May 27, 2014

Ten Odd Things About The Muppet Movie

Michael Wermuth - The Muppet Movie is a great film, but there’s a lot in the movie that I find odd--even if it is just "approximately how it happened." Here’s ten of those odd things:

1.   The Muppets just drop everything to go to Hollywood.
As Kermit meets more and more Muppets, they tend to invite just anybody (who’s a Muppet) on their journey to Hollywood. And they all seem ready to go right away. Wouldn’t they have jobs or plans? They just seem to drop everything and join a bunch of characters they’ve just met.

2.   After one meeting the Muppets act like they’ve always been close friends.
This movie tells the story of how Kermit met the other Muppets, and yet once they’ve had their introduction scenes, they all seem to know each other well, as if they had always been friends.

3.   Sweetums’ introduction scene.
The whole introduction to Sweetums is rather awkward. They never actually introduce him by name. And then there’s him bringing the price down due to swatting a fly... Did he hit that fly on purpose or by accident? Did he do it because Mad Man Mooney apparently mistreats him, or because he likes those particular customers who he doesn’t know well? And although he gets the Muppets a deal on a car, why does Kermit invite him to come with them? They didn’t really interact much in that scene, and at that point they don’t even know his actual name.

4.   Mad Man Mooney’s twelve dollar trade-in seems to treat both cars as one.
Mad Man Mooney provides a 12-dollar trade-in for their old vehicles, and when Sweetums brings the price down from $1195 to $11.95, Gonzo points out that he owes them a nickel. But they were trading in two cars (Fozzie’s Studebaker and Gonzo’s plumbing car). Mooney owed them 12 dollars and a nickel!

5.   Doc Hopper seems to know where Kermit is headed.
Isn’t it odd that Doc Hopper knows where Kermit is headed? He sees Kermit and Fozzie dancing on-stage at the El Sleezo from outside, and instead of going in to talk with Kermit and make a deal, he runs out to set up TVs to play his commercials. I could see that maybe being the only way out of that place, but then he gets ahead and knows they’ll see the billboard with Kermit’s face, and they know what restaurant Kermit and Piggy will go to for their date. Kermit never even tells Doc Hopper that he’s going to Hollywood. Does Doc just have a copy of the screenplay or something?

6.   We don’t know why the secretary won’t let Kermit in.
Kermit saw the ad in the paper that a Hollywood studio was giving open auditions to frogs, but when he shows up, the secretary won’t let them in. The paper only said there’d be auditions for frogs, so it makes sense that the others would have to wait in the lobby, but why won’t she at least let Kermit in? I know that one early draft of the script has the secretary mention that the frog auditions were canceled. They should have left that line in.

7.   The movie the Muppets make in the finale seems to have a limited crew.
When the Muppets start on their movie, it seems like the entire crew consists of the characters who traveled to Hollywood in the movie, as well as Crazy Harry as technician and Robin, who doesn’t really do anything notable (I know that an early script had a running gag where Robin kept randomly popping up with the main characters). Shouldn’t they have had more Muppets working on the set (perhaps all those characters in the final shot were there but we didn’t see them until then)? It would have been great to have seen more Muppets working on it, to have seen Beauregard moving the sets, The Swedish Chef and Gladys doing catering, Sam the Eagle and Link Hogthrob studying lines.

8.  How does Max explain knowing that Kermit will meet with Doc Hopper for a showdown?
Max goes behind Doc Hopper’s back (I assume) to warn Kermit about the frog killer, and Kermit tells Max to tell Doc that he’ll meet him at an old ghost town. So how did Max tell Doc Hopper this without informing him that he was trying to warn Kermit?

9.   Fozzie seemingly doesn’t stop his car when Gonzo and Camilla enter.
When Gonzo and Camilla’s car crashes on top of Fozzie’s, Gonzo then gets in. We see a wide shot of the car in motion and hear sound effects of Gonzo getting in before a cut to Gonzo and Camilla in the car as if they’d just gotten in. Shouldn’t Fozzie have stopped the car before they got in (though Gonzo would probably prefer to climb in while it’s driving)? And I didn’t think the Studebaker had an open-roof. Did Gonzo and Camilla climb through the side windows?

10.   Kermit thinks they’ll need bears just because they’re auditioning frogs.
The ad clearly only says that they’re auditioning frogs wanting to become rich and famous. So when he meets Fozzie and invites him to come along, Kermit assumes that if they’re auditioning frogs than they must need bears, too. And that’s based on what? Frogs and bears don’t really go together, and aside from Kermit and Fozzie there aren’t really any other frog-and-bear duos.





The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

6 comments:

  1. In answer to question 2, "There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met."

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  2. I can answer all of these easily. I watched the movie. There are ample reasons I could give for just about everything in this article.

    Not to rain on another writers parade, but I Have to ask, was this list necessary? Are you a fan of the Muppets, comedy and movies? If so, it shouldn't take more than a matter of minutes to figure out the answer to every 'odd thing' posted.

    Even if you haven't seen if almost 40 times by now (like me).

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  3. There is one reason for all of these. Right from the opening scenes.

    "Robin: Uncle Kermit, is this about how the Muppets really got started?
    Kermit: Well, it's sort ofapproximately how it happened."

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  4. I saw this film in a movie theatre at age 14 (you do the math). I was already an avid 1st generation Muppet Show fan. The Muppet Movie delivered on all counts, but as I watch it today I am still so very moved by it's simple genuine sincerity. If you are looking for answers to questions you pose 35 years after it was made, try giving yourself a quiet moment of Muppet Zen and just ALLOW the film to happen. Henson's sensibily is on every frame of that film. That is why it timelessly endures.

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  5. Are you telling me that you want the Muppets history to actually make sense? Are we talking about the same characters? :P

    Good list. I always was wondering how Doc Hopper always happened to know where Kermit was going, and how they knew to meet him up at the abandoned town.

    ReplyDelete