Hey, did you wake up this morning and find yourself inside the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.? If so, you should stick around because the museum is hosting a Jim Henson retrospective through September 4. You'll be able to check out creatures from as far back as Sam and Friends, the show which would portend the Muppet aesthetic, as well as animatronic creatures from The Dark Crystal. Some of the classic Muppets such as Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, and the Swedish Chef, all originally voiced by Jim Henson, will also be on display. Now i just have to try to get out to D.C. before this disappears.
[via Muppet News Flash]
As I mentioned before, the first two seasons of Jim Henson Productions' Dinosaurs comes out on DVD on May 2. While you fans of the series wait for the DVD release, you should check out the Web site Disney has set up at Dinosaur.com to promote the new discs. There's some brief clips from the series to whet your appetite, as well as information on how the show, based on an original idea from Jim Henson, was eventually brought to life after his death. While I think Dinosaurs was funny and clever (at least it was when I was fifteen), I think I was especially drawn to it because it was one of the last realizations of Henson's vision. Whether it was true to his vision after being filtered through the minds of others is impossible to say, but in an odd way I think the series serves as a bridge between the legacy Henson left behind and what eventually followed, for good or ill.
[via Muppet Newsflash]
(S02E02) This episode of Wonder Showzen began with Chauncey visited by himself from two minutes in the future. It turns out Chauncey's future self is a hundred times cooler than Chauncey, so Chauncey sets out to build a time machine and travel even further back in the future (four minutes) so he can be even hipper. But we'll get to all that in a moment.
I said in my last review that the "Beat Kids" segment wasn't my favorite, only because I don't think it always works in the execution. Of course, that was before last night when they had a kid put on zombie make-up, dress as the Pope, and interview people in front of a Catholic Church under the pseudonym "Little Dead Pope." Trey Parker has been quoted time and again saying Cartman was his way of creating a character who could say things that would get most real people burned at the stake. Wonder Showzen takes that concept one step further and actually uses real children, which adds a whole layer of apprehension when you hear them say things to unsuspecting adults like, "The Pope should go to Hell for promoting a corrupt system. High five!" Not many shows can make you almost fall of the couch laughing while at the same time fearing for a child's life. They should have some kind of award for that.
Last night marked the start of the second season of Wonder Showzen, and I almost missed it. Thankfully they repeated the episode later in the evening so I was able to crank up the ol' Tivo and capture it. After watching the same Season One episodes about twenty times each, it was nice to finally see something new.
Last night's episode was about heroes and victims, with the main focus being put on the letter P, who was once very pretty but gained a lot of excess weight. Chauncy, the puppet's ringleader, decides P just needs a healthy dose of tough love, so he and the rest of the gang scream things at her like "stupid bitch" and "dumb slut" because "she needed to hear that."
I consider myself a huge fan of Jim Henson and all of his work, from The Muppets to The Dark Crystal and beyond (but not so much Labyrinth, it was good but not great). However, I could never seem to get into his series The Storyteller, which aired in the late 1980s. The series, about an elderly man who would recite old folktales, was just too slow and monotonous for my young tastes. Perhaps if I watched it now as a learned and mature adult I'd appreciate it more. Anyway, the series is coming out on DVD.
Yes, actually, it is, but now both DVD sets have been combined into a 2-disc set titled Jim Henson's The Storyteller: The Definitive Collection. So you can either rejoice that the complete series is available as one set, or complain that they didn't just do this in the first place. Either way I'd say you're right on. The set comes out May 23.
[via Muppet News
One of my favorite shows, and, admittedly, a show I'm afraid to watch again for fear it might not be as good as I remember it, is coming to DVD in May. It's Dinosaurs, a show featuring a family of animatronic thunder lizards with the surname Sinclair (it's an oil name, get it)? In fact, most of the characters on the show had names taken from petroleum companies. Like the Simpsons before it, to which the show has been sometimes unfavorably compared, the show often focused on "normal" issues made abnormal by the oddball world created for the show. The series ran for four years on ABC from 1991 to 1994. The DVD release wil include the entire first and second seasons.
Either I've been spending too much time alone in my room, or I'm dead, but somehow I've completely missed Wonder Showzen, a show which borrows aesthetically from Sesame Street, but with a lot more heroin use and puppet sex. While its satire can sometimes seem a bit tired, it's done in a unique and manic way. Children are often utilized as on-the-street interviewers of unsuspecting adults in a segment simply called "Beat Kids." It's not a show you want to examine too closely, but when it works, you'll need a team of janitors to clean up your splattered brains after your head explodes from laughing so hard. And besides, it does the TV Funhouse thing better than TV Funhouse ever did. The show airs on MTV2.
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