Taking a moment to GEEK OUT: Muppets
As you know the script for the film was written by Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, How I Met Your Mother) and Nicholas Stoller (director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall), the movie used to be called, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made, the film is now called, The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time, which is definitely a much more positive title.
They’re story follows a man named Gary, his girlfriend named Mary and the man’s life-long nondescript, brown puppet best friend Walter must round up and convince the now retired entertainers from the original Muppet Show to help save the famous television studio that the original variety series was filmed in. The film’s evil villain, Tex Richman, is due to take over the property, and wants to destroy the theater and drill for oil underneath.
Now, thanks to The Playlist we’ve got some more information on the script for the film and what we can expect. Here is a part of their review:
It’s a solid attempt at recapturing what made “The Muppet Show” and the first two Muppetmovies so great, but “The Great Muppet Movie of All Time” is no “Great Muppet Caper” — ‘Caper’ being to the first Muppets film, what “The Empire Strikes Back” is to “Star Wars” — but it is a fresh, younger approach. Stoller and Segel have fun with the characters, are aware of what made the Muppet early years so great (winks to the audience, friendly musical numbers, single gag repetition, friendship and togetherness being the answer to everything), and hit the mark 65% of the time. We’re hoping the songs (the majority of which were missing from the script) help elevate the script from a harmless Muppet flick to a more memorable one, but there’s more work to be done first. But what their script lacks (oddly enough, this being a Muppet movie and all) is forward pulse. “The Muppet Movie” is about a frog’s drive to get to Hollywood and the people he meets along the way and the friendships he makes.
The person that read the script definitely isn’t 100% sold on the script. Perhaps the script he read is a first draft and has since been polished. I’m still holding out for hope that it will end up being a good, solid, fun Muppet movie. Make sure head on over to The Playlist to read the rest of the review.
Yes: I do realize that this isn’t the “most glowing” of script-review previews… but I don’t really care (yet, of course – if its crap, hell hath no fury like an izzy scorned). My heart just skipped several beats. I officially do not need coffee now. If a girl could possibly geek out over anything more in the world… there is little that could possibly bring about the glee and joy I am currently emitting.
Ya know, I was psyched for Where The Wild Things Are, and still LOVE that property with all amendments and additions and awesomeness (I have very long, ramble-y tangents about why I still believe in what Jonze did, and the overall WTWTA awesomeness, but they’re best left for another time).
I love the muppets. I am a muppet – or as close to a muppet as possible without actually being made of felt and some stranger’s hand. So forgive me as I take a rather lengthy moment to explain why I – and many of you – could be considered a muppet, and then another moment on why this future edition of the Muppet Movie could be, in fact, like a moment of pure unadulterated youthful bliss – if delivered the way it seems to be promised. So forgive this momentary blog entry, a partial love-letter, in a way… to the Henson (may he be praised).
Like I said. I am a muppet. Hi, nice to meet you.
There are many versions of Muppets in this world – and many wannabe muppet-puppets. Lambchop, you are not a muppet. Clearly. Howdy Doody, sorry bud, not a muppet. Elmo, not a muppet.
errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, rewind. Yes, I said Elmo is not a muppet. Okay, okay – you’re a muppet, Elmo, I just tend to believe that the Henson (may he be praised) would never have okay-ed a muppet that a) has a “breakout star” attitude for a show about community, b) have a “Me” first attitude, c) look-at-me, look-at-me, show & tell character format, d) is so babyish. Say what you want about the nature of Big Bird and his young voice – but he never seemed to revel in anything babyish, he was always about growing and learning and love and support. Clearly, I have deep seeded issues about Elmo, like one does with a backwater cousin (aw snap).
Anyway – I’m getting off on a tangent here about Elmo that probably will get me in trouble one day with some Elmo-fan.
As I was saying, I am a muppet. So might you be?
Outside of my direct family, the entity that affected me most in life would have to be the worlds and lessons and community of Jim Henson (may he be praised) (we’ll leave my TV family, the Cosbys, and the epic Disney for other conversations). Henson, in many ways, taught me:
1. Acceptance (of yourself, and others, yet the push to reach for your dreams and not accept what you don’t want for yourself)
2. Cultural diversity (I’ll have to ramble on this particular point some time)
3. Simple lessons (near, far – COME ON, it’s BRILLIANT)
4. Love & Friendship (you can complete anything with your friends)
And most importantly: Community (the sum of 1 – 4)
Community was at the base of anything I’ve ever seen from Jim Henson (may he be praised) – it was about people: diverse, unique, the same, friends, soon-to-be-friends, group triumph, etc – the story of “together”. I may be a “kook”, but I’m not alone – there are other like-minded (or complimentary alternative) kooks that you’ll come across in life. Acceptance of others is also, sometimes, acceptance in self – love people for what they bring in your life, and the adventures they accompany you on, and the support they provide – and oh, the laughs of it all!
It takes all kinds of people in life – all kinds! And if Jim Henson (may he be praised) not only presented this concept to you, but also empowered you to express your addition to community, both large and small (whether it be with silliness, creativity, support, and/or acceptance), then yep – you might just be a muppet too 🙂
Now, enough about me explaining my muppetude. After the Henson passed (may he be praised), the Muppets (all Muppets) had a heck of a rollercoaster ride – what with Sesame Street going one direction, and the Muppets (Piggy, Kermie, Gonzo, Foz, et all) going quite another (finally ending up in the lap of Disney). There have been many movies – some cute (I do love Muppets Treasure Island), and some slightly lost at the heart (Muppets From Space), there have been television shows (the two attempts at reviving The Muppet Show), and many, many commercials (Piggy supporting Pizza Hut… um… Sausage Pizza, Piggy… not ideal for you). Somewhere in my soul, I can’t help but fear that the Henson wouldn’t be too happy to see his creations hocking Disney products – or any product, for that matter. Some Muppets were created (Jim Henson Creature Shop simply must be a magical place) for alternative programing (I seriously began watching Farscape only for the muppets), and keep alive a beautiful form of art that CGI seems to want to destroy (ugh, don’t even GET me started on how I feel about the lack of muppets in Star Wars: Ep 2 & 3).
For the last year, The Henson Company and Henson Studios have been slipping further and further into the new age of viral content – and THANK GOD FOR ME. From Twitter – @hensoncompany & @muppetsstudio, and @muppetnewsflash and @muppetcentral, to Youtube – youtube.com/MuppetsStudio, where they’ve been delighting muppet-loving-viral-audiences with hilarity – on the street vids, music vids, Waldorf & Statler doing what they do best, and clips. This is the first time in a LONG time that I’ve seen the original Muppets doing what they do best – silliness and fun.
But there’s no connector piece – no full-stage, chaos. No collection of diveristy & no drive forward in some representation of teamwork, community, and sense of togetherness that can be seen in the old TV show, or in the movies – the review that Playlist has in the clip I snagged above clearly points this out. Adventure – the linear path of adventure. The beginnings and middles and sad-to-be-leaving, endings. This is the make or break for Muppet movies that seem to achieve the tone we all like, but feel “flat”.
I watched the “director’s commentary” version of Forgetting Sarah Marshall a year or so ago – and I particularly remember the mention that Jason Segel is a HUGE muppet fan, and that he geeked out massively when he got his Drakula muppet (um, who WOULDN’T, I mean, really – IT’S A MUPPET, a girl could only wish!). I can’t help but feel that Jason Segel is of muppet origin, just as I claim to be (perhaps, a wee different version, but still). I commend anyone for taking on a massive undertaking like a Muppet movie – for me, it’s like drinking my own koolaid and trying to predict what happens next. In other words, I couldn’t do it, not faithfully, and I’d get WAY too caught up in playing out stories, like an 8 year old with her Barbies, to be able to give it a fitting and concise story. I’d want it all, neverending, and repeat, lol.
I really do hope this movie gives a fitting nod to the Muppet dynasty. Really, truly. Sometimes I wonder if the youth today are benefitting the way I did from the Henson (may he be prasied). How horrible it would be to be raised without Cookie Monster who eats COOKIES (not freakin’ fruit), Big Bird and Telly, Oscar the Grouch, best buds Ernie and Bert, and Snuffy – both imaginary and real, Kermit and Fozzie Bear, Ms. Piggy (who came to my 8th birthday – best visitor ever), and my BELOVED Gonzo, not to mention Sam Eagle, Waldorf/Statler, the entire Muppet show ensemble, Ludo and cast (The Labyrinth), and all of the realistic characters from The Storyteller – which, had one of the LARGEST impacts on my imagination of all time (save that story for another reason).
Okay, I’m realizing I could keep going with this… I should probably end awkwardly now with no closing point, as I feel this topic is going to keep bubbling up over the next year. But before I do:
Please feel free (if you made it THIS far in this love-letter-ramble) to comment on your favorite Henson reprocussions of your life, or in general!! I’d love to hear it. I’m fascinated with how one puppeteer subtly altered our generation and entertainment….