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October 9, 2015

An update on the new Muppet Movie

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 9th 2008 1:47PM
The Muppet Show
I've been waiting for a good Muppet movie for years, it seems. I hearken back to the days of The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, so while Muppet Babies and retelling A Christmas Carol with Muppets is nice and all, I just want me some good old-fashioned classic Muppet antics. So it was with great excitement that I read that the latest Muppet adventure is taking the franchise right back where I loved it. Think of Muppet Movie, Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan as the original Star Wars trilogy. Then someone came along and made a Star Wars Christmas Special and some made-for-TV Ewoks movies, but it just wasn't the same.

Jason Segel and Nick Stoller, who brought us Forgetting Sarah Marshall, are spearheading this Muppet revival and have just turned in their first script. I like the idea of Segel and Stoller doing this movie because they've proven they can do edgy humor. I'm not saying The Muppets should be rated R, but PG or PG-13 even wouldn't be bad for the franchise. The question is if Disney can allow the Muppets to stray from kids-only fare back to their days of being cutting edge and cool. Then put them back on TV in a weekly show like we've been teased about for years!

The new Muppet movie promises to be about the gang getting back together to put on a show and save the studio (hey, that sounds refreshingly familiar actually) and promises to feature all the Muppet heavy-hitters and cameos galore. I just picked up Season Three of the original series (I hope Muppets Tonight gets the DVD treatment eventually, too) and it's just as goofy and entertaining now as it ever was. I can't help but think that under the right guiding hands, The Muppet Show could be revived and as fun and relevant today as it ever was. Just think of all the awesome guests they could have, and the fun they could have ragging on reality television, celebrity antics, paparazzi craziness and the list goes on and on. Muppets Tonight was a pretty good '90s revival, following largely the same format as the original, but it just didn't seem quite as sharp or witty; Kermit has to be the center of it all for it to work.

Hopefully, this new movie can find an audience in today's market and does the Muppets proper justice. So many people forget that those original movies, and even the television show, weren't tailored exclusively for kids. For creator Jim Henson, he had Sesame Street for his kid-oriented material, and The Muppet Show for the rest. In fact, Kermit used to pull double-duty on both, and other Sesame Street characters made appearances on the Muppet shows and the movies. Unfortunately, the two franchises are under different ownership now, so it seems pretty unlikely we'll see Big Bird trying to hitch a ride in the new movie.

I never really understood why Disney felt the need to take the Muppet franchise in the direction they did once they acquired the original rights to it. Disney has plenty of childrens' properties, so why turn the Muppets into just another children's franchise? The original charm of the Muppets was that they lived in "our" world, interacting with people and our environment. Muppets on the subway, or trying to flag a taxi is much funnier than Muppets on a pirate ship to me.

Offering only classic remakes and genre films featuring those characters takes away from what made them work in the first place. I'm not saying never do something like that, but for too many years those films and representations have been the only appearances the Muppets have been making. Kermit and Piggy and all the rest are great because of their established "real" personalities. And as they are all "actors," they can take on these other roles seamlessly, or not so seamlessly to even more humorous results.

And then big screen success can lead to small screen revival. And if they're ever looking for a snarky incredibly handsome television blogger to make a guest appearance on the show, I'm just a bicycle or balloon ride away.

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I think the Very Merry Muppets Xmas was the closest I've seen to what the original Muppets did. There was even a surprising (not shocking) bit where the Muppet Show theatre turned into a night club complete with a pumped up Beaker as a door man and Scooter as a go-go dancing boy in a cage. Hilarious, modern and very Muppets. The movie goes on for a little too long but there are some really great bits and the personalities seem right on. get the DVD if it's still available.

June 12 2008 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Muppets Tonight had some great moments.

"Say Seymour..."
"Yes, Pepe?"
"What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino?"
"Gee, I don't know, what?"

Episodes hosted by Sandra Bullock (see above quote, and there was a menomenon revival), Prince (a Raspberry Beret parody) and Dennis Quaid (Great Balls of Fire/Jerry Lee Lewis parody) stand out for me.

June 11 2008 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


That movie is frickin' hilarious.

"You can't tell him. You tell him, and I will spank you. I will spank you like a bad, bad donkey, okay?"

"Are you telling me we came out here in the middle of the night for a stupid egg?" -- "Shh! It could be full of chocolate, okay?"

Love me some King Prawn, okay!

June 10 2008 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Muppet Christmas Carol is a classic! The made-for-TV Christmas movie...not so much.

June 10 2008 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I adore the Muppets, but I'm surprised at all the hate for the later movies. I watch Muppet Christmas Carol with my family every year, and Muppet Treasure Island is one of my absolute favorites, it's hilarious. Really excited about the new movie though!

June 09 2008 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been a huge fan of the muppets for as long as I can remember, and I feel I should go on record and say that the Xmas one is one of my all time favorites, and definitely my all time fave Xmas movie! Everything after that was a bit hit and miss. I would love to see a muppet revival. The day Henson died was a sad day and I still remember being very upset about it.

June 09 2008 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Flying Dutch Girl

How can the "original magic' happen when Jim Henson's been dead for over a decade? I think Disney doesn't know what to do with the puppets and shouldn't have bought them in the first place. Disney has plenty of good stuff of its own. Sometimes it's best to let sleeping frogs lie...

June 09 2008 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This post makes me nostalgic for the late, great Adam Finley. No slight on you, Jason, I'm sure he would be happy you wrote it.

June 09 2008 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was always so desapointed in the "new" Muppests stuff and I couldn't introduce my babes to what I grew up with.

This is cool!

June 09 2008 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a huge fan of the muppets...i HATED Xmas Carol and Treasure Island, but thought the Muppets in Space was as close to the original magic as we could get. I loved it!

June 09 2008 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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