1 The Muppet Mindset: January 2011

Jan 31, 2011

Muppet Comic Mondays: Fraggle Rock Comic Book, Volume 2 Issue 2

Fraggle Rock Comic Book 
Volume 2, Issue 2

James Gannon - When I say I can’t wait for the next issue of Fraggle Rock, I don’t mean it that literally. Only a week after Issue 1 of Volume 2 was released, Issue 2 came out. Now, to my understanding, this was just a goof up with the distributor, and we should expect the next issue back on schedule in two months. But let’s get on with the show anyway.

This issue opens up with one of the greatest stories that appeared in the comics, “The Meaning of Life” (Joe LeFavi/ Heidi Arnold). Gobo finds his Uncle Matt’s old journal, and reads an entry about the one quest Matt could never complete. It is said that whoever completes the journey will find the meaning of life, and Gobo feels such an important exploration should fall onto him. His friends reluctantly follow suit, caring mostly about the prestige they’d likely get for making that discovery (though Boober comes along to make sure their clothes don’t get horrible stains on them). Ultimately, they discover such discovery comes with an ultimate price.

Now, I’ve been saying since the first issue that the stories all feel so real to the characters and themes, it’s like reading lost episode scripts. Even that odd little story where Red invents the Segway Scooter felt like a throwaway gag from the show. This story especially felt like a long lost episode, and it had a heartfelt, emotional deepness some of the best episodes of Fraggle Rock have. It even managed to have a similarly themed Uncle Matt postcard, and Gobo sings a few lines of “Follow Me” as well. All that was missing was the Doc and Sprocket wraparound. Heidi adds to the emotional thrill ride with great Fraggle expressions, giving them more animated facial expressions and even tears. All and all, a powerful story with the heart and soul of Fraggle Rock.

Later, Gobo tells scary stories in “The Fraggle Who Cried Monster” (Jason M. Burns/Chandra Free).   Stories so scary, Boober can’t sleep and suddenly sees monsters. Or is it just some character we’ve seen before? Finally, “The Perfect Words” (Tim Beedle/Ross Campbell) escape Mokey when she tries to compose the perfect poem to describe her relationship with the other four. She works so hard, her eyes bug out, causing her to look like one of those Fraggle plush released by Tomy (couldn’t help that reference). And Katie Cook shows you how to make fingerprint Fraggle art. Of course, the word “fingerprint” was too great of a jinx for this comic collector, so I quickly shoved the comic back in the bag and hid it in the back of my closet before it were to further depreciate in value.

Something I’ve noticed about this go around, the stories so far focus exclusively on the Fraggle Five. While in the first volume, there was occasionally a short about the Doozers or the Gorgs, this one just focuses on the core characters. The strange thing is, covers for Issue 1 (David Peterson) and Issue 2 (Heidi Arnold) both feature Junior Gorg, and he’s also in the inside front cover. He has yet to make an appearance so far (Ma gets a one panel cameo in last issue’s laundry story). These are still great stories, but I hope to see the Doozers and Gorgs in the next issue. Also of note, there are a lot of references to past episodes in this issue, so keep an eye out for them.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jan 30, 2011

Almost Daily Fraggle Rock Quotations: Week 14

Hey folks! Happy Sunday! Lisa the Intern here with another batch of Almost Daily Fraggle Rock Quotations. I'm happy to report that I've gotten back into my habit of almost constantly watching Fraggle Rock here in my apartment AND indoctrinating my friends when I visit THEIR apartments. I had the traumatic experience this week of having a good friend ask me what Fraggle Rock WAS... Let me tell you, it's a good thing we were at a stoplight when she asked, or I might've gotten us into an accident. But don't worry; I fixed it. She's very happy to have been introduced to the show now. Anyway, enough of my rambling...

Scared Silly: "Wembley... It's ALL in the timing." -- Boober Fraggle

The Great Radish Caper: "I'm gonna grow ROOTS!" -- Junior Gorg

Born to Wander: "I will follow ME!" -- (Young) Uncle Traveling Matt

The Battle of Leaking Roof: "TouchĂ©, soufflĂ©!" -- Junior Gorg

Well, there you have it! And now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be watching the final season today while I write two or three papers and study for a test. For the record... I don't recommend procrastination. I'd give you a long explanation of why it's a bad idea, but... well... it can wait 'til next week...

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jan 29, 2011

Muppet Fan Testimonial: Casey Daron

Casey Daron - My Muppet fandom began four years ago, when I was eight. I was in my room, looking for something to do, when I found a Muppet coloring book. I faintly remembered coloring in it when I was three or four years old. As I kept my search in my room, a found a small Kermit stuffed animal. I knew nothing about the Muppets, yet they intrigued me. A few months later, I was in a store when I saw the book, Before You Leap by Kermit the Frog. I begged my parents to buy it, hoping to learn something from the book. I did learn some simple things, but I really had much more to find out.

I bought The Muppet Show: Season One in 2007, watched every episode, and shared a lot of laughs with my family. I now could easily recognize some of the lesser-known Muppets like Sweetums, Thog, Wayne, Wanda, and Uncle Deadly. I had just recently found Muppet Wiki and Muppet Central, and was found on them every day. I shopped online for any Muppet thing I could find. I remember myself going to Newbury Comics, and buying action figures, stuffed animals, lunchboxes, pins, stickers, and shirts. This was just the beginning to my vast Muppet Collection to over 150 items.

For my 9th birthday, I probably got the best present ever. My parents hired someone to paint me a beautiful Muppet mural. It showed Kermit on the Muppet Show Stage, with Statler and Waldorf in the balcony looking very displeased and cracking jokes. The next year, I got my very own Muppet Whatnot, which I named Elvis. We drove all the way from to New Hampshire to New York to get this personalized Muppet. This was awesome, because now I could make my own little Muppet shows. For Christmas I got the posable Kermit Photo Puppet, and later I got the Gonzo Photo Puppet as well.

When I turned eleven, I found The Muppet Mindset. This website was absolutely AWESOME! It told all these upcoming events, and even interviews with famous Muppeteers! This website was like heaven. I check on The Muppet Mindset every day, and read all the articles. It is absolutely awesome. I also found out about the new Muppet Movie, and was absolutely bonkers. THIS IS AWSOMELY AWESOME! This year, as I am 12, I have built my own full-bodied puppet similar to Sweetums. It was really simple, and only took me about three days. The Muppets are simply awesome, and I can’t wait to see the movie in November!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jan 28, 2011

The Great Muppet Cameo Rundown

Ryan Dosier - Greetings Muppet fans! I decided to embark on quite the journey for you today... I've decided to list every confirmed, rumored, and denied cameo appearances in The Muppets. Trust me, it's not as easy as it sounds. There are, as you can imagine, quite a few celebrities set to appear. At last count there are 28 confirmed cameos, 7 rumored cameos, and 4 celebrities starring alongside The Muppets.

Let us compare this to The Muppet Movie, shall we? There were 16 cameos in The Muppet Movie. Who knows what that means... but anyway, here's the cameo rundown!

Starring Alongside The Muppets (all confirmed by official Disney press release)
  • Jason Segel as Gary
  • Amy Adams as Mary
  • Chris Cooper as Tex Richman
  • Rashida Jones as Veronica
Cameo Appearances in The Muppets (confirmed by film)
  • Zach Galifianakis (Hobo Joe)
  • Alan Arkin (Muppet Studios Tour Guide)
  • Emily Blunt (Miss Piggy's Assistant)
  • Jack Black (Himself) (uncredited)
  • Mickey Rooney (Smalltown Singer)
  • Rico Rodriguez (Himself)
  • Dave Grohl (Animool)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (Himself)
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Herself)
  • James Carville (Himself)
  • Selena Gomez (Herself)
  • Judd Hirsch (Himself)
  • John Krasinski (Himself)
  • Donald Glover (TV Network Assistant)
  • Kristen Schaal (Anger Management Counselor)
  • Leslie Feist (Smalltown Singer)
  • Ken Jeong (Himself, Punch Teacher Host)
  • Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo (Foreign TV Executive)
  • Sarah Silverman (Waitress)
  • Jim Parsons (Human Walter)
    Filmed Cameos for The Muppets, Cut From the Film for Time
    Rumored Cameo Appearances, Did Not Film Appearances
    So there you have it! Every confirmed, rumored, and debunked celebrity cameo slated for The Muppets.

    The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

      Jan 27, 2011

      News Update: January 27, 2011

      NEWS UPDATE: January 27, 2011

      This past Sunday in San Francisco, Brian Henson sat down to be interviewed by awesome person and Muppet fan Neil Patrick Harris. The contents of this interview are still mostly unknown but The Jim Henson Company did showcase a great picture of Brian and NPH from the event (see right). If any of our great readers were at this event, email Ryan Dosier at ryguy102390@gmail.com--we'd love to talk to you about writing something about the event!

      Another cameo has been confirmed for The Muppets in the form of Modern Family's "Manny Delgado," Rico Rodriguez. The young actor tweeted last Saturday saying, "My childhood is coming alive right now. I'm filming with the muppets for their new movie! It's pretty epic!" I don't know if you've seen Modern Family or the work of Rico Rodriguez... but he's absolutely perfect for a Muppet movie. This is quite a bit of cameos... so check out The Muppet Mindset tomorrow for our attempt to name all of the cameos appearing in the film (that we know of).

      Speaking of The Muppets, Examiner.com has posted an incredible video of the filming that went down at The El Capitan Theater last week. The video includes such great moments as Chris Cooper yelling at the Muppets, the Muppets goofing around, Fozzie slapping Kermit around, and much, much more. It really is incredible and you should definitely check it out.

      Extremely sad news this week as we report the loss of Sesame Street show writer, song writer, and composer Tony Geiss (1924-2011). Geiss worked on Sesame Street for years and his credits are almost innumerable as you can see on his Muppet Wiki page. Geiss was the conceptual mind behind the Honkers and Abby Cadabby. He wrote the first Sesame Street movie Follow That Bird and some favorite Sesame songs including "Elmo's Song," "I'm Proud to Be a Cow," "That's What Friends are For," and, my personal favorite, "Sing After Me." Thankfully, Geiss's legacy will live on forever with his wonderful songs, writing, and memories.

      After that... how about a cheer up? Check out this magnificent video of Kevin Clash and Elmo making a pregnant woman's day at the Sundance Film Festival during a Q&A after a screening of Being Elmo.

      And, to conclude, today we're celebrating the 500th post here on The Muppet Mindset! Yes, after 500 posts we're still here--and even more amazingly, you're still here. We're so, so thankful to all of you for being so supportive of us through all 500 of these posts. The support and love you show us is nothing short of incredible! So, to celebrate, watch as I present a gorgeous piece of artwork heinously edited by yours truly!

      The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

      Jan 26, 2011

      Weekly Muppeteer Wednesdays: Kevin Clash

      Once again, our Weekly Muppeteer Wednesday article is written by Tom Stroud.


      September 17, 1960

      Notable Muppets...
      Elmo, Clifford, Hoots the Owl, Baby Sinclair, Baby Natasha, Kingston Livingston III

      Kevin Clash was born in 1960 in Turner’s Station, Maryland. Kevin loved building puppets from a young age, with his parents, George and Gladys Clash, supporting his interest, not even becoming angry when Kevin cut the black lining off his father’s good overcoat to build a monkey puppet.

      In the 1970’s, Kevin met Muppet designer Kermit Love, who arranged for him to visit the Sesame Street set and perform in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as Cookie Monster in 1979. In 1983, Kevin was hired to join the cast of Sesame Street for ten episodes. Unfortunately, he was working on two other shows at the time, whose producers refused to work around the Sesame Street schedule, forcing him to cancel his appearances. In 1984 he officially joined the cast, performing characters such as Hoots the Owl, Dr. Nobel Price, and Baby Natasha. His most famous character, of course, would arrive in the form of Elmo.

      Elmo started out as furry, red, generic “Baby Monster” in the 1970’s. In season 12 he was first known by the name Elmo, and was performed by Brian Muehl. After Muehl left the show, Elmo was recast to Richard Hunt. Hunt grew tired of the monster however, and threw the puppet to Kevin in the Muppeteer break room and told him to "come up with a voice for this thing." Kevin performed Elmo in his next sketch, introducing the now well-known Elmo falsetto voice. Elmo grew popular among audiences, soon becoming arguably the most popular Muppet character on the show.

      Towards the end of the 1980’s, Kevin began to branch out to other Henson productions, performing roles such as Billy Bunny in the video Billy Bunny’s Animal Songs. He also performed Clifford in The Jim Henson Hour. Clifford went on to host the 1996 Muppet television show, Muppets Tonight. Clifford has not appeared since 2005's The Muppets' Wizard of Oz but remains one of Kevin's favorite characters.

      In recent years Kevin has talked about his life as Elmo and the life-changing meaning Elmo and Sesame Street have brought to his life. In 2006, Kevin wrote an autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster, and a brand new documentary, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, which chronicles Kevin's life and work, premiered at Sundance in January, 2011. Kevin was also just interviewed by The Muppet Mindset.

      The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

      Jan 25, 2011

      Interview with Muppeteer Kevin Clash

      Ryan Dosier - Hello, Muppet fans! I am so, so excited today because I get to share with all of you a brand new interview with yet another legend: Kevin Clash. Kevin, as you probably know, is the performer of Elmo on Sesame Street. Kevin has been a great part of Sesame Street for nearly 30 years now, performing other great characters like Hoots the Owl, Baby Natasha, Wolfgang the Seal, and Kingston Livingston III. He also performed Clifford with The Muppets. Recently, Kevin has directed numerous episodes and specials for Sesame Street and is the subject of the recent film Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey which premiered this past Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.

      I was so beyond humbled to have the opportunity to sit down and talk to Kevin for a little bit on Skype about his characters, his directing, and more. We also get joined by a special guest that I'm sure you'll adore--because, quite frankly, it's fairly impossible not to. I'm also very pleased to announce that this will be our second all-audio interview! You'll hear me, Kevin, our special guest, and my geek out moments--what more could anyone need?

      My huge thanks to Kevin and Elmo and all of the people listed there at the end credits! This really is a childhood dream come true and I'm so, so happy that I get to share it with you all!

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

      Jan 24, 2011

      Muppet Comic Mondays: Fraggle Rock Comic Book, Volume 2 Issue 1

      Fraggle Rock Comic Book
      Volume 2, Issue 1

      James Gannon - It’s been a month after the Muppet Classics line ended with Muppet Sherlock Holmes and several after the end of "Muppet Mash," but thankfully the void has been filled with glorious news. Archaia’s Fraggle Rock Comic Book has started up again, and with the same amount of Fraggley wonder and amazement as the last volume.

      This issue starts with an intriguing story written by Grace Randolph (Muppet Peter Pan) and illustrated Chris Lie, “Wembley and the Great Dream-Capade!”  Wembley can’t sleep. Instead of dreaming, he sees nothingness, all the while hearing how great the other Fraggles’ dreams were. So Gobo, Red, Mokey, and Boober decide to help him out by sharing their dreams. There’s even an appearance by a wonderfully handled (in both art and writing) Trash Heap. And I’m sure she references a past episode. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. Other than a few issues with eyes on certain Fraggles (Red has strange eyelids in one panel for instance), the art fits perfectly and has a wonderful storybook feel.

      Of course, we also get two more wonderful shorts as in every issue. “Boober and the Ghastly Stain” (written by Jake Forbes, illustrated by Mark Simmons) shows the almost uncharacteristically brave strides Boober will go to in order to remove a superstain from Gobo’s shirt. That’s what I call obsessive compulsive motivation! And there’s even a very Fraggley original song in there too. Not since Roger Langridge have I seen the riskiness of putting music in a visual medium pulled off so well.

      Boober’s back to his cowardly ways in “Brave Sir Wembley” (written by Joe LeFavi, illustrated by Cory Godbey), where he psyches out Wembley on his way to pick up a postcard for Gobo and Storyteller. Both with such wonderful varying art, but unifying Fraggle themes. And let’s not forget Katie Cook’s activity corner. We get a standard coloring page (well drawn, though) but we also get Red Fraggle’s tips on stretching before exercise. Not only helpful, but in character as well. I’ve always felt meh about comic activity pages (especially in Muppet Sherlock Holmes) but there’s something about the use of them in the Fraggle comics that make them work.  Maybe the kid’s book shape and size of these comics?

      I always felt that Fraggle Rock was a very special series (more so than even Sesame Street or The Muppet Show), and it’s good to know that four issues later, all contributors channel what made it great into every story. In every review I state that I’ve read some slapdash, generic comic adaptations of cartoons and TV characters. I’ve even read some that were spot on, but missing something intangible.  But with The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock comics we’ve seen recently, it does a Henson fan proud to see them flawlessly adapted in comic form, even taking advantage of the new medium. There is a concern that, by renumbering them starting back with one, some buyers may get confused, especially since each issue has multiple covers. A Volume 2 tag would have been helpful. I really, truly hope these do well enough to get us Volume 3. It would be an injustice if this didn’t outlast the Marvel series from the 80’s.

      The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

      Jan 23, 2011

      Almost Daily Fraggle Rock Quotations: Week 13

      So, I just finished my second week of classes this semester, and I'm still just getting back into the swing of things. So we've got fewer quotations than usual this week. But we do in fact have them! Whoopie!

      The Secret Society of Poobahs: "She CAN'T be INNOCENT! I DON'T know what the word means." -- Convincing John / The Royal Vanguard 

      The Beanbarrow, the Burden, and the Bright Bouquet: "Well, it's a long story... but it has a HAPPY ENDING!" -- Red Fraggle

      Gobo's School for Explorers: "If you got what it takes to grow, You gotta take what you got and go, And if you got what it takes Then take what you've got And get goin'! Mm-hm!" -- Gobo Fraggle

      And there you have it! Note that we have yet another new surface to write the quotations on, and that this drawing of Kissing Rock is even better than the last. Yes, it's still my drawing. I'm just apparently more talented with dry-erase markers than with chalk.

      The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

      Jan 22, 2011

      Sesame Street Saturdays: Top 15 Sesame Street News Sketches

      Top 15 Sesame Street Newsflash Segments

      Michael Wermuth, Jr. - We’re just around the corner from the release of the upcoming Sesame Street DVD “Silly Storytime”, which will include four Sesame Street News segments. In honor of this upcoming release, I present my list of the top 15 Sesame Street News segments (because Sesame Street News is too special to be limited to just a top ten list), in no particular order. Okay, this order is actually as close to chronological as I could make it, because I don’t know the official chronological order of the segments. Enjoy this list!

      1. Rapunzel
      One of the best Newsflash sketches ever. It’s hilarious how Prince Charming reacts to Rupunzel’s hair falling off, as well as the arguing between them at the very end. One of the few times you’ll hear somebody say “Shut up!” on Sesame Street.

      2. Sleeping Beauty
      I like this one better than the other Sleeping Beauty sketch from around the same time. Sleeping Beauty sure does look cuter as a frog than a princess!

      3. The Three Little Pigs
      Having The Count interrupt Sesame Street News to count The Three Little Pigs and The Seven Dwarfs is a great way to represent two classic fairy tales in one sketch. It’s also one of the few news reports on the Three Little Pigs to actually involve counting.

      4. What Makes People Angry?
      One of the best Newsflash segments to not be based around a fairy tale or nursery rhyme, it’s particularly funny how nobody has time to answer Kermit’s question. The night setting is particularly wonderful. It’s also one of the few times Grover appeared in a news segment.

      5. Cinderella
      My favorite of the three Cinderella sketches (though I don’t remember actually seeing either of the other two). The ballroom dancing seems like a precursor to “At the Dance”. I really like how shallow Prince Charming seems to be whenever he appears on Sesame Street News.

      6. Pinocchio
      Okay, first time I saw this one I thought it was a bit freaky, but later on I saw it as funny and as the classic that it is. Though I must wonder what Kermit fell into at the end of the sketch.

      7. George Washington’s Father
      I wonder how Kermit manages to go back in time to cover past events.

      8. How to Get to Yellowstone Park
      My favorite of the Don Music segments. Rather than parody a nursery rhyme Don Music parodies the Sesame Street theme song. Interestingly, in this one Kermit never talks to the audience or refers to Sesame Street News (to do so would make Kermit’s ending line seem a bit weird), but still appears in his trench coat holding his microphone.

      9. Alice in Wonderland
      One of my favorites as a child, and I felt like it was an event whenever it was shown. One question about it: How come when Alice grows her clothes grows with her, yet when Kermit shrinks his clothes stays the same size?

      10. Foot Snuggies
      The only Dr. Nobel Price segment I’ve seen in English (seriously, sesamestreet.org should add some Dr. Nobel Price segments to its site). I especially like Nobel Price’s final line (“What’s television”?).

      11. First Day of School
      Kermit interviews Cookie Monster on the first day of school. I wonder if the teacher noticed the Sesame Street News camera crew in the classroom when he mistook Kermit for a student (also, I wonder if he noticed that Kermit was the only non-monster in the classroom).

      12. Old MacDonald – and the spaceship
      Old MacDonald mistakes a red Frisbee for a flying saucer, but then a real flying saucer shows up.

      13. Elmo’s Reporter Game
      One in a number of segments pairing Kermit and Elmo. The pairing is good, even if I prefer Kermit and Grover as a duo.

      14. J Mine
      Kermit reports from inside a mine of letter J’s. I really like the voices of the minors in this segment. Though I can’t help but wonder if maybe Biff and Sully should have worked in the J mine instead.

      15. The New Three Little Pigs Story
      The Big Bad Wolf writes a new version of The Three Little Pigs, in which Kermit and the pigs take part in the “Three of These Things” game. Though I think the Big Bad Wolf should have been the one that doesn’t belong.

      The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier
      The Muppet Whatnot Workshop-Only Available at FAO.com
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