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The Jim Henson Company Puppets to perform at the 2011 Grammys

Discussion in 'Henson Alternative' started by TheMonsterAteMe, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yes, but you're getting word of mouth. If you actually see the thing, it is pretty tame compared to what everyone's reacting to. I mean, 3 TV safe swears in a cleaned up version of a song? If the lyrics were more explicit and encouraged violence and or had sexually explicit lyrics, I'd totally agree. Even if the puppets... you know... did something, I'd agree. But truthfully, the stuff from Late Night Liars and Puppet Up is far more explicit than this (especially the George Michael skit... oooh... you'll NEVER be able to hear "You've got to have faith" ever again). I bet Land of Gorch was a bit more risque than this.

    I think it's best that people be their own judge with this one. Like I said, when I say they're overreacting, they often imply things that aren't there. Heck, this thing could get away with a TV PG rating. The 12 year old girls who were ticked Justin Beiber didn't win an award used far more offensive (hateful, hurtful, dangerous) words on twitter than this guy I've never heard of in this uber cleaned up version of a song. Plus, at least they're not singing with Feist or that guy with a hat or any of that other blurred line between adult contemporary and nursery school music. What's more offensive than all the smacked hos and pimping in the music industry to me? The use of toy pianos and ukeleles.... blasphemy!

    What is more, Henson DIDN'T write this song. They clearly know it existed, and if they found it too offensive themselves, they would have politely said "no thank you." All the blame IS going on Henson on this one (especially that prude poster), and we all have to admit, that's not only unfair, but unfounded. If anyone should take responsibility it's the musician... and frankly, I don't see 5 year olds lining up to buy his stuff.
  2. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    But again, at least that had some creativity behind it.

    Yeah but they're certainly promoting it by using it.

    Bottom line for me, using a song with a few curse words hardly qualifies as "Alternative," adult, or creative. It's pure shock value.
  3. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member


    Ah yes, but remember that was in the footloose and fancy-free days of the 70's - well before The Sales. Heck, when Sesame first started, the idea of doing something along the lines of The Muppet Show was still but a gleam in Jim Henson's eye and this was America's greatest exposure to his Muppets since Rowlf was on the Jimmy Dean Show - and at the very beginning, even know Jim, Frank et al knew it would be something special, they had no idea that it would be the wild phenomenon and American Institution that it did - Frank thought of it at the time as "just the latest gig".

    For the longest time, any family of characters created by Henson Associates or The Jim Henson Company were "Muppets" be they for Sesame, Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Animal Show with Stinky and Jake, etc. Though even in Jim's time as they were doing such diverse things with more advanced stuff like Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and The Storyteller, Henson Co. tended to not want to label the latter "Muppets" (the same category as Kermit and friends) but rather Creatures. Thus the first distinction between "Muppets" and other puppets by Henson was born.

    Then of course came The Sales. Jim in his last year was going to sell the Muppets to Disney. This was not going to include the Sesame Street Muppets and for a time CTW didn't know if they'd be able to continue referring to their characters as Muppets or not and for a brief time during that period they even took the name "Muppets" off the credits. SST was allowed to keep the name but still they'd typically be referred to as "Sesame Street Muppets" or "Muppets of Sesame Street" to avoid confusion with the Muppet Show Muppets.

    It took about 15 years but finally the Classic Muppets were owned by Disney (after Henson Company was bought by EMTV and then bought back by the family). But unlike the EMTV sale instead of buying the entire Henson Company Disney only bought The Classic Muppets (and Bear) with Henson owning everything else. So after the sale, what Henson had left couldn't technically be called "Muppets" anymore. (Sesame still was able to retain the name probably to Disney's dismay). Sure, the Henson fans are always going to refer to any puppet characters from Henson as "Muppets" but they can't legally call them that. Not that that stops today's brand of "reporters" who don't care much about fact-checking (due to the jounalism industry being meshed with the blogosphere) from reporting that "Muppets" comprise the cast of things like HappyTime Murders, Stuffed and Unstrung, the puppets at the Grammys etc.

    Had The Sale not happened and Henson still owned everything, then yeah - everything "non Creature" would still most likely be called Muppets with fans and probably Henson itself referring to The Muppet Show/Muppets Tonight "family" as The Classic Muppets. Confusing? Sure. And yeah, as mentioned fans are always going to accept any Henson puppets as Muppets in the same way a parent accepts natural born and adopted children as their kids. But OFFICIALLY - anything not from Disney (with that weird little exception for SST) are not "Muppets".
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Here's a question... did you even hear the song before? Even the cleaned up version? What I really can't abide is someone calling something out without bothering to look at a small fraction of it.

    Again, it's intensely tame, and certainly one of the cleanest songs I've heard in recent memory. It's not promoting violence, it's not telling anyone to do someone else, and it is not glorifying anything that shouldn't be glorified. It's featuring a bunch of words we chose to say "we don't like" long ago, that are considered safe enough for a TV performance.

    Lemme explain what really grinds my gears about this one...

    I went to see that blehhhh Yogi movie, and I hear all these uptight people talking about the movie ratings system, naively believing that PG actually means something (we all know PG is basically saying "G rated movies are for kids, but PG movies are kids movies with a 'tude" to fool 10 year olds). Now, they go on all these tangents about "family Entertainment" or something... I desperately want to say "PG is a scam, and means nothing." So the movie goes on, perfectly like a G rated film, and all the sudden Yogi starts talking about how they can save the park with a show... and he pulls up a boom box, and guess what song comes on? I like Big Butts by Sir Mix-a-lot.... used OUT of context... and guess who was the only one laughing? The uptight family friendly people. Oh, a song you'd spend hours petitioning to get off the radio years ago you find hilarious 10 years later in a kid's movie out of context.

    Here's the thing... you don't have to be dirty to make "art", but you don't have to be clean. You don't have to cuss to be edgy and adult, but you don't have to avoid it. What people want to do is their right, and if it doesn't encourage violence or real dangerous behavior, it's perfectly innocent. Above all, the only "kiddys" watching this were 12 year old girls wanting to see Beiber win something and perform. And judging by their behavior online the next day, they were well familiar with those words... and more.

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm calling you out... not my intent... but the Henson company is trying to branch out into different audiences, and we all know somethings are a gamble. Sometimes they go too far to find where they fit in.

    That said... irony? Henson uses Pupptery expressly for adults now. All their kids' shows are CGI or partially CGI digital puppetry.
  5. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well see that's the thing. You're describing curses as these innocent words that are presecuted for no good reason. There is a reason, cursing does carry a connotation of hostility and frankly low class. And again, I'm not completely against using them, I watch South Park all the time. But there's a way to use curses that's actually creative and a way that's just shocking.

    Yes. But doesn't mean it's art or any good. ;)

    I'm not one of those people complaining because "puppets are for kids." I'm complaining because it's not funny or particularly creative.

    And it's OK, I don't feel like you're singling me out or anything. It's just a debate. :)
  6. Mistoffelees

    Mistoffelees Member

    Puppeteers?

    I was wondering if anyone knew who the puppeteers were at this performance? That's really far more interesting to me than debating the meaning of "Muppet" and who puppetry is intended for, which is done in countless threads.
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Funny how this went from being a discussion of Puppet Up! characters at the Grammys, to a debate on whether or not said characters should still be refered to as "Muppets" or not, to a debate on what should be considered "family-friendly" and what should be considered "adult" entertainment.

    Muffiners of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chocolate chips!

    On the subject of the PG rating, I actually think it DOES serve a purpose, but it's lost it's context in recent years, because, let's be honest, when's the last time a theatrical movie had an actual G rating?

    Here's my take on the subject: PG is just what it is, it's a step up above G, but not quite PG-13. There are really two kinds of PG movies, there are PG movies that are specifically targeted at kids and families, then there are PG movies that are for adults. PG movies for kids are PG because it's a kids movie, whether it's a cartoon, CGI, etc, the characters and the storyline is conceived for kids, however, why is it PG? It may have some mild swearing in it, or there may be some situations in the movie that are "perilous" and "intense" that might bother younger kids and even frighten them, hence "Parental Guidence Suggested". That's essentially when a movie like Pee-wee's Big Adventure is PG: it's a kid's movie, because Pee-wee USED to be a kiddie icon (though unfortunately because of his not being able to master his domain scandal, it's the opposite of how people interpretate the Muppets as supposed to be for kids only, Pee-wee is now seen as being for adults only), however, there are some rather freaky scenes throughout the movie (but would you expect any less from Tim Burton, lol?), not to mention a brief scene of Twisted Sister shooting a MV for "Burn in H e l l", while the word isn't used as a swear, it's still a "bad word" either way. So you can see why a movie kid's movie like that would be "PG".

    Now getting to the subject of PG movies for adults, these are essentially PG because of lack of more "adult" content and because it usually has tame language... so why is it targeted at adults? Mainly because the storyline might be like a "slice-of-life" story, and whatnot that would be boring for kids, with no fun, colorful, wacky characters.

    Now, as for PG-13, well, that's different... PG-13 is essentially a step just below R, because it has more than PG: excessive language, and sexual content, sometimes just shy of complete nudity (in which case, it would probably be R)... maybe a brief view here and there, but nothing much other than that. Now here's an example of a movie like that, SORT OF. Kangaroo Jack started out as an "adult" movie, with an R rating, and a much darker tone, however, when the movie was tested with audiences, it turned out the only time their interest was captured were scenes that actually involved the kangaroo... so they toned down some of the content, did more scenes with the kangaroo, gave it a PG rating and tried to pass it off as a kids movie, however, in my opinion, even with it being "toned down", it still seems to me that it should be bumped up to PG-13, because there's still quite a bit of language and content that's not quite suitable for kids to see.

    My feeling is that PG is the new G, because I don't think any (theatrical) movie is going to find a large audience with a "absolutely nothing to worry about" rating... parents aren't going to want to take their kids to a watered-down, idiotic SpongeBob-eqsue movie and have to sit through the whole thing themselves, meanwhile, kids always want to see what grownups watch because there's apparently something cool about what's "off limits" to them, so the next best thing to meet a happy median is a PG rating. That way, it's not too watered-down and silly so parents can enjoy it, while at the same time, it's not completely inappropriate to the point that kids can't watch either.
  8. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I was going to say, D'Snowth, that was how I was raised :) It's all one and the same.
  9. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    Well I remember going to see the Puppet Up show in NYC last summer, and I was talking to Leslie Carrera-Rudolph and told her I thought Abby Cadabby was cute and she kind of lightly "shhhed" me that they couldn't even bring up Sesame or Muppets in the show's enviornment, trying to keep the worlds separate. Which I understand but at the same time, everyone's still going to call them Muppets regardless of who owns what.
  10. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I also am interested to know who worked on this. I thought the performing was brilliant particularly of the backup girls and the pug puppet
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    To me, PG is action cartoon violence, the next step past a kid's show, like say, Batman. You should also be able to mildly cuss (nothing they wouldn't have said on early Simpsons episodes that is). Even very dark, almost too disturbing for little kids plot lines, like The Incredibles (A super villain killing all the super heroes so he can become the only Hero in the world). But more often than not, the meaning of G and PG are blurred, and those "PG" movies are just marketed as PG because G won't fool 10 year olds who don't want to go see it.

    Now, you take a movie like Speed Racer, cussing, big violence, Spritle flips someone off for a half second. THAT'S what i call PG... even the Shrek films. Personally, I miss the first TMNT movie... a LOT of martial arts action, Raph cussed (in character, I might add) a couple times, and it was a very dark plot line. Where as the newer TMNT movie seemed like it was a G movie. The violence was basically the same as a TV Y7 cartoon, no cussing, it wasn't all that dark... and pretty much kids slightly younger than 7 went to see it (trust me... I saw it opening weekend). Kid leaning PG-13 movies are more what PG movies should be like, while adult PG-13 stuff is bordering slightly, but not quite on R.

    But again, there's no call for some of the kid's movies I've seen to be PG. I still find it a scam so parents will have to take their kids to one of those...
  12. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    For those asking about the performers...

    Don't know who performed which puppets, but the puppeteering team consisted of Patrick Bristow, Julianne Buescher, Alice Dinnean, Artie Esposito, Brian Henson, Sean Johnson, Drew Massey, Ted Michaels, Michael Oosterom, Michelan Sisti, Colleen Smith, Allan Trautman, Russ Walko, and Victor Yerrid.
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    So Patrick Bristow has become a puppeteer, eh? That's cool. He now makes the what... second comedian who's become a puppeteer for JHC, besides Paul Rudd (who was also a voice actor)?
  14. Quesal

    Quesal Active Member

    These new and semi-unknown puppeteers are very lucky to get to use what they learned from being big muppet/puppet fans and actually puppeteer for a big TV moment like that. That's a goal I have yet to achieve so my hats off to them
  15. jcnegron

    jcnegron Member

    Discussions aside, I'm sure there is some clause in the Disney contract that lets the Henson company still call their own puppets "Muppets", otherwise they would be risking being sued every so often for slips in conversations or cases like this where they are introduced as muppets by someone else.
  16. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I am wondering if Victor was performing the pug puppet since that was one of the puppets he performed at Stuffed and Unstrung last summer? Although the movements also reminded of that little ferret thing Brian Henson performed in the home video "Muppet Classic Theater"
  17. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    I'm sure he was stepping in as a right-hander, but yeah, cool to see him joining the ranks.

    And, since this thread has covered pretty much everything besides the actual performance, let me be the first to say how surprised and impressed i was at how amazing a singer Gwynyth Paltrow is! Usually when someone mentions her name, i just think "way too skinny actress who always looks like she's about to cry"

    Oh, and hey - turns out Henson's Creature Shop also built Lady Gaga's egg!
  18. the "f" word

    People who study language say this word (f***) is unusual in that, though it is used a lot, a lot of places, and has been used a lot for centuries, the taboo does not wear off, as it does for other words which no one is surprised to hear.

    In other words, what is really unusual is not how bad the word is, it is how we still "need" it to be bad. Really bad. :attitude:
  19. anytimepally

    anytimepally Active Member

    The difference is all TV's have an off button. If I was in the Coliseum, I was going to be eaten by lions. I couldn't turn off their jaws.
  20. CalciferBoheme

    CalciferBoheme New Member

    The only thing that could have made have made that better would have been if they'd actually been able to use The Electric Mayhem...

    Oh well, it still turned out great. I'm such a huge fan of Cee Lo Green :D


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