Well, after all of…..THIS! I’ve taken the time to relax and ease any residual anger from the situation out of my body. At some point during this month, it will have been exactly a year since Steve Whitmire got the unceremonious shove from the Muppets, but I’m not going to make a big deal out of it for a couple of reasons:
A) Steve has confirmed that he reads my posts and I’m sure the ‘anniversary’ isn’t something he’ll want to be reminded of.
B) To keep carrying on about it would just be a moot point.
And C) I have my own selfish reasons for not wanting to think about it this month. The main one being that it’s my 21st birthday Wednesday after next. I remember the feeling of guilt in the pit of my stomach when I realised that while I was stuffing my mouth with cake last year, Steve was probably already going through the worst time of his life.
But hey, that’s all water under the bridge now. There’s not much I can do for Steve’s career other than to defend his position, and I’m still up on my soapbox preaching his Muppet philosophy. Like I said previously, I’m not churning out scathing, hard-headed articles anymore, mostly out of respect for the Muppet Performers who are still there doing their best. My beef is with the Muppets Studio executives, just as it should be.
Brushing the Muppets aside for a moment, I just experienced an absolutely horrid weekend, leading me to question whether or not my living situation needs to drastically change soon. Writing always helps to clear my head, so I thought I’d take one of my favourite subjects (though he obviously means a lot more to me than that) and have some fun coming up with suggestions for what Steve could do next.
Please bear in mind that these are just silly ideas and I don’t actually expect Steve to do them. While I would love for him to do some of these things, it’s all harmless speculation and brainstorming.
The Rocky Horror Puppet Show:
A puppet adaptation of an already silly-on-purpose musical, lorded over by Steve, would be nothing less than epic. Steve’s evidently a huge fan, so why not combine his expertise with his love for the show? He’s even close acquaintances with Rocky’s creator, Richard O’Brien, so finding a way to pitch the project wouldn’t be difficult. I can almost imagine it: mostly done Avenue Q-style, but with excellent bunraku ( please tell me that’s what it’s called…) puppetry thrown in as well for numbers like ‘Sweet Transvestite’. That’s referring to a stage adaptation, of course. A feature film would be less likely, but still a heap of fun!
Plus, it would be awesome to watch Steve take on Riff Raff, perhaps even Frank N Furter!
This is an idea that has actually been thrown around and suggested directly to Steve ever since he started Muppet Pundit and the high quality of his writing become obvious.
When I suggest that Steve should take pen to paper, I’m not thinking of him going down the ‘here’s a 700-page rant about why Disney’s destroying the Muppets’ route. I’m thinking more of the ‘my career has been pretty goddamn epic and here’s some cool-ass stories’ or ‘if you want to be a great puppeteer with strong characters, here’s how to do it’ kind of thing. Heck, even a straight out autobiography would be great, but of course, that would depend on how open he’d want to be about his personal life.
Steve’s already done this a couple of times before, but now would be a great time to take it on the road, perhaps even internationally. There are hundreds of puppeteers out there that would kill for the chance to learn from someone who worked closely with the great Jim Henson, especially someone who has proven to have matched up to Jim’s puppetry talents.
Just to speak from a personal stance, if I were to attend a puppetry workshop held by Steve, it would be a huge pleasure and I’d give 100% effort, but I’d be even more interested in the lecture that would accompany it. Especially, if that lecture was along the lines of the ‘Sentient Puppet’ talk he did back in 2010. Reading through notes taken from that talk, there’s a lot that could be applied to writing characters for novels or TV shows and films (but that discussion is for another article).
Having Steve join the very few monitor-puppetry masters, who get out there and strive to educate the masses would only benefit the art form in the long run.
Take a listen to this. I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that you wouldn’t be able to listen to several tracks featuring that voice.
I love music with all my heart, but I must admit I’m not the best at determining what type of voice would suit what type of genre. This is the only sample of Steve’s natural singing voice I’m aware of and the most I can say is that it seems to lend itself to classic rock and maybe a ballad or two. With his character work, Steve’s done a huge variety of different styles, so he could do anything he wants, really. I’m just saying, it’s a shame we never got Kermit’s rendition of ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.‘
Jerry Nelson’s ‘Truro Daydreams’ remains one of my favourite albums because it’s so genuine to who Jerry was. I have a feeling Steve would wind up producing the same type of gravitas through his own songs.
This is probably the least likely out of any of my ideas, but I’m bringing it up anyway due to it’s possibilities. Steve starting up his own YouTube channel would be a great little creative outlet, providing a space for him to display snippets of his personal creativity, whether it’s a puppet-skit or something else entirely. Creators on the platform often use it as a means of getting immediate feedback while working on bigger projects. Just to use my Rocky Horror suggestion, say, if Steve wanted a general consensus on how excited people were about the project, he could release teasers containing footage from rehearsals or something along those lines.
As for social media, I’d never expect Steve to be tweeting every 10 minutes, or constantly posting pictures on Instagram, but it would be hugely beneficial if he wanted to promote independent projects. Simply posting on Muppet Pundit has earned him more attention over the past few months, more people are aware of his name and what he has contributed over the years. A stronger online presence can have it’s drawbacks, but it’s the quickest and most efficient way of spreading things around.
TV Shows and Feature Films:
I was fairly close to ignoring this prospect due to…well…certain controversies, but then again, I don’t see why the option would be closed off to Steve. He’s a world class performer and just because Disney, Henson and Sesame can’t/ don’t (want to) have anything to do with him doesn’t mean other companies can’t pick Steve up for something. The problem is, puppetry really isn’t that prevalent in the film industry unless a company specialises in it.
Lucas Film is bringing back puppetry and special eff-…..Ah, crap. That’s Disney again, isn’t it?
You never know, maybe one day Warner Bros will decide to do a film starring puppets that passive-aggressively mocks the Muppets and Steve could have a field day trolling the Disney executives.
If someone else doesn’t come up with the idea, it would be my pleasure to put a script together to avenge my favourite Muppet Performer.
In the end….
There’s actually a question that has been brought up a few times by a variety of different people: What exactly does one do with their life after being kicked out from their dream job and seemingly becoming shut off from film companies they have worked for previously?
I didn’t have a definite answer in regards to Steve, but these were just a few small ideas that have been stirring in the back of my mind for the past few months. I’ve said this before, but no matter what Steve does next, those who remain his fans despite all of this years chaos will support his decisions in the long run.
If there’s anything I can be definite of, it’s that….