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

Muppet Master

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Wow, there's some real vitriol in this thread. I don't get the people who are angry at the Hensons for "abandoning" the Muppets by selling them to Disney. I mean, wasn't that their dad's plan before he died?
This keeps coming up everyone and it really annoys me.

Yes, Jim wanted to sell the muppets to Disney BUT he wanted Full creative control. His kids just put them in a truck and sent them to the mouse.
 

Muppet Master

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That's been a huge problem across the board on this forum and I think that's a very big reason why so many people are blindly defending Steve or savagely damning the Disney Company, Henson's kids or anyone else on the dreaded "anti-Whitmere" train.

I'm going to speak honestly here. First and foremost on this forum, the loyalty here has always been to the Muppet characters, and people are very protective of them. People these last couple of weeks don't seem willing to look at this situation logically and realistically as much as just being up in arms about anything threatening to hurt the Muppets and anything else in their small fandom bubble. So Steve, who is so important to the modern incarnation of the Muppets, is being elevated while Disney and Henson's kids are being labeled as the bad guys. And no one seems willing to look at these people as real human beings with real pros and cons and understand that's there's sooooo much that goes on behind the scenes that we'd never know about.

And that said, if Disney themselves, three of Henson's kids and a few others have said their peace, don't you think that has to count for quite a bit. Life isn't a cartoon, all these people don't get together and suddenly decide to end Steve Whitmere's career and slander him for spits and giggles. That's not how the world works. But you'd think so with the way members here are turning against Henson's children's so angrily.
I get your point, but it's Whitmire not whitmere.
 

DarthGonzo

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This keeps coming up everyone and it really annoys me.

Yes, Jim wanted to sell the muppets to Disney BUT he wanted Full creative control. His kids just put them in a truck and sent them to the mouse.
I don't know why this bothers people as much as it does. Its like, as I said previously, they're so emotionally attached to these fictional characters that they're angry the Henson children abanonded them or something.

The Muppets were in a pretty sad state for quite a while, even while owned by the Hensons. I'm sure they felt that selling to a company like Disney would result in most exposure possible since they'd be owned by a company with the money to really get the characters out there. And isn't that what happened?
 

D'Snowth

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It's hard for things not to get heated during a time like this, where things don't usually get so ugly in the world of Muppets. It's good to try to keep things civil, but when you've got certain people who are so dead-set in their opinions and lash out at anybody who disagrees with them, little spats are inevitable.
 

ErinAardvark

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I was reading Jim's biography on Thursday, and something in it got me to thinking. Jim and his kids are definitely different people. In the bio, it said Jim had said to his agent, "never sell anything I own." This was in regard to the commercials he created for Munchos. I found that interesting, but I'm not going to hold anything against Lisa, Brian, and the rest of the Hensons. I highly doubt this is the same sort of situation, since he was planning on selling the Muppets to Disney, as I've been reading here (I'm only on chapter 7 in the book I'm currently reading). What Jim, Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, and Heather think what is right is their own thinking, and I should hope that nobody would expect to think the same way all the time (creepy much?) Even the Two-Headed Monster's heads had differing opinions. Que sera sera. What will be will be.

Somebody stop me before I start singing the theme from "Annie."
 

Sylinde Bren

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But like I said earlier, Jim's kids were only teenagers in 1978. As adults in charge of a company, they may not have seen what Jim saw in Steve, or understood how to handle him. They probably saw him as more of a peer, since he was very young himself. And people do change. I'm sure Steve was very easy to get along with as a youngster working under Jim. But when you're a 50 year old worried about job security (such as being asked to train understudies who could, in theory, take over from you) things can get ugly. We've all been there.

Guys, you're...you're not seeing these people as human beings who have lived many years on this earth. You're treating them like fictional characters with personalities that must never waver or vary from their one sentence character bios.
I can see your points and the points of others, but I just cannot agree on all of them. Character, the essence of who someone is, doesn't just change, and certainly not as dramatically as the Henson children are painting Steve's. A person's mental and moral qualities are the foundation from which all actions flow. And actions speak louder than words.

The Henson children acted by spitting on their father's legacy, something they knew was very important to him, selling it not once but twice to the highest bidder. Steve acted by protecting Jim's legacy and its integrity.

The Henson children acted by slandering Steve. Steve has acted with empathy, calm, and tact -- with no insults of his own slung.

So until there is something more substantial than hearsay from a morally-bankrupt corporation, greedy children disconnected entirely from The Muppets, and a couple of bitter/envious puppeteers, I decide to remain loyal to Steve Whitmire. I am loyal to the Muppet characters of course, but first and foremost I am loyal to those Muppeteers who have dedicated their lives to and have worked tirelessly to bring them to life. Loyalty, for me, isn't just a weather-vane to be moved to and fro by a fickle wind.

Jim, were he alive, would have fixed this, I know. As someone said, he would have found the middle ground, put everyone in a time-out and set everything right again. In a Mufasa-like moment, he'd likely tell Steve and his children that they should be on the same side, to stop fighting, and to work together to take back The Muppets from the hyenas. How we need him now...
 

DarthGonzo

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I can see your points and the points of others, but I just cannot agree on all of them. Character, the essence of who someone is, doesn't just change, and certainly not as dramatically as the Henson children are painting Steve's. A person's mental and moral qualities are the foundation from which all actions flow. And actions speak louder than words.
But I'm willing to bet that you don't know Whitmere well enough as a PERSON - and not an on-camera entertainer - to really be able to say that with confidence. Lots of performers put on a show that makes them out to be an entirely different person than they are behind closed doors.

The Henson children acted by spitting on their father's legacy, something they knew was very important to him, selling it not once but twice to the highest bidder. Steve acted by protecting Jim's legacy and its integrity.
Spoken like a person who is just REALLY angry that this had to happen to Kermit, the Muppets and Whitmere. I don't see anything that Henson's kids did that "spit on" their fathers legacy. That's ridiculous. You're really looking at this in black and white; Whitemere is the holy good guy looking out for the Muppets and Henson's kids are big meanies.

And the "highest bigger" comment? For crying out laid, Jim was going to sell to Disney a decade and a half before his kids did. Why are their actions any different than his? Either way, they would have went to Disney.

The Henson children acted by slandering Steve. Steve has acted with empathy, calm, and tact -- with no insults of his own slung.
Well of COURSE he's acting like this. It's the best way to garner sympathy. Is it any wonder he had the first word on any of this. By breaking the news first and acting the way he has, he's ensured that anyone who speaks out against him looks bad. Pretty shrewed.

So until there is something more substantial than hearsay from a morally-bankrupt corporation, greedy children disconnected entirely from The Muppets, and a couple of bitter/envious puppeteers, I decide to remain loyal to Steve Whitmire. I am loyal to the Muppet characters of course, but first and foremost I am loyal to those Muppeteers who have dedicated their lives to and have worked tirelessly to bring them to life. Loyalty, for me, isn't just a weather-vane to be moved to and fro by a fickle wind.
So a large corportation, three of Henson's kids and several Muppet performers can all say pretty much the same thing, but no, Whitmere has done no wrong and everyone is just bitter, envious and mean? To me, that speaks more about you (and other Muppet fans who say the same) having a hard time coping with what's actually happening than anything else.

Jim, were he alive, would have fixed this, I know. As someone said, he would have found the middle ground, put everyone in a time-out and set everything right again. In a Mufasa-like moment, he'd likely tell Steve and his children that they should be on the same side, to stop fighting, and to work together to take back The Muppets from the hyenas. How we need him now...
Unless, like a lot of others, we would have gotten sick enough of him to eventually do exactly what Disney did. But if Jim hadn't died, Whitmere wouldn't have taken over Kermit anyway and this never would have happened. And also, Jim, like every other person that's ever lived, was a human being. Even he wasn't perfect. But putting him on this insanely high pedestal like you have illustrates what I'm talking about perfectly.

Like I said earlier, this isn't a cartoon.
 

LaRanaRene

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Steve released a new blog post

https://stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com/2017/07/22/the-last-few-days-part-1/


It’s really difficult to be blamed for the degradation of the Muppets lead character on the one hand, while having been terminated for how I was outspoken against poor creative direction on the other. While I agree with the character issues brought up by the Hensons, I am a contract player who is ultimately bound to perform characters any way the owner of the characters directs me to.

The headlines are now turning this into being between the Hensons and me. With a war of words in the press with the Hensons, Disney executives will never be held accountable for mediocre creative directions that lay at their feet, or for the way I have been treated.

After literally refuting every one of Brian’s allegations on paper throughout the night, I cannot bring myself to send it to the media out of respect for Jim. No matter how carefully I frame it, because I know so much about them, it feels like a counterattack that might do real personal damage. I am tortured by knowing half the public will think no defense means they are right, and half would think I’m being petty if I adequately defend myself. I am intentionally choosing not to do that because it adds fuel to a media fire.

In true Muppet-style I have been blessed by the support of the many people I have worked with over the last 39-years, from celebrities to crew, from all over the planet they have reached out privately expressing their love.”
 

Rugratskid

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I was reading Jim's biography on Thursday, and something in it got me to thinking. Jim and his kids are definitely different people. In the bio, it said Jim had said to his agent, "never sell anything I own." This was in regard to the commercials he created for Munchos. I found that interesting, but I'm not going to hold anything against Lisa, Brian, and the rest of the Hensons. I highly doubt this is the same sort of situation, since he was planning on selling the Muppets to Disney, as I've been reading here (I'm only on chapter 7 in the book I'm currently reading). What Jim, Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, and Heather think what is right is their own thinking, and I should hope that nobody would expect to think the same way all the time (creepy much?) Even the Two-Headed Monster's heads had differing opinions. Que sera sera. What will be will be.

Somebody stop me before I start singing the theme from "Annie."
I was hoping someone would bring this up - I will say this.. I don't think The Muppets should've been sold to Disney, at any point. Jim was ever weary of the deal in 89/90, and I think the things he was worried about still hold up just as well today... gotta say, I'm with Steve on this one.. sounds as if the Henson kids don't know all the details, and are basing opinions on the little they know (Kermit's character direction seems to be within the material, as when Steve portrayed Kermit in interviews and off-screen, he was what I imagine Kermit to be; a bit of a joker, but friendly and cares for those who work with him.. could say the same for Jim).. I guess I'm sorta doing the same thing, basing my opinion off of random details, but that's what fans do best, I suppose. :stick_out_tongue:

The futures not ours to see. que sera, sera.. might've gotten some of those words wrong, lol.
 

DarthGonzo

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Everyone keeps blaming the writers for how Kermit has been for the past 20 some-odd years. But I can't be the only one who got aggravated at the way Whitmere performed Kermit on live appearances on talk shows and other engagements, right? That stupid "this is my frozen frog face" joke repeated ad nausium got on my nerves.

And Henson's Kermit's appeal is that deep down, he really was a bit of an ***hole. He treated Piggy badly on many occasions and really let her have it without backing down, he would slam Fozzie and Gonzo very subtlety in ways neither of them were savvy enough to understand, and there was always a tinge of "this is beneath me but whatever it's a gig" in his voice whenever he appeared on Sesame Street. Jim had a way of making Kermit so darn funny that didn't come from writers. It came from Jim and how in tune he was with his own creation.

I never felt that from Whitmere's Kermit, no matter what production he was in or which writers handled him. His Kermit was very different. He was a bit of a too-friendly wuss who was quick to get frustrated but also quick to back down in fear of upsetting anyone. That's part of both the writing and the performance. Whitmere's performance of Kermit telling Piggy off in MMW is so different from how Jim would do it, and it's not about how it was written, but it about how toothless his anger and exasperation would be. Whitmere's Kermit was a depressed wimp. Jim's Kermit knew he was the center of the universe, and a small part of him got off on it.

That stuff you can't credit or blame writers for. It's totally about how Whitmere and Henson interpreted the character.
 
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