Save The Muppets

The Muppets don’t need saving. Disney has already saved them from the worst fate of all: obscurity.

There, I said it. I feel better now.

Amongst many Disney and Muppet bloggers, I must be some kind of felt pariah. I’m not at all oppossed to multiple performers for each and every single Muppet out there?

Why?

Because no one remembers what the originals sounded like or acted like. Not my 2 1/2 year old daughter. Not my brother or my mother-in-law. No one but the fans.

And you know what? We’re not exactly the most numerous folks on the planet. Sure, DVD sales have been good, but The Muppet Show was great and there was an incredible nostalgia factor. But for most folks, the Muppets are a thing of their past, not their future.

Enter Disney.

Now I’m no Disney apologist. I work for a multi-national media conglomerate who happens to compete with Disney in just about all their core businesses. But Disney is in charge of the Muppets now, not Jim Henson.

Jim is dead, folks, and things change when the old guard is gone. The new stewards of the Muppet brand, and that’s what they have – a brand, know they’ve got to get a whole new generation of kids and adults thinking about them again. It’s the old “out of sight, out of mind” thing.

The only consistent, persistent reminder that the Muppets still lived on since Jim’s passing Disney-MGM’s Muppets 3-D attraction. Sure, there was Muppets tonight, but it was short-lived.

But now all that is changing. Disney is putting these characters back into the mainstream with incredible gusto and energy. And yes, wouldn’t it be grand if there were one and only one Fozzy or Rowlf or Kermit.

But we could always have the alternative, no Muppets anywhere at all except our memories. And maybe that’s how some of us would like it; if we can’t have the ideal Muppets situation, we’d just as soon they didn’t exist at all.

I’m not one of those people. I think the salvation of the Muppets is in their presence in the entertainment landscape to begin with.

So write your letters and sign your petitions, but don’t lose your love for the Muppets. Criticize Disney’s decisions if you want to try and affect a change in their tactics, but don’t fault them for having an aggressive Muppet strategy. The two are linked, but very different.

The Muppets have been saved. If you want to see them saved differently, we can agree to disagree. Keep doing what you’re doing – more power to you.

5 thoughts on “Save The Muppets

  1. JP says:

    I agree – my two kids love the Muppets but can’t tell the difference between the old & new. My wife can’t either!

    I’m glad Disney has Kermit & the gang, and I just hope they put more stuff out there, but quality Vs quantity as Disney has a tendency to drown their own masterpieces with “filler movies”..

    Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

  2. *clap, clap, clap*

    Very well said. I completely agree. Disney is seeing new and exciting changes these days and I think with everything, we will love some things and hate others. But one things for sure, the Muppets are back in rotation and I for one am glad.

  3. Bryan says:

    To be honest, this is a tough one to judge. I miss having Jim do Kermit’s voice, and I found it hard to transition to Steve’s version. That being said, I would rather that they try to keep the spirit of the Muppets intact. We cannot begrudge Disney for trying to make money off of this: that is what they exist for. If they do not make money off the Muppets, they will be gone. That is a world I do not want to have. I can only wait and see if this will cheapen the Muppets memory. I would hope that it doesn’t , because all Jim wanted from the Muppets was to entertain us and give us something positive and creative.

  4. Andy says:

    Let’s face it, the Muppets weren’t funny near the end of Jim Henson’s life and they are not funny now. They had long lost their humor a full decade before Jim’s passing. I don’t care whose voice they use, the characters need to be funny again. That’s the only way to save them.

    As far as voices and puppeteers go, does anyone remember Roosevelt Franklin? He is arguably one of THE greatest Muppet characters of all time! And guess what? His movements were performed by a puppeteer and he was voiced by the extremely talented Matt Robinson. (Matt was also the original Gordon on Sesame Street from 1969 to 1971, along with producing and writing for the show.) So, instead of the usual protocol of one performer for both the voice and the puppet, their were two people contributing to Roosevelt. The character didn’t suffer one bit. They did the same thing for his mother (voiced by Loretta Long) along with other characters that Matt provided the voice for.

    I say, fire the current puppeteers and get people who are as funny as Matt Robinson, Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Then and only then will the Muppets be saved!

  5. Andy says:

    I just thought of something. If they really want to revive the Muppets, rerun The Muppet Show on T.V. for God’s sake!!!!!! Why the hell does everyone have to own everything on home video nowadays. Only fans will end up buying the DVDs. The best way to get the younger generation to discover the Muppets is to put them back into syndication. I’m talking regular over the air channels like in the old days. Stations that anyone with a set can get for free. I mean, this stuff isn’t rocket science! I don’t know why the Henson family couldn’t figure this out. Shame on them for selling most of their father’s work!

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