1 The Muppet Mindset: June 2010

Jun 30, 2010

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

Good day, Muppet fans! Today is an extremely exciting day for The Muppet Mindset, as it officially marks our 300th post! This is a monumental day for me, personally, because it's the biggest achievement I've ever reached. (Well... I did collect twelve box-tops once and get a light-up Lion King spoon.) In honor of this milestone, we've contacted a special contributor for this week's Weekly Muppet Wednesday article. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the one, the only, the unintelligible, Beaker!


Performed by...
Meee Meep (1976-present)

First appearance...
Mo Meemee Mo (1976)

Most recent appearance...
"Momeemo Meemome" MoMoo Meemeep (2009)

Best friend...
...Me mo mo.

Memorable quote...
"Meemo mo! Mee me Momoo Mee, meep mee me mo mee me mo!"

Moo mee me? Me mee mo moo meep mee! Mee mo mo, meep meep! Moo mo mo mo!

...Umm, I'm not quite sure what happened, folks, but Beaker just sort of... left? Sheesh. Some 300th post. That's the last time I work with a Muppet. (NOTE: I don't mean that, Muppet people who might be reading [Hey, I can dream too], I will of course work with the Muppets anytime anywhere. Just so we're on the same page here.) Sheesh. Well, I was hoping that would go longer and maybe have some fireworks or something... but that's all I've got. So... here's a funny picture!

See you tomorrow!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 29, 2010

Sesame Street Brings Home Shiny Statues!

Ah, it seems like only a year ago that we were celebrating Sesame Street and their huge impact at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Well... that was only a year ago, so that means that it's time once again for the Daytime Emmy Awards! Sesame Street was nominated for 14 Daytime Emmys. Interested to see what they won? Meet me at the bullet points and find out...
  • Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing
  • Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling
  • Oustanding Individual Achievement in Animation: Abby's Flying Fairy School, Peter de Sève (Character Designer)
  • Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series
  • Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series 
  • Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series: Kevin Clash
  • Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series: Joey Mazzarino
That's right, Kevin Clash and Joey Mazzarino shared the award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series. If that doesn't scream Sesame Street, I don't know what does! Congratulations to everyone at Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop for these incredible, well-deserved wins. This makes a total of 128 Daytime Emmy Awards and one Lifetime Achievement Award for Sesame Street. Here's to 128 more!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 28, 2010

Muppet Comic Mondays: Fraggle Rock #3

 Fraggle Rock Comic Book #3
Comic Book Review


James Gannon - It really has been a treat, hasn’t it? For the past three months, we’ve had two Muppet comics earlier in the month, while a Fraggle Rock comic has rounded it out. Having a rough week, this issue really made my day, I can assure you. Especially when you see what Fraggle Rock #3 has in store.  

The lead story, through the magic of just being an illustration, as opposed to the logistics nightmare the puppet building and filming would be for the actual show, two sanctions of Fraggle Rock that have  never met, finally do. That’s right; Doozers and Gorgs. The whole issue features stories mainly focusing on them. All is wrong in Fraggle Rock when the Doozers, and more importantly, their Doozer sticks, are nowhere to be found. Even Large Marvin is stumped, and if he can’t find food, you know something’s up. Turns out, all the Doozers, led by Cotterpin, are erecting the grandest Doozer stick construction ever… right on the Gorgs’ property. There is a little scale cheating, whereas the Fraggles are rat sized to the Gorgs, the Doozers really should be the relative size of a large beetle. But that should be of no concern. After all, this scenario feels like a story that very well could have been used on the show, if only it weren’t so complicated in scale and scope for them to actually have done.

Ever wonder what it’s like for Doozers to throw a party? The second comic solves that mystery. Cotterpin introduces this foreign concept something she obviously learned from the Fraggles. Finally, Junior Gorg tries and fails at building the better Fraggle Trap. Oh, and we get not only one, but two different Katie Cook activities, one that actually uses RADISHES!

This is the last of a three-part miniseries. The plan is to release further issues and put three issues into a graphic novel collection, similar to BOOM!’s Muppet (and entire Disney) line up. It was revealed in ToughPigs' interview with editor Tim Beedle that the next miniseries would begin in October.  

I like to think that they will keep the same or a similar format, but somehow I’d like them to do things a little different (as I said in an earlier review).  Maybe having all three comics connect with a common theme like this one kinda did with the Doozer and Gorg stories. And maybe mix it up, with a short comic lead in before the main story. Whatever they do, I really hope they continue with these. They have been amazing so far.

Oh, and a quick shout out to this issues two contributors that have previously worked on BOOM! Muppet comics. Amy Mebberson’s B cover will make you wish that they could pull her away from the Muppet Classics and Muppet Show comics to do some more Fraggle comic art. Grace Randolph is just as adept at working with the Doozers and Fraggles as she is with Kermit, Piggy and company. I’d love to see other Muppet comic artists and writers contribute to this anthology series as well. If there’s one thing I can say the Fraggle Rock comic has over the Muppets is that each and every issue gives you more takes on the characters, in both and artistic and writing sense.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 26, 2010

The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure: Part 2

Hey folks! Lisa the Intern here again with part two of my series on the Muppet Treasure Island computer game. If you recall, we left off with the opening credits.

The Epic CD-ROM Family Adventure: Part 2

Lisa Alexander - Once the credits are over, you find yourself standing in the Benbow Inn. There are two tables right next to each other, and Billy Bones is sitting at one of them with Gonzo and Rizzo behind the other. “And no one knows to this day what happened to the treasure, or the treasure map,” Billy says to your sidekicks. (By the way, Billy Bones is still played by Billy Connolly. How cool is that?) Then he turns to you and says, “Maybe you’ll find ‘em. Eh, Hawkins? …Hawkins?” Apparently incredibly entertained that no matter how loudly you answer, he’ll never hear you, Billy bursts into laughter. It’s about at this point that we start hearing some nice instrumental background music strongly reminiscent of “Something Better.”

“Tell us another story, Mr. Bones. My favorite’s the one about the one-legged man!” Gonzo says.

“Oh… the one-legged MAN! I told ye never to mention that cursed beast. Now get back there and finish brewin’ me stew. I feel the horrors comin’ on. Be GOIN’!”

“The horrors—oh, I think I’ll be goin’ now,” Rizzo says to you, and he shudders as follows Gonzo into the kitchen. We hear Gonzo’s distant laughter as dishes clank around in the kitchen, which apparently makes Billy angry, because he stands up and storms into the kitchen.

There’s a drastic change in music as the top half of the door opens and Blind Pew walks past, waving his stick around. We can see him through the door and the window as he says, “Ah! Billy Bones, it’s ME! Blind PEW! Come to settle a SCORE!” Then he laughs as he leaves our sight, but we do hear him crash into something.

Once Pew is gone, the top half of the door magically closes again, and Billy trudges out of the kitchen and up the stairs, adjusting something in his pocket. When he’s well out of sight and the music has stopped, we hear him shout (in a manner far less dramatic and drawn-out than in the movie), “THE BLACK SPOT! NO!”

Then Stevenson appears on the railing on the second floor, and we can finally start to actually play.

Some sound effects set the mood. We can hear the fire crackling in the fireplace—a fire we can catch a tiny glimpse of behind a table if nothing else is happening on screen. Once in a while, we hear thunder outside, or multiple men laughing, or Blind Pew laughing, or some dishes being handled in the kitchen. Every thirty seconds or so, a pirate from the movie will walk past the window, each accompanied by a different piece of music with varying levels of creepiness. You may see Mad Monty, Clueless Morgan, Angel Marie, or Spotted Dick. If one of them is walking past—or, really, when anything is happening on screen during the game—your cursor disappears until it’s over, meaning you can’t do anything, which is a little annoying sometimes.

At any point in the game, if you move your cursor to the top-left corner of the screen, it will change into a musical note. (A sixteenth note, to be exact.) Click, and you will get music until the next time you click somewhere else. Here, it’s an abridged instrumental of “Shiver My Timbers,” and it also stops the pirates from wandering by every thirty seconds.

But now that we’re free to use our mouse, what do we do with it? Well, there are all sorts of things we can click. The lamest one is to click on the stack of dishes we can see in the kitchen, which briefly shifts and makes some dish-noises. Slightly less-lame is to click on the fireplace, which creates an entirely pointless but nifty-looking puff of smoke. The rest of the things you can click are much more fun.

One of my personal favorites as a kid was to click the sign above the kitchen, which reads “Benbow Inn 1875.” When you click on it, a dish comes flying across the screen with a neat whooshing noise, and as soon as it’s out of sight, you hear it crash into smithereens. Your dish may be a bowl, plate, or cup, and may fly at varying heights.

You can also click on the kitchen doorpost to hear Rizzo raiding the kitchen. His comments are on random, so they’re not always consistent. You can hear “Where’s the food? No leftovers leftover!” and then hear “Ooh, cheese! And it turned all brown and yummy!” You can also hear him worry, “Geez, the refrigerator’s almost empty” before you hear him contentedly sigh, “Mmm! So much food, so little time.”

If you click on the table closest to the kitchen, a variety of things can happen. One, a random pig can come out and snootily say, “With those tall tales of his, Billy is a bigger ham than we are! Hm!” before he trots back into the kitchen with his snout in the air. Two, a different random pig can come out and chuckle, “Huh! Buried treasure… Ah, don’t believe ol’ Billy. I’ll tell ya, the whole matter’s hogwash—uh, if you’ll pardon the expression.” He laughs before he goes back into the kitchen. (I have no idea why Hawkins—or anyone, for that matter—is allowing all these customers into the kitchen.) Three, Gonzo and Rizzo poke their heads out and stare up towards the stairs. “Looks like Mr. Bones is checked out for the evening,” Rizzo says, to which Gonzo answers, “Boy, y’know he hardly ever sleeps in his room anymore!” Rizzo chuckles as they tuck themselves back into the kitchen.

Or four, and the best if you ask me, a tourist rat couple you may recognize from the movie come out in front of the table. (Everyone else was behind it.) In the movie, they briefly danced in front of the Electric Mayhem on the Hispaniola and later commented on the show and the food during Boom Sha-ka-la-ka. Their names are apparently Donna and Randy, and they’re already decked out in Hawaiian shirts and leis as they sing, “There’s gotta be somethin’ bettah… somethin’ bettah!”

“Yeah—there’s gotta be somethin’ bettah than this place,” Randy says.

“Maybe we’ll find it on our vacation! Bristol, here we come!” Donna says excitedly. “Did you remember the traveler’s checks?”

As their back-up music suddenly turns tropical, Randy says, “Don’t leave this place, without ‘em!” They laugh as they trot off to the right.

If you click on the window that pirates keep passing, the top of the door magically opens itself and Blind Pew creeps past with his creepy music. (He really creeped me out when I was a kid, so all this creeping that’s hilarious now was really nerve-wracking back then.) He might repeat what he said earlier about settling a score, or he might call, “Billy Bones! It’s your old pal, come to see you! HA! See you! Zat’s a joke! I cannot see!” He laughs particularly hard before leaving our sight and crashing into something outside. Or he might say, “Mm… I know you’re in zere, Billy… I can smell your breath, way out here!” And then of course he laughs, and we hear him crash into something outside.

Since clicking on the window puts us right next to the door, I will mention that putting your cursor over the door makes the cursor into an arrow pointing out and makes a green EXIT sign light up above the door. Yes, you can go outside, but I’m playing this in the longest way possible to show you all the intricacies of the game, so we’ll get there later.

Another click-option is the moose head above the fireplace. Oh yes, he’s the same moose head from the movie, and he’s another one of my favorites. Now, he can be a remarkably lame click that only results in him looking around. Or he can be funny and sneeze. Or, he can pull out a lovely British accent and deliver one of the following three gems:

"Hmm, let's see... Rats... Geeks... Scurvy pirates... Yup! Just another ORDINARY night at the BENBOW Inn!"

“You know, my brother’s on the wall of the HARVARD club! Hm… Mom always said he had a head for school.”

“You’re expecting Bullwinkle?”

I have no idea who performed him for the game and gave him that lovely voice and accent, but I have missed the moose head.

And I’ve missed Stevenson even more, so let’s click on him. On most screens, he has multiple things to say. When he runs out of things to say, he gives a quick “AND I repeat” before appearing on screen to talk. My intention is to give you as much of Stevenson’s dialogue as possible, because he’s just too wonderful a character to remain unknown.

The first time we click him, he says: “Follow Billy, okay? Why? Treasure Island? Buried treasure? A treasure MAP? Get the connection? There WILL be a quiz!” And he makes a cute little parrot noise before he goes.

The second time, he says: “A better idea. You want a better idea? Well I say: Follow the pirate!” That last line is delivered in an exciting whisper and punctuated once more with a parrot noise.

That’s all he has to say here, and since we are playing in the longest way possible, we’ll listen to him. When we roll our cursor over the stairs or ceiling, it turns into an up arrow. Click, and upstairs we go.

Can you tell that this is going to be a very long series?

Jun 25, 2010

Muppet Fan's Muppet Collection Chronicle, Part 2

The Muppet Fan's Muppet Collection Chronicle
Part 2: The Collection of Daniel Moss

Today we showcase the impressive collection of Muppet fan Daneil Moss. Daniel's collection consists mainly of Fozzie Bear memorabilia, making for a unique and extremely cool spin on the traditional idea of collecting everything Muppet-related. Take a look at Daniel's impressive Fozzie collection!

Thanks a bunch to Daniel for sharing his awesome Fozzie collection with us! I hope your wife or girlfriend doesn't find it unbearable! Ahhh! Wocka! Wocka!

Anyway... if you would like to submit pictures of your own Muppet collection for posting on The Muppet Mindset, send an email to Ryan Dosier at ryguy102390@gmail.com and we'd be happy to work something out with you!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 24, 2010

Staring Contest? OK... Go!

As you'll recall, last week Floyd and Animal appeared at The Webby Awards ceremony to accept the Muppets' Webby Award for "Bohemian Rhapsody." Well, almost a week later, the band OK Go has put up a new video on their YouTube account featuring both Animal and Floyd as Animal has a staring contest with OK Go's drummer, Dan. The video that follows is hysterical. Don't believe me? See for yourself!

Lucky Dan... gets to be The Electric Mayhem's road manager for a year... 'Course, when's the last time they had a gig, man? Mm... might just end up bein' the one to feed Animal, ya dig?

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 23, 2010

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Ernie

 Today's Weekly Muppet Wednesdays article is written by huge Muppet fan, Jesse. Enjoy!

Performed by...
Jim Henson (1969-1990)
Steve Whitmire (1993-present)
John Tartaglia (Play with Me Sesame, season 2)

First appearance...
Sesame Street Test Show (1969)

Most recent appearance...
Sesame Street Season 44 (2013)

Memorable quotes...

"Heeeeeeeere, fishy fishy fishy!"

Best friend(s)...
Bert and Rubber Duckie

Whether it's waking up his ol' buddy Bert in the middle of the night or lying in the bathtub with his Rubber Duckie, Ernie is one of the most popular Sesame Street Muppets. An orange, red-nosed, oval-headed fellow with black hair (and a red-yellow-blue-white striped shirt with yellow cuffs), Ernie has been around with Bert since the first Sesame Street pilot episode in July of 1969, and in the first official Sesame Street episode in November 1969.

He is a jokester, but underneath the surface lies a good, truthful friend, which seems to be the reason why Bert can stand him, which he has for 40 plus years.

One of many comparisons to Bert and Ernie is to The Odd Couple, where Ernie appears as the Oscar Madison of Sesame Street's dynamic duo: a laid-back, sometimes sloppy, insomniac fellow whose best friend is a rather clean, neat-and-tidy, straight-laced fellow who just wants to get some sleep.

Both Ernie and Jim seemed to be laid-back, rarely unraveled, calm fellows always looking for fun. Comparisons especially lie in the fact that Ernie seemed to be having as much fun with Bert as Jim seemed to be having with Frank Oz. What's onscreen seemed as much fun as what's "under the screen," and there are many quotes and sources stating this directly. Plus, it seems many of Jim's Muppet characters are essentially a chunk of Jim's personality, which seems to be the case with Ernie, who seemed to be the laid-back, fun-loving chunk of Jim's personality.

Steve Whitmire took over Ernie in 1993, after a 3-year-long silence, and it wasn't an easy road, but Steve has long since settled in as a suitable Ernie. Whitmire himself has stated, "I feel absolutely certain that I couldn't have even done anything I've done with any of Jim's characters had I not known him." (Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street, page 135)

  • "Rubber Duckie" 
  • "Imagination" 
  • "That's What Friends are For" 
  • "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon" 
  • "Dance Myself to Sleep" 
  • "Dee Dee Dee" 
  • "Imagine That" 
  • "Do De Rubber Duck" 
  • "The Honker-Duckie-Dinger Jamboree"
  • "Put Down the Duckie" 
  • "Things That I Remember" 
  • "One Fine Face" 
  • "D-U-C-K-I-E" 
  • "But I Like You"
Typically, most of Ernie's moments involve him trying to talk Bert into a game, such as his "Rhyming Game," and when Bert finally plays along and gets into it, Ernie takes a break to do another activity, with Bert stuck in a rut.

Other classic Ernie moments take place at night, whenever Ernie has a song to sing or if he decides to eat his cookies in Bert's bed, and this is where magic happens. Usually, the end will involve Ernie going to sleep towards the end, and Bert is still wide awake, trying to sleep but can't thanks to his ol' chum.

Both formulas have been used times so countless, even The Count couldn't count them... okay, maybe not THAT countless (I mean, The Count is a very determined fellow), but the formulas work EVERY time and provide us with education AND laughter.

Why wouldn't the Muppets need Ernie?

Ernie and his ol' pal Bert have been a part of the Street ever since the first test pilot! Since then, the two have become an integral part of the street and without them... well, the street would look... different. They wouldn't have the exact same companionship and "fun-lovingness" and laughter that we've mostly gotten from these two over the years.

In some cases, Ernie is more integral then Bert, even as Bert has been making more appearances recently, but either way, both of them are some of the formula for the show's memories and success.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 22, 2010

D23 Promises

Greetings, Muppet fans! As you all know (probably), last September Disney hosted its first ever fan convention, The D23 Expo, in Anaheim, California. During the event The Muppets made an incredible appearance and The Muppets Studio proceeded to make a ton of extremely exciting announcements of what we could expect to see from the Muppets this year. Well, as I know you're all aware of, it's now over halfway through this year. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what they've announced that has happened and what we're still waiting for.

The following is the list of Muppet-related announcements from our D23 recap post last September.

  • Brand new online Muppet cooking show called "Cooking with Cat Cora" with, shockingly, TV chef Cat Cora.
    • STATUS: Not released. Muppet fans are still waiting for this web-exclusive series to debut. The Muppets Studio mentioned that it would start in January of 2010, but it obviously did not. No word on if it will ever see the light of day.
  • More Muppet YouTube videos to hit the web in 2010
    • STATUS: Released! Thankfully The Muppets Studio kept to their word and released numerous Muppet videos on YouTube since the expo. "Ghost Hunt," "Carve-O-Matic," "Pumpkin Carving," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Carol of the Bells," "Dust in the Wind," "Stand By Me," and "American Woman" have all been released online and the final announced video, "Popcorn" with the Swedish Chef will debut 4th of July weekend.
  • Muppet Halloween Special slated for release on ABC next year.
    • STATUS: Postponed. The announced Halloween special has been held off until further notice to allocate time for shooting of the upcoming feature film.
  • Kermit will sing "Jingle Bells" with Andrea Bocelli on The David Foster Christmas special THIS Christmas on PBS.
    • STATUS: Released! Kermit wasn't the only one singing with Andrea Bocelli--Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, and Animal all came too! The song was released on Bocelli's Christmas album and the Muppets performed it with him on The Jay Leno Show as well.
  • Kermit will be back at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, once again singing "I Believe." This time with Disney Channel "star" Tiffany Thornton.
    • STATUS: Released! Kermit and Tiffany Thornton not only sang "I Believe" at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but also released a single and music video of the song on iTunes and Disney Channel respectively. And it was good!
  • Muppet*Vision 3D in Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be receiving an overhaul in Disney Digital 3D. Currently billed as Muppet*Vision 3D Remastered.
    • STATUS: Occurred! The digital restoration of Muppet*Vision 3D has already occurred at Walt Disney World and some new Muppet parody posters have debuted in the queue area. Word of a new pre-show was circulating but has not come to fruition.
  • Steiff plush of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie coming soon.
    • STATUS: Partially released. The plush of Kermit has been released (for $250) but there has been no word on the Miss Piggy or Fozzie dolls.
  • New line of Muppet merchandise coming to the Disney Store.
    • STATUS: Slowly occurring. The Muppets are slowly starting to be released into the Disney Store fray with water bottles, towels, stationary sets, and t-shirts last year. More is still on the way.
  • More Muppet TV cameos and appearances coming next year.
    • STATUS: Still waiting. The Muppets have not been making the rounds on TV as much this year as expected. They took over both Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC and appeared in the LOST: Slapdown videos, but beyond that there's been a lack of Muppets on the TV. 
  • Muppet iPhone applications planned for 2010. Applications include, "Pepe's Love Meter," "Animal's Drum Set," "Gonzo Grams," and a movie application featuring Statler and Waldorf.
    • STATUS: One released. So far only "Animal's Drum Set" has been released on iTunes for purchase. No word on when or if the other apps will be released.
  • Statler and Waldorf will be writing a book called "From the Balcony" due out next year.
    • STATUS: Nothing. As of writing, Jim Lewis, writer of the previous three Muppet books, had not heard anything more about the book.
  • Studio DC: Almost Live! on DVD in 2010.
    • STATUS: Released internationally. The DVD has been released internationally in the UK and other countries but still doesn't have a release date in the US yet.
  • The Muppet Show: Season 4 on DVD in 2010.
    • STATUS: Nothing. Still no word on when Season 4 will finally be released on DVD.
  • "Mobile Electric Mayhem Band" coming to Disney parks as part of Disney's "Living Character Initiative."
    • STATUS: Nothing. There has been absolutely no mention of this prospect since the D23 Expo. However, Disney's Imagineering plans are usually kept pretty tightly under wraps so work could be getting done on it.
  • New line of Muppet merchandise launches next year. Macy's is the new licensing partner.
    • STATUS: Nothing. Once again there has been no mention of this since D23.
  • The Muppet Whatnot Workshop will have branches in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. New Whatnots with facial hair and "monster fur" are expected.
    • STATUS: Partially released. The new monster and facial hair'd Whatnots have debuted on FAO.com, but it appears that bringing the Whatnot Workshops to the Disney Parks has been stalled.
  • A new CD titled "Muppets Remastered."
    • STATUS: Delayed. The release of this CD has been pushed back indefinitely. Still no word on when exactly this will be released.
  • "Muppet Mobile Comics" coming soon. These are moving comics to be downloaded to your phone.
    • STATUS: Nothing. No word on this since D23.
  • The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made, was announced.
    • STATUS: Actually happening. The film announced was The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made but the film being made is Jason Segel's The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made. It has already had its first table read and filming is set to begin in September. It will be released on Christmas Day, 2011.
So, basically, a lot of stuff hasn't happened but some big stuff has. Hopefully this can only mean we've got a lot more to see from the Muppets in the second half of 2010. Fingers crossed, everybody!

Jun 21, 2010

Muppet Comic Mondays: Muppet Snow White #2

Muppet Snow White #2 
Comic Book Review

James Gannon - You know... these things are a lot easier to review when you've read the whole series.  Doing it issue by issue, there are some details that would get overlooked otherwise.  So without any sort of  witty or clever opening, here's Muppet Snow White 2.

Considering this is a Disney license based on a story that Disney made famous as the first in their long line of animated features, references to that version are ubiquitous. Show of hands, who here has ever bothered to read the ACTUAL Snow White? It's pretty long, contrived and a bit disturbing (for starters, Snow White is 12). Anyway, we have the established 7 Dwarfs performed by the Electric Mayhem and their manager, Scooter. And of course, they have the Disney names attached. Dr. Teeth is Doc, Janice is Happy, Floyd is Grumpy, Animal is Sneezey, Zoot is Sleepy, Lips is Bashful, and Scooter is Dopey, mainly because he hasn't got them a good gig in 25 years. Of course, these are their stage names, and they do refer to each other, accidentally, by their actual names.

The gang comes home and finds their place has been completely cleaned up, with Snow White, Spamella Hamderson, sleeping in their bed. After an introductory scene later (harking back to their introductory scene in The Muppet Movie), they decide to keep Spamella on as a housemaid, and kick Scooter out of the band under Pepe's suggestion. There's a LOT of in-jokery here. I especially liked how the good Doctor mentioned that Lips never had enough face time to develop a personality.

Lest we forget, there's also the wicked queen to contend with. Still bitter that she's not the fairest in the land (which, as I always said in any version of Snow White, the queen shouldn't even be in the running after trying to kill Snow White in the first place), and presumably Spamella will wind up getting Kermit in the end, she hires two fan-favorites as assassins: Uncle Deadly and Crazy Harry. That's something the Disney version neglected to do, any actual plot-line that didn't involve the Dwarfs from the moment she ran away to the moment she ate the apple.

Speaking of the Dwarfs, since they're one short, they have to hold a casting audition for the next member.   Now, if you REALLY want to be surprised and didn't see the cover for the third issue yet, don't read the rest of this paragraph. But I might as well come clean and tell you it's Rowlf. I guess the original plan (at least according to the interview with the writer) was to have a rare character from The Jim Henson Hour as the 7th Dwarf, but I'm guessing some higher up twisted the writer's arm to get him another way. I'm not disappointed, and neither should you be, but I was kinda hoping Digit would get some page time in one of these things. The magic of these comics, though, is that you can have extended scenes featuring characters performed by the same puppeteer and it feels totally natural. it really is a shame that ol' Brown Ears and the Gold Tooth never got any conversation time together until now.

There really isn't much else I can keep ambiguous after saying that, but Harry and Deadly manage to stick around, there's a GREAT scene with Bobo, and it closes with a hilarious tirade about the poison apple from the Muppet you'd expect tirades from. This review doesn't do it justice. And Gonzo and Rizzo's interplay throughout the issue is as good as or even better than in those two classic retelling movies that their roles are clearly inspired by. Like I said last time, it's like they took the BEST stuff from Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island and condensed them into this comic.

Oh, and even though this is a Muppet blog, I'd lose all cartoon comic credibility if I didn't highly suggest checking out BOOM!'s Darkwing Duck series after you get this issue. The art is by Muppet King Arthur's James Silvani. If you love the Masked Mallard as much as I do, you're gonna love the amazing job they're doing with that title also.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!


The Muppet Mindset wishes 
The happiest of Father's Days
To all of the fathers out there.
Now... if you'll excuse me,
I have to go mow the lawn for my dad.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jun 19, 2010

What The Muppets Studio Can Learn from Pixar (or: A Shaky Reason for Me to Toy Story 3 Review)

Ryan Dosier
- After I finished my second viewing of Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3 last night (technically now, but since this is being posted tomorrow I'll write in the past tense) and for one glorious moment before I got up to leave the theater, I just sat and watched the credits roll. I was, literally, stunned by the magic of the movies. Not just any movie, mind you, but the eleventh nearly perfect film to go up on Pixar's distinguished mantle.

What is an article like this doing on a Muppet blog? Well... I'm not going to lie to you, dear readers, I really just wanted to write my own review of the greatest movie this year. But I promise I'll tie it back to the Muppets before the final period is typed!

Now as I'm sure you all know, the Toy Story franchise is what started off Pixar's reign as the most successful animated film producers in Hollywood. In 1995, Toy Story dazzled audiences with its stunning new technology, its captivating story, and its hilarious, distinctly human characters. In 1999, Toy Story 2 took that formula and made it twice as effective. Here we are in 2010, and I'm thrilled to say that Toy Story 3 has done the same thing and taken it to infinity and beyond. (C'mon... I had to.)

Each film follows the tale of child's play-things Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and a myriad of other fantastic characters including cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack), neurotic dinosaur Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm the piggybank, Slinky Dog, and the Potatoheads (Mr. and Mrs.). In every film Woody and Buzz learn something about their existence as toys and what that entails for their lots in life. Toy Story 3 is no exception. In the third installment, the toy's owner, Andy, has matured and grown and is heading to college. The toys, after having no playtime with Andy for years, make a desperate attempt to be loved again and end up being donated to Sunnyside Daycare.

At Sunnyside everything seems peachy-keen, until the toys come to the quick realization that the daycare is more a prison than the Shangri-La they had hoped. The story soon morphs into a prison escape film rivaling any that I've ever seen. But Toy Story 3 is so much more than just an escape, and it proves that within the final half-hour of the film. I've never seen a movie capture such depth and poignancy, while still retaining humor and heart, like Toy Story 3. Its nearly impossible to not have tears welling in your eyes by the time the credits roll. Even upon my second viewing when I knew what would happen, the tears still came.

The Muppets have the ability to be just as emotionally heart-warming and tear-forming as Woody and Buzz; The Muppets Studio just needs to realize it. The reason that Toy Story 3 is such an amazing film is because its story focuses on its established, hilarious, adored characters. Sound familiar? I firmly believe that Kermit and the gang can carry the emotional weight that every Pixar movie has, while still retaining the classic humor and wit they're famous for.

It is more than obvious that creating character-driven films like the Toy Story series is a venture that is just as successful, if not more so, than pandering to an audience that craves toilet humor and pop music backing tracks. A firm focus on the characters is exactly what the Muppets need. Kermit needs to drive his story by chasing his dream of singing and dancing and making people happy, just as Woody drives his story by chasing his dream of being just what Andy wants and needs.

I hope beyond all hope that The Muppets Studio team sends Jason Segel and Nick Stoller's new Muppet movie script through Pixar's writing department. Pixar knows exactly how to create a beautiful (and, as Dr. Teeth would say, profitable) character-driven film. That is exactly what the Muppets need with this new movie--character and heart; and nobody does that better than Pixar.

Do I have enough confidence that Segel and Stoller can write a heart-warming, character driven script on their own, without Pixar's input? Yes, probably. But do I think their chances are infinitely better if they do get input from Pixar? Absolutely. Even though filming for the new movie is slated for September, I still believe that there's plenty of time for the script to circulate through Pixar's writing department, and I sincerely hope that it does.

If Toy Story 3 (which has set a record for animation by making over $41 million on its opening day) is any indication, Pixar knows exactly how to make a movie for all ages that is both hilarious and heart-warming. The key is character, and that's what the Muppets need to focus on once again.

So, in conclusion... Go see Toy Story 3 and witness the best movie of the year and find out exactly what a kind of film the Muppets could be making if they focused on character once again.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier
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