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Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by dwayne1115, May 25, 2012.
Going into my serious "real" opinion on the whole issue on the whole thread topic, i wouldn't read into the movie as any indication of Gonzo being phased out...you can't do everything in a movie (and the way Bobin tried and lost so much in the final edit is very indicative of this) - Gonzo's screentime may have been a surprise to those who've become so used to him being so prominent in the past - but maybe this was "his turn" just as Fozzie had his turn in lots and lots of post TMS projects. When you're squeezing in as many characters as you can in a finite amount of time, the focus/attention/screentime/number of lines for other characters will be reduced. When you take in the movie as a whole, i wasn't disappointed by Gonzo's screentime...and i'm a Gonzo fan!
In regards to a sidekick, we've gotten used to seeing him with Rizzo or Pepe...but he DID have a sidekick...his old one - Camilla! And i thought Camilla was great in this film (loved the receptionist outfit!)...a lot of times characters like Camilla come across as a prop more than a character in their own right but "The Muppets" was one of the few projects where i thought Camilla fell into the latter category and she made me laugh (i felt the same way about Foo Foo in MWOZ)
And in the context of the film "Corporate CEO" didn't bother me either. That was actually very true to when someone has a creative gift that for one reason or other they're forced to suppress for a very long time. Even though Gonzo had gone "suit and tie" (with his daredevil suit secretly worn underneath all those years), elements of his personality still shone through in how he managed things - from the name to his company to his choice of seats to his speech to his employees upon his introduction (it's rattled off so fast, a rewatch is needed to fully appreciate how funny it was)
I'd even go a step further and say that it demonstrated how three dimensional and complex his character is. When one gets a featured role and is front and center like Gonzo was during the 90's (and Clifford was in Muppets Tonight), we see some of the more "regular boring" parts of their character because they're the protaganist that we're seeing the world through and we see their line of reasoning rather than the snappy one-line wacky remarks and one-joke characterization they may have when in the background. Gonzo may be one of the wackier Muppets, but he also has a strong soul and yes even what could be seen as a "boring" side...this is Sweater Vest Gonzo...Gonzo before he collided with Kermit/Fozzie in The Muppet Movie. But rather than "Being Boring", Gonzo's the perfect personification of the Zelda Fitzgerald quote "We were never boring being we were never being bored"...even when Gonzo's involved with a practice like running a company...a plumbing one at that...he approaches everything he does with such focused passion and throws himself completely into it. So Corporate CEO Gonzo was not the least bit out of character...it was where his character would have gone had he had to replace one dream with another one for twenty years...and all it took was a gentle prodding from Camilla to remind him of his true heart's desire to prompt him to make a sudden 180 back in the other direction.
...Now having said all that, while i'm not even sure or convinced that it was a concious effort to have Gonzo take more of a backseat in "The Muppets" as an indication of his place in the Muppeaverse as a whole, the reality of backstage dynamics rears its head...Dave Goelz is one of the elder members of the surviving currently-working-steadily Muppeteers and though hopefully it won't happen for a good long time, when it comes to Muppeteers that may have to be eventually be replaced due to health, retirement, mortality...Goelz has a high place in the odds of who's next. And Gonzo is a very hard character to recast - finding someone who both gets his complex soul, style of humor and can do a passable voice will be even harder than finding the right Kermit was. I can see why the Muppet team may make a decision sooner or later to reduce Goelz' characters a little more while they work to find a good apprentice to be groomed for the inevitable transition. Much like a lot of Nelson's characters kind of disappeared for a while in the late 90's-early 00's.
Other than the callback to the first Muppet Movie, plumbing being what Gonzo was doing before he met the others, I find it as an allegory of what was going down with the character of Gonzo in the later projects.
Sure, there were hints of Gonzo being Gonzo in MCC, MTI, and MFS... but he rarely did anything wacky, he was split with Camilla, and he completely grew out of the artist phase that made him what we all remember. Even in LTS, after they finally started to get Gonzo back on path of being a wacky artist who's with Camilla (who finally appeared back in the maligned MWO... the ONE thing they did right), he was maudlin throughout. Even moreso than MFS.
Sure we got the "He likes to be shot out of cannon" and the "He likes being stretched out" but we didn't get the eating tires while and at the same time jumping on a pogo stick and calling it art until that small sequence in VMX with Amy the Dancing Brick.
I like tho think of it as an artistic maturing that left his true wacky self on the wayside (Much like Steve Martin), but he deeply wanted to do crazy wacky Gonzo stuff again. That's the Gonzo that was in the movie.
Some mentioned that Gonzo was not in the Rainbow Connection finale. I had not noticed Gonzo's absense there. But while Gonzo was shown still moving his arm in a circle with his bowling ball stuck to his finger, and during the credits it was shown finally coming off. But between those scenes Gonzo was shown without the bowling ball, like in the "Life's a Happy Song" finale (and I'm pretty sure he didn't have it during Kermit's speech or when the Muppets saw all their fans... Though I can't remember for sure if Gonzo was on-screen at those times). I wonder if Gonzo throwing the ball at Tex's head was supposed to come before the finale (though that's supposedly what made him give the Muppets their theater and name back, if he had a change of heart then Richman's "Will you stop that singing? You've already sung that song!" line wouldn't have made since there).
I feel that, if his finger was stuck in the ball, it might have been funnier if the ball was so heavy that when Gonzo through the ball he flew along with it. Or if throwing a bowling ball stuck to his finger caused his arm to stretch out like in the John Cleese episode.
Gonzo is seen in the finale right before Scooter and Fozzie sing their lines. I feel Gonzo should have sang Gary's line that came before Scooter's, since Gary had two lines (ironically, I first heard the full song before seeing the movie, and thought that Gary's first line, "everything is perfect", sounded like it was being sung by Gonzo).
Other major characters seemed to "just be there" like Gonzo. In the finished cut Bunsen only got one line (he had a few more lines in the deleted scenes, and he is heard talking at the beginning when a clip from an existing sketch is shown), with Beaker being more featured. And while the use of The Electric Mayhem is an improvement over the last two decades, aside from Animal and Floyd they also seemed "just to be there". Janice only got two brief lines (one heard over several other characters talking upon learning they were in danger of also losing their names), Dr. Teeth got four lines (one of which also being heard over other characters talking), Zoot didn't get any dialogue at all, and of course Lips didn't speak either. Despite that, as I said previously, it's still an improvement over the last two decades.
I sort of wonder if it would have been a worthy risk to make this a two-part movie (in the end the movie did well enough that a part 2 would have been made, but if it didn't we'd be left without a conclusion) like the recent Twillight or the last two Back to the Future films (which were a continuation of the first which wasn't intended to continue). Part 1 could have focused on getting all the Muppets together, allowing longer visits with characters as opposed to a "time-saving montage" (it would have been funny if, after getting all the neccessary characters, Walter begged them to pick up the more obscure characters), and then part 2 focused on the telethon (putting in more acts like Pigs in Space).
Mind = Blown.
As always, you make such perfectly logical statements! Gonzo WOULD appreciate an office, corporate exec job on a level that none of us could really attain to!!!
Back in the 90's, Steve was still getting used to performing Kermit, so they were showing him little by little, and Frank Oz was busy with directing to perform Fozzie and Piggy. So Gonzo kind of took on the role of the head Muppet during that time. Like introducing the classic, "Hey Cinderella", on Disney Channel, being the narrator of Muppet Christmas Carol and the Muppet Fairy Tale video, and a leading role in Muppet Treasure Island.
I didn't know Gonzo introduced a broadcast of that special. Though I did know the special was rebroadcast on The Disney Channel.
Well He did performed Traveling Matt in the Fraggle Rock 30th anniversary video!
As far as Dave Goelz goes, He did performed Traveling Matt in the Fraggle Rock 30th anniversary video! I guess we'll have to wait and see about his other characters!
Well, it does kind of feel this way. Like, wasn't with Kermit/Piggy/Fozzie in the Good Luck Charlie episode? Hes normally with those guys. I hope this is not the case and he gets a bigger role in the next film, I'd love to see him bond with Walter next since the last film Fozzie got to. It is a little odd seeing him in the background like this since we were so used to seeing him getting tons of screen time in the 90s film, so its like what the heck happened? Guess I'll wait to see how they use him in the next film before jumping to conclusions. I never noticed how little time Kermit got till some of you talked about that, weird. I guess I can understand why they'd want to get the attention back on Kermit than, plus its a new generation of fans now and they want fans to know him and see hes the leader and main man and whats with Kermit/Piggy's relationship. Though, yah was a little annoyed how he wasn't in the finale number in the ending of the film since that included almost all the Muppets but oh wells at least his trick payed off in the end and helped save the showXD
I think we're calling panic again here.
In the last 8 Muppet projects, Gonzo had as much, if not more screen time than Kermit in at least 6 of them. Gonzo was the star of Muppets from Space, but he was also the star of Letters to Santa in 2008. He was the one that wanted to go to the North Pole, Kermit and Fozzie decided to go with him. Not to mention the host of MCC and Kermit didn't come into MTI for quite some time, when Gonzo and Rizzo were the only major Muppets for a good chunk of the movie.
Sure, Gonzo didn't have too much a presence in the last movie (still more than Scooter and Rowlf combined... not to mention a huge scene with Gonzo was cut for time), but it seems it was equal to or just less than TMM or MTM. Hopefully he sees a bigger role next go around, but I don't think he's going anywhere.
I have to agree with Tooth; Gonzo was pretty much the star Muppet of MCC, MTI, and MFS, and I think he still had a big role in The Muppets, but they cut some of his screen time to give more to characters who had been out of the spotlight in the last few films, such as Scooter and Rowlf.
Of course, keeping in mind Scooter and Rowlf never had major roles in films. Not minor roles, but certainly no where near the main Kermit/Piggy/Fozzie/Gonzo focus the films usually have. And you won't believe how many people were shocked Bunsen and Beaker had such a small role in the last movie, considering the first movie, they came right near the end for all of less than five minutes.
This could be a case of Dave Goelz taking it easy. He is now the elder Muppet man.
I've just been assuming Dave wasn't around the day/week they needed him. James is right, Dave is the elder Muppet man but he's usually consistent that he's there when they need him. But, on another hand, realize Dave does lead a fairly normal life when he's not working with the Muppets, for all we know he could have just had some dilemma in his own life around that time or a family vacation or something that he just couldn't be there and the Good Luck, Charlie writers didn't see it worth putting Gonzo in there if Dave wasn't going to be there.
Well Dave might have been there since they had like 6 to 7 chickens in a scene.
...Or, they got some misc. puppeteers because anyone can play a chicken. Steve and Eric were probably the only main guys, which explains why Fozzie, Piggy and Animal could be used instead of someone like Gonzo.
Among the characters Dave Goelz "Muppeteered" in TM: Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, Waldorf, Kermit Moopet, and the voice of an unseen reporter Whatnot....
Goelz has Muppeteered Waldorf since 1992, starting with The Muppet Christmas Carol, since Jim Henson died in 1990, and the Rainbow Connection number in TM featured Beauregard and Bunsen in the chorus background.
Gonzo appears next to Scooter in the finale version of "Life's a Happy Song" during the "And we'll keep giving the world the third greatest gift...." line; after Marvin Suggs and the Muppaphones' cameo, Beauregard appears with Rizzo and his rat friends, Zoot with the Electric Mayhem, Waldorf stands next to Statler, and the finale would have to be filmed a little bit at a time for Goelz to switch between so many characters in such a short time....
Notice the transitions from 0:55 to 1:00, 1:13 to 1:15, and 2:00 to 2:04 (Gonzo makes a brief chorus appearance at the 2 minute mark); I'm not sure, but I think they must have had some extra Muppeteers working behind the scenes....
The Muppets Movie - Life A Happy Song Finale - YouTube
I was thinking that too. Steve Whitmire and Dave Golez are are only original Muppeteers from the original The Muppet Show that's still performing. Plus Frank who doesn't perform anymore with the exception of a few new Sesame Street segments a year. And yeah Caroll Spinney though is Big Bird and Oscar on Sesame as much now a days?
Yeah I couldn't agree more.
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