1 The Muppet Mindset: July 2014

Jul 31, 2014

45 Seasons of Sunny Days

Earlier this week, Sesame Street released a number of videos promoting it's legendary and groundbreaking 45th Season. You can watch every one of the new videos below!

The Sizzle Reel for Season 45 features a minute jam-packed with celebrities, Muppets, and Cookie Monster parodies.



"Numeric Con" is one of the upcoming Street Stories for Season 45, a parody of Comic Con and other fan conventions. This episode was actually shown in its entirety at Comic Con last weekend. And if you look closely, you'll see ToughPigs.com's Joe Hennes at the very end of the clip!



In one of the full clips released, we see First Lady Michelle Obama return to Sesame Street, this time hanging out with furry, lovable Grover in this wonderful video.



The most surprising and impressive video released is "How Bert Rolls," which features Bert riding a bike and singing a fantastic song. The puppetry implemented in this video is majorly impressive.



Another full clip sees actor Taye Diggs helping Elmo imagine going for a drive. They sing the classic Sesame tune "Let's Go Driving."



A short preview of one of the new "Elmo: The Musical" segments, this one spotlighting Tomatoes!



A beautiful, wonderful, instant-classic song called "Color of Me."



So there you have it! We'll be on the lookout for more Sesame Street Season 45 updates as they come! The new season premieres on PBS on September 15th!





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

Jul 30, 2014

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Professor Hastings

Written by Michael Wermuth.

PROFESSOR HASTINGS

Performed by...
Frank Oz

First appearance...
Sesame Street Season 1 (1969)

Most recent appearance...
Sesame Street Season 2 (1971)

Best known role...
Boring, old professor

WHO IS PROFESSOR HASTINGS?
Professor Hastings is an old professor who gave lectures that were so boring that even he fell asleep while he was giving them.  For example, if his lecture was on feelings, groups of happy, sad, and angry Muppets would walk by while he was sleeping (and they would somehow wake him up, allowing him to move on). Many of his lectures were introduced by Kermit the Frog, who sometimes had to help with the lectures, such as showing parts of the body. A running gag would be for Professor Hastings to ask, “are you aware that you are a frog?” Some topics Professor Hastings discussed included the letters Y and U, the number 2, and how two trucks are different and the same.

One of Professor Hastings’ first appearances was in a performance of “Spinning Wheel”, in which he honks a horn. In this early appearance, he looks a little different from how he would later look. He had reddish-brown hair, giving him more resemblance to Mr. Johnson. Later on, his hair would be white. Perhaps he’s one of the few Muppets to actually age.

Professor Hastings once appeared as a contestant on Guy Smiley’s game show “What’s My Part?”, in which he kept falling asleep and mistakenly thinking he was supposed to give a lecture. In fact, he ended up winning by accident – the mystery guest was a foot, and his foot happened to fall asleep.

Unfortunately, Professor Hastings was taken off the show for being too dull. Although he was dropped pretty early, he was more popular in European countries, where his material continues to be shown, and has appeared in quite a bit of European merchandise (sometimes mistaken for Mr. Johnson, though).

WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED PROFESSOR HASTINGS?
Well, Sesame Street is an educational show, and a good educational show needs somebody to give lectures and… educate and… Teach such subjects as… Zzzzzzzzzz…






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

Jul 29, 2014

Muppet Retro Reviews: Muppets Tonight, Part 5

Abigail Maughan - Thanks for voting in the poll last week, everyone who voted in the poll last week! The episodes with Sandra Bullock and Cindy Crawford seem to be the overwhelming favorites, with Whoopi Goldberg and Garth Brooks close behind. You can see the results here. Now, on to Season 2!

201-- THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE
PLOT: One of few where the guest star doesn’t have anything to do with it, Johnny becomes disgruntled when Sal wants to pursue osteopathy.
GUEST STAR: Despite coming off as a little bored when talking to bears, rats, and ventriloquist dummies, pop singer Prince gets two opportunities to do what he does best, and he does them well. Many good jokes also come from the Muppets trying to say his name.
COMEDY: Notably, we get the “Hee-Haw” parody “Muppet Hoo-Haw” and a “Tales from the Vet.” Osteopathy subplot aside, I don’t feel like the comedy is as sharp as it has been in the past, particularly in backstage guest star banter.
MUSIC: Two full numbers courtesy of Prince. One is the strange, elaborate, but not unpleasant “Starfish and Coffee” music video. The other is the dull closing number “She Sent Her Angels,” which is one of the few slow song on the entire show, and I believe the only one without Muppet characters singing along.
LOWLIGHTS:
  • This one’s “Tales from the Vet” has amusing moments, but the drunken shouting and rambling of Dr. Phil gets rather tedious, as it would in real life.
  • I have nothing against non-energetic songs on Muppet shows, but the finale bores me. Unlike in “Starfish and Coffee,” there aren’t any Muppet personalities to enhance it; just some uninteresting angel puppets. It isn’t too long, though, and the episode does end on a more lively note.

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • This is my favorite of Bobo the Bear’s openings. “Pretty mouthy for a guy with no name.”
    • Prince: I’m the Artist formerly known as Prince.
    • Bobo: And I’m the Bear currently known as Not Amused. 
  • The “boniologist” plot has some clever dialogue and results in various hilariously contorted Muppets. I approve.
  • “Starfish and Coffee” does a great job of combining the guest star’s strange work with the Muppets’ strange work. The result is… strange, but enjoyable.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
  • In this season, Statler and Waldorf no longer dispense snarkiness from a nursing home. Much less depressingly, they appear in a different exotic location every episode, which I think is a clever and much better idea.
  • Seymour says “swordfish, eggs, and coffee” is on the menu, but the song the guest star sings is called “Starfish and Coffee.” Am I just mishearing Seymour’s line?

MY RANKING: 2.5/5 Pop-Up Acupuncture books. I don’t think it’s among the best of what the show has to offer, but it is pretty darn memorable, what with the funky music and distorted Muppets.

202—RICK MORANIS
PLOT: In their only feature episode, Pepe and Seymour’s cooking show, “Hey, What Smells (So Good? It’s Time to Cook with Seymour and Pepe),” gets in the way of Rick Moranis’s big closing number.
GUEST STAR: Actor Rick Moranis, as it turns out, is a wonderful straight man to Seymour and Pepe and is apparently in league with devils. Who knew?
COMEDY: This episode contains not one, not two, but three well-done parody skits: the incredibly goofy “Muppet Odd Squad,” “Co-Dependence Day,” and “Lash Holstein: Space Cowdet,” which is hilarious in its intentional hamminess from the writers and Muppet performers. Everything else, including my favorite of the “Tubmans of Porksmith” sketches and a running gag using the song “Whip It,” is not half bad either.
MUSIC: Rick Moranis casually sings his “Salute to Late Fifties Crooners, Obscure British Bands, and Bill Withers” to the backdrop of Seymour, Pepe, Bunsen, and Beaker fighting a losing battle against a gigantic monster made of dough. Don’t you just love the Muppets?
LOWLIGHTS:
  • If I had to choose a lowlight, which is hard for this episode, it’d be Andy and Randy in the “Muppet Odd Squad” skit. Literal interpretations of simple instructions, their primary comedic defense, pale in comparison to the much sharper comedy of the rest of the episode.
  • Even though I don’t mind the “Muppet Odd Squad” skit in particular, I think it is fair to call it the weakest of the bunch.
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • From beginning to end, I love that scene with Pepe, Seymour, and the guest star in the commissary. Seymour’s ruining of the musical number, the final installation of the “Whip It” running gag, and the conversation itself keep me laughing.
    • Rick Moranis: Let me tell you a little story… (music starts)
    • Pepe: You have to?
    • Rick: I’m afraid so. (starts to sing “High Hopes”)
  • I love Seymour, Pepe, and their na├»ve ambitiousness. I do think they were used perfectly on the show, especially here in season two, with various funny spotlights throughout and one feature episode. They were never overused and always funnily written. I think their move from the elevator to the commissary was a good one, because it’s much easier to interact with guest stars there.
  • It’s nice to see so much of Jerry Nelson here. His performances of the “Lash Holstein” villain Moo-ing the Merciless, the President, and one of Rick’s devil agents are perfect.
  • The special puppetry tricks in this one are impressive, namely Beaker’s shrunken head, the ants, and of course the Bread Monster.
MY RANKING: 5 out of 5 smashed ants. This episode is continually funny and weird in a good, unique way, and the unfunny is quickly overshadowed.

203—HEATHER LOCKLEAR
PLOT: Heather Locklear undergoes extreme personality shifts after eating Bunsen Honeydew’s Mood Meals.
GUEST STAR: Actress Heather Locklear is pretty believable and just a little bit scary as she gets to act annoyed, ditzy, affectionate, and murderous all in the same episode.
COMEDY: Much of it comes from the scenes with Heather in a mood extreme, saying things like “Don’t you love the way babies’ heads smell?” in one segments, and beating up bunny rabbits in the next. We also get a “Tales from the Vet,” the final “Fairyland PD,” and something called “21 Muppet Heights,” all of which are tightly-written and clever.
MUSIC: We get “The Coffee Song,” and a finale that sees more Muppet abuse from the guest star behind Kermit’s attempt to sing “Strolling through the Park One Day.”
LOWLIGHTS:
  • In the closing number, I think it would have been funnier if Heather had done something to demonstrate the “nice” mood shifts before swinging into the evil ones instead of just sort of waltzing around doing nothing in particular.
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Rizzo: (as Evil Heather pummels rabbits onstage with her umbrella) We’re gonna hear from people…
  • The opening number of “The Coffee Song” is fun and crazy, and a fantastic performance by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. I like how much she’s used in the second season.
  • I appreciate, and rather enjoy, the silliness of the “Jungle Bee-Woman” skit.
    • Heather: Your script is based on a Jane Austen pizza?
    • Andy and Randy: It is?!
  • It’s interesting how frequently Bunsen and Beaker were used in the second season. Over a third of the episodes involve them in the plot. Using them is a good way to incorporate elements that are completely outlandish and only make sense because of them, such as the mood-altering food.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
  • The multi-talented Brian Henson sure is one skilled performer, and this episode, featuring Sal, Dr. van Neuter, and Nigel is one of many that show it.
  • “Green boy” is not a very good insult to a frog, especially one who finds it easy being green.
  • It’s funny, but in context of the Muppet universe, why would Clifford, Nigel, Kermit, or whoever was in charge of acts possibly allow the “Hardy Pig Boys” sketch to exist? 

MY RANKING: 4 out of 5 trout to the face. An even mix of verbal and physical comedy makes it hard to find something to dislike about this episode.





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

Jul 28, 2014

Comic Con Street

San Diego Comic Con was held over the weekend, and as we noted in our News Updates, Sesame Street and The Jim Henson Company both held panels at the world's biggest fan convention. Updates on the Henson panel are still coming in, but the Sesame Street panels were a major success.

Our friends at Nerdist.com have a great recap of the main Sesame Street panel, which featured Eric Jacobson and Grover, Joey Mazzarino and Murray, David Rudman and Cookie Monster, and Carol-Lynn Parente (and hosted by Nerdist's own Chris Hardwick).

The first panel held for Sesame Street was a conversation with the Muppet performers and Muppets, hosted by the amazing Zachary Levi. Lucky for us non-Comic Con attendees, NerdHQ filmed the entire panel for us. It's half an hour long, and 100% delightful. I highly, highly recommend watching it. Joey Mazzarino and Murray steals the show.



Earlier that day, Sesame Street took to Vine to show off Bert's new cosplay costume. Is he Bertman? Batbert? The world may never know.



Then, Murray presented a special edition of "Word on the Street."



And finally, Cookie Monster found his favorite Comic Con costume.



Sesame Street also shared a lot on Instragram from the photo shoot available with Grover, Murray, and Cookie Monster later in the day. Check out some of the great photos below!



Chris Hardwick with his furry friends.



The Nerdist panel.



Zachary Levi with the gang.



Bertman scales the building.



Chris Hardwick with Grover.



Our friend Gina Selim with Bert!



We'll be back with more Comic Con coverage as it comes down the pipeline!





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

Jul 25, 2014

News Update: July 25, 2014

JULY 25, 2014

The Muppets, specifically Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Statler, Waldorf, Rizzo, and Sweetums, will be attending the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball game at MCU Park in Coney Island on Monday, August 4th. These will be the actual, real Muppets in attendance, so it's sure to be really exciting. If you're in the New York City area, be sure to attend and see Muppets live and in person! Visit PurchaseTickets.com to order tickets and get more info.
This week, Crave Online posted a preview of an upcoming bonus feature on the Muppets Most Wanted Blu-ray release featuring Rizzo the Rat. The feature, dubbed on the Blu-ray as "Rizzo's Biggest Fan," features Rizzo writing a strongly worded letter to the makers of The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted regarding the lack of... Rizzo. Check out the preview video below! Remember, the Muppets Most Wanted Blu-ray is out August 12th!



Lipton Tea has released another new TV spot starring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rowlf, and Animal having a picnic at Miss Piggy's house. They sing a really catchy song and drink a lot of tea. This spot was directed by our friend Bill Barretta! Check it out below...



Parade Magazine has a preview of yet another Muppets Most Wanted Blu-ray bonus feature: The Longer, Longest Blooper Reel in Muppet History. In the preview of the bloopers, we see Ricky Gervais laughing hysterically over and over again. It's delightful.



The delightful YouTube series Saturday Morning Slow Jams, which sings R&B slow-jam covers of popular cartoon theme songs, has covered the Muppet Babies theme song in their latest video. It's just as awesome as you might think, so watch and listen in the video below!









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

Jul 23, 2014

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Humphrey & Ingrid

Written by Mike Baldasare and Ryan Dosier.

HUMPHREY & INGRID

Performed by...
David Rudman (Humphrey)
Joey Mazzarino (Ingrid)

First appearance...
Humphrey - Sesame Street Season 22 (1990)
Ingrid - Sesame Street Season 25 (1994)

Most recent appearance...
Humphrey - Sesame Street Season 35: Episode 4059 (2004)
Ingrid - Sesame Street Season 32: Episode 3955 (2001)

Best known role(s)...
Doting, dopey parents of Baby Natasha; husband and wife

WHO ARE HUMPHREY & INGRID?
Humphrey and Ingrid are slow-witted but parents of Baby Natasha, they are also a happily married couple. The duo were named after Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, stars of Casablanca. Humphrey and Ingrid worked at the Furry Arms Hotel during the "Around the Corner" seasons. Humphrey was proceeded on the show by Baby Natasha by a few seasons. It wasn't until Season 22, when Humphrey was introduced as Natasha's father. In his earliest known appearance on Sesame Street, Humphrey asked Maria to babysit Natasha while he has to go to the store.

Humphrey, Ingrid, and Baby Natasha appeared in many segments together, mostly prominent in the 1990s. Humphrey and Ingrid performed a number of songs together on Sesame Street, including "Natasha's Lullaby," which Humphrey sang to Natasha before bed and "Oh, Look What Our Baby Can Do," which Humphrey and Ingrid both sang, showcasing Natasha's many talents. A number of street stories, especially during the "Around the Corner" years, focused on Humphrey and Ingird taking care of Natasha, showing off her talents, or helping her learn new things.

When "Around the Corner" came to an end during Season 30 (1998-1999), Humphrey and Ingrid continued taking care of Natasha, but in much less frequent appearances. When Sesame Street changed its format during Season 33 (2002), they both rarely appeared in street stories while Natasha returned to being a solo character again. After 2001, Ingrid was not seen in any prominent capacity again. Humphrey most recently appeared on the show in Season 35: Episode 4059 (2004), where he reports the results of a porridge survey for Monster News.

WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED HUMPHREY & INGRID?
Like most fan-favorite Muppet characters of Sesame Street, Humphrey, Ingrid, and Baby Natasha have been phased out of the show. It would be nice to see this loving and colorful monster family continue to make appearances in future episodes. The trio represents a loving, if silly, family relationship, which is important for kids to see.






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

Jul 22, 2014

Muppet Retro Reviews: Muppets Tonight, Part 4

Written by Abigail Maughan.

108-- JASON ALEXANDER
PLOT: The egos and creative preferences of Gonzo and Jason Alexander clash while they attempt to make their college musical screenplay “Bats” a reality.
GUEST STAR: Actor Jason Alexander, whose other Muppet connections include doing voices in Dinosaurs, plays off of Gonzo well. He is very good at acting irritated, and his willingness to wear weird costumes makes him a good choice for a Muppets guest star.
COMEDY: There’s a lot of humor here, from skits like “Murder on the Disoriented Express” and an exceptionally good “Pigs in Space” to dialogue in bridge segments. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest-written episodes of the first season.
MUSIC: The only musical number is the “Bats” medley, which is plenty goofy and serves its purpose as a memorable closing number.
LOWLIGHTS:
  • I find the “Muppet Bandstand” skit a little weak. The beginning and ending jokes are fine, but the dancing is uncomfortable. That is what it’s supposed to be, though, so what am I complaining about?
  • It seems odd that the guest star reverses his opinion on what makes a quality show almost immediately, after arguing with Gonzo about it the entire episode. However, it is made funnier when Gonzo also reverses his stance on the matter.
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • It’s hard to compare “Pigs in Space: Deep Dish 9” to the original, as there are only three “Deep Dish 9” sketches. The one in this episode, featuring a robot called Al-1995 Plus Tax and a cameo by Swedish supermodel Vendela, is my personal favorite.
  • The banter between Gonzo and the guest star just gets more and more absurd, and thus funnier and funnier.
    • Jason Alexander: This is exactly what you did in school! Remember that production of “Death of a Salesman” you ruined?
    • Gonzo: Well, if you’re referring to my production of “Death of a Trans-Dimensional Giant Mutant Cyborg Salesman”, that show was a hit! And it won a Pulitzer Prize!
    • Jason: It did not win a Pulitzer Prize!
    • Gonzo: Well, my mother liked it.
  • This is one of very few episodes that feature Gonzo as a central character to the plot. It’s good to see him in the spotlight for the whole episode, and I wish this had happened more frequently over the two seasons.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
  • It’s neither a highlight nor a lowlight, so I’ll put it here: In this episode is one of the bizarre “At the Bar” segments, which feature Polly Lobster and Clueless Morgan from Muppet Treasure Island telling bad jokes, singing, and serving drinks to an unseen patron by the name of Mr. Callahan. I am honestly not sure what I think of these skits. They’re always weird enough to keep me watching, but they’re never good or bad enough to stand out amongst the rest of the episode. 
  • Gonzo: “It’s just like you to take something classy and high-minded—and leave it that way!” It’s a funny line, but isn’t Gonzo usually convinced that his own outrageous acts are classy and high-minded? It seems like an odd thing for him to say.
MY RANKING: 4/5 Fifteen-billion gigawatt laser cannons. I’d call this one a higher than average episode, with plenty of amusing skits and comedy, a pretty strong plot and satisfying resolution.

109—WHOOPI GOLDBERG
PLOT: Miss Piggy, Andy, and Randy race from the airport to the studio for the closing number, while Whoopi Goldberg shows off.
GUEST STAR: Here is one of many Muppet projects that actress Whoopi Goldberg is a part of. I’ve noticed that Muppets Tonight always keeps the guest stars central to the plot, even a loose one like here, whereas on The Muppet Show it seemed to be optional. I’m not saying either method is better than the other, as quality entirely depends on what else the episode contains.
COMEDY: The backstage plot isn’t too uproarious, but we do get some adequate skits, such as a “People’s Court” parody and a scene with various Muppets auditioning to replace Miss Piggy. There’s nothing I’d necessarily consider comedy gold, but it’s all pleasant enough.
MUSIC: We have one of the most notable Muppets Tonight musical numbers here, in the form of Kermit’s cover of The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” which is a rather impressive yet bizarre music video. Whoopi Goldberg also attempts to teach some uncooperative rats how to play reggae music, and, for the second time in Muppet history, the finale is a glitzy duet of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” by Miss Piggy and the guest star.
LOWLIGHTS:
  • You know, I honestly can’t think of anything too awful about this one. We have some so-so acts, like a “Fairyland PD,” a brief Big Mean Carl segment, and even Whoopi’s parade of novelty acts, but nothing I’d consider a lowlight. 
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Speaking of “Fairyland PD”, the UK spot featuring Bobo and Clifford as inept detectives solving fairy tale cases, I think the one in this episode, “Goldi Lock-Up”, is the funniest of the four.
  • The totally sincere way both Whoopi Goldberg and Rizzo announce their plans to fly makes me laugh.
    • Whoopi Goldberg: Ladies and gentlemen… I will now do something never performed by any human being. I… will fly! 
    • Rizzo: Uh, excuse me, Whoopi, but you have a phone call over there. It’s Miss Piggy.
    • Whoopi: Oh. Cover me! *leaves*
    • Rizzo: But I… Uh… Ladies and gentlemen, I will now do something never before performed by any rat. I… will fly.
  • The bloopers to this episode feature an impromptu fistfight amongst Clifford, Johnny, Sal, and Rizzo, and it is delightful.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
  • Who is driving the limousine when Andy, Randy, and Piggy are all in the back seat?
  • Why isn’t Piggy driving from the beginning? She’s aware of her nephews’ incompetence.
  • If the theater is only three blocks away, as Piggy says, why couldn’t she just walk there?
MY RANKING: 3/5 Reggae Rodents. I wouldn’t say there’s anything overly special or memorable on whole about this one, but there’s really nothing wrong with it.

110—MARTIN SHORT
PLOT: After getting flattened in the elevator, Martin Short becomes obsessed with eating Johnny Fiama’s mother’s pasta sauce.
GUEST STAR: Mainly, I find the guest star incredibly off-putting and unfunny. Comedian Martin Short’s wild style of comedy is not one that I personally love, and thus this episode is not one that I personally love. However, the skits are written to his strengths, and I can’t think of any other Muppets Tonight guest star who this episode’s plot would have worked for. It just doesn’t appeal to me.
COMEDY: The humor features a lot of puns from Rizzo and odd antics from the guest star. We do, however, get some decent skits such as “E-I-E-I-O-R,” an exceptionally good “Swift Wits,” and Beaker getting attacked by Sal Minella.
MUSIC: The guest star was limited to just one number: “Steppin’ Out with My Baby”, sung in a weird voice by Martin Short wearing a fat suit. Thankfully, there’s a cute background chorus of penguins for the second episode in a row.
LOWLIGHTS:
  • I find Piggy’s disgust funny, but the skit featuring Martin Short’s SCTV character Ed Grimley is too weird for me. And, yes, I do realize that “too weird” is not the best excuse for a Muppet fan to give.
  • Fat Martin Short + Fat Clifford = disturbing.
HIGHLIGHTS: 
  • Rizzo’s term “nuttier than a fruitcake” is a phrase I may or may not occasionally use.
  • I really wish we’d seen more of “E-I-E-I-O-R” than just two instances. I think it’s really quite funny, reminiscent of “Veterinarian’s Hospital” but unique enough to stand out on its own.
  • Okay, I actually do like the “Flippers” parody skit. Aside from it being just plain funny, it’s probably because Martin Short is not dancing and/or shouting like a crazy person. 
OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
  • It’s hard to believe that Brian Henson still has working vocal chords after doing Sal’s manic shouting on this show. 
MY RANKING: 1 out of 5 pots of sauce. I just don’t like the guest star, but I bet a fan of his would appreciate this episode more than I do.

Well, that brings us to the end of the first season! We’ll begin season two next week, but in the meantime, I’m curious: what do you think is the best episode of Season 1? Let us know in the poll below!


What is Your Favorite Episode of Muppets Tonight Season 1?
101-Michelle Pfeiffer
102-Garth Brooks
103-Billy Crystal
104-John Goodman
105-Cindy Crawford
106-Tony Bennett
107-Sandra Bullock
108-Jason Alexander
109-Whoopi Goldberg
110-Martin Short
Poll Maker






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

Jul 21, 2014

Muppet Retro Reviews: The Muppet Movie

Today's article, written by our friend Mitchell Stein, was pulled from our sister site The Mickey Mindset in a cross-promotional effort. Check out the site for a dose of Disney to go with your Muppet meal!
Mitchell Stein -  Being a major Muppet fan, The Muppet Movie is my favorite above all the other ones. The movie is funny, heartfelt and inspiring and gives us a nice backstory (sort of) to how the Muppets approximately got started.

Our story begins from the first strum of Kermit’s banjo to the music of "Rainbow Connection," a truly beautiful song. For me, the song is truly about finding yourself and living your dream and really sets the tone for the rest of the movie. When a Hollywood agent named Bernie (Dom Deluise) meets Kermit in the swamp, he convinces him to audition in Hollywood and possibly make millions of people happy. Kermit declines the fame and fortune, but upon hearing he could have the chance to make millions of people happy, he decides to go and audition. This is one of the reasons why I love Kermit. The only thing he cares about is everyone else and how they would feel. He cares about making the audience happy when not even thinking about his own fortune, unlike a certain pig out there.

Along the way Kermit meets up with Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Camilla, Miss Piggy, Rowlf the Dog, and the Electric Mayhem who decide to join him on his adventure to become rich and famous. Kermit catches the attention of Doc Hopper (brilliantly played by Charles Durning) who wants to use Kermit as his mascot to sell his Frog Legs. He’s so convinced about Kermit and so overshadowed by his own ambitions that he even goes as far as kidnapping him, hiring an evil scientist and a frog killer to convince Kermit to star in his commercials.

The music in the movie is always completely catchy, upbeat, mellow and profitable (I’ve had "Can You Picture" That stuck in my head all day). The "Rainbow Connection" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, but lost to “It Goes Like it Goes” from Norma Rae, it’s a true shame, as "Rainbow Connection" was a much deeper and meaningful song than the others. "I’m Going to Go Back There Someday" is easily one of the saddest songs in filmmaking history, which is sung by Gonzo when all hope is lost, and it seems that the Muppets will never be able to accomplish their dreams. "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along" is catchy and fun as is "Movin’ Right Along," which is probably one of my favorite Muppet songs ever.

With this being the first Muppet film I have to say they really started things off with a bang! The puppetry is eye-popping and way ahead of its time. Fozzie and Kermit dancing on-stage creates is incredibly eye-popping and sets the stage for an entire film where you will completely forget the characters are even puppets, and this was way before the days of CG animation.

In "Rainbow Connection," Kermit sits on a log in the swamp playing his banjo. Many people think this film is fake and filmed on a soundstage but in fact was actually filmed on location. Jim Henson would bend down into a small tank filled with oxygen with two spots to control Kermit and his banjo. It was extremely uncomfortable, but the finished project was totally worth it.

The cast of cameos lineup is truly terrific and has a great and hilarious lineup of celebrities including many popular names of the decade such as Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Milton Berle, Steve Martin, Cloris Leachman, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Orson Welles, Bob Hope, Big Bird(!) and so many more. I truly love every cameo in this movie as each one is more memorable than the other. Some remain on-screen for as little as ten seconds, but their lines are quick and memorable and will always have a spot in Muppet history.

I truly love this movie. It’s the beginning of Muppets on the big-screen and began many more Muppet films to come. It’s the seed that grew into an entire big screen franchise and played predecessor seven other great Muppet films. It’s a lot of fun, has a lot of heart, depth and great story. I love this film and it still remains of my absolute favorites.






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

Jul 18, 2014

News Update: July 18, 2014

JULY 18, 2014

Since we didn't do a News Update last week, we missed out on sharing the video of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on PBS's A Capitol Fourth, which aired live on 4th of July. The performance, which saw Kermit and Piggy singing "This Land is Your Land" and Kermit performing "Rainbow Connection," was positively delightful. Steve Whitmire's enthusiasm with Kermit during both songs is infectious and wonderful. Also Tom Bergeron, Fozzie, and Animal are there, and great as ever. (Special thanks to our friend Chris Stulz for making and sharing the video.)



Archaia Comics are heading back down to Fraggle Rock with a new series of Fraggle stories. The series will be written by Kate Leth and illustrated by Jake Myler. The book is titled Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring and according to Nerdist it will feature the beloved Fraggles we know as well as some new characters. Journey to the Everspring is divided into four parts, with the first issue released on October 8th. Here's hoping Archaia can capture the excellence of their first Fraggle Rock series once again!

The San Diego Comic Con is coming up next weekend, and Sesame Street is heading out for a panel! The panel is on Sunday, July 27 at 10:15am in Room 6A. The impeccable, huge Muppet fan Chris Hardwick (Nerdist) will be moderating the panel, which includes Muppet performers Eric JacobsonJoey Mazzarino (also head writer and director), and David Rudman, as well as executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente. During the panel, they'll debut a new Season 45 episode called "Numeric Con," a parody of Comic Con itself. They'll also be premiering a new segment of the fantastic "Cookie's Crumpy Pictures" series called "Star S'mores." Color me happy (and fuzzy, and blue).

The Jim Henson Company is also going to Comic Con with a panel of their own, titled "The Jim Henson Company: Upcoming Comics with Archaia," so there will clearly be a lot of discussion of Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow comic books. The panel will be held July 25th at 6:00pm in Room 32AB. Panelists for the Henson Company include Jeff Stokely (illustrator for The Storyteller: Witches), Jake Myler (illustrator for Fraggle Rock), Ian Herring (colorist for Tale of Sand), and Shane-Michael Vidaurri (writer and illustrator for The Storyteller: Witches). Special thanks to ToughPigs for this info!

Once again, the rumor that the Muppets are heading to Broadway with a brand new original musical has resurfaced. This time, The New York Post is reporting on it. Nothing new comes to light in this article, and really it adds nothing more to the table that we haven't known for awhile now, but it's nice to see it still being talked about.






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

Jul 17, 2014

How To... Be a Salesman

Michael Wermuth - So you want to be a salesman? Well, here’s how a salesman must act. Oh, but there are at least three types of salesmen (and only three represented in this article)… Which type would you want to be the most?

Type 1: The Door-To-Door Salesman
As a door-to-door salesman, you get to go to people’s houses and sell things. Be sure to wear a good suit, even if you otherwise don’t wear clothes. The first thing you should do is knock on the door and provide your client with a fairly polite greeting. Some people don’t like having salesmen at their house and will try to quickly slam the door on you, but one way to keep the door open is to push your body to the door as soon as possible, preventing it from being slammed. You could also block the door with a body part. Most people use their foot, but some use their nose. I must warn you about this method, though: It hurts!

But suppose your customer doesn’t have the thing that your item is for? What if you’re selling earmuffs and your customer doesn’t have ears, or you’re selling nose warmers but he has no nose? Then just give your customer a set of ears or a nose! But then what if he DOES have what goes with what you’re selling, but no way to keep it up – let’s say you’re selling sunglasses and your customer has eyes but can’t wear them because he doesn’t have the ears or nose to hold the sunglasses on his face? Sell him sunglasses with ears and nose attached!

Type 2: The Street Salesman
To be a street salesman, you get to be out on the street. You must dress in a trench coat and fedora, and talk in a soft, whispery voice. If your potential customer repeats what you say, just “SHH!” him. And you should always be prepared to give a reason for your customer to buy what you’re selling. If you’re selling an empty box, tell him why he needs an empty box. Explain that it’s better than a box of yucky worms. Explain that an empty box will be useful in catching jellybeans if it rains them. If you want to sell a letter of the alphabet, tell him to look at that letter if he’s wondering what letter a word starts with – for example, if you’re selling a U, tell him to look at the U if your customer is up all night wondering what letter the word “up” starts with. And try to be flexible: If your letter is made from a rope attached to poles, it’ll be easy to change your letter if your customer wants a different one. A U-shaped rope can easily be changed into a V or a W. And if you’re selling invisible ice cream cones, sell different flavors, and try to make it clear if you don’t accept invisible money.

Type 3: The Pitch Man
The pitch man makes sales pitches, particularly for successful variety shows. To make a proper sales pitch, you must start out mild mannered and talk at a normal pace, but soon get carried away and talk at a faster speed. This is in contrast to the street salesman, where you must talk loudly and be more excited. Mention all the benefits of what’s being sold here, and wildly exaggerate whatever results you think will happen.
Disclaimer: The Muppet Mindset shall not be held responsible for body injuries from stopping customers from slamming their doors, and do not encourage scamming customers, selling illegally-acquired letters, numbers, or other products. The Muppet Mindset is also not responsible for customers not buying your products. Sell at your own risk.






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