Monday, November 21, 2011

After so much Arkham City, feel like I should be hitting these with pulse guns and sliding underneath.

Mike Mine Muppet


Let me preface by saying that I like the Muppets, have a tremendous amount of respect for the artistry and creativity of Jim Henson and his team and already have tickets to the new "Muppets" film for later this week. Having said that...

You really have to give it up to Disney for marketing the shit out of this property over the last couple of years online. I'm old enough to recall nobody really giving a crap about Muppets any more and feeling like the loss of Henson killed the franchise. There is more excitement for this upcoming film than any Muppet property I can recall, and this includes Henson projects when he was still alive, like "Dark Crystal," "Storyteller" or "Labyrinth."

I also got a chance to revisit Season 1 of "The Muppet Show" not too long ago, and was surprised to see that it mainly consisted not of brilliant, savvy, highbrow comedy, but of a lot of puppets rhythmically swinging side-to-side, with the occasional one-liner thrown in for good measure. (They were very big on the "this Muppet/human guest star is stealing the spotlight but I want it for myself!" bit in those early days.) I know the show picked up in later seasons, but we also have a tendency to just remember the classic "Mahna Mahna" moments. Likewise, "Great Muppet Caper" is really the only film in the franchise to hold up the entire way through. "Muppet Movie" is good but kind of drags, and even the remembered-as-a-classic "Muppets Take Manhattan" is pretty flat and oddly-serious (almost creepy) in its final half hour.

Not sure what, if anything, has actually changed, aside from a brilliant YouTube campaign and some killer tongue-in-cheek TV spots. But it occurs to me that Jason Segal and the new filmmakers and cast have the challenge of not just updating the Muppets but also making it actually live up to the somewhat unreasonable expectations the marketing has created. I hope they get there.

[Photo is Kermit and Piggy with Avery Schreiber. How could kids NOT be into this?]

Posted via email from Lon Harris