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The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread

Beauregard

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I have another Voice related question (again, not a character called Voice...just voice in general.) Do you ever find yourself saying things allowed when you are writing them, to see if they sound right for the character? And also...do you ever find yourself doing the voices, either out loud or in your head? Can you do impressions of any Muppets?
 

theprawncracker

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Answers from Jim Lewis: 7-4-09

From theprawncracker…
Dear Jimothy,As you'll be able to tell after the question I ask you now, you've become more of an all-knowing Muppet guidance counselor to me, rather than someone who also happens to work with the Muppets.But anyway! If you were to have a female friend--most likely called your "girlfriend" and she wanted to watch a Muppet movie with you... which would you recommend first?

The Muppet Movie. Worked with my girlfriend and now she’s my wife. Happily. After all these years. Plus, if she doesn’t laugh at the “fork In the road” it’s time for her to leave.

And actually, I have a REAL question for you! Can you reveal to us any sort of progress on the new Halloween special slated for this fall? Are you involved at all?

No and no.

And... Would you ever sign a picture of a coffee cake? Just... hypothetically speaking.

Need more info on this. Do you actually mean sign a picture of a coffee cake, or sign a coffee cake. No on the former, yes on the latter. However, I will sign cheese danish, bear claws, pain au chocolat and those little cookies with the sprinkles on them any time.

From minor_muppetz…
Are there any particular characters who originated on Muppets Tonight that you were responsible for creating?

I think it’s safe to say that no characters are really “created” by the writers. There were some characters that were “suggested” by me (us) and then given life by the performers, but it’s always a collaboration in these cases. And as for the most famous offspring of “Muppets Tonight”—Pepe the King Prawn—he sprung like Athena from the head of Zeus out of Bill Barretta. We may helped Bill embellish the character, but it’s all him.

From dwayne1115...When Kermit was on Extreme Home Makeover filling in for Ty, and when Kermit Fozzie, Gonzo, Piggy, and Animal were on the show, were you there? And did you help build the houses or just help the Muppets out?

I was there at the start of the shoot for a few days, deep in the heart of Texas. I helped suggest (gee that’s all I do, isn’t it?) bits and notions and gewgaws and gimcracks, but once the shoot got going, it was all the Frog…and the rest of the gang. It was, I must say, even more inspiring to be there than even to watch the show on TV. The people they help are real and really thankful – and the outpouring from the town and the cast and crew of the show is astonishing. Long may it run. An honor to be involved, even in such a small way.

From Beauregard…
I have a comment (and maybe a question). Comment is that I read over at Toughpigs that at your suggestion Lewis Kazagggaggahgah was added to the Robin Hood comic, which I think is a truly excellent suggestion and will be appreciated by sports' fans everywhere! (And by none sports fans, nowhere...)

Thanks. Louis Cazagger (Non-phonetic spelling) is an oft overlooked gem from the great Jerry Nelson.

My question, though, is about Voice. (Which sounds like an entry from Muppet Wikipedia "Voice - first heard backstage in Episode..."...) But that's not what I mean at all. My question is about Dr Teeth. I have struggled to write him, many many times. Any ideas or suggestions for getting him right? (write?)

I always try to think of the wonderful musical genius who inspired his creation -- “Dr. John” (e.g. “I was in the right place, but it musta been the wrong time”….et al). He’s pure bayou cool, with a rock tinge – and at the same time, he is the Leader of the Mayhem and takes that responsibility very seriously. Dig? (P.S. The occasional oddly mellifluous malaprop – absotively possolutely – helps capture the voice.)

From frogboy4...
Hiya Jim! It has been recently mentioned that both you and Segel have individual Muppet movie screenplays floating around at Disney. Is this correct? Is there any info you can share about this? If you were to make a Muppet movie (this or any other script) where would you most like it set? What would you most like seeing the Muppets doing in film? Thanks!

Wow, what a great question. Never has anyone compiled that many questions that I can’t answer in one place. I can neither confirm, deny nor scratch my head in confusion about any of the above. For reasons of confidentiality, fiduciary responsibility to my family, and an early onset of dottiness, I will not answer any—but the last—of your questions. And to “what would (I) most like to see the Muppets doing in a film,u201D I respond: Being funn-ee! Ahhhhhh! Wocka! Wocka!

From Beauregard…
I have another Voice related question (again, not a character called Voice...just voice in general.) Do you ever find yourself saying things aloud when you are writing them, to see if they sound right for the character? And also...do you ever find yourself doing the voices, either out loud or in your head? Can you do impressions of any Muppets?

Oh boy have you hit the mother lode of embarrassing personal habits. Do I ever! When writing, I am constantly doing the voices – usually out loud – to see if they sound right. Now that I work at home, it’s not that big a deal. My wife is used to it (See note above about “early onset of dottiness”). But when I was at the Henson offices, I would often look up to see various colleagues in the doorway staring befuddled at me as I blithely acted out entire scenes. (I didn’t care, but I think I may have caused these observers long term emotional damage.) Personally, I think it is extremely helpful to hear the voices out loud. You get they rhythm of how they talk, and how the words bounce off each other. And with any characters—especially these—that is important. Do I do impressions? No. My approximation of their voices is for test purposes only, performed on a closed track. I’d never do them publicly—at least not on purpose.
 

minor muppetz

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I recently read that you were a writer for Kermit's Tales, the stories from Jim Henson's Bedtime Stories (later reprinted in Jim Henson's Muppet Stories) which didn't include any established Muppet characters. What was the development process like for these stories?
 

Beauregard

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Hey J, (which almost rhymes...the rhyming song, the rhyming song...)

Most of us fans (by which I mean fanatic ones) are accused by friends and family of having childish hobbies, liking puppetry, or the Muppets. We're often told we're too old to watch Sesame Street, and people smile bemused from behind the check-out counter when you buy a copy of TMS Season 1, or ask them (for the third time in a week) if they have TMS 2 in yet. Do you find this regarding yourself? Do any of your friends or family think that you should get a 'grown up job'?
 

frogboy4

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Hiya again, Jim! It's that precocious fan again with the unanswerable questions. Okay, here’s an easier one. If you were a sandwich, what fixin’s would you have? Here’s a little tougher one now.

It has been said that the Halloween special is underway. Are they shooting now? The last special had some location-shooting. Without divulging where, should fans expect to see the Muppets take over another neighborhood for the day as with Letters from Santa? Keeping my peepers peeled. Just hope they don’t come to San Francisco. Manholes are catching fire and exploding all over the place!

And since good things come in threes…
What Muppet would you most like as a drinking buddy?
What Muppet would you most like as a housekeeper?
What Muppet is the most difficult to write for?

Thanks. I know there's gotta be some answers somewhere in that. If not, thanks for reading them. Reading the responses here really are a highlight to my week. :smile:
 

Beauregard

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Hi J (K, L, M, N, O, P...) (Yes, I learned my ABC's) (Hi before E, except after C)...anyway... Now, I don't know if this is a international phenomenon (do, doo, do do do) but in the UK more and more people are using the word "Muppet" to describe someone who has done something a bit stupid, "You are such a Muppet..." "What a Muppet!" "You Muppet." All this without really making any connection between the term Muppet, and the actual Muppets themselves. If you were to hear someone calling someone a Muppet, would you consider it an insult or a compliment towards the actual Muppets? -- Confused in the UK slang department
 

dwayne1115

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I was watching Muppet Classic Theater the other day in I realized something. This is where we first see Andy & Randy Pig. These two where the first two Muppets created after Jim's death. Was Jim and maybe Jerry Juhl, and you working on any new Muppets or anything else. or was Jim more working on other things.

We are well on our way of getting 500 posts Wow
 
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