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Steve Whitmire has left the Muppets, Matt Vogel to continue as Kermit

dwayne1115

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Because they're actually going to read that?

Whitmire is constantly saying his peace on social media. His stance is out there for the entire world to see. What exactly is a plea to Disney to "listen to him" going to accomplish? It's done, and Disney is going to move on.
Well I don't know if Disney has read it or not but it has had more views than anything else I've posted. So that must count for something right?
 

dwmckim

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To quote Boris Badenov, "you sar it, keedo!" I was watching the special, "The Muppets Go to the Movies," on YouTube, and when I got to the end, I was a little confused, because I remember from Nickelodeon, Piggy asked Kermit why he put the penguins in the "Heat Wave" number. On the YouTube version, they were talking about racing to the tube (I'm an American, but I have been to England, so I understand that they meant the subway, btw). I didn't know that they had two different endings for that special until now.
That was a case where they had two different takes for that end scene and different ones aired in different countries. America got the "Heat Wave" ending in its original broadcast then later (i think an Odyssey airing), we got to see the Tube ending for the first time here.

Every now and then they'll alter something like that for different countries where something might now make sense - like in the Vincent Price episode Uncle Deadly's "Guy Lombardo" joke is changed to "Jack Parnell" in international versions.

As to that alternate ending to Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, it's not just the pitch that's different, you can tell it's actually a different line reading (you can especially tell on "boss would want it". Makes me wonder if they originally had that as a possible alternate ending back when it was done and they later decided which one was best for the final aired version as opposed to a change that was made many years later. May have been a case where a station reiring it was simply given a different master tape.
 

dwmckim

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Because they're actually going to read that?

Whitmire is constantly saying his peace on social media. His stance is out there for the entire world to see. What exactly is a plea to Disney to "listen to him" going to accomplish? It's done, and Disney is going to move on.
Yes, but they're not talking TO each other as part of the same conversation. I think what a lot of fans wish to see is the various parties involved working harder to come together and try to mediate a solution best for EVERYONE - Henson, Disney, Steve, the brand, the fans.

Having access to emails/phone numbers of Disney execs, i've been contacting them expressing my disappointment but my stance isn't totally "rehire Steve" since what happened no doubt is a complex situation with no one 100% right/wrong and who's to say maybe his dismissal isn't actually best at the end of the day (though i'd find that hard to believe) but rather "reopen the channels of communication and bring him back to the table to see of a better resolution can't be reached".

According to Steve, he's tried to offer alternate solutions or wanted to find a way to address the issues raised after his October phone call but the door was closed. I think many fans feel they didn't work hard enough to work things out before kicking him out and locking the door.

This is not good for the Muppets as a brand because those entrusted with leading the franchise aren't displaying the behavior, ethics, or values associated with the brand they're supposed to be in charge of. The Muppets are about diverse very different beings with often opposing perspectives struggling to coexist and work together - it's not done easily and sometimes takes many attempts but in the end no one ostracizes someone else and leaves them out of the fold permanently; when the chips are down they look after each other and have their backs.

So when those in charge of Muppet Studios don't practice what The Muppets preach, it sends the message that none of the things The Muppets have stood for in the last 60+ years ultimately matter and that leads me to question if perhaps the people needing replaced aren't so much performers but chief executives? When the Leaders of The Muppets are throwing longtime collaborators/parts of the family under the bus and behave poorly and unMuppety, is anyone then surprised to see the Followers of The Muppets then act in kind. No forum is exempt - it's happened here and other places, but there's been a huge amount of ugliness and pettiness and attacking each other ("frogpiling"?) after the Schism. The actions of the Disney/Muppet execs don't just have a detrimental effect on the franchise, ut tears apart the communities that love them as well. No one benefits. So then, what's best is to go back, do some reaching out, and try to fix things, reopen channels of communication and work on finding better resolutions.

One final thought - i know i'm not active here much these days but if i can say one thing to the Muppet fandom i'd like people to remember it's this: Never give up or get discouraged in thinking "big companies don't care what little people say or feel and i'm powerless to change things." THIS IS NOT TRUE! You may have to work hard and be a little persistent and patient but if enough people work at something you CAN HAVE AN EFFECT. Companies have to have customers/buyers at the end of the day, and if the product and/or their behavior/ethics is deficient or unsatisfactory, then so goes the money they earn. This isn't my first "battle" with Disney - i've been a part of various Save Our Show movements over the years. One of them i've been deep in the trenches for since 2011 (which is how i gained those Disney phone numbers/emails!) For many years, nothing could happen because the rights to the show was tied up in a lawsuit. But those working on the effort kept tasking and keeping pressure up. In the meantime, regimes change, people in charge of ABC overall and of Daytime specifically changed. The lawsuit got resolved and WITHIN DAYS things started happening. ABC is actively looking to partner with a major online streaming company to team up to bring the show (or rather "shows" back), casting meetings have just started to take place this last month, major things are happening...but this wouldn't be occurring if the fan base did what they initially thought they'd do when they cancelled the shows and eventually "got over and accepted it". That didn't happen, many people within Disney/ABC started to panic and what changes that many thought would never happen is now happening. People do have the power as long as they remember they do and don't give up - just look at everything happening in the current US political landscape!

"One Frog Can Make a Difference"
 

Daffyfan4ever

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Another update that's sort of on a related topic, I read a news article about how Sabrina Carpenter of Girl Meets World fame was sued for not paying her road managers commission after firing them. How this relates to the Steve Whitmire issue goes back to what I was saying before about how people seem nice on screen but they're not as nice when you see them in person. If this is the case with Steve, maybe Disney did have a valid reason for firing him. I hope I don't get chewed out for saying this though. I don't know. I wasn't there or anything. But, it's just a thought.
 

Greenhoodie

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But, Peter would actually make sense. I mean, he has that sort of funny, creative, mild mannered disposition like Jim had. Plus, he's already taking over Ernie (and doing a pretty good job), and unlike Matt, he only has one main character, one that's not required to make as many appearances as Kermit or Miss Piggy. And Matt's doing a great job with Jerry's characters, it would be a shame if Kermit took time away from them.

What do you guys think?
I totally agree. Matt is a great and versatile team player and a very natural and charismatic performer and leader, which makes him great for Kermit, but he also has a large stable of characters already. Peter has Walter. That's it. I believe they both tried out, but Matt won based on his performance...or something to that effect. I'm assuming they needed someone who could hit the ground running personality wise more than a spot on voice (do you try to match Jim's or Steve's?) With the Hollywood bowl show coming up, they need to move quickly. In the end though, I wouldn't mind if they tried a couple guys before finding the right fit long term. I really think Peter is the wiser choice. I have no doubt he'd grow into it.
 

scooterfan360

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Another update that's sort of on a related topic, I read a news article about how Sabrina Carpenter of Girl Meets World fame was sued for not paying her road managers commission after firing them. How this relates to the Steve Whitmire issue goes back to what I was saying before about how people seem nice on screen but they're not as nice when you see them in person. If this is the case with Steve, maybe Disney did have a valid reason for firing him. I hope I don't get chewed out for saying this though. I don't know. I wasn't there or anything. But, it's just a thought.
you know, i think that something's not right about the whole firing Steve thing, and i think that Steve and the rest of the puppeteers, do not look nor seem like they are difficult to work with nor are mean off camera, nor look like the type of people that would say things like buzz off to fans, who approach them and etc...
 

Greenhoodie

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It's from the original CBS airing. :smile:

This is from a later airing. You can tell Kermit's voice has been played around with by the slight reverb going on when he talks.
Ah. The reverb is due to the slowdown of his voice. Having to slow it while keeping the speed was still something that you couldn't do super effectively at the time.

Man, Steve sounded terrible at first. I remember sobbing after he spoke the first time. I watched that special in the basement by myself when it originally aired. I couldn't sit in the room with family, because videos of Jim and the Muppet's made me cry after his death. I was too embarrassed.
 

Randall Flagg

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This is not good for the Muppets as a brand because those entrusted with leading the franchise aren't displaying the behavior, ethics, or values associated with the brand they're supposed to be in charge of. The Muppets are about diverse very different beings with often opposing perspectives struggling to coexist and work together - it's not done easily and sometimes takes many attempts but in the end no one ostracizes someone else and leaves them out of the fold permanently; when the chips are down they look after each other and have their backs.

So when those in charge of Muppet Studios don't practice what The Muppets preach, it sends the message that none of the things The Muppets have stood for in the last 60+ years ultimately matter and that leads me to question if perhaps the people needing replaced aren't so much performers but chief executives?
To be fair, though, I don't think the average kid who goes into a movie theater to watch a muppet movie is going to care (or even know) about the behind-the-scenes politics. If Disney manages to put out some quality Muppet productions, and if Matt does a good job in the role, that's ultimately going to be what matters most. This situation with Steve has a lot people on this board getting riled up, but we're a tiny, tiny fraction of the general audience. So I don't think it's going to hurt the brand in any significant way.

What DID hurt the brand (and will continue to hurt it) is a lack of good content. We had two good movies in recent years, which is great, but there was a looong dry spell before that. There was also the recent tv series, but it's quality was... questionable. I know some people enjoyed it, but it clearly didn't get the positive reception everyone had hoped for. The other recent tv special, with Lady Gaga, also didn't come close to the quality of earlier specials like "Muppet Family Christmas."

So if Disney can get the Muppets back on track in terms of putting out quality content on a fairly regular basis, I really don't think the backstage stuff will make much difference to the vast majority of people.
 

Greenhoodie

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So when those in charge of Muppet Studios don't practice what The Muppets preach, it sends the message that none of the things The Muppets have stood for in the last 60+ years ultimately matter and that leads me to question if perhaps the people needing replaced aren't so much performers but chief executives? When the Leaders of The Muppets are throwing longtime collaborators/parts of the family under the bus and behave poorly and unMuppety, is anyone then surprised to see the Followers of The Muppets then act in kind. No forum is exempt - it's happened here and other places, but there's been a huge amount of ugliness and pettiness and attacking each other ("frogpiling"?) after the Schism. The actions of the Disney/Muppet execs don't just have a detrimental effect on the franchise, ut tears apart the communities that love them as well. No one benefits. So then, what's best is to go back, do some reaching out, and try to fix things, reopen channels of communication and work on finding better resolutions.
You know who else is throwing collaborators under the bus and creating schisms? Steve.

Everything you are saying assumes that what Steve is saying is the whole, unfiltered gospel truth. It clearly isn't. Disney and the Henson's have stopped responding. They put out their statements in response to Steve's statement and then things went back and forth. Disney stopped, Steve is still rolling. So we are only getting one perspective on this. He's talking in circles at this point, and quite frankly, each post just illustrates the other side as well. Even when I agree with him, perhaps the way he words things in text and his steadfast belief that he is seemingly the only guy who can save the Muppets. He's even enticed us fans by saying he's got the definitive project that can save the brand. That is manipulation. Only one performer has managed to get himself fired from the Muppets. From Kermit the Frog no less. That doesn't just happen. That he lost Ernie too should speak volumes that we aren't getting a full picture. After all this, how could they even take him back and have it go smoothly? He's done a lot of damage in his own words.

Since he's started with his blog and statements he's slowly but surely started gone from targeting groups broadly and circled to specifics. Disney. Disney executives. Debbie McClellan. Pre vs Post Jim performers. Remaining performers. Matt specifically. The fan communities. Toughpigs. He hasn't had universal praise and support here either, so it's only a matter of time before MC is brought up as a new evil. I feel bad for the guy, but enough is enough.

Steve can complain about Rizzo and Bean all he wants, but would anybody even know if he wasn't performing Lips or Foo Foo? Kermit isn't him. Period. Nor is the Newsman, Link, Ernie. They were Jim's. The Irony is that Steve is the alpha recast. He was the first example of why understudies are important. He's the first example of a character being diminished by the sudden loss of their creator. If Jim hadn't died, he would have been making the decision to recast Richard's character. He would have done it because he wanted the characters to live beyond their performers. That Steve doesn't see that is asinine. So many characters, gone for years, because they never imagined what to do when one of them died or left. Now they do. Sesame Street certainly gets it. You keep moving. That is what is best for the characters. Steve isn't talking about what is best for the Muppets anymore, he's talking about what is best for Steve. Kermit will be fine. They Muppets will be fine. They are bigger than one guy.
 
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