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C'est Les Muppets Showue!

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Fozzie Bear, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    Beau, I would much rather have a rough translation than no translation at all.
  2. Marky

    Marky Member

    I'll tell you one thing: french humor doesn't use wordplay much, so translating from french to english isn't too bad. Going the otherway though, so much of the humor is either lost in translation or simply unfunny to the French.

    ... This project may require a complete re-write. Would anyone really object? I mean, does anyone really care what the Fruppets are saying?

    FRUPPETS!

    I made a word!
    I made a word!

    You guys, I am going to refer to them as Fruppets from now on.
  3. C'est Les Fruppet Show! Yaaaayyyy!
  4. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    I do care what the "Fruppets" are saying
  5. Were the scripts written completey independantly to anything that the Disney Muppets have been involved in?
  6. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    I believe they were
  7. Why has France and no other country been granted the use of the original Muppet characters for there own show? Surely the Muppets have been as popular in the rest of Europe as they have in France over the years?
  8. Marky

    Marky Member

    The French traded a caseload of wine and some berets pour le service de Les Fruppets!
  9. Sounds like a fair swap if the new Muppet movies are anything to go by. :p
  10. Marky

    Marky Member

    You mean Oz and IAVMMCM? Well, I'll take those over nothing anyday.

    And someday I must use my Frank Oz voice skills to translate some of the Fruppets! (evil organ music) I need a Henson voice person though, for my Kermit is not where-it's-at, baby...
  11. I can do a pretty convincing Kermit. I wish I could find a "Rainbow Connection" backing track somewhere. :smirk:
  12. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    If you ever do I would love to hear it.
  13. Aleal

    Aleal New Member

    I don't post here often, but international Muppet stuff fascinates me, and through careful accretion of details and rough Babelfish translation as well as some rudimentary phrases, and English articles on the development, I've been piecing together the history of this fascinating and admittedly bizarre chapter in history.

    So, why does France get it and no other country in Europe? First, the Muppets are popular in other countries, but France, from what I've been able to tell, has a rather unique take on it. The whole project isn't that different from the way Disney characters have been renamed and in different European countries taken on new life, with original stories produced in those countries (and until recent decades, many of the odder items were seldom if ever translated into English). And the best example of France's Muppet obsession and the odd form it can take is in the weird, long-running series "The Bebete Show," perhaps best described as "The Muppet Show" meets "Spitting Image." Literally. The faces and aspects of French politicians were combined with Muppet Show characters, as well as some generic animal puppet types; thus, Francois Mitterand, the President of France, became "Kermitterand," complete with green body and the Kermit collar but a human face. The results are truly bizarre and a bit unnerving, yet the whole idea is fascinating. two French politicians were paired as Statler and Waldorf take-offs (and recent French political blogging had also involved Muppet characters replacing politicos). Here's an image of what they came up with: http://www.reglesetjeux.com/page/jeu%20bebete%20show%20boite.jpg

    Anyway, the "Muppets TV" project started in France because of one Philippe Laco, president of Disney France. Laco seems to have taken an interest and was aware that Disney how owned the Muppets and could use them in new projects, and since nothing was going on stateside, took the initiative. Sebastien Cauet, who seems to be a slightly bawdy radio and TV producer, was brought in on the creative end. Disney, or Disney France anyway, did vet the shows, it seems, and veteran British Muppet performer Nigel Plaskitt was sent as consultant. While the voices are provided seperately (apparently in post, I'm trying to figure out the specifics). The actual puppeteers are a definite mix, including old pros like Yves Brunier, who seems to be a TV puppetry legend in France and had previously worked on the French co-productions of "Big Bag" and "Sesame Street," and Regis Fassier, same CV, and a few people I can't seem to track down, which is probably why the puppetry is variable, from quite good to the very-off (like Clifford, who in his first scene, seems to have lockjaw, as if his performer can't figure out how to operate his mouth properly, so his dialogue is just floating in the air!) A test pilot was shot and aired back last November, using more of a talk show format than The Muppet Show, and spotlighting French celebrities. As mixes as the results might seem to Americans, a lot of care was definitely put into this; in interviews, Cauet has spoken of trying to come up with a compromise in voicing Kermit, studying tapes of Roger Carel (the original French dub voice of Kermit) and Jim Henson, and trying to find a middle-ground between the two, so as to be reminiscent and familiar to fans of either but not a precise impersonation.

    So basically, what it seems to boil down to is, a Disney France exec and a TF1 producer loved the Muppets, realized they were laying dormant, and decided to do something about it, and create what would be exactly a *French* Muppet series, not just a dub. And why not? There's been some even odder recent exports from Disney-owned properties, such as a Russian remake of "The Golden Girls" (I'm not kidding).

    Jealousy is natural, but then again, nobody on the North American side seems to be leading the charge to create new Muppet productions, outside of commercials and guest appearances and such. And actually, it does rather closely mirror the Sesame Street co-productions of recent decades. Originally, they were either just pure dubs, or as the process was refined, new Muppet characters and human street residents with dubbed and renamed footage of Ernie and Bert etc. to fit the specific culture. This was done, as cited in "The World According to Sesame Street," partially to mitigate potential accusations of cultural imperialism, by allowing the countries to decide what animal or characters would best reflect their needs and culture and designing it accordingly, and not forcing the American Muppets on them. But in the past 5 years or so, this has begun to change, with projects like the Chinese Sesame Street, where the local producers take the reverse stance: "Why won't you let us have Big Bird?" So China now has Big Bird (Da Niao, allegedly Big Bird's identical cousin), South Africa, Japan, and France all have Elmos (renamed in only one instance), Japan has a Big Bird and Cookie Monster too, and as of 2006, new episodes of Germany's "Sesamstrasse" feature Ernie and Bert as regulars. Not just the US puppets sent over for special events in the past, but their own puppets, with their own regular puppeteers (Martin Paas and Carsten Haffke respectively, who've played the German Muppets Wolle and Pferd for several years). See here for an image: http://www3.ndr.de/ndrtv_pages_slideshow/0,3146,OID3258976_IMG3258888_POS5,00.html

    Welcome to the world of trans-global capitalism, and where cultural exports have as much cache as economic ones, but increasingly tailored and evolving to suit the needs and desires of the host country. It's bizarre at times, but on the other hand, if the French love the Muppets enough to take the initiative when nobody with the power to do so in the US is doing likewise, who are we to begrudge them? (While, naturally, pining for the return to their home state).

    And it's worth noting that many "American" television shows and films, successful or otherwise, have been borrowed whole cloth and then "Americanized," from "Three's Company" and "The Office" (England) to "Kingdom Hospital" (Denmark) and "The Ring" (Japan). Most of which probably aren't big on Muppet fans' lists, but prove that this type of cultural exchange or re-appropriation is by no means one-sided.

    And as a random note, the number of countries which rename Miss Piggy "Peggy" (Spain, Mexico, and now France have done so at various times) amuses me inordinately. Almost as much fun as Kermit in Mexico becoming "Rene la Rana" (or as Piggy calls him, "Ranito!")
  14. Thanks for the great info Aleal. That really helps me understand where this new show is coming from. I guess I just feel (selfishly) upset that it is no longer aimed at us English speaking fans and I feel a little left out.
  15. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    I feel alot left out
  16. TheJimHensonHour

    TheJimHensonHour New Member

    i'm pretty darn good at jims voices I'd like to give it a shot.
  17. RKUNKLER

    RKUNKLER New Member

    We will get a Muppets show soon. I feel that Disney is waiting till all of the seasons of THe Muppet Show are released before the start a new Muppets show. They want new and young fans to be able to see The Muppet Show and the specials before a new muppet show comes out. This is so the new Show makes sense because it would build off of The Muppet Show and so that its not just a memory because we can watch it. They are also probably waiting for the Muppets we havent seen in a while have muppeteers because they want to use all of the classic Muppets in the new show. Also they want to test the new Muppeteers and let people get used to the voices first.
  18. mrsieve

    mrsieve Member

    Not sure if this has been suggested or not, and Im sorry if it has. Is there a way we could start a writing campaign to Disney to see if anything (tv, movie, anything, etc) is in the works.
  19. Marky

    Marky Member

    Really? Cool!
    theforce.net (Star Wars fan site) has a huge fan activities section in their forum, including audio dramas, fan comics, fan fiction, and fan films....
    Those crazy fans are always posting stuff up there.

    Before anyone asks, Lucasfilm, GL in particular, loves this and they actively encourage this, even hosting these on atom films online. Heck GL holds annual contests for fan films and picks his Lucas' Choice winner every year.

    I've always wondered what would happen if this site did something like this.
  20. Dprogo

    Dprogo New Member

    Hope this thread isn't dead yet...

    Well, I'm new here, and I've been waiting for my registration to go through for the better part of a week or so. And now that I can finally post, here goes.

    I'm not sure if this interests anyone, but I'd be very interested in starting a translation project. My French isn't perfect, but I do teach 1st year french in a university, and will shortly be receiving my degree.

    The upshot of this is that I understand what they're saying, however, I have to admit, some of the cultural references are lost on me.

    I'd be interested in providing translations, though, as a guide sort of format, and then perhaps from there with the help of more qualified Francophones add cultural notes and explanations that will help the English speaking world understand.

    Comments/input welcome if you got 'em.

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