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November 23, 2011


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Tom Russell

I have met the exception that proves the rule. There's few experiences in my life that were quite as terrible as spending hours listening to a bitter and possibly drunk Russian puppeteer slag the muppets and "all they stand for".

Jeff McMahon

Wait, who are Kim and Thurston? Whuh?


Statler: Is that boy Wells an imbecile or what?!

Waldorf: And the people who comment on his site make him look like Louis Delluc!

Statler and Waldorf: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


Tom: It sounds like Sabbath's Theater. Hilarious novel, with much ranting about the muppets and about the guy who controlled Big Bird.


My only worry was this was going to turn into the Muppet equivalent of SPACE JAM, which I hate with the force of a thousand suns; I'm glad it avoids that fate. I'm going to see it tomorrow before going to Thanksgiving dinner.


Growing up, I enjoyed the Muppets on "Sesame Street" (for the most part, different puppets/characters, but still from the same shop, manned by the same people), and I think they still work great in that context, but I never enjoyed them in the Muppet movies or re-broadcasts of "The Muppet Show." Whenever I see those shows, I just see Henson & Co. indulging in the same, supper club shtick - didn't matter where the sketches were set, at heart, the jokes were the same. And when I watch those early episodes of "SNL," when they were actually recurring characters, their comedy seems out-of-touch even then. But, I didn't grow up in the '70s, so maybe I had to be there?

Dan Coyle

Advantage: Oliver C.


Mr. Milich

The reason everybody is so nostalgic for The Muppets right now is because they're analog.


I suppose there would be a lot of cameos in THE MUPPETS. But I bet none of them refer to Fozzie Bear's starring role in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, or Beeker's crucial role in SATANTANGO.

Pinko Punko

One of the extras on The Muppet Movie DVD is this "Muppets Screen Test", and it captures exactly why they are great.

This is part 1.


Watch and the link to part 2 is on the sidebar.


Haha, nice. Reminded me of this: http://www.pianoladynancy.com/funnypics_toons/kermitsxray03.jpg

Tom Russell

MW-- you say "supper club schtick" like it's a bad thing.


Sadly, after watching THE MUPPETS today, I didn't like it quite as much as Glenn. Most of what Kermit and the gang did was pretty funny (though I wish there was more of the Swedish Chef), including the callbacks to the first movie (like Sweetums groaning, "Not again!" when he had to chase them again) and of course the final performance of "Rainbow Connection", and I even liked the brief gag involving Wayne and Wanda. The Muppets don't really break the fourth wall as well as others, but the gags were still pretty good. And Chris Cooper was a hoot as the villain (though the rap was a bad idea). But Walter, the new Muppet, was annoying, as was Jason Segal, Amy Adams wasn't much better (though she did get some of the meta gags, which was nice), the celebrity cameos don't really work (if you're going to cast Emily Blunt as a DEVIL WEARS PRADA nod, then do something with it), except for Jack Black and Neil Patrick Harris' brief appearance, and most importantly, most of the sentiment seems forced instead of the honest stuff of the original (except for Kermit). For all the crap MUPPETS FROM SPACE gets, it at least mixes humor and honest sentiment in the right doses.


SPACE JAM is a generation-defining masterpiece. YOU WILL BOW, etc, etc.


How sycophantic is 'Space Jam' towards Michael Jordan?

If you went through the movie frame-by-frame and used state-of-the-art CGI to replace Jordan's head with that of Kim Jong-Il, it would be indistinguishable ideologically from a North Korean propaganda film; THAT'S how sycophantic it is.

Ryland Walker Knight

I work 8 days a week.


The Slate piece met the site's usual standard for hardly-informative-or-edifying; the author couldn't even get the Sesame Street and Ed Sullivan renditions of the song straight, even though they're quite specifically delineated (with pictures) on the Muppet wiki that he himself links.

And yes, I am both facially hirsute and morbidly rotund and normally hate most everything this world has to offer.


@Tom, well, they weren't exactly Henny Youngman. Statler and Waldorf were funny, but with the rest of the Muppets, I think they were a lot better with stranger material.

FWIW, it always cracks me up when "Taxi Driver" references pop up on "Sesame Street." http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Taxi_Driver


Having experienced THE MUPPET SHOW mostly in Turkish, and mostly at a very young age, I probably missed most of the pop cultural references until much later, but it seems to me The Muppets hold a place in some people's hearts a little bit the way some of the better seasons of THE SIMPSONS do. Of course, THE SIMPSONS isn't for kids, and The Muppets were. But still, there's a certain mixture of innocence and knowingness that comes into play with both. It's a balance thing, I suppose.

I did enjoy THE MUPPETS (and gave it a good review) but I too was bemused by the almost hysteria-level anticipation at my packed midnight screening (I had to see it at midnight because the assignment came late, after the press screenings were finished). I didn't get the sense that these folks were hipsters, though they were mostly in their late 20s and 30s.

They were so excited for the movie, however, that they started booing the trailers after a certain point, and wound up booing a trailer for the new Miyazaki along the way. Admittedly, it was a pretty crappy trailer, but still, a little piece of me died at that point, and I'd like to think that had there been some hipsters in the audience they would've at least had my back at that point. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that...

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