Moving Forward

Yeah, yeah, I know, this is a complete turnaround from my last post, but there’s something I’ve been holding back from talking about on here due to needing more time to gather my thoughts about it.

This is going to be surprising coming from me, but I have complete faith in Matt Vogel. Not only in him, but Peter Linz, David Rudman and the rest of the Muppet Performers as they all adjust to the recasts. Apart of me is still reluctant to recognise the changes, but I’ll get over it. I really wasn’t sure what to make of things until I watched a series of clips from the Hollywood Bowl. What I saw was astoundingly good, making me want to jump through the screen and join all of the lucky show-goers. ‘Happy Feet’ especially brought a new sense of optimism into my heart about the future of the Muppets.

So I absolutely trust the Muppet Performers. As for Disney?

Ehhh…..That’s gonna be a work in progress.¬†Aside from my disappointment in their decision to deny one of the most experienced and influential performers a chance to redeem himself, there’s another (hopefully minor) concern I have in regards to the executives of Muppets Studio.

Muppets Take the Bowl was a great idea. It brought Muppet fans from all over the world together, pulled out all the stops, hit all the right notes and highlighted the best part about the Muppets: the puppetry. By doing it, Disney not only established that the Muppets won’t disappear, but that they understood the Muppet’s history and the magic that has made them so beloved. However, that being said, it also highlighted a problem they’ve been battling since day one:

Disney can connect to the Muppets’ past, but they’re struggling to lead them into the future.

It’s always great to get a new taste of The Muppet Show,¬†but if Disney wants to keep the Muppets as a viable franchise, they need to develop something long term so they don’t keep falling back on the same old gimmicks. By all means, build upon what Jim Henson established by keeping his goals for the Muppets in mind, just don’t outright mimic it. There’s only so many times I can hear the ‘Comedian’s a Bear’ gag before it starts to wear thin on my sense of humour

Nostalgia has played a huge role in the Muppets success of recent years, but it’s also caused a few problems. The 2015 Muppet Show was highly anticipated, only to quickly meet its doom when the casual audience realised Kermit wasn’t going to be singing ‘Rainbow Connection’ at the end of every episode and Piggy wasn’t going to karate chop someone at the smallest inconvenience.

Oh, how dare the characters change things up a bit?! To be fair, the writing for that show was mainly horrendous. It was kind of a relief that it was cancelled before it caused some real damage. It’s wasn’t the writers intention to mess things up, but they seemed rather ignorant to who the Muppets truly are. If rumours are true, then the opinions of the Muppet Performers were often pushed aside in favour of catering to the standard sitcom tropes, throwing Muppets anywhere they could fit.

I guess if there is anything I want to recommend to Disney, it’s to give the Muppet Performers a heck of a lot more license over their characters then they do now. Why try to write for the soul of the character when the person who embodies that soul is standing there in front of you? Between the wish of the performers to organically grow the characters personalities and the endless creative resources Disney has at their fingertips, I’m sure there are projects that could be developed that could move the Muppets forward in a positive way and not have anything to do with The Muppet Show.

Let me see….I’ve addressed the Muppet Performers…..Disney and their main issue…What’s left?

Ah, right. Steve.

Boy, oh, boy, I’ve discussed you to death and back, haven’t I, mate? You know, I used to deliberately avoid discussing Steve in my blog posts because I didn’t want anyone to think that I was overly-obsessed with him.

Crikey, did that ship sail fast from the shore….

Unless Steve drops some kind of bombshell, I haven’t much left to say about him here on the Halibut. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve put a great deal of effort into getting Steve’s ideas and points of contention out into the open, and I’ll continue to do so, just not so much on here. I’ll hang around and join the discussions on Pundit, tweet links to his posts and probably get into arguments with people about the subject matter on Muppet Central, but there has to come a time when I am able to move past something in order to embrace something new.

Steve, I’m going to drop a link to this on Pundit, which means you’ll end up reading this since you insist that you read our stuff. There’s something I really want to get across to you.

And I’m saying this with all the love and admiration I can muster: Just as the Muppets will do their best to move on without you, I sincerely hope you will do your best to move on without the Muppets. By all means, say what you feel you must say about these characters; you’ve earned that right, but please don’t let it consume your life. I imagine you possessing a strong mentality, it shows in your continuing Muppet Crusade. You’re intelligent, stubborn, quick-witted, empathetic, kind and most importantly, a man of many talents.

I have to be honest, I’m scared for your future. The thought of never witnessing your creativity in action again is a dreadful one. I may be ready to move on with the new era of Muppets, but I remain one of your most devoted fans. As of this post, I’m remaining with you as a fan who wants to see you rise above the limitations you contended with as a Muppet Performer. This is the chance for you to come into your own as a creative mind and I sincerely hope you take advantage of it.

This isn’t me being pushy, it’s me trying to hand you a key to the door of many possibilities. It’s more than likely that you’ve already considered all this, which is certainly a good thing. If the day comes that you announce a project that’s all your own, I’ll be one of the first to greet the news with a cheer and bubbling excitement.

I think I’ve addressed enough to satisfy quite a few people. If there’s something I didn’t touch on that you would recommend I do in the future, by all means, leave a comment below and I’ll get around to it at some point.


Muppet Articles

Marni Hill View All →

Muppet Enthusiast, Film Lover, Book Adorer. No one original, but (hopefully) providing brand new perspectives for the world to process. Currently a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate at Deakin University.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Marni, it probably wasn’t intentional on your part, but I laughed when you said your trust in Disney was a work in progress. “Work in Progress” is the name of Michael Eisner’s autobiography, co-written with Tony Schwartz (yes, THAT Tony Schwartz) and published about 20 years ago.


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