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Your Thoughts: It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Phillip, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member


    I don't really know how long it takes to make a DVD. I know that designing and testing the interactive menus can take some time and so do the extras. And then every piece has to be approved. It's a longer proccess than a tape. It will probably come out next fall (if I'm guessing right). Just a wild guess though.
  2. Manda:-D

    Manda:-D New Member

    I'll be honest....I didn't watch all of it.....I was watching w/my impressionable sibs & easily offended dad, so we had to turn it off after the, like, 50th WAAY obvious innuendo. I'm dissapointed I missed the rest. From what yall say, it sounds like the 2nd half was better. I DID get to see the end, though!
    Here's my praises & pans:
    -OK, so the Muppets have ALWAYS had inneundos, but none of them had ever been that OBVIOUS before! Some of it just didn't seem to be in good taste.
    -Anybody else notice how similar Fozzie's "we oughtta be ASHAMED of ourselves" speech, when everyone was about to back out b/c they weren't gonna get paid for a year, to the speech he gave during Muppet Caper? I LOVED that!
    -I loved it when everybody was a/b to leave b/c Piggy left, b/c they'd "never done anything w/o her before", then how they got Kermit to bring her back!
    -Lew's popping up @ random, desperate to get his act onstage! I LOVED it!!!!
    -Howard bothered me....But more than anything, I guess that was just b/c they keep trying to add new male pig characters & abandoning poor Link & Dr. Strangepork! I WANT MY LINK BACK!!!!!!
    -It's nice to have Fozzie, Kermit & Piggy in the foreground, & to have Scooter, Janice, & ROWLF back!
    -I missed some dialogue in the beginning.....I just COULD NOT stop screaming how HAPPY I was that it was the old theater back!!!!! (W/a few changes!)
    -I DID get to see The Kiss! It was nice and sweet, but then jumped right back into a joke! (As it should be!)
    ......A lot of the stuff, though, praticularly w/the humans, just bwere NOT in good taste! And, like someone here said, the Muppets lose something whrn they try to be "edgier". Heck, I'll be honest:Most of the people were just plain BAD!
    -Alot of the stuff that bothered me, though, seemed to be just plain NBC's fault!
    All in all, though, I have hope for the Muppets' future! Particularly if whoever takes them'll just back off & let them do what's proved to have worked for a long time!
    (Please, don't hurt me. I'm a newbie.)
  3. FellowWLover

    FellowWLover Member

    To those of you who mention the new "edgier" Muppets:

    We have been having a slightly more in depth conversation about just that issue on the other VMMCM thread which is simply entitled "Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie" if you are interested in hearing what others have said on both sides of the issue.
  4. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

  5. Skeeter Muppet

    Skeeter Muppet Active Member

    petrieboy, you are entitled to your opinion.

    So are we. If we want to think that the Muppets are back, then don't try to make us think differently. Just because we don't see what you see doesn't make you right and us wrong.

  6. Natalie

    Natalie New Member

    And they'll never be back to the way they were before, but I think they're making a comeback...
  7. murgatoad

    murgatoad New Member

    I beg to differ. I did not see the special, but I downloaded the clip at NBC.com. And IMO Eric is far far BETTER with Piggy than Frank has been for YEARS. In his last days performing Piggy, it was painfully obvious, at least to me, that Frank had lost his touch. Clearly he could no longer really do her voice (which is not surprising; men's voices deepen as they get older, after all.) Sometimes when Frank *tried* to do Piggy's voice, she sounded like she was being strangled, and she was so adenoidal I coulld barely understand her. It was a distinct relief to hear Piggy singing "Santa Baby" in that NBC clip IN TUNE and clearly and with a genuine sparkle and sexuality that "frankly" (pun intended) hadn't been seen in her for a long time. It helped of course that the puppet was far far better looking (except for the fat dumpy legs - which mercifully we only got a glimpse of) than some of the truly miserable puppets in recent years, but IMO Eric deserves a large share of the credit for how well she came over in that scene. I think he did a spectacular job. In his hands she displayed (at least in that scene; let's forget for the moment that pathetic appearance in the Macy's parade) real star power, and it was easy to see why she's a true star among the Muppet gang in fact as well as in attitude. That scene almost made me regret skipping the movie. And that's saying something. ;)
  8. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I agree that it seems Oz lost his passion for the Muppets after Jim died. You can see it in how he withdrew from productions and how his characters were often dubbed. Voice replacement does take a lot of the spirit out of a performance. Plus, you're right. His voice was getting a lot deeper. Eric's Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear are much closer to Frank's original characterization. It's good to know they Muppets can get by without Frank and Jim. I never would have thought it in a million years. The spirit is not just there, it's revived.
  9. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Good point. I said this to the firends I met at Muppetfest, and I'll reiterate it: 2003. Though 2002 was a goof road. I know in the past we thought 'oh! 1996 this will be the year!' then I remember me and Phil talking about '1999' on the chat in 1998.

    The Muppets are not back yet, but they are on the right path.
    I have a strong fervent almost zealous like hope and faith they'll be back next year. I mean if we didnt, and all we had to be happy and compacent and content about was old TMS episodes, what point would that do? Its sad, but theres some fans out there
    who just preoccupy themselves in the world of yore...I on the other hand am looking towards the future.
  10. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Member


    I appreciate your honesty and your courage to disagree. Here are some of my thoughts on what you said.

    1) Eric may not be perfect, but honestly -- can you say you've ever heard a replacement where there wasn't some slight difference? Even when they've had to replace Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck (and those are near-flawless, in my opinion), there are ever-so-slight differences, because no two people have exactly the same vocal chords. As it is, I think Eric does a pretty amazing job. At any rate, isn't calling Eric "WAY OFF" an overreaction? Listen again to any of the other replacements: Brian as Scooter, Dave as Waldorf, and (yes, even) Steve as Kermit. Etc., etc., etc. If anyone deserves to be called "WAY OFF," it's them. For capturing the tonality and inflections of Frank's voice when performing Piggy (or Fozzie, for that matter), I think Eric is far closer than any of the aforementioned.

    Two things to clarify: first, I'm not suggesting that we dump on Brian or Dave or Steve. They're all marvelous puppeteers, and I've learned (or am learning) to accept their new voices as new interpretations of those characters (like two different people playing James Bond) rather than worrying about exact vocal matches. Second, I'm not even saying that, if Eric were doing a bad job, we should just pretend like he's doing great because "in comparison" he's doing better than the others. The fact is, as someone who pays close attention to this kind of thing, I think the transition from one performer to another has been virtually seamless. If there's any difference at all, it's because Frank's voice has changed as he's gotten older. Eric's voice more accurately matches an earlier Piggy than Frank's current voice!

    And to say "the singing voice is atrocious" and that Eric's Piggy "needs to take some singing lessons" -- when was the last time you watched The Muppet Movie? Piggy's big number, "Never Before and Never Again," is sung atrociously. She's SUPPOSED to be a bad singer -- that's part of the humor. Also listen to "Love Led Us Here" from Treasure Island, if you can. On that one, I'm still not sure if it was supposed to be funny, or if poor Frank's voice couldn't handle the strain anymore.

    I suppose I would be more open to these comments if you had offered a good suggestion about what ought to be done. But Frank isn't coming back; nothing can be done about that. And we've already seen what it's like without his characters around. So I don't see what other option we have, especially because I think having Eric is hardly settling. You don't seem to think this is a "Henson-caliber puppet take over." Well, the previous Henson caliber has been, in my opinion, pretty poor. I think Eric actually raises the bar.

    2) I agree with you that I miss a good Muppet musical. I don't begrudge them their lack of songs, though, because musicals are really considered passe right now. Disney stopped adding songs to their animated movies years ago. A good portion of the audience (not me) thinks breaking out into song is cheesy, and the last thing the Muppets can afford at this point is to alienate more audience members. I have a friend who falls into the coveted "18-30 yr. old nostalgia" group. He loves Sesame Street, but only barely tolerates the Muppet Show-related productions because he can't stand all the music in it. While many Muppet fans hated Muppets from Space, he actually liked it quite a bit. He was thrilled that there weren't any songs in it for a change! Mind you, his favorite moment in Shrek is when Donkey starts to break out into song and Shrek says, "SHUT UP! No singing!" or something to that effect. That, unfortunately, is the audience mentality we're dealing with right now.

    I actually agree with you that there SHOULD be a good Muppet musical. I'm just saying I don't judge the Henson Company for their current decision to keep songs to a minimum. Even if I don't like it, I understand the reasoning behind it.

    I like Paul Williams' work too. Who would you like to hear compose music for the next Muppet musical? I'd like to hear some suggestions from a bunch of different people on this.

    3) You want them to use a real script rather than borrowing from someone else. Completely understandable, but keep in mind that Muppet Movie was borrowing from hundreds of "young kid goes to Hollywood" type stories, Muppet Caper borrowed from the crime/spy/detective movies of the day (as well as old Hollywood musicals, with some scenes being recreated almost shot-for-shot), and Muppets Take Manhattan borrowed from hundreds of "young actors take on Broadway stories." The Muppets have spoofed Arabian Nights, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland . . . the list goes on and on. So when doing a Christmas movie, I don't think it was so outrageous that they followed (and skewered) certain obvious conventions and scenes from more famous Christmas productions.

    You seem to think that we're all just saying "the Muppets are back" and that we're choosing to be blind to any troubles in it. On the contrary -- while I liked it, I did speak up on certain things that I disliked. Others have done the same. I still think it's closer to the mark than the deluge of "storybook" projects or Muppets from Space. You said, "I feel like fans are yearning so badly for anything Muppet that they praise something far above what it deserves." Quite on the contrary; fans were VERY vocal about what they disliked about Muppets from Space and Muppets Tonight. Muppet fans don't take anything lying down. :) So if people are saying they like this movie, it's because they genuinely liked it, not because we just accept whatever Muppety thing comes our way.

    Of course, you don't have to agree. You can think this movie was a waste, and that it failed to recapture the magic of the Muppets. I'm not trying to change your mind on any of that. The main issue I have is with the notion that we're not allowed to feel differently. You said, "I guess I would feel a lot better if the common thought was that this was sub-par Muppets." So should people say that they disliked it just to make you happy? I don't think that's what you meant, but that's essentially what was said.

    "The magic is somewhere close, yet so far." I'll agree that it isn't totally back, especially with so many original performers missing. Did you get to see The Muppet Show Live last year at MuppetFest? That's the only time they've been able to recapture the magic exactly, in my mind. Friday night didn't completely recapture it, but I thought it worked on a lot of levels. Who knows? Maybe they'll get it right eventually, or maybe as your friend suggested, they'll just have to change. This is an almost entirely different group of performers, writers and directors now. They have to find their own rhythym and their own chemistry rather than just copying others, because that's what it will always seem like: just a copy.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter. Keep in mind I may be disagreeing with certain opinions of yours, but I don't mean this as an attack on you personally. Thanks again for honestly expressing your opinion and making this an interesting forum to come to!

    Take care,
  11. TheDude

    TheDude New Member

    JIM woudl never......

    Jim did just that, in 1989...on the jim henson hour. it was the episode where kermit was worried about ratings (either dog city or miss piggys hollywood) before commercail, our loveable sesamee street kermit as performed by Jim said somthing to the effect of...

    Kermit- "and when we come back there will be sex"
    secondary character- "sex?"
    Kemit- "well maybe just a little sex, but stay tuned!"

    Just wanted to point out that muppets have always been sexually edgy, even more so BEFORE we lost Jim.

    lets see....

    TMM- piggy pulls kermit to the ground as they lay on top of each other in the "never before" number

    TMS- Piggy is PREGNANT and sings a song about it!

    THe CHER SHOW- Kermit says to Cher "so....you wanna fool around."

    Come on guys, Anyone who belives that when Jim was around kermit and the muppets were much more APROPRIATE, are mistaken. I think its funny how if kermit would have said "so you wanna fool around" in the VMMCM it would be considered inaporraite just as the "porn is fine." However no fan blinked an eye when Kermit said sexuall lines when Jim was saying the words.

    I LOVED the movie and say here here to all who worked on the production. The only thing i felt could have been considerably better was the pacing. VERY SLOW START.

    aka "matt from MF"
    aka "NOT JOSH"
  12. Manda:-D

    Manda:-D New Member

    OK, one thing. I hadn't read the article before a/b the movie. A quote from the director (or someonwe, I
  13. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I think the live Muppet Show gala thing was the debut of what Im calling the new 'theatre' era. Meaning the decision to bring back the theatre, and bring back fan favorites. Seeing the Electric Mayhem was a dream come true...but they debuted several new ideas I hope they implement in the new show: outside real world segments(ie: mahna mahna on the streets of Hollywood at night)
    Also, state of the art Muppet News Flash segments, etc. Now people will hate this, but I think the Electric Mayhem need new outfits. Something futuristic or modern maybe. Janice needs a black and white camoflauge baby doll sized shirt with her belly showing. Teeth needs a new hat. They all need a makeover.
  14. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Chilly Down

    I hear ya', Tom! ;) Well said.
  15. Manda:-D

    Manda:-D New Member

    OK, one thing. I hadn't yet read the article a/b the movie on NBC. The director (I think, I forget easy), said, to quote:"The Muppets have enough heart." Exactly HOW MUCH is "enough" heart???? THAT'S what bothered me more than anything else! The Muppets seemed to lack their heart!!!! I'm not talking making them all sappy & sacharinely sweet, but, for Pete's sake, where's the HEART??? The Muppets aren't funny unless you have the heart to help balance the goofiness, sometimes!!!! In the newbie's (ever so) humble opinion.
  16. The Flying Sheep

    The Flying Sheep New Member

    Personnly, the movie was a great boost from MFs for me. Even though the first half was slow, I still loved it. My personhel high points were:

    The Curce de Lame sequence

    Fozzie's run through the lazers had me peeing in my pants.

    The Statue made me cry.

    David Arquette and the "Hello Dolly refrence"

    The "wish I'd never been born" outburst.

    The Internet web site moment and the NBC flipper gag.

    The entire Second half!

    Piggys aparment scene made me cry.

    Everyone matters song.

    The Piigy Kermit Kiss!!!!!

    The Katere and bad dubbing. Hysterical.
  17. ComedianSaBear

    ComedianSaBear New Member

    the muppets are the same as they always have been. Your just letting your adult/parent side point of view and saying its not right, but when you were a kid or teen it wasnt even an issue. the muppets arent the perfect angles and watered down like the sesame street gang, if you want to see muppets were everybody is always so happy and problems are easy to solve, then watch sesame street not these muppets

    PS i have nothing against sesame street.
  18. petrieboy

    petrieboy Member

    I disagree on the Muppets always being so sexual. The quotes and scenes below are funny- and I do not find them offensive. "Porn is fine" coming from Kermit's mouth offended me. Roger Ebert has always said "It's not what it's about, it's how it's about it." When Kermit said "Porn is fine" he said it matter of factly, not for humour's sake. The difference in the following is that they are said and done with a cheerful wink.

    (Kermit- "and when we come back there will be sex"
    secondary character- "sex?"
    Kemit- "well maybe just a little sex, but stay tuned!"

    Just wanted to point out that muppets have always been sexually edgy, even more so BEFORE we lost Jim.

    lets see....

    TMM- piggy pulls kermit to the ground as they lay on top of each other in the "never before" number

    TMS- Piggy is PREGNANT and sings a song about it!

    THe CHER SHOW- Kermit says to Cher "so....you wanna fool around.")


    I don't mean to completely shove the Christmas movie into the ground. Yes, I noticed a lot more potential than in MFS, but I'm not sure that is saying a lot. I did laugh when Fozzie was trying to tip toe into the lazers. And for all my griping, I should note that I did notice the change in Fozzie's voice, but I was okay with it for some reason- and in fact, I found Fozzie more likable in this than I have for a long time. He seemed younger and more teddy bear like. A little cuter.

    Why am I so angry about Piggy's voice? Well- granted "Love Led Us Here" was quite below average. Granted, Frank's voice has been aging. I will cry if I think too much about his absence (and for the record, will he be joining in from time to time?) It's not that I'm opposed just because it's a new voice. But Piggy and Kermit are the biggest characters. They may not be everyone's favorite, but without them, the Muppets are not the Muppets. That is why their voices need precision. What I would like to know is, who is and where did Eric come from? You asked me for an alternative... I gave one many messages back... to host a worldwide search for the most similar Piggy voice. I could hardly stand to hear "Santa Baby." I could hear his voice straining- it sounded like it was too hard for him to use his Piggy imitation voice while going all the way with a song. There was no melody- my muscles tightened listening to it. I don't care for Piggy in her old days, since you're comparing Eric with that. I love Piggy in the 80s. I think Piggy sounds bad on "Never Before/ Never Again" but I think she sounds beautiful on "He'll Make Me Happy" and "Im Gonna Always Love You"
    I did also like Kermit visiting Piggy in her apartment.
    I know I am giving myself away by saying that I'm a Christian- but it was very offensive for "people like me" to have a corporate Heaven with Whoopi Goldberg, as a God who lays back and watches everything go by without too much thought, while drinking soda (or whatever) out of the bushes.
    And I'm the one who didn't find the inclusion of Snoop Doggy Dog offensive at all, because he's a human being and trying to do the right thing by appearing with what I thought were family friendly creatures. I guess I just don't understand how other people's morals work. It's a little like trying to figure out the MPAA ratings system.
    As for the music--- a Muppet movie with music, as long as it's good music-- will always be more popular than one without. (I'm willing to wager... anyone?) Music is life. Of course there are people who hate musicals, but there are plenty more who go for the music. THESE ARE THE MUPPETS after all. I find it so ridiculous--- people assume that music is unpopular for reasons like "the new Disney films don't have music." The Disney filmmakers are idiots. They're shoveling out one thing after another, and none of it is classic like "Beauty and the Beast" or "The Lion King." If you make the music, they will come. But it has to be good.
    Who should do the new Muppet music? How about Randy Newman? Andrew Lloyd Webber? Alan Menken? Is Paul Williams still alive? Someone who knows how to make Muppety music.

    WOMAN! WOMAN! New Member

    I disagree. This was most definitely a joke -- a frog saying 'porn is fine' is funny in itself, but the straight face was part of the funniness, too -- not all jokes need to end in a guffaw. Besides that, this was on a show at (approx.) 1 o'clock in the morning! If your kids are up to see that, they've got bigger problems than hearing 'porn is fine' from a tongue-in-cheek frog.

    (I say that with respect for your opinion, Petrieboy. I know your concerns stem from parenthood. I just think we parents have to remember that we might read more into the situation than kids would.)
  20. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I think Phillip Glass or Hans Zimmer...maybe Danny Elfman?

    At any rate I think beyond all the complaints of inuendo(you folks are complainging about the stuff in MCM? Oh boy...just wait til ya saee what Team Todd and Fox have in store next Summer for the theatre.

    It's interesting all the threads about voice changes. Lets face it...Jerry Juhl and Frank Oz have departed ways with JHC.
    I much rather have a temporarily awkward new take on classic characters than leave em in oblivion limbo like Thog and company.

    Anyways, Steve's Kermit was pretty darn new in MCC...now check him out...I point toward the Craig Kilborn appearence. I just saw GMC on dvd yesterday and see no difference now. Brillaint job steve has been doing.

    Finally, I hat ehow every thing the Muppets say is held under a microscope. While you could angle a quote that Kermit said 'porn is fine', it was obvious Craig was going off the agreed upon 'setlist' confusing Steve a bit. Sheesh, give him a break...this is the performer who will sit in a tiny box with his arm in the air for hour on end.

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