First time in years I've actually felt like crying over the death of someone I didn't know.
Only recently, after Juhl's departure from the Henson company, did we, the fan community, take stock of what his contribution was, and how it hasn't been the same without him. He put forth not only the out-and-out silliness, but the subtlety and mastery that grounded that silliness, and the character that made it all worthwhile. IMO if you want a comparison, look at FR and its animated counterpart- animated show is much more generic, characters are weakly written, gags and one-liners lack punch, the whole lacks heart and gravity, characters are harder to care about and take to heart, the emotion is ingenuine and written in cliched, obvious ways- THOSE are the things so often lacking in the newer Muppet productions, and everywhere, really- the things that Jerry did successfully for the Muppets.
Watching FR has opened my eyes once again to Juhl's genius, and I recently took to making a more concentratred study of his writing techniques, aside from what I learned just from studying TMS's humor structure and copying it. Wish I could've had the chance to ask him about writing. I think the best things I've ever written around here were merely more successful imitations of him.
He operated at levels which all writers would be fortunate to aspire to. He is sorely missed. RIP and God bless him.
David "Gorgon Heap" Ebersole