muppets. I understand fully that, in this exceptional case, you'll never be able to go 'home' again. By that I mean, you'll never be able to see the Henson team hit their stride again. Their time came and went, and they had a chance to keep it up. It's been almost 20 years since Jim's death, and nearly 10 years since a Muppet film's been in theaters.

    Did you know that's the longest the Muppets have went without having a movie in the theaters since The Muppet Movie? If these guys are just so cool, so awesome, then why haven't they been in theaters? All I keep hearing is, "Disney's gonna plug 'em back into the mainstream!" Why? They shouldn't've left in the first place. But Muppet Treasure Island happened, then Muppets Tonight, then Frank leaves, then this special came on, then that special came on, a commercial here and there, then that ridiculous D.C. thing. Whether you just love everything that they're doing or not, one thing can be said, truthfully, about the last 15 years of the Muppets; the respect that people had for the Muppets is starting to fade, and it's been harder and harder for them to keep on top. They're trying too hard.

    And the celebrities? I'm sorry, Nathan Lane's no Milton Berle; Jesse L. Martin's no Steve Martin. (While I'm on the subject, they need to find actors who don't treat the Muppets like puppets; they need more people like Michael Caine, who can talk to them like real actors) It's bad enough Sesame Street went into the tank. Why'd they have to ruin something for the older audience? I guarrantee you, if it wasn't for fans like us with a website like this, you'd all be seeing Johnny Fiamma, Sal, Van Neuter, Andy and Randy at Claire's door in that sneak peek, not the guys you see instead. And I'd almost bet that's the only time you'll see some of them talk tomorrow. Some of you feel angry about what I have to say. And you know what? I'm tired of feeling like saying this stuff. Some people think that, just cuz it's the Muppets, you can't call b******t. Sorry, but this rat smells a :shifty:
  18. heralde Well-Known Member

    Hmm...honestly I read it as he's just trying to draw an analogy. That the Muppets deserve first class treatment, not that they should be first class on the plane (as you pointed out, that would be wrong ;) ).

    I'm not thrilled about the mob stuff. It's unoriginal at this point when anyone does it, and offensive.

    But anyway, I'll give my own thoughts when I actually see it. I'm sure there will be good moments that I'll freely admit to (hehe) and ones that need improvement. :)
  19. frogboy4 Inactive Member

    It seems that there's more to your critique than just the Muppets. It appears you feel that the quality of projects reflects how others feel about you. While I can understand that, there's little that Disney, the writers or performers can do for it - especially considering that you seem to be planning to dislike the piece.

    I still hope we're in store for something special. :)
  20. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Well... it's a special, so we're obviously in for something special in the special. ;) :D

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