1 The Muppet Mindset: November 2011

Nov 30, 2011

The British C’s Alternative The Muppets Spoilers 2011 Edition

The British are coming! The British are coming!

One may well cry such an alert in Ryan’s general direction as I, the British Correspondent, have a little something to say about (topically) spoilers. So incensed am I with those who have flooded the internet with these unexpected segues from a review into a spoiler without warning that I have tricked Ryan into checking out an omelette station (note The Muppet reference) while I break through the security links of his blog and post my revenge, Miss Poogy style...minus the bad wig, obviously, my hair is perfect.

Anyway, having found myself once again rampantly let loose upon the site, I have decided that rather than continue the circle of mild-irritation (or RAGE!) cause by accidently spoiler-sharers, I will help the situation by leaking a number of al alternative spoilers that may or may not be true in order to keep you guessing right up until the time you get through the theatre door (or in my case, the cinema door).

The British C’s Alternative The Muppets Spoilers 2011 Edition

• Bruce Willis is the ghost
• Fozzie uses sight gags for the sake of comedy, which may or may not include a pair of fart shoes
• Life is a happy song
• Amy Adams has alliteration in her name (which makes her sounds= a little like a character from Sesame Street)
• It is not that easy being green
• Soylent green is people (Kermit Green is a fantastic, warm colour to paint your child’s nursery)
• Gonzo and Camilla are an item (an item of what exactly remains to be seen...)
• The Muppets contains the Muppets
• Something happens at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of this movie
• Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water (the movie Jack and Jill went only downhill)
• You are reading this list (Spoiler alert!!!)
• Waldorf’s wife is called Astoria (this is a pun, therefore, it is funny)
• The butler did it (usually)
• The 80’s Robot is not from the 70’s or the 90’s
• Someday they will find it, the lovers, the dreamers and you (yes, you)
• Rowlf is a dog who plays the piano
• Emily Blunt is hot (usually)
• The Glee Club does not win at nationals (but they go home with a moral victory, or something like that)
• You can’t read my, can’t read my, you cannot read my poker face
• The Village is really set now (as is Smalltown, just not beset with monsters)
• Jason Segel is not a seagull (he also does not appear naked in this movie)
• I am your father (yes, you)
• Various characters return and can be seen in the background of many scenes (including Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great and Fozzie Bear)
• Whoopi Goldberg is not a Muppet (we think)
• I had a blueberry Muffin for breakfast (it was delicious)
• Kermit and Miss Piggy to not share a sibling (Dan and Serena off of Gossip Girl do)
• That picture is not from Gossip Girl --->>>
• Smalltown, USE is not the birthplace of Superman (That is Smallville...and technically Krypton)
• There are no Fraggles in this movie
• James Bond survives (even when shot at by hundreds of random evil guards)
• The bellhops look like rats (and you should see the chambermaids!)
• Scooter works somewhere for someone doing something before he is brought back together with the gang
• Miss Piggy is NOT Miss Poogy (however, they are both pigs and attractive)
• Pepe also belived in Santa Clause despite appearing cynical to his existence
• Ryan’s cat once had a perm (and I have photographic evidence of this event which I use to blackmail him on dark days)
• Miss Piggy did NOT steal Lady Holiday’s necklace (it was all a clever ruse!) (Wow, two reference in one fake spoiler)
• These spoilers stopped being very funny about three spoilers ago but I still have space to fill and after taking over the blog I can hardly leave it half heartedly filled with mildly interesting semi-spoilers or I shall look quite the idiot so...hmmm....here's one final one:
• The word “Phenomena” is traditionally followed by the saying “Doo doo, do, doo doo” (Scientifically speaking)

Your regularly schedualed Weekly Muppet Wednesday programming will resume (one assumes) whenever Ryan can reclaim the blog from my evil tyranical British clutches.

Love as ever!

-The British C

Nov 29, 2011

News Update: November 29, 2011

Hello, folks! Lisa the Intern here again, this time with a collection of lovely videos for you. The Muppets are just everywhere you look these days... And how awesome is that?

First up, we have Studio Q interviewing Kermit. Who or what is Studio Q? I have no idea. I live under a rock. But they interviewed Kermit.

Next up, we have a bunch of Muppets doing a lovely performance with... somebody. Did I mention I live under a rock? Anyway, this is from the UK's X Factor.

Those nice folks over on Tough Pigs found the rest of these clips for us. Here we have Muppets and food--always an interesting combination--on The Chew.

Then, of course, we have Jason Segel (who isn't a Muppet, but I think he wants to be) on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which I have actually heard of before! Amazing.

And if you know Muppets, you know that Miss Piggy can dominate any talk show. Here she is doing just that on Chelsea Lately.

AND, we have Jason Segel (who still isn't a Muppet, but he's trying) and Walter (who IS a Muppet) on Jimmy Fallon (which makes a whole TWO shows that I actually recognize in this list).

And finally... This one isn't a video. Not yet. But Robin the Frog just so happens to be my favorite Muppet, and I am incredibly excited to tell you that adorable little Robin and his Uncle Kermit will be on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on December 23 to sing "When the River Meets the Sea." Tough Pigs has a little more to say about that here.

And that is what I know of the news, which is pretty much whatever Ryan bothers to tell me.

Nov 28, 2011

THE MUPPETS Garners Critical Acclaim, Cash, and Support

Well, it's official... The Muppets is a smash-hit.  In its first five days in United States theaters, the first Muppet feature film in 12 years raked in $42 million, which is a huge grab and already a larger sum of box office receipts than Muppets From Space made in its entire run. This $42 million put The Muppets at a comfortable, absolutely respectable place at Number 2 in the United States box office, coming in behind Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, which even Disney expected to beat The Muppets. Yes, it's a shame that dancing frogs and singing pigs couldn't beat abs and sparkly vampires, but let's take a look at what we did beat, shall we?

The Muppets beat out new releases Arthur Christmas and Hugo along with already-released Happy Feet 2 and Puss in Boots. For those keeping track, that's an animated Christmas movie with good reviews, an epic, 3D family feature from Martin Scorsese with excellent reviews, the sequel to one of the biggest family films of the past few years, and a spin-off film from one of the most popular family film franchises of the past decade.

I think that it's very fair to say that The Muppets has surpassed everyone's expectations (I know it has surpassed mine) as a film, as a critical darling, as a money-maker, and as a franchise relaunch. I have seen the movie five times, with five very different groups of people, and every time the audience reactions, but during and after the film, intrigue me to no end. I saw kids singing "Mahna Mahna," I heard teenagers humming and singing "Life's a Happy Song," and I saw every single person with a big smile on their face. It just does not get any better than that.

But, the question on everyone's mind, and rightly so, is... What's next? Where do the Muppets go next? What do they do now? What does Disney think? Well... I don't know. Honestly, not a clue. But here's a brief little story from Reuters and Yahoo! with quotes from Dave Hollis, Vice President of Motion Picture Sales and Distribution for Disney, that talks a little bit about how happy Disney is, and how excited they are to make more Muppet stuff:

In second place, audiences welcomed the Muppets back to theaters for the first time in 12 years.

New Disney movie "The Muppets," starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams alongside Kermit, Miss Piggy and their puppet friends, took in a strong $29.5 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters in three days. The five-day holiday weekend haul reached $42 million domestically. Two international markets added $1.6 million.

Disney bought the rights to the Muppets in 2004, and the media, entertainment and consumer-products giant is eager to interest a new generation in the characters.

"It's hard to have anyone argue we didn't bring them back," said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice president for motion picture sales and distribution. The movie's performance "exceeded expectations," he said.

The Muppets starred on a weekly television show in the 1970s and early 1980s plus a series of films, the last being 1999's "Muppets from Space."

Critics loved the new Muppets movie, with 98 percent giving it a favorable review, according to aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences awarded an A rating on average, according to exit-polling firm CinemaScore. The movie cost about $45 million to produce.

And, as if all that weren't enough... the critics really can't stop raving about how much they love The Muppets. Rotten Tomatoes has The Muppets ranked at an unbelievable 98% fresh rating, meaning that, of 130 reviews, only three were not singing the praises of The Muppets. It doesn't get better than that. And we realize that you don't have time to read 130 reviews (I don't either, but darn if I haven't tried), so our good friend James Carroll created a gorgeous graphic for us to use that compiles some of the best quotes from some of the best reviews of The Muppets. Check it out below (and click to make it bigger and readable)!
This is just an unreal time... to be a movie-goer, to be alive, and to be a Muppet fan. Got two hours free and about ten bucks? Why not go see The Muppets again? I promise you won't regret it. And just wait... I'm willing to bet that next weekend, Kermit and Walter and the gang will hold the number 1 spot in the U.S. box office. Cross your fingers, Muppet fans!!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Nov 26, 2011

What Do YOU Say?

Lisa Alexander - Hello, everyone. Lisa the Intern here. Yes, I still exist, I'm still alive, and I still hold the unpaid position of "intern" even though I've graduated college and could certainly use a solid income... but that's another topic for another day.

Today's topic, ever so predictably, is the new movie. I would guess that you've seen it by now, unless you have the misfortune of living someplace where it isn't showing yet. So what do you do when someone asks you about it?

It came up multiple times during my Thanksgiving holiday. Family members would specifically ask me about it, or just pose a question when I happened to be in hearing range, and I had a hard time balancing my answer. I think my sister got the (incorrect) impression that as a Muppet fan I was disappointed, although she did relay to a cousin that I gave the movie a "thumbs up" (which is an understatement). Meanwhile, my aunt and two other cousins attentively sat for what could have easily become an hour-long lecture if my mom hadn't been dragging me out the door.

So what do YOU say when The Muppets comes up in conversation?

Do you stem your fandom and leave it with a simple, "That's a great movie! You should really see it."

Or do you get up on your soapbox and launch into a speech about how you've been tracking this movie's existence for the past four years, and how it was made by a bunch of hard-core Muppet fans out to prove that comedy doesn't have to be rude and puppets can appeal to adults, and how anyone can enjoy this movie, but the more you know about Muppets the more you'll get it, and how incredible it is that characters we haven't seen since the '70s are suddenly major players... And if you DO get on that soapbox, how long is it before your audience--I mean, family--loses interest?

Or do you try to show your folks that, although you're an Obsessed Muppet Fan, you do not blindly love and adore every single thing the Muppets ever do? This is the tactic I took with my sister, with the mixed results I mentioned before. I could have launched into a speech, of course: how there were some minor things I would have done differently, but that could be said about pretty much any Muppet movie ever made. (Case in point: Miss Piggy's hairstyle in Muppets Take Manhattan. I realize the afro was "in" at the time, but... seriously?) But then I would've ended up with a very bored listener. So instead all I said was, "There were some things I would have changed... but overall I enjoyed it." Which made for a painfully short conversation.

Ultimately, how much you profess your love of the new movie depends on your audience. (Note that I presume all of you love the new movie. It's hard not to.) How much you say depends on how much they know about the Muppets, and how much they already love the Muppets. Someone who can barely tell the difference between Rowlf and Fozzie won't appreciate how awesome it is that Thog has returned and Uncle Deadly is Tex Richman's henchman (hench-phantom?), but you can say, "This movie has characters we haven't seen since the '70s, and it's awesome."

The most important thing now is to recommend it. If someone asks, say yes, they should see this movie, because it is worth their time and money. Disney can do all the advertising in the world, and every possible source can give The Muppets great reviews, but nothing is more powerful than word of mouth. Tell your friends and family to tell THEIR friends and family to tell THEIR friends and family to see this movie so that it can be as big of a hit as it deserves to be. And that will send a very clear message, to Disney and to the entire world, that we want more Muppets.

Oh, and while you're out there promoting the movie, you might also want to advise people to bring tissues.

Nov 25, 2011

Standing Strong Against Spoilers (British Style)

Opener: Doctor Doctor, I feel like Dr Bob off of Veterinarian’s Hospital.

Response: Lie on the side of the bed and you'll soon drop off...oh wait, that's another joke. Why do you feel like Dr Bob off of Veterinarian’s Hospital?
Answer: Because I need all the patients I can get. *rimshot*

Get it?



Oh never mind...

Greetings to all (excluding Americans), it is I, the British Correspondent, with some words of wisdom and comfort during this trying time of need. I, like you, have been denied the pleasure of having The Muppets movie released in my esteemed country at this hour and, like yourselves, I will require all the will power available in the world to resist reading every review, snooping at every spoiler and viewing every video-spot until the celluloid reels (or whatever they use these days) are packed up and shipped out to all areas of Earth (and possible Koozebane).

So far, I have allowed myself to read a few articles, to watch all the amazing trailers and to even peek (through my fingers) at the brilliant clips such as Walter’s Great Idea and The Montage. But that is as far as I can go without risking ruining the movie. Believe me, when I saw “A Totally Spoilery Review of The Muppets” posted at ToughPigs the other day, it took physical restraint to stop myself from clicking it open. And when I saw one of my esteemed Muppet fans (one whose opinion on the Kermiggy relationship I trust more than any) had posted a review at Muppet Central, I had to close the entire web browser not to have a quick...teensy weensy....little read.

So, that said, what can we do instead to channel our Muppet NEED to see, hear and read whatever we can of The Muppets?

Well, we may not have The Muppets (tm) but we DO have The Muppets themselves with us right here, right now on DVD (or VCR, or whatever). Last night I took all my pent up anticipation and Muppenergy and sat down to watch The Muppet Movie.

“KERMIT!” screamed my inner Muppet enthusiast, “There he is! How green and glorious. OH! GONZO! He’s a plumber! That’s funny! Wow, these songs are great. LOOK THERE’S ROWLF! I’ve not seen Rowlf in AGES! Hahaha. The Chef messed up the projection reel – I love how he’s used so much these days. And now there’s the Electric Mayhem come to help them in the desert. Brilliant. Look at Animal playing his drums! I bet Animal will never give up his drums (*cough*) Oh look, a ‘Standard Rich and Famous Contract’ – I am sure I saw that in a trailer recently. Aww...and listen to that simply fantastic original Rainbow Connection Reprise. Life really IS like a movie.”

So you see, that is one excellent way to pour your enthusiasm for The (new) Muppets into seeing The (old?) Muppets with new eyes.
Other suggestions include:

• Grow a moustache (also helpful when needing a disguise for investigating any local Muppet appearances during the promotion in your area)

• Put yourself into a coma for a few months ala Sleeping Beauty (Why is there never a spinning wheel somewhere about when you need one?)

• Time travel (forward, not backward, but then again if you can afford time travel just get a ticket to America for a private screening)

• Watch Muppets From Space once through...by the time you have managed to actually sit through the whole thing without getting bored, switching it off, changing channel or pausing it to GO PEE!, The Muppets will be released in your area

• Rather than reading articles about The Muppets, write articles about your favourite Muppets and submit them to The Muppet Mindset

• Alternatively, browse The Muppet Mindset archives (using the filter: TBC, for only the best)

• Arrange to have Jason Segel’s rubbish delivered to your home and see if you can find a copy of the original script somewhere in there between the orange peel and the egg shells.

• Buy Muppet Merchandise and try and piece together the entire plot from things you read on the packaging

• Make your own stop-motion version of The Muppets using claydough (will your Mupplastic ending be as good as the real one?)

• Visit any locations that they may have been to in the movie (S.O.R.N., for example, or Paris)

• Try to answer the question: “Man or Muppet” without having an existential crisis (A Muplife crisis?)

• Promote the movie in a unique way: dress as a Muppet and hand out flyers in your local supermarket...just a suggestion...I will not pay bail if you get arrested

• But most of all, have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and before you know it...The Muppets will be upon you!

They say the longer you anticipate something the better it will be...

...I say, that is rubbish, we (the 99%) should riot until the 1% hand over The Muppets to us right NOW!!!

-The British Correspondent (See how I went all political there at the end???)

Nov 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For - 2011

Ryan Dosier - Every year on Thanksgiving Day, I struggle to come up with a post. Sure, I could do the obligatory "Happy Thanksgiving, Muppet Fans" post (Happy Thanksgiving, Muppet fans, by the way), but I always feel like I should give a little more to those I'm so thankful for. So, inevitably, every year I post a "What I'm Thankful For" article. Usually, it just includes Muppet things I'm thankful for... and usually it's hastily written because I'm being drawn by enticing smells at the time of writing. One of these usuallys will occur below, the other might not. I don't really know. I'm still riding the Muppet high of yesterday so I'm a little off my game, I admit.

What I'm Thankful For...

I am thankful for so very much this year, when I think about it. But I think above all I'm 100% excited and thankful for a brand new Muppet movie in theaters. I'm not just thankful that there is a new movie, I'm thankful that there is an excellent  new movie. The Muppets is currently among not only the best reviewed films of 2011, but with 97% fresh ratings at Rotten Tomatoes, it sits among the best reviewed films of the past couple years, at least--which is just nuts. I really just can't explain how thrilled and proud and ecstatic I am for the Muppets and The Muppets. I've said this before and I'll say it again: I had no part in production of this movie, but I feel such a deep, personal connection to it that every time someone says they love it, my heart swells like a proud father. I just keep quoting "Life's a Happy Song" (because, hey, why the heck not?!), but, "Everything is great, everything is grand, I've got the whole wide world in the palm of my hand! Everything is perfect, it's falling into place, I can't seem to wipe this smile off my face!"

Of course, I'm also beyond thankful for everyone involved in making The Muppets and making it a success. From director James Bobin, to producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, to the set designers, the choreographer, the make-up people, the costume designers, the puppet builders, all of the cameo stars, Rashida Jones, Chris Cooper, Amy Adams, Nicholas Stoller for co-writing the script, and, of course, Jason Segel, whose passion and drive and idea made this movie a reality. However, the people I'm most thankful for are the Muppeteers, Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Eric Jacobson, Bill Barretta, Matt Vogel, David Rudman, and Peter Linz. They say that every movie is the sum of its parts, and having one person out would change it completely. Well, having these seven unbelievably talented men on the project absolutely would have changed the film for the worst. Kermit's soulfulness, Gonzo's insanity, Fozzie's gentle goofiness, Rowlf's hilarity, Floyd's perfect attitude, Scooter's return to prominence, and Walter's beyond perfect entrance into the Muppet family... none of these things would exist in The Muppets if not for the Muppeteers. So, above all, I'm thankful for them, their families, and their characters for everything they've done for the world, and everything they've done for me. I can never show them enough thanks.

I'm also thankful for Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop. Yes, with all of the excitement of The Muppets, the show that has been sweeping the clouds away for 42 years has sort of taken a back seat, unfortunately. But that doesn't mean that Sesame has stopped, by any means. Every day, the Street and the Workshop help kids all over the world, and there is honestly no more important thing they could be doing. These noble people who delight children with Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and everyone are some of my heroes. Their work defines children's lives, and shapes them for the better.

And, of course, I'm thankful for my unbelievably supportive family and friends, who make all of this possible. Without their support and love I couldn't do all of this... for many reasons. Thank you all!

The thing I'm most thankful for, though, is you. Yes, you. You're here, you're reading The Muppet Mindset, and I couldn't be more thankful for that. Yesterday we hit our highest number of visitors ever, with exactly 4,500 in one day. That is absolutely unreal to me... and I honestly wish I could thank each and every one of you personally. Thank you so much for your fandom, your support, your help, your comments, your likes, your retweets, your mentions... it honestly means more than the world. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, and again, and again... if it weren't for all of you, there would be no Muppet Mindset. I'm thankful for you.

Take the family, and go see THE MUPPETS!!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Nov 22, 2011

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Walter


The Muppets are now here and there is NO stopping them now! Muppet Domination has begun, and as we all know, once the Muppets start, they just don't stop. We couldn't think of any better way to celebrate than by showcasing new Muppet, Walter in a very special, very exciting Weekly Muppet Wednesday!!
Written by Ryan Dosier.


Performed by...
Peter Linz

First appearance...
The Muppets (2011), first seen in "Green With Envy" teaser trailer

Most recent appearance...
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role...
The world's biggest Muppet fan.

Famous quote...
"Your fans haven't left you, the world hasn't forgotten! Sure, it's impossible, but we have to try! It's time to play the music..."

Walter is one of the first new major Muppet characters in 15 years. Walter's first major role of any sort was playing himself in The Muppets (2011). In the movie, Walter plays the world's biggest Muppet fan and brother of Gary (Jason Segel). Walter started out life feeling like he didn't belong because he was small and... well, his other differences are a little fuzzy. When Walter first saw the Muppets watching an episode of The Muppet Show with his brother, he became elated in seeing people who were like him for the first time, and thus, Walter's love for the Muppets began.

Walter's life truly took a turn for the incredible when his brother Gary invited him to go to Los Angeles with he and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and visit The Muppet Studios and The Muppet Theater. While on the tour of the studio, Walter discovers the nefarious plan of oil baron Tex Richman, and runs away screaming (see right). Walter convinces Gary and Mary to help him find Kermit the Frog so he can save the studio and the theater from Richman's desire for "Oil, see, sweet, sweet oil!"

When Walter found Kermit's house, he was so desperate to get in to tell Kermit about Richman's plan, that he was ready to be thrown into an electric fence for his hero--twice. As Kermit returned home to find his three guests, all it took was one "Hi-ho" for Walter to completely pass out. A true Muppet fan if there ever was one.

Once he finds Kermit, and does a little fan-boy convincing, Walter embarks on the most incredible journey of his life, joining alongside Kermit to help reunite the rest of the Muppets and put on one big show to save the theater and the Muppets. In fact, it takes Walter's love and admiration to convince Gonzo to return to the stage where he belongs. After the Muppets were back together, Walter assisted in cleaning The Muppet Theater, acting as a sponge at then end of Fozzie Bear's broom handle.

With the theater cleaned and the show being planned, Kermit asks Walter if there's an act he would be able to perform on the show. Walter panics, telling Kermit that he doesn't have a talent--at least not a talent as great as the rest of the Muppets. Can Walter find his talent and help save The Muppet Studios and The Muppet Theater? Will he find where he truly belongs? Go see The Muppets today and find out for yourself!

Walter is the first major Muppet character performed by longtime puppeteer and Muppeteer Peter Linz. Peter, along with four additional performers, auditioned for the role of Walter early in the development stages of the movie. In a New York Times interview, Peter recounts the audition, "I did fine, but it was something of a nightmare from a puppeteer's standpoint. The guy who auditioned before me was a profuse sweater—I mean, just profuse—and so Walter was soaking wet and cold when I got him." This just goes to show that a little hard work and sweat (not necessarily yours) get you places in this industry. Peter has performed Walter for numerous promotional appearances and will continue to perform Walter when he (hopefully) returns for future Muppet projects.

Walter is a wonderful addition to the already fantastic cast of Muppets because he represents an area of the Muppet world never before explored on screen: the Muppet fan. Walter is one of us. He's you and me... the only difference is, he's actually Muppet, and he's living the dream we all wish we could be living. But that's what makes Walter so great... we can live vicariously through him. This is why we relate to him so deeply in The Muppets, because we are Walter. All of us. We may as well just start calling Muppet fans "Walters" from now on. Walter is endearing, charming, adorable, and hilarious and I for one sincerely hope that he sticks around for a long time. The character that Peter Linz has brought to life is unbelievably delightful and impossible not to love, and I'm so glad that Walter was chosen to headline this new movie... because he's perfect.

But why do the Muppets need Walter, you ask? Because Walter reminds the Muppets of why they do what they do. Walter gives the Muppets hope that someone, somewhere loves their work and appreciates their talents. The Muppets need Walter for the exact same reason they need us: because he keeps them going. Walter reminds the Muppets why singing, and dancing, and making people happy is so noble. He reminds them why they should write their own endings. The Muppets need Walter because he needs them. It's a beautiful relationship based on love and amazement, and it plays out so perfectly in The Muppets that you will sincerely wonder if Walter was modeled after you.

Welcome to the Muppet world, Walter. We're so glad to have you.

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

The Last Day Before THE MUPPETS

Ryan Dosier - Tomorrow, The Muppets dominate theaters in the United States and continue to spread their domination throughout the world in the coming months. And honestly? Everything is about to change. As Muppet fans, we've always sort of lived on the outskirts of entertainment, with our love for these characters making us dedicated, if not a little strange (not that there's anything wrong with that). But, again, that is all about to change.

The Muppets is set, and at this point almost guaranteed, to be a box office smash this week and weekend. Over 30 "fresh" reviews from industry professionals on Rotten Tomatoes have kept The Muppets at a 100% Fresh rating on the incredibly popular and opinion-shaping website. If Rotten Tomatoes is any indication (and it usually is), The Muppets is poised to not only be a huge critical success, but a major financial success as well. Just see what only some of the world's top critics are saying in this graphic made by our good friend James Carroll below!
The Muppets have not been a financially viable property or franchise since the 1980s, when you couldn't walk into a store without seeing Miss Piggy somewhere. If The Muppets is the massive success it is already gearing up to be, there is a very good chance that we could be living in that sort of world again. Backed by Disney, the Muppets could easily become the next Cars or Toy Story franchise if marketed correctly--and with Disney, product marketing is almost always correct. This would be a world where the Muppets are cool. A world where the Muppets are popular. A world where major Muppet fans aren't secluded online.

How do we, the Muppet fans who have been around long before the major franchise relaunch of 2011, adjust to this exciting new world? Well... I don't honestly know. Let me give you a few examples of how my "real" life (e.g., hometown, school, non-Muppet fan friends) has already changed because of this movie. On Saturday, a friend texted me to tell me he had a conversation with a coffee guy about the movie and my friend mentioned The Muppet Mindset, to which the coffee guy responded, "You know Ryan Dosier?!" Then, that night, while watching Saturday Night Live with friends, they all fell in love with the Muppets singing alongside Jason Segel. Tomorrow, I'm getting interviewed by my local paper for a story about me and the Muppets. This is what has happened already--before the movie has been released.

So what are we, as longtime Muppet fans, responsible for doing in this bold new world? I don't know about you, but I plan to show off my knowledge of Muppet history to everyone who is even remotely interested. Imagine introducing The Muppet Show to someone introduced to the concept just by the telethon in The Muppets. Think about showing "Bohemian Rhapsody" to someone who thought the Muppets were gone between 1989 and 2011. Reintroducing the world to the Muppets before The Muppets is something that this film paves the way for beautifully, and something that we should all try to do to keep alive the magic of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Jerry Juhl, and all of the other amazing talents that contributed to the major success of the Muppets but are no longer with us or no longer working with them.

We should also promote the heck out of this movie (as if Disney hasn't already done enough of that) to everyone we know. Tell your Facebook friends, tell your Twitter followers, tell your grandma, tell your dentist that the Muppets are back in a very big way. When the world knows, the world watches, and Disney takes notice and keeps the Muppets everywhere. I know that most of you still haven't seen the movie yet (but hopefully most of you will have by the end of tomorrow), but trust me when I tell you that as soon as you see it, you'll want to tell everyone you know to go see it as well.

Think about how far we've come in the past seven months. In May, we got the very first glimpse of the movie with the unbelievably clever "Green With Envy" teaser trailer, and the promotional engine for The Muppets has not stopped since. Now, here we are, November 22nd, one day before the film's release and you can hardly turn the channel on TV without seeing Kermit or Miss Piggy or Jason Segel. For the past three weeks, a day when someone was not on TV promoting the movie was an odd day. Five years ago, who among us would have possibly imagined that this is the world we would be living in? I know I never imagined it, and I can still hardly believe this is reality.

But that's the thing, isn't it? Five years ago, we, the Muppet fans, were here. We were here, waiting, wondering, hoping, dreaming... The small group of us that loves the Muppets more than most things. We may not know it, but we are the ones who made this movie possible. Our support of Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, Piggy, Animal, and the rest of the gang for so many years of not-the-fairest weather kept the Muppets alive, and because of us they are back for a new world to enjoy. We won't get thanked, but it is thanks to us that The Muppets is in theaters tomorrow.

It's been a long journey for Muppet fans. It's been a long journey for the Muppeteers. It's been a long journey for the Muppets. But it's the journey that makes the trip worthwhile. The Muppet Movie taught me that lesson. Without the journey, The Muppet Movie is nothing. It's not Fozzie Bear, it's not Gonzo the Great, it's not "Movin' Right Along," it's not The Electric Mayhem, or Scooter, or Rowlf the Dog, it's not even the divine Miss Piggy without the journey. We've been on this journey together with the Muppets for years, and here we are at a destination, waiting to get out of the car and see what happens next and when our next journey begins and where it takes us.

The Muppets is more than just a movie to me, and I assume to all of you as well. The Muppets is a validation of my strongest belief: Life's like a movie, write you're own ending with lots of singing, and dancing, and making people happy. The Muppets is a validation that the past seven years of my life as a Muppet fan have not been a waste. The Muppets is a validation that the world does indeed love these characters and, maybe, the world sees their value and importance as much as I do. The Muppets means the world to me, because it's about to change my world.

Here we are, gang... the start of a new age. I'm ready for it, the Muppets are ready for it, Disney is ready for it, the world is ready for it. Are you? Even if you're not... you have to admit that the journey getting to this point has been pretty darn incredible. As we pull into our destination, remember the journey. It'll make the end result so much better.

So, as we're sitting in the theater tomorrow with our popcorn and our soda and our excitement about to bubble over, let's remember the journey. Let's remember to thank The Walt Disney Company for making this movie, thank Jason Segel for spear-heading this campaign to make his dream and ours a reality, thank Nicholas Stoller for writing the script, thank James Bobin for his direction, thank David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman for producing, thank Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, and the numerous cameo stars for their talent and passion, thank the Muppeteers for their unmatched talent, dedication, and belief in the Muppets, thank Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Jerry Juhl, and everyone else who brought The Muppet Show to life for creating a world where we can have a Muppet movie in 2011. Above all, thank yourself and your fellow Muppet fans for never giving up on the Muppets, just like they've never given up on us.

Life's a filet of fish... Yes it is.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Nov 21, 2011

Another Review of THE MUPPETS

There is SO MUCH Muppet stuff happening, people!! They are literally everywhere. Professional reviews of the movie from huge sources (some of which you can read from the links on our homepage) are pouring in like crazy, Kermit, Miss Piggy, and everyone in between are popping up on talk shows all the time, articles are flooding the internet... it really is Muppet Domination, and I really can't keep up anymore (I mean, I can, it's just exhausting).

As you all know, The Muppets opens in US theaters in TWO DAYS. I was wracking my brain to figure out what to post today... another News Update, a bunch of video clips, nothing... but you can get all of that anywhere you go. Today, I wanted to showcase what makes The Muppet Mindset special: Muppet fan contributions. That's why today we're presenting another review of The Muppets from friend of the blog Elizabeth Leary, who happens to work at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta (which is amazing). So enjoy the review, brace yourself for even more Muppets, and try not to explode before Wednesday! 

Thoughts on The Muppets

Elizabeth Leary - On Monday, November 14th I had the incredibly good fortune of getting to see a preview screening of The Muppets. I'd hoped to see it for the first time at a midnight screening (how awesome would that be?), but I haven't heard of one in my area, and even if I had, how could I turn down the opportunity to see it early?! I just wish everyone reading this could have joined me.

Before I continue on, some background on me: Lifelong Muppet fan. Became a bigger fan around the age of 13. Went to Vassar College–its campus was used in the opening sequence of The Muppets Take Manhattan (did NOT know this before I was committed to go–spooky!). Interned at The Jim Henson Company my junior year. Interned at The Jim Henson Legacy my senior year. Majored in Film and wrote my senior thesis on Labyrinth. Currently the Grants Manager and Film Series Coordinator at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.

So, yeah, I'm a VERY BIG fan of Jim Henson and the Muppets and definitely among the great community of people who've been anxiously awaiting this film since we first heard about it four years ago. Most of us started out thinking "I'll believe it when I see it," which slowly gave way to a cautiously optimistic attitude, which more recently turned into a very optimistic outlook on the film. So with all that anticipation, it would certainly be possible for the actual movie to not live up to all of our expectations. But, as The Muppet Mindset's Ryan Dosier reported in his own review of the film, it does live up to just about everything I could have hoped for! The movie was funny, heartfelt, and incredibly enjoyable. An excellent film for a Muppet fan, as well as an excellent film for any movie-goer. I’d like to share just some of my spoiler-free thoughts with you.

First, it wasn't until it started that I remembered how months ago we heard there would be a Toy Story short film before The Muppets. Not sure if Ryan got to see it, but it was screened for us, and as one would expect from Pixar, it was very funny! While on the subject of that company, we also heard a while back that Pixar was recruited to take part in a table read of the script. I'd love to hear how that went, if they gave advice or just gave it the thumbs up, because whatever happened in that meeting it turned out well in the end.

As alluded to above, I saw the film with a somewhat strange audience. First, and this was extremely painful to see, the theater wasn't full. Also, most people there were college-age. Thankfully, the audience did respond well to the film, which was great to hear. However, there was at least one weird moment of laughter at what was actually a very touching scene. I think a bit of the laughter was understandable, but as the scene continued and the laughter didn't stop it was annoying. But as Jason Segel himself had to address while writing the script, some people don't think about the Muppets being serious or sad. Unfortunately, those people viewed the scene as a joke. I don't think all audiences will react that way, but this mostly younger audience did.

In the opening scenes one thing that jumped out at me, which I know was also noted in some other online article, was the amount of Muppet memorabilia in Gary and Walter's room. I can't wait for the DVD to be able to pause it, look at all the items, and play: "What Muppet merchandise do YOU own?" I was most excited to notice two lunchboxes that are among my small-ish but growing collection. Cool to see them on the big screen!

One thing Ryan mentioned in his review was that he didn't enjoy the Amy Adams and Miss Piggy song "Me Party." Fair enough, but I did! I won't give too many details away, but I think all of the songs play to different genres, which is of course very Muppet-y, so I think "Me Party" would be their 80's girl-power song. I'd have to listen to the music more to confirm this hypothesis, but I think it fits most of the songs.

Was the film 100%, completely perfect? No. But any issues I have are pretty small. (A few scenes seemed to be edited a bit short. Some main characters didn't get much screen time, but that did allow for a lot of appearances from minor characters–and, as Ryan said, the Muppets are definitely the stars of the film, so it's not like the film didn't give them enough time overall. A couple of the younger cameos might not make much sense in a few years. I noticed what appeared to be CGI on a few puppets in "stunt scenes," which I didn't like and was distracting.) No matter what nit-picky things I can list, though, I continue to be extremely pleased with how close the film does get to perfection.

Was the movie exactly like the original films? No. It's not a film that feels like it's from the 70's or 80's, it's a film from 2011. It does have a certain timeless quality, but it's not trying to be something it never could by copying decades-old classic films that can never be recreated. It feels like the Muppets have been updated, but in a good way. Whereas past efforts to modernize the Muppets have often put them in situations that resulted in less than stellar productions (Studio DC, anyone?), Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were somehow able to make a film that isn't stuck in the past yet retains the essence of what the Muppets are. Well done, sirs! This clearly wasn't an easy task, or else some previous projects would have turned out very differently. But thankfully this time around we've been given an absolutely delightful film that will be adored by fans, enjoyed by the general public, and which will stand the test of time.

I would probably have seen this film in the theater a few more times no matter what. Opening day, with a larger group of friends that weekend, maybe a few weeks into the run before it leaves theaters. Even if I didn't like it, I probably would have suffered through it multiple times. Therefore it makes me incredibly happy to know that I will ENJOY seeing it more times! In fact, there are so many things happening in the background throughout the film that I'm sure every viewing will reveal something different, which means multiple trips to the theater are practically required for Muppet fans. I also like that I can honestly encourage anyone and everyone to see it because one's enjoyment of the film is not dependent on their level of Muppet fandom.

Final thoughts: Wonderful film! As I said before, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller wrote a fabulous script that they should be proud of. James Bobin, the Muppeteers, and everyone else who worked on the film should be proud of it. It honors the past, treats the characters with respect, and gives the audience a great piece of entertainment for the whole family. I can't wait for everyone to get to see this film so we can all fully enjoy what a fabulous time it is to be a Muppet fan!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com
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