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

Mo Frackle

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@FleeceThroat's full "report."

First let's see where this started. If you're reading this then you're probably already aware of the supposed "blackballing." I can tell you with 100% certainty that the blackballing *was* real. For the rest of this thread I'll be referring to it as "the list." I'd also like to point out (that) there *was* a list. That's no longer the case. If you are on the fence about this, allow me to elaborate.

If you were on the fence about whether it was coincidental that the performers at the 2006 audition were somehow unemployable by Disney, then you won't be after the casting is announced for the upcoming Hollywood Bowl show. As much as it's Matt's inauguration... It'll also be a homecoming for many performers who haven't picked up a Muppet in years. This will be the overwhelming proof it did exist. Unless you think it’s an 11-year conspiracy against Steve. It's not. It's just the right people finally being put in the right positions.

So, what does this have to do with Mafia dinners? It's about control, insecurity and a dash of paranoia. The list didn't exist until it became obvious that Steve could be replaced. This actually started in 2001 with John Kennedy. At the 2001 Muppetfest, John played Kermit alongside Steve who was also playing Kermit. This proved that Kermit wasn't just Steve's. Also, Drew Massey would perform Statler for the pilot and later episodes of "From the Balcony." Steve had already decided this was his. This of course, was followed by the now infamous 2006 Muppet Audition Workshop. Steve wasn't there, but he definitely knew about it. While Steve was contemplating what his next move is, Disney hired many of the '06 auditioners to perform on Disney Cruise lines. These 4 guys would be performing *ALL* of the core Muppet characters. Steve's included. All 4 of them were from the '06 audition.

So while "the list" is starting to be formed at Muppets Studio, what is happening at Sesame Workshop? In 2003 Sesame Workshop decided to replace Steve for the 2nd season of "Play With Me Sesame" with John Tartaglia. So, in a matter of only 2 years. Steve's "brinkmanship" had allowed him to be replaced in both Sesame and the Muppets.

Then '06 happens. Now Steve can ask his friends at the Muppets to not allow anyone who could actually replace him on set. These were Henson Muppeteers... but this isn't a Henson property anymore. So, there would be much less pushback. As this wouldn't fly with Henson Co. execs. But he couldn't get away with this at Sesame Workshop. They don't have Disney's deep pockets & Steve didn't have the same clout there.

So if you can't get rid of them? What's next? It's important to note that MANY of the blacklisted would continue to work with Sesame. So, in a desperate move. When he realizes he CAN'T keep these guys off set. When it dawns on him that he has no control over them... He decides to EXACTLY what Jim Henson would want him to do. If you've read his blog, his moves all revolve around Jim's wishes.

Just kidding, no one can tell you what Jim would've done. But Steve definitely did something Jim wouldn't have done. Steve asked to meet with--at least--three Sesame performers. One of which is mentioned above. He took them to dinner and he very clearly let them know that certain roles were "his." He warned them... DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN UNDERSTUDY WORKSHOPS. A performer told him "to go BLEEP himself." Steve realized he can't control Sesame & and so he grasped even harder to the Muppets. "The List" and the dinner(s) aren't mutually exclusive. This isn't about multi-casting. This isn't about "one puppet, one voice.” They are about a talented man (whose) fragile ego took over. He was on top his world and was willing to do ANYTHING to keep it that way.

Dinner guest #1 is still active with Sesame Workshop and has worked with them for over 17 years.

Dinner guest #2 is a 5 time Emmy nominee. Has been with Sesame since the late 80's & with the Muppets since "Muppets take Manhattan."

Dinner guest #3 has been w/ Sesame since the mid 90's, a Broadway star, with both Tony & Emmy noms. He's created a few shows of his own.
 

Censored

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Oh, no? Tell me what out of a 14 second clip makes you believe that Jim's Kermit is going to come back?
Since you asked: There is also the lively tone and mannerisms. It suggests a more carefree Kermit in the spirit of what Jim had in mind all along, instead of the dark, brooding Kermit. There is also another factor that has to do not with the clip, but with the performer. I think Matt is not making this about his own ego. Instead of trying to be Kermit, he is more likely to want to perform Kermit the way he is supposed to be performed. So no, it is not all about the voice, however, since Matt’s Kermit sounds almost exactly like Jim’s, the voice certainly does play a part in my opinion.
 

Censored

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Jim Henson was a Muppeteer, not a Muppet. No one should put words in his mouth.
 

Censored

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This guy has some kind of personal issue with Steve. I personally think he is full of crap. He won't tell us who he really is, and where his sources are coming from. He is simply one of the many trolls Steve has on his blog. Some of those trolls are even here on the forum.
It might be a case of the “Anti-Steve trolls” vs. the “Anti-Disney trolls.” May the best trolls win.
 

Censored

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Not saying Its In a Family Guy or South Park Level but anywhere from Adult To Family but not Kids programing Simpsons In the classic era or Futurama maybe...
The whole thing can he highly subjective. Jim Henson did envision the Muppets to appeal to adults. Indeed, that’s why he helped create The Land of Gorch skits for Saturday Night Live in 1976. However, Henson and the creative team at SNL were reportedly at odds because Henson felt that the writing staff embraced a “darkly irritating form of comedy.” Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (2011). "Chapter 13: Teamwork". Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. Untreed Reads Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61187-820-2.
 

Gonzo14

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I'm optimistic about Matt's Kermit. It's not perfect but I think for a first appearance it was pretty good. We've already seen other characters take a while to improve after recasting. I'm thinking of Eric's performances of Fozzie and Piggy, which have greatly improved over the years. I'm guessing Matt's Kermit will continue to improve as well.

As for the drama with Steve's departure, I'm staying out of it. I'm not there behind closed doors so I can't really pick a side. I appreciate the years he dedicated to the Muppets and will miss him as a performer and will miss what he brought to the team. I hope his other characters continue to be included, especially Rizzo.
 

DARTH MUPPET

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The whole thing can he highly subjective. Jim Henson did envision the Muppets to appeal to adults. Indeed, that’s why he helped create The Land of Gorch skits for Saturday Night Live in 1976. However, Henson and the creative team at SNL were reportedly at odds because Henson felt that the writing staff embraced a “darkly irritating form of comedy.” Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (2011). "Chapter 13: Teamwork". Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. Untreed Reads Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61187-820-2.
Wasn't the Muppets Show Pilot Episode called Sex And Violence? Forgive me If these words In the Muppet Show Pilot are Disallowed words, Moderators delete them If need be but I will stress that was the title of the Muppet Show Pilot...

not to mention the word "Sex" and other choice words were used In the show's run...

I think the problem inherent here is people who were little kids or kids when the show first aired are basically using selective memory here you remember the Muppets a certain way but it actually was a lot different then we actually remember it. for instance In the Muppet Movie when I was a kid I never noticed in the restaurant in the beginning most patrons were drinking beer I only noticed when I watched it years later as an adult. yet people had such a problem in the Muppets 2015 TV Show that the Muppets hung out in bars and drank beer, what is the difference really?
 
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Censored

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Wasn't the Muppets Show Pilot Episode called Sex And Violence? Forgive me If these words In the Muppet Show Pilot are Disallowed words, Moderators delete them If need be but I will stress that was the title of the Muppet Show Pilot...

not to mention the word "Sex" and other choice words were used In the show's run...

I think the problem inherent here is people who were little kids or kids when the show first aired are basically using selective memory here you remember the Muppets a certain way but it actually was a lot different then we actually remember it. for instance In the Muppet Movie when I was a kid I never noticed in the restaurant in the beginning most patrons were drinking beer I only noticed when I watched it years later as an adult. yet people had such a problem in the Muppets 2015 TV Show that the Muppets hung out in bars and drank beer, what is the difference really?
Sex was never a dirty word, neither was violence.
 
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