Home > Izzy Neis Links > Rant on the Muppets visiting the Bachelorette

Rant on the Muppets visiting the Bachelorette

Muppets to Crash ‘The Bachelorette’: Sneak Peek

Emily Maynard enlists expert advice from Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
There are very few things that make me go 0-60 pissed in .02 seconds.  Okay, well, a “moderate” amount of things.  But I’ll tell you what… seeing a tidbit from the Muppet Movie (whom I follow) on my Facebook RSS feed announcing the appearance of the Muppets on The Bachelorette tonight?  THAT. MAKES. IZZY. ANGRY.  I’m like a she-hulk right now.  Cue rant, and perhaps small over-reaction, but reaction nonetheless:
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I am so disappointed.  Everyone is entitled to like what they wish to like – to watch what they wish to watch (within reason, you can argue, from a Parent’s point of view, or a legal point of view, lol).  But I have a serious problem, as a devout Henson-ist (yeah, I made that title up, but follow me here), I cannot – for one single moment – believe that Jim Henson and all that he stood for and believed in… would have EVER lowered himself, his standards, or his creations to appear on some mass-market human-experimental meat-market, where plastic personalities, super-Barbie/Ken looks, heavily-produced drama, and 20 second competitive dates help define TRUE LOVE for the extent of a wee lil television season.
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I realize that Disney, upon its purchase and reinvention of the Muppet-brand, decided to (excuse me, but I’m angry) “whore” itself out in order to really hit all audience targets in that pop culture arena, in order to really hone in on the cash-cow IP.  But there has to be a point where people are like – um, is this true to Jim Henson’s Muppets?
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WELL, maybe not if their idea of a good old fashioned, family-time meal is McDonalds on paper plates in front of the TV. (Anyone else visualize Matilda’s family in Roald Dahl’s Matilda?)
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The HUGE over-saturation of the Muppets in general was making me a little sad inside (my own private “Buddy Jesus” moment), but this really shot me over the line.  I’m one of those people that says (when asked my opinion about Jason Segel’s installment), “I think it was a nice little LOVE LETTER to the Muppets, yes.” And then I smile with dead eyes, take a deep breath, think about how I probably would have monkeyed it up in my blind love too, and then spend a moment privately mourning Mr. Henson.  If it had not been for that “love letter” phrase, courtesy of many critics, I think I wouldn’t have such a nice perspective.  I agree wholeheartedly with Frank Oz’s assessment (but I won’t get into that now, click that link and read on for Mr. Oz’s point).  Yes, it was better than some of the more recent installments (I will fight you if you try to say anything bad about Muppet Treasure Island), but was it a Jim Henson Muppet movie? Nay.  Can we expect anyone to create anything as wonderful again?  Of course not.  I don’t begrudge Jason Segel’s movie, Disney’s hope to reinvigorate the brand, or anyone else who will attempt to make another Muppet Master Piece.
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Maybe it’s because of the videos I was watching of Maurice Sendak talking about children’s entertainment after his recent passing.  Or maybe it’s was the clips from Jim Henson‘s televised memorial I watched last week during the remembrance of his death (there’s five links to 5 videos above, fyi).  But what children’s entertainment was to me growing up, and how I have come to embrace it now (in my professional life) is that it’s about helping children adapt/learn/grow/experience a type of truth in life, without making it so hard or cruel or colorless (as it can be for adults).  Children’s entertainment… FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT should be about the truth of friendship, and kindness, and individuality, and love, and family, and imagination, and possibility, and the selflessness of love and friendship and family, and the inspiration found within color and uniqueness and imagination and possibility.  Hardships, drama, difficulty, challenges – they happen, and overcoming & building perspective is what life is about.  The Muppets and other such wonders (like Max from Where the Wild Things are, to continue with my mention of Sendak, or even stories/characters by Roald Dahl for that matter) bring varieties of truth through character and extraordinary adventure and fun and entertainment and possibility.  Shows like The Bachelorette are mockeries truths in the false pursuit of ‘reality’ for entertainment consumption only – “real” people forced into a fictional set-up to live out forced romances which are nothing more than the bastardization of friendship and love and truth, concocted, stirred up, and set before audiences by mastermind producers coated in sugar and money.  It’s a whole other kind of puppeteering – pushing people to the limit of their emotional wellbeing and then filming them when all goes awry and calling it “reality television”.  Forced situations in hopes of true feelings through false realities.  Ugh. That’s not the legacy that anyone like Jim Henson would have left behind, and that’s not something I ever would have believed his legacy would be involved with.  I wish Frank Oz would say something.  Or Brian Henson.  Someone should represent his legacy here.
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I know, it’s just a little “appearance” and I’m wasting time/effort getting worked up.  If the Bachelorette is going to exist in this world – fine.  Whatever to that.  But I (perhaps naively) believe in the creations and legacy that Jim Henson left behind.  They helped shape me as a person, and will help shape my children in the future and the projects I work on, and the type of person I continuously strive to be.   Seeing The Muppets appear on The Bachelorette (no matter what they say, what they do, etc) is no different to me than paving a highway over Jim Henson’s grave, or placing portopotties atop any Jim Henson memorial.  Its taking something I care about and sullying it.
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To the individual who gave the thumbs-up for that marketing ploy (no doubt because the Muppets Movie is coming out on DVD), shame on you.  Shame on you.
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Categories: Izzy Neis Links
  1. Drew Scott
    May 22, 2012 at 4:10 am

    I am getting on a plane right now, and in four and a half hours I will ring your doorbell and shake your hand. Then I will fly back home and finish posting here about my enthusiasm for your impassioned — and wholly righteous — tirade. Rage on, you felt-lined monster.

  2. May 22, 2012 at 5:25 am

    And this, dear one, is why I adore you. On behalf of my endless mini-rants you’ve endured over the last few years when media and marketing’s impact on kids goes sideways, I can safely say your passionista flames are burning bright, igniting a positive path and sending digital signal flares to those who need to see ‘em.

    Spot on. (insert Skype ‘bow’ emoticon with gratitude ;-)

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