Movie News

Nordling's YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS! Featuring Nordling geeking out on THE MUPPETS!

Published at: Jan. 9, 2011, 4:01 p.m. CST by Nordling

 

Hey everyone, Nordling here and I’m back with another installment of YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!, my family film column.

“Life’s like a movie,

Write your own ending,

Keep believing, keep pretending,

We’ve done just what we’ve set out to do…

Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you!”

 

It’s a common question for any movie fan:  what’s your most anticipated film for the next year?  I think it may be a decent year, too.  But that question – the most anticipated film of 2011?  Easy.  THE MUPPETS.  I’m looking forward to that film more than any other.  I was a little bummed when they changed the title from THE GREATEST MUPPET MOVIE EVER MADE – and I still think that’s a terrific title – but so what.  It’s a new Muppet movie for those of us that grew up on it and to share with our kids.  It’s got a great crew behind it – Jason Segel and Nick Stoller wrote the screenplay, and James Bobin (FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS, DA ALI G SHOW) is directing, with many comedic actors involved like Jason Segel and Amy Adams, with rumored appearances by Zach Galafianakis, Ed Helms, Billy Crystal, Ricky Gervais, even a rumored drum-off between Animal and Dave Grohl.  Pound for pound, I don’t think it’s going to be matched in humor, at least for me.

 

I won’t lie – if I ever got to sit down with Kermit the Frog for a one on one, I don’t think I could take it.  It would be Bruce Campbell all over again.  The Muppets have special significance for me, as I’d imagine they do for a lot of people in my generation out there.

 

I’ve received some feedback over the past few weeks since I started this column that, in essence, it takes more than sharing movies with your kids to be a parent, as if I was suggesting some kind of panacea for bad parenting.  The point of all of this is for parents and children to find some kind of common place to bond.  And, as I’m a movie geek, of course this would be my frame of reference.  I’m not the parent who bonds over football games – that’s just not who I am.  For a lot of us geeks, our entry into our love of film was through our parents’ love of film, or even those experiences sharing movies with your parents.  Those experiences are just as solid as any other, any vacation you took, any time spent with your mom and dad over the years.  I’m fully understanding that you want your kids to be different than you, but these bonding moments aren’t necessarily for the kids, really – it’s moments that the parents want to remember as well, because like the cliché says, life is short.  I make no apologies for being who I am.  Any moment I can bond with my kid is a great one.  She’ll be on her own soon enough, and I think she’ll remember those times with fondness and as she gets older she’ll carry them with her for the rest of her life.  That’s all I want, and that’s all I’m trying to suggest with this column – places to bond with your kids, enter  some kind of discussion, and maybe create learning experiences with your kids.  As for me, I’ve had many learning experiences with the films and shows I’ve recommended, especially the work of Jim Henson.

 

You see, Jim Henson taught me how to read.

 

Not personally, but through Sesame Street.  I’m an old guy, I guess, in comparison to much of this site’s reading demographic.  But watching Sesame Street’s one of my first memories.  And my mom swears that I watched it religiously.  Speaking from personal experience, I can’t really think of my childhood without Sesame Street or the Muppets.  I’m not saying that they dominated my life, but the fact is (and not to brag), I learned to read before I ever started school.  I was three years old.  The entry point was Sesame Street.  I started calling out street signs and then my mom got me books and already before pre-school I was on my way.  I lay that completely at the feet of PBS and Sesame Street.  They made learning fun for toddlers and not only that, but Sesame Street even got the adults to watch with the kids.  It wasn’t cloyingly sweet like much of the kids’ fare these days.  Most of it for adults is practically intolerable.  What sane grownup would want to sit through Barney?  But adults could watch Sesame Street.  It would even make them laugh.

 

Even before Sesame Street, however, Jim Henson was already making his mark, making TIME PIECE, an Oscar-nominated short film, which in its entirety played at BNAT twice:

 

 

Or this, which he did for IBM in 1967:

 

 

Jim Henson was a humorist, a puppeteer, an experimental filmmaker, an educator – he was many things to many people, but obviously to the majority of us who watched his work, he’s best known for the Muppets.

 

 

Now, Henson and his Muppets also did Saturday Night Live (Michael O’Donoghue famously hated them, saying he wouldn’t “write for felt”) but for a long time Henson felt he could make a show for more adult sensibilities with his Muppets.  But he couldn’t seem to get the funding in the States.  Undiscouraged, Henson and company got funding from a British production company and THE MUPPET SHOW was born.

 

Now, I’m probably diving too much into the history here.  I’m supposed to be advocating for the various Muppet films and shows.  And granted, they’re great for the family, and not just for kids.  THE MUPPET MOVIE came out in 1979 and it still makes me laugh.  I quote lines from it all the time.  The movie works and many levels – it’s fun for the kids and adults alike, and it doesn’t use cheap or risqué humor for laughs, either.  The whole Steve Martin sequence especially has me rolling.

 

 

For me, THE MUPPET MOVIE was a huge gateway into other artists and their works, including Martin, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, and even Orson Welles.  One of the best things about the Muppets is that their humor, although at times silly, was never insulting.  Even some of the puns and jokes took a little work to get.  You never felt like you were being sold to with the Muppets, unlike so much other family entertainment these days.  Now, that’s not to say that the Muppets isn’t a huge brand name, because it is.  But they sell their merchandise through the quality of the work.  Even in later years, after Henson’s death, I’d put any of the Muppet films up against most any other family film.  They are the mark of quality.  Not to mention that it was the success of the Muppets that led to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’s Yoda, who may be the most compelling character in all the STAR WARS films.

 

Paul Williams’ songs are also wonderful.  Everyone knows “Rainbow Connection,” of course – it’s been covered by artists like Willie Nelson and Sara McLachlan – but I also adore “The Magic Store” and “Movin’ Right Along.”  His songs give THE MUPPET MOVIE its vast heart.  I’m not sure if he’s involved with the new film, but I sincerely hope so.  I know Jason Segel approached him, if the articles I’ve read are correct, but I don’t know if he accepted.  Paul Williams has brought so much great music to films, like PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE and even ISHTAR, and I really hope to hear a new Muppet song from him with the new film.  Check out EMMET OTTER’S JUGBAND CHRISTMAS too for more terrific Paul Williams’ music, another Muppets classic:

 

 

The Muppets’ influence is huge, even today.  My generation’s sense of humor comes directly from Henson’s films.  Maybe that’s because the laughs aren’t pandering laughs.  In THE MUPPET MOVIE, especially, the jokes come from the characters and situations, and even though the characters are silly, they have a dignity about them.  Fozzie knows he’s a terrible comedian, but he perseveres.  Miss Piggy actually believes she’s the most beautiful thing in the world, and the fact that she’s a pig isn’t even a setback for her.  I’d never eat anything the Swedish Chef cooks up, but he never quits, not ever.  And of course, Kermit has the heart big enough for all of them.

 

That’s the thing – the Muppets commit to their humor.  They dive in, like the best comics, and whether or not you laugh, you’re along for the ride.  Some of the jokes and puns are flinch-worthy, but that’s kind of the point – as adults we know what they mean, but kids don’t, and anything that expands their world is always a good thing.  You want to see something mind-expanding?  Here’s Harry Belafonte singing an African traditional song with the Muppets on one of the episodes:

 

 

Later, Belafonte performed the song at Jim Henson’s memorial.  It’s an amazing, celebratory moment.  Mr. Belafonte says what the Muppets, and Jim Henson, means better than anything I could ever write:

 

 

There’s a fierce creativity to the Muppet Show and the various films.  Henson, Oz, the various puppeteers and the many voices that it takes to make the Muppets work every day – it’s a real collaborative effort and at the end of it, they create genuine art and beauty.  Their influence has spread throughout film, comedy, music, art – kids have grown up on the Muppets and went on to bring those influences to their work.  Just ask Jason Segel, who pushed for years to bring back the Muppets to the big screen for a new generation of children to discover and enjoy.

 

My hopes for THE MUPPETS are through the stratosphere.  My daughter’s probably a little too old for them now, but in her younger days she enjoyed the various Muppet shows and films, and I remember her asking to hear “Rainbow Connection” over and over in the car.  Or maybe that was just me playing it over and over.  Who knows?  But I’m going to take her anyway.  These are my great moments with my child, and although they may not be yours, I urge you to find that connection, in any way you can.  It makes your children better people and it makes you a better person, and your life and theirs is bigger because of that connection.

 

I wouldn’t be a movie geek if not for Jim Henson and Frank Oz and the Muppets.  I imagine it’s like that for many of us.  To share these shows and films with our children – well, for me it’s a duty.  There’s joy, wonder, life lessons, laughter, creativity, and beauty in all of it.  When I decided to begin this column it was pretty much to write this.  I’m not the type of person to direct any kind of filmmaker on their project, but I hope that’s what Jason Segel and Nick Stoller had in mind when they set out to bring the Muppets back to the screen.  It’s a lot to ask of one film.  I think they can deliver.  And I’m sure many of you can’t wait to take your kids to find out.  The quote I started this article with, from “The Magic Store” in THE MUPPET MOVIE, is a life credo for me.  It’s not a bad credo to live by, in my opinion.

 

I leave you with this:

 

 

The first three seasons of THE MUPPET SHOW are available for purchase, as well as THE MUPPET MOVIE, THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER and THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL.  THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN and MUPPETS IN SPACE are available also on Instant Netflix.

 

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Muppet Christmas Carol

    by damned-dirty-ape

    Great article, but my favourite muppet outing was the Christmas Carol. To me it isn't christmas unless i've sat down and watched it. The characters, the songs and the humour are all just great.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Seconded....

    by gabbygall

    Muppet Xmas Carol is best version of that story ever IMHO.. I love it, the wife loves it, my kids adore it.. `nuff said.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST

    good muppet treatise

    by BaronMunchies

    I share the excitement, really hoping to get some Sam the Eagle, and pray to god this won't be Looney Toons Back in Action.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    christmas carol

    by BaronMunchies

    Is excellent, but definitely takes back seat to A Muppet Family Christmas for me.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Christmas Carol x3

    by dark antifyre

    Essential Chrimbo viewing for my girlfriend and I - Hensons legacy is yet more folks who are pretty sure they got early starts in their vocab due to the Street. Favorite Old School Sesame Street Clip - The Letter Typewriter - Dude was awesome :)

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:41 p.m. CST

    Also

    by damned-dirty-ape

    Muppets are one of the very few things that when i'm feeling shitty, i can guarantee that watching them will always improve my mood. Hell, even muppets in space had me laughing when the bear looked in the retina scanner and got strobed. Doesnt matter what age you are as they are truly one of the last true pieces of family entertainment left.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Classic Sesame Street acutally TAUGHT you things

    by gk1

    ..this sesame street of today doesn't teach kids shit... but they will force feed "tolerance" and other kinds of gay agenda shit to kids. My personal favorite Muppet movie was The Great Muppet Caper. all the muppet movies before Hensons passing were enjoyable for all ages, before they turned into fart and butt jokes. Jim Henson and Charles Schultz are spinning in their graves when it comes to the legacy of what they left behind.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    AGREED!

    by LOST_FAN

    With all the, will they or won't they be good, superhero films coming out this year it's a guarantee "The Muppets" will be fun to watch. They got my 10 bucks. Though I'm with you Nord, "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made" is a better title. I'm taking this title change as they are trying to restart this franchise for the new generation. The new generation may not know what Muppets are like we do. And as much as I'm on the fence with 3-D, I would love to see Muppets running around on an Imax screen in 3-D. So, now they have my 17 bucks.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Nice trip down memory lane.

    by rbatty024

    I agree that even the post-Henson stuff has some real gems. I've always felt that Muppets from Space is criminally underrated.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Yup, Muppet Christmas Carol...

    by Smerph

    is THE best Muppet movie. And up there with It's A Wonderful Life as a truly awesome Christmas movie. If you doubt its sheer brilliance, watch it in December and marvel at how it makes an oft-told story totally fresh.

  • *cough*Star Trek*cough*

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    The other Henson funeral videos on Youtube will make you cry.

    by GoDFaDDa42

    Especially the one from Frank Oz. Doesn't matter who you are.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 5:20 p.m. CST

    I'm cringing at the thought of the new movie...

    by GoDFaDDa42

    Muppets from Space and the recent Muppet christmas special were so terrible, that I can't get my hopes up too highly for the new outing. I think it has the same problem as the Simpsons: in the first few seasons, the writers were just writing quality comedy, but now, the writers (many of whom grew up watching the Simpsons) now write "the Simpsons." The Muppets were usually well-written and good comedy, but recent incarnations feel like fanboys "writing The Muppets."

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Great essay

    by Shubniggorath

    Going back and watching the Muppet Show with my toddlers recently was a real eye-opener. Now I finally understand why my parents were glued to the TV during the Muppet Show right along with me back in the 70's. It really was Saurday Night Live with Muppets. The world lost a great genius in Jim Henson.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Bravo sir!

    by Stefan Gearhart

    I could not agree more. Bravo sir! Bravo.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Muppets were NEVER a part of geek culture

    by LargoJr

    It's a part of POP culture... HUGE difference, and yet one more pathetic attempt for writers here to lay claim to events that had nothing to do with them at any time place or frame of mind... kinda sad really

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 6:53 p.m. CST

    It should be Animal VS Alex Van Halen!!

    by Drunken Busboy

    That would guarantee a $150M Domestic take! EASY!!!

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Animal VS Neil Peart!

    by Drunken Busboy

    That would be awesome too! Why can't the producers get Alex Van Halen or Neil instead? That would be stuff of legend!

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST

    I don't know if...

    by mediaslobber

    Jim Henson looked at life the way his movies did, perhaps he just strived for an ideal. But over the years I've adopted his ideal for my own. I know that many people of my generation (X) drew a lot of their perspective of the moral universe from movies like Star Wars, for me as well, it was The Muppets. Thanks Nordling, I appreciated this article.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 7:16 p.m. CST

    The Muppets

    by dukeroberts

    My hopes are guarded for the new movie. Apparently, the movie will be centered around Jason Segel's character, with the Muppets trying to help him, or something? The idea of the titular characters taking a back seat to bland human characters smacks of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and those awful Transformers movies. I approach with much trepidation.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 8:22 p.m. CST

    High hopes for higher standards

    by stillsberry

    I love the muppets. Oz and Space were absolute crap. My main concern is they'll turn the muppets into sell outs. That could turn out two ways, dumbed down kiddie entertainment, or low brow perveted potty jokes. The Muppets were always smart humor for children and adults. Shrek tried this but eventually turned into potty fart jokes. All the same, I'm extremely excited that someone is trying to revive The Muppets.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 8:42 p.m. CST

    First off, fuck Pepe

    by bah

    Just want to get that out there. He the Muppets' Jar Jar.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Now, Harry Belafonte

    by bah

    Yeah, that is awesome. But those puppets scared me shitless as a kid. For my parents' sake, I hope it wasn't too often that I stated in public that Africans scared me. On top of that, I have a bookmark list dedicated to YouTube videos of Sesame Street skits that terrified me.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 9:41 p.m. CST

    The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made . . .

    by DrMorbius

    would be a nice title indeed, if that's what it turns out to be, however . . . What if it's the worst? And, Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 10 p.m. CST

    Personally

    by thepoohguy

    I love The Muppets Take Manhattan, but my wife loves Muppet Treasure Island. Why isn't that one listed. Tim Curry rocked in that movie.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Jim Henson in Atlanta

    by MediaTsarina

    There is a great place in Atlanta called The Center for Puppetry Arts (www.puppet.org)... And not only do they have a puppet museum with puppets from all over the world, but they also have the Captain from Pigs In Spaaaaace and a full-size Skexis!! About abyear or two ago they also opened the Jim Henson wing, with footage from some of his first things, as well as Janice and Dr. Teeth and Rolf and Fozzie. In the main floor there is also a Farscape exhibit, some Emmet Otter and even a bunch of cool stuff (like the door guards) from Labryinth. If you find yourself in Atlanta, do yourself a favor and go to the Center. They have shows all year 'round and there's plenty for kids and adults, including puppet-making workshops and a gift shop. You can choose to exit thru there or not. PS... I do not work there, but I go quite a bit, and the Henson exhibits always make me a little teary.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Denis Leary said that? Well... fuck him...

    by SK229

    Of all the artists and entertainers whose stuff I grew up with, Jim Henson probably had the truest and most sincere heart in his work and genuinely wanted to make the world a better place through that work.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    When Henson died...

    by maxjohnson1971

    I cried. Literally cried. The only death of a famous person that had such an affect on me was Henson's. Like you Nordling, I grew up on The Muppets and Sesame Street. Then came the SNL muppets and then The Muppet Movie and Yoda, and on and on. I hope and pray that this new movie brings them back to where they belong, the forefront of really great FAMILY (meaning the whole family) entertainment. I tear up at the thought of Henson's death to this day and only want to see The Muppets back where they belong and that is on top. I miss them dearly.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 11:05 p.m. CST

    From the Oz's Mouth

    by stillsberry

    In an interview with Frank Oz while he was promoting "Death At A Funeral," he stated how the Muppets were great in there genesis because they were for adults and edgy. That's not possible now because Disney has permanently pegged them as Hannah Montana playmates.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 11:44 p.m. CST

    How about the title "Muppets: Legacy"?

    by FeralAngel

    Which would likely be a very good title, since this movie, like Tron:Legacy, sounds like yet another ill-fated trip down Memory Lane by a creatively-bankrupt Disney. Jeezus, Nordling, nice essay, but I was gagging a little by the end of it. It went from sweet to syrupy to sap in 0-60 MPH (Miles Per Hyperbole). I mean, christ, including video of Jim Henson's FUNERAL? Sorry, dude, but the Muppets' best days are way way WAY behind them. If you wanna show your kids The Muppet Movie or its sequel, more power to ya, you're showing them Jim Henson's artistry at its best. But if you wanna show them what happens when a creation is pushed past its expiration date, show them "Muppets From Space", "Muppet Treasure Island", "A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie", "Letters To Santa", "Muppets Wizard of Oz" etc etc...there are really too many modern-day Muppet failures to count. All of which happened because characters that are better off dead keep getting resurrected. This time the disinterment is happening because Disney's got them and wants to get something for its money, and because Jason Segal is (in my opinion) creepily obsessed with Muppets. His script, from what I've read about it, sounds like a hackneyed rehash. A disaster waiting to happen. HE WANTS LADY GAGA TO MAKE A CAMEO. Why would anybody look forward to this movie? I'd rather watch the Muppet Movie again then see any more wrong-sounding Muppet zombies. Gaah. Seriously, the Muppets should have "written their own ending" when Jim died. Rest in peace, Jim. I sure wish your creations could too.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Great article

    by sweeneydave

    Thanks Nordling! I loved every bit of this!

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Top Five Muppet Movies

    by SingingHatchet

    The definitive list: 5. Muppets Take Manhattan (Me? In love with a pig? Wait 'til I tell the guys in marketing.) 4. Muppet Treasure Island (Sam: That will be 40 lashes and then you walk the plank. Kermit: I didn't say that, Mr. Erroll. Sam: I was anticipating your whim, sir. ) 3. Muppet Christmas Carol (Once again, I must ask you to remember that the Marleys were dead, and decaying in their graves. ) 2. The Great Muppet Caper (It's raining bears and frogs!) 1. The Muppet Movie (Myth, Myth... Yes?)

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Nordling

    by BadMrWonka

    great write-up, sir. The Muppets are amazing, and there has never been any institution so perfectly adapted to capturing the interest of both kids and adults. Belafonte was right. Henson was a genius because he knew that the medium of puppetry meant that you could make as many jokes as you wanted, while at the same time making as many comments on society as you want. My favorite joke from the Muppet movies was when Kermit asked Fozzie where he learned how to drive, and Fozzie said he took a correspondence course. It's one of those jokes that kids miss easily, and adults love. but it's there because Henson knew that EVERYONE would be seeing the movies. he wasn't making "kid's movies", he as making hilarious movies that kids would be seeing as well as adults. this world misses his genius on a daily basis. if Jason Segal and company capture even a fraction of the spirit of the original movies, the latest installment could be truly great. it seems like Segal regards this task as an almost sacred trust, so I think he'll be able to do it. but man...I can't remember being his excited and worried at the same time since I had that [insert PG-Rated STD joke here] PG-rated STD joke seems hard, yeah? but I bet Henson coulda done it.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 3:19 a.m. CST

    singinghatchet

    by BadMrWonka

    treasure island is last, though it's not bad. then Manhattan, then Caper, then Christmas, then the original movie. sorry you mixed up a couple of those.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Thank you; the DVDs...

    by godric

    Thank you for this piece. The Muppets resonate deeply with me for some reason, and I appreciate hearing from someone else who feels the same. Jim Henson's death--I still remember exactly how I found out. I think of all "celebrity" deaths, it's the one that hit me the hardest. I can still get emotional. Anyone have any clue when they're going to release Seasons 4 & 5 of The Muppet Show? Or why they are held up?

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 4:55 a.m. CST

    35mm charity screening of "The Muppets Take Manhattan" in NC

    by The Tao of Joe

    First, I just want to say thanks to Nordling for writing this article. Second, for those of you who are big Muppet fans like myself, I wanted to let you know I am co-sponsoring a special 35mm charity screening of "The Muppets Take Manhattan" in 35mm. Tickets are $10, and 100% of the money goes to the Masonic Children's Home in Oxford, NC. This is a great way for parents to entertain their children while also assisting other children who need all the help in life that they can get. It all takes place at 7 and 9 p.m. January 19 at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas on 1305 Battleground Ave. For more information, here is the Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182775658402416&ref=ts Please spread the word to all your fellow Muppets fans. This is going to be a lot of fun.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 5:59 a.m. CST

    Godric

    by maxjohnson1971

    Damn, I thought I was the only one. Ha ha.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 7:18 a.m. CST

    What's up with the Dark Crystal sequel?

    by bah

    I'm not super excited, just cautiously optimistic, but still, wondering what's going on there.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Keep it up Nordling

    by Fah_Q

    My sons and I keep benefitting from these your recommendations. The flicks get added to the queue instantly. Great work.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 10:13 a.m. CST

    There's a new documentary called "Being Elmo"

    by FeralAngel

    ...out there, just read about it. No, I'm serious. Thought I'd mention it for all you felt and foam-rubber furries out there.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 10:29 a.m. CST

    glad

    by dagwood

    I'm glad someone in this era of cynicism takes time to remark on the muppets. They were great and can be great again.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    And Nordling...Jim Henson IS dead

    by FeralAngel

    So if you sat down with Kermit today, you realize that the man who first wore the green glove is in the cold cold ground, right? So why couldn't you "take it", exactly? Do you really think that such a genius puppeteer is so easily replaced? Do you believe that anyone who wears the green sock IS Kermit? If a kid comes up to you with a ToysRUs Kermit puppet on her hand, do you 'splode with rapture? Just wondering.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Sorry for the sarcasm above but some things should be left alone

    by FeralAngel

    Just don't get why people want lesser Muppets or lesser Stooges. Like many many people, I love the Muppet Movie. I also love the Three Stooges, particularly the team with Curly Howard as the third Stooge. And as a result, I have nearly cried when I've seen attempted revivals at both, like Muppets From Space or Muppets Wizard of Oz or those last 2 Christmas specials etc. etc. etc., or that lameass TV biopic of the Stooges that came out some time ago. The latter had a good cast, especially Michael Chiklis as Curly, but when the cast tried to BE the Stooges on film, tried to do their routines, it sucked. And likewise, when the new Muppet cast tries to be Kermit or especially Miss Piggy, THEY suck. How people can call themselves fans of things and then cheer on the people who are desecrating them, is beyond me. End of story. Ta.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Oh, one more thing...the guy doing Piggy can't do Fozzie either

    by FeralAngel

    Fozzie is the most wrong-sounding Muppet of them all. Who the hell is doing those two puppets now? Is Frank Oz dead or retired or something?

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Bravo, Nordling. BRAAA-VO!

    by ChaunceyGardiner

  • Jan. 11, 2011, 10:07 a.m. CST

    People grieve in their own ways....

    by SK229

    and I think that part of what made his death overwhelming was seeing the sheer wealth of his creativity at that particular moment. Sure it might hit someone who pops in a DVD of The Muppet Movie right after they were flipping through the channels and saw an episode of Sesame Street. But seeing all of those people he affected and those creations really were representative of his life's work, lest anyone should forget. I think the message was that he will live on through his creations although the irony is that he really ISN'T living on through his creations, only through the stuff that was caught on film, as with any other film artist. Those characters are so imbued with the peculiarities of their puppeteers (try saying that five times fast), that it's almost impossible for someone else to step in and BE Kermit or any others for that matter. Right away, something just seems 'off', and you find yourself forcing laughs, rather than laughing unexpectedly, as you did with the originals. It's the same with the Looney Tunes... I guess some things we just have to live with what we were given and hope that someone else will have that same spark of ingenuity and creativity that affects audiences in the same way.

  • Jan. 11, 2011, 10:12 a.m. CST

    One more thing...

    by SK229

    Jim Henson's genius wasn't just in creating these felt puppets and giving them odd and funny names... it was in recognizing the right PERFORMER for that character and letting those people shine through and make each muppet an individual. The fact that everything about them depends upon the writing and each muppet performer seems to get lost in these discussions. By the way, Muppet Vision 3D at the Disney parks is still funny as hell and a rare feat for a 3D movie in a theme park - it's as timeless as Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, or the Haunted Mansion.

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