1 The Muppet Mindset: January 2012

Jan 31, 2012

Muppetology 101: Recasting of Muppet Show Characters, Pt. 2

Ryan Dosier - Welcome back to class, class! Hope you brought your purple gloves and your rubber chicken because today is all about Frank Oz and Eric Jacobson. We're continuing our series of Recasting of Muppet Show Characters today. As you'll recall, last week we explored the recasts of characters performed by Jim Henson. The only logical second step is to take a look at the characters performed by Jim Henson's right-hand man (sometimes literally), Frank Oz. Frank retired from performing with the Muppets in 2002 and since then all of his characters have been passed on to the incredibly talented Eric Jacobson, who, for the most part, has given near-perfect performances of every character on this list.

Take notes! That quiz is coming up! (Eventually, probably. First I need some lunch.)
    • Originally performed by FRANK OZ (1976-2002)
    • Currently performed by ERIC JACOBSON (2001-present)
  • Miss Piggy was the first of Frank Oz's characters to be recast after Frank's retirement from working with the Muppets. It didn't prove too difficult to cast the porcine diva once the exceptionally talented Eric Jacobson took over. In fact, at Eric's first performance as Miss Piggy at MuppetFest in 2001, most people in the audience had no idea that it wasn't Frank performing--the voice and mannerisms were that spot-on. Frank performed Piggy a few more times before officially retiring from the character in 2002.
    • Frank Oz first performed Miss Piggy in The Muppet Show Season One (1976), trading off the character with Richard Hunt for the first few episodes but finally settling in as Piggy's permanent performer before the season ended. Frank Oz's last performance as Miss Piggy was on The Today Show in 2002 for the 50th anniversary special.
    • Eric Jacobson first performed Miss Piggy during a video insert in "The Muppet Show: LIVE" at MuppetFest in 2001. Eric Jacobson has continued to perform Miss Piggy in every appearance of the character after 2002, including The Muppets in 2011.
      • Originally performed by FRANK OZ (1976-2000)
      • Currently performed by ERIC JACOBSON (2002-present) 
    • Fozzie Bear remained silent and unseen after Muppets From Space in 1999, and did not physically perform the character again after that. Three years later, Eric Jacobson donned the role of the bear in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie in 2002, solidifying himself as Fozzie's permanent performer. Eric's Fozzie remains one of the best recasts in Muppet history, as Eric's characterization of the bear is reminiscent of what Frank did with Fozzie on The Muppet Show.
      • Frank Oz's first performance as Fozzie Bear was on The Muppet Show Season One in 1976. Frank Oz remained Fozzie's sole performer for over 20 years, up to Muppets From Space in 1999. Frank's final vocal performance as Fozzie was in the Muppet RaceMania video game in 2000.
      • Eric Jacobson's first performance as Fozzie Bear was in the TV movie It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie in 2002. Eric Jacobson has performed Fozzie for the past decade, including Fozzie's major role in The Muppets in 2011, and will continue with Fozzie for the foreseeable future.
    • ANIMAL
      • Originally performed by FRANK OZ (1975-2000)
      • Currently performed by ERIC JACOBSON (2002-present)
    • Animal is without a doubt one of the most popular Muppets, but even he was not recast permanently after Frank Oz's retirement for two years. Even during Muppets Tonight, 1996-1997, Frank began phasing his way out of the character as Kevin Clash performed Animal in a few of his appearances, with Frank looping the dialogue later. However, when it came time for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie in 2002, Eric Jacobson was the obvious choice for the permanent recast of the drummer. A few other performers took on Animal in the 2000s (most notably John Kennedy, who did Animal's voice for Muppet Party Cruise, a 2003 video game), but Eric has been the only performer of Animal from 2005 onward.
      • Frank Oz's first performance as Animal was in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence pilot in 1975. Frank Oz gave his last physical performance as Animal in Muppets From Space in 1999, but also did Animal's voice for Muppet RaceMania in 2000.
      • Eric Jacobson's first performance as Animal was in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie in 2002. Eric would be the main Animal throughout the 2000s, with a few other puppeteers doing the character's voice. But from The Muppets' Wizard of Oz in 2005 to Animal's semi-starring role in The Muppets in 2011 and beyond, Eric Jacobson has been Animal's only performer.
      • Originally performed by FRANK OZ (1975-2000)
      • Currently performed by ERIC JACOBSON (2005-present) 
    • Sam the Eagle was perhaps the most difficult of Frank Oz's characters to recast after his retirement. In It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie in 2002 and the Muppets Party Cruise video game in 2003, Kevin Clash was the voice of Sam Eagle. It wasn't until The Muppets' Wizard of Oz in 2005 that Eric Jacobson performed Sam for the first time. Since then, Eric has been the only performer of Sam, giving another near-perfect performance as the pompous eagle. Eric performed Sam in such hits as "Stars and Stripes FOREVER!", "American Woman," and "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 2008 and 2009.
      • Frank Oz's first performance as Sam the Eagle was in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence pilot in 1975, where Sam was one of the main characters alongside Nigel and Floyd Pepper. Frank Oz's final, physical performance as Sam Eagle was in Muppets From Space in 1999, but Frank did provide Sam's voice for the Muppet RaceMania video game in 2000.
      • Eric Jacobson's first performance as Sam the Eagle was in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz in 2005, where Sam played the Emerald City gate guard. Eric Jacobson has continued to perform Sam the Eagle ever since, including Sam's role in The Muppets in 2011.
      • Originally performed by FRANK OZ (1976-1981)
      • Currently performed by ERIC JACOBSON (2011-present)
    • One of Frank Oz's stranger characters was Marvin Suggs, a minor character who would appear various times throughout the run of The Muppet Show. Marvin Suggs would continue to appear in silent roles after The Muppet Show ended in 1981, but Frank Oz never spoke as the character after that. Marvin disappeared after a brief, silent cameo in Muppets From Space, but in 2011 director James Bobin revealed that one of his favorite Muppets was Marvin Suggs, so the character had a semi-resurgence in The Muppets and the OK Go music video for "The Muppet Show Theme Song," performed by Eric Jacobson both times.
      • Frank Oz's first performance as Marvin Suggs was in The Muppet Show Season One, Episode 105, in 1976 where Marvin and his Muppaphones performed "Lady of Spain." Frank Oz's last known performance as Marvin Suggs was in The Muppet Show Season Five, Episode 506, in 1981 playing the Wonderland Judge.
      • Eric Jacobson's first performance as Marvin Suggs was in OK Go's "The Muppet Show Theme Song" music video in 2011. Eric Jacobson has only performed Marvin Suggs in 2011, but even this was enough to have Marvin Suggs and the Muppaphones sang a line in the finale version of "Life's a Happy Song" in The Muppets in 2011.
    Well, that'll do it for class today... I'm letting you out early, be grateful! Next week we'll jump back into it with a look at the recast characters of The Muppet Show characters performed by Richard Hunt! Now, be gone with you!

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

      Jan 30, 2012

      The Ramblings of Jarrod Fairclough, Muppet Nerd - Part 5

      Jarrod Fairclough Presents: The Ramblings of a Muppet Nerd – The Museum Of Jarrod Art

      Jarrod Fairclough - Hello. Me again.

      Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm studying animation, about to begin my third and final year. It means that I'm constantly doodling and drawing, and various times this had led me to draw Muppets, both of The Muppets and Sesame Street categories. Now, I am no professional by any means. I'm no Dave Hulteen, or Chris Smigliano, or anyone like that. I do this for a bit of fun, and I thought maybe I could indulge myself a little. Speaking of indulging myself, remember when I wrote that love letter to Jason Segel a while back? I have to admit I got a little self-conscious when I found out he reads this website. It means he read the letter.  Do... do you think he likes me? Anyway, awkwardness aside, allow me to talk about each of the drawings, and look out for special comments by a mystery guest, which I'm pretty sure I already revealed was going to be Joe Mathieu ages ago...
      This was a very quickly drawn picture while I was waiting for some tech guys to come fix the computer I was using. When I say quick, I mean maybe 3-4 minutes tops. Bert is a frequently drawn character by me, I just find his head shape to be really interesting to draw. Plus it's great fun making different expressions just with his eyebrow. This one is nonchalance. I don't really like drawing Ernie too much. His head shape is really confusing, and its delicate to draw, because if you don't get the head just right, you'll end up having Ernie look like a cross between Elmo and Stewie from Family Guy. You'll also notice Ernie doesn't seem to have a left hand. As I said, 3 to 4 minutes.

      JOE MATHIEU:  Cute, sketchy version of Ernie and Bert looking somewhat embarrassed about something. The Ed Koren line makes them appear insecure and a bit nervous. Their hair is exactly how I used to draw it in the early 70's when I drew them with pen and ink.
      I call this one "1930’s Cartoon." I love the look of those old rubbery characters, like when Mickey Mouse used to have eyes like that. Also done in class between work, I started with Kermit, and went from there. To get the good grey look, I coloured each of the characters their proper colours, i.e. Kermit was green, Fozzie was orange, etc., and then I "grey-scaled" the layers, which turned them black and white and grey. Sam was a last minute addition. I loved this picture so much; I slightly edited it and attempted to enter it into the We Love Fine t-shirt contest. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, it was too much hassle to enter and I didn't bother. Which is good, because much more talented people deserved to win.

      JOE MATHIEU: 1936; the year Jim was born. The Muppets have a period, sort of Steamboat Willie, look about them. I have to admit that I first saw Sesame Street on black and white TV!
      This picture was done while I was testing out a new drawing tablet I had acquired. I don't have a whole lot to say about it.  n the final piece, I ended up editing Elmo's eyes so they didn't look so oddly proportioned. My sister really liked it, and the final piece got printed out and is now hanging in my little niece's bedroom.

      JOE MATHIEU:  Very nice. I would still like to see everyone bunched together, though. Aren't rainbows beautiful?
      This one got done during class as well. It's amazing I actually get anything done there. Originally I was going to just draw Gonzo. I was trying to find a good way to draw his nose. Then I drew Camilla, which, can I say, is my favourite part of this drawing. Then I drew the other two. I'm not 100% happy with either. Kermit's top half of his mouth is a little too exaggerated, and I should change it, but meh. Fozzie's too skinny, and he has a weird lover half of his mouth. I complain, yes. But I'm still happy enough with it to share it.

      JOE MATHIEU:  Everyone seems happier now that they are in color! I think they would be even happier if they were mashed closer together. Jim always liked the characters smashed together; look at all the group photos with Jim in the middle. He liked all the heads touching, making an all-over pattern. Where's Miss Piggy?
      This next one was done for a woman at work. She had asked me to find a good Sesame Street poster for her son's room. His name is Rohan, and he's now 3, I think. When we were talking about it one day, my best friend's mum was there and said, "Why don't you draw a poster?" So I did. But it wasn't this one. Originally I started one with Elmo holding an R, Grover with an O, etc., but then I started doodling in class and drew the background you see here. And I loved it. You'll notice that Grover, Cookie and Oscar look slightly blurry, as does the background. That's because they were all done at one size, and scaled up to make the image the size of two normal pieces of paper together. I really like Oscar and Big Bird in this. And Cookie. Cookie looks dumb. And I love the Count. I love all of them but Elmo, and even then he's pretty good too.

      JOE MATHIEU: There's a handsome group! I love the funky architecture growing out of a grassy field, especially with the addition of a medieval castle on the right! I always loved drawing the Count, but the underside of his cape always gave me fits; working digitally would have been a god-send. What exactly is Grover carrying?

      Joe, Grover is carrying a cape.
      I love this picture. I love this picture more and more every time I look at it. I love the effect of the lights, I love the crazy mouths. I should point out; the mouths were partially inspired by Evan Cheng, after I saw his zombie pictures on ToughPigs. Every time I've attempted to redraw this picture, I've failed. I've only just been able to draw Elmo's head the same without the mouth looking weird. I'll sound a tad arrogant here, but I just really like this drawing, it's one of, if not my favourite one I've ever done!

      JOE MATHIEU: I have no idea what this is about, but I love it! These drawings are a lot of fun. I can't help but remember that when we started drawing the Muppets for books and products in the early 70's, Jim did not want a codified style where everyone was forced to draw the characters in the same style with the same technique. He encouraged everyone to interpret the Muppets in their own way. I think it has gone a bit in the other direction these days, but that was how Jim liked it. Also, he didn't think that the drawings had to be overly accurate representations of the puppets, either. I think he felt that the puppets had their physical limitations that the illustrators didn't have to be hobbled by. Good job, Jarrod!

      Okay, before we continue, two things. One, "I have no idea what this is about, but I love it!" may just be my favourite review ever. I'm currently getting a website together, and at the top of it I've put that line. Two, I've often thought that the characters are all looking too much the same in all the Sesame books lately. It's nice to know that Jim loved a different look, and it may just be my delusional state, but I read that also as "Jim would have loved this drawing."

      Okay, now, next are a few images I didn't get Joe to comment on, because I either forgot or I didn't expect him to comment on it.
      This one is Kermit working on his Jim Henson puppet. His pupils are a bit small. Other than that I really like this picture. But then on that Scandanavian fan art site I saw a much better Kermit-Jim Puppet picture, one I love so much I'm considering printing and framing it.
      Fozzie's Comedy Club. Just a really quick picture, don’t think I really even outlined Fozzie roughly first. I do these while listening to music, so I tend to zone out. I love the rubber chicken. Also, I want to point out, it was after these that I realized Fozzie's hat flips up, not goes down.

      Thanks again to Joe Mathieu. I genuinely cannot put into words how good he has been to me over the last year or so! We've traded e-mails back and forth, and he's become a bit of a mentor in my eyes!

      So that's just some of my Sesame Street and Muppet drawings. I'm sure in another six months or so I'll have enough to do another MOJA article. Next time I'll be talking about the wait for The Muppets, and how I managed to see it so many times for free (and no, I didn't download it).

      Life is a happy song, my friends. And it's also a fillet of fish. Yes it is.


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

      Jan 29, 2012

      (Kind of) Weekly Muppet Quotes Spotlight: Angus McGonagle

      Casey Daron - Have you ever wondered what it would sound like to gorgeously gargle Gershwin? You will soon find out! (As soon as Disney releases Season 4 of The Muppet Show.) Anyway, today I will be spotlighting the great, gracious Argyle Gargoyle, Angus McGonagle! Try saying that three times fast!

      "Look! It's Luke Skywalker and C-3PO, and R2-D2! They'd make much better guests than Mr. McGonagle!"
      ~ Scooter and Angus McGonagle, The Muppet Show, Episode 417

      "I don't even know what an argyle gargoyle does!"
      "I GARGLE Gershwin!"
      "The argyle gargoyle gargles Gershwin?"
      ~ Kermit the Frog and Angus McGonagle, The Muppet Show, Episode 417

      "The stage is empty! My chance at last! GARGLE! (to the tune of "Summertime")"
      ~ Angus McGonagle, The Muppet Show, Episode 417

      "Terrible! Trapped by Dirth Nader, our weapons useless, and now we're being tortured by gargling Gershwin!"
      ~ Angus McGonagle and Luke Skywalker, The Muppet Show, Episode 417

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

      Jan 28, 2012

      Muppet Fan Testimonials: Justine Sautjeau

      Justine Sautjeau - First of all, let me tell you that I could write on the Muppets for hours. But I will try to be brief. If I can.

      Today, I throw my love for red monsters, talking frogs, and mee-meeing scientists in the world's face, and I love it. Yet, it seems easier to do so in England than in France, where I live now. Probably because, even though The Muppet Show had a big impact decades ago, it is not such a big deal there anymore.

      The Muppet Show was very famous in France in the 1970s/80s in its initial run. Then, years later, a few episodes were broadcast, and my TV turned into a house for strange creatures I had never seen before. I remember finding it scary, too adult, too rude, and above all, too political for me (even though I can't really remember now if it was that much about politics). I was too young to understand. Where did those creatures come from? Could animals talk? Now that I'm writing this, I search for videos on the Internet... and watching it today, I must admit that the French version does not make me laugh... while the English/US one does a lot! Maybe the translation/humour was not good enough for my little brain.

      Even though I was a bit scared of the Muppets and didn't understand them, I developed a growing interest in puppetry and was fascinated by a puppeteer's work. Punch and Judy didn't get much of my attention, but my toys did. Making them talk, play, creating their personalities... it quickly became a part of my life and a way to escape reality. I guess all kids do that. Apart from those toys at home, I didn't have much of a "Muppety life." I forgot about The Muppet Show even though I kept Kermit somewhere in my mind, thinking I would give him another chance at some point. I kept an interest for puppets, going to some theatre performances, admiring the craft I couldn't do myself. Geniuses. They are geniuses. The guys who can go on the stage, control puppets, and make the audience forget about their presence are just geniuses. They can sing, act, do everything, become the ONLY actor on stage, and everybody will stare at the puppets, not the puppeteers. They are just shadows and let their creations have all the attention and compliments. I fell in love with puppetry when I understood how great those guys were. I wished I was one of them, but it sounded too crazy.

      So I just focused on watching rather than creating. I watched TV shows, but also films such as Labyrinth (mainly because I am a huge fan of David Bowie). I've never managed to say what genre this film is. Comedy? Fantasy? Drama? For me it was just wonderfully weird (in a good way!). But unfortunately, in France, puppetry on TV just included a show with a big orange dinosaur called "Casimir," and his friends, living in The Children's Island. He was supposed to be the sweetest monster on Earth. Our Elmo, in some way. I just found it ugly and scary... sorry, Casimir...

      Then, a few years later, I discovered Sesame Street--which made up for all the Muppets in the world. Sesame Street didn't appear in France before 2005, but the internet threw the nice monsters in my face overnight. Elmo, this adorable red monster, quickly became one of my favourite TV personalities. It was a sweeter introduction to Muppets, probably what I needed–even though the Muppets are the sweetest creatures on Earth, which I realized later. Yet I don't like the show for its innocence, but for Elmo's hyperactivity which turns him into a crazy uncontrollable creature. To me, Sesame Street is not just for children--nor The Muppet Show. They're grown-ups shows. This self-awareness, this sarcasm, this craziness and chaos are the representation of what we need in our sad adult life. We need fun, madness, and we need to rediscover kindness and friendship. Realizing that Kermit and his friends just wanted to spread these ideas, I decided it was time to give them another chance.

      I figured that the Muppet films would be a good way to go back to them, and rediscover them. I was right! I love their kindness, their idea of a world of acceptance, of keeping a team spirit whatever happens... And seriously, when I watch them, I could pee my pants laughing (it was time to say something a bit gross, I hope you appreciate it). Crazy Miss Piggy fighting, Kermit in ecstasy on his bike, the hospital scene from The Muppets Take Manhattan... these are exactly the kind of scenes that will always make me laugh, even after watching them 1000 times. And, whatever people say, I love Muppets From Space! It might not have had the promotion and production it deserved at its release time, but if you watch it now, you'll see that it's all about supporting friends and accepting them for what they are; in short, a real Muppet movie! I was so happy to make up with them. Especially with Fozzie, who is nothing but my alter ego, making jokes whatever people think of them (you're funny, never give up buddy!).

      I sadly realized that Elmo couldn't play with his Muppets friends anymore since Disney bought Jim Henson's creatures... and trying to find footage of them all together, I found the videos of Jim Henson funeral, which are just incredible. I've never cried that much before. Big Bird's tribute is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, really. Once again, my love for puppeteers grew more and more while watching those videos...

      But now, we're in 2012, things are not the same... or are they? Last weekend, I happened to see a preview of The Muppets (nope, not released yet in the UK). I was really scared to be disappointed. How could the modern world recreate the amazingness of the Muppets? Will there be too many human scenes? Will it translate the humour and sarcasm of the Muppets? Well, congratulations Jason Segel and team, you did it!! It's just incredible. I wanted to sing, to cry, I had shivers. I felt the impact of the Muppets' absence in people's lives, I felt happiness and nostalgia. The non-stop jokes, musicals scenes, and self-mockery are hilarious. Bret McKenzie deserves his award, and the puppeteers... oh my God... I can't even find the words to tell you how amazing they are! Hearing "Rainbow Connection" made me think of all the great moments I spent watching either Sesame Street or the Muppets. And it made me feel like something was missing in my life–not only the Muppet Show, but something bigger. Cause the Muppets are also about something deeper that you can't really explain.

      Yes, it is probably a very personal script by Jason Segel; the script of a fan desperate to see his favourite comedians back on screen. Yet, it is a great tribute to Jim Henson's world and creation. Thank you, Mister Henson.

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

      Jan 27, 2012

      The Muppets Take Mairfair

      Spotted: Kermit on a whistlestop tour of London. He hopped into taxi cabs, and tweeted from his lillyiPad. He made grown-ups green with envy by displaying his new Blue Peter badge and made children smile by stopping by Great Ormond Street. He edited The Sun and met Bob Geldof's daughter. All the while, taking the time to answer Qs with As over at DisneyMoviesUK's twitter feed. Stick with us as we retrace his steps (flipperprints?) and give you the lowdown on his visit to the United Kingdom's capital city.

      First of all, Kermit announced that he would be taking over the twitter-feed at DisneyMoviesUK and what a great job of it he did! Although they have taken back the reigns (and keyboard, and fancy broadcasting kit) today, you can still see his tweeted answers to fans from yesterday (alternatively do a search for #AskKermit). I noticed a few great ones:

      Joey Essex asked: Hey Kermit coming to see you later at the premiere, what are you going to be wearing so we don't clash? Stay REEM #AskKermit (No, we do not know what REEM means ourselves...)

      To which Kermit responded: I usually go naked, but I’m going to premiere in a tux, so ok if U come 2 premiere naked #AskKermit (No comment)

      Stephen Fry asked: Kermit, how often a day do you gargle to keep your tenor tones so supple?
      Kermit answered: I gargle w/ fresh swamp water 3 X a day & 2 X a day Piggy grabs me by neck & shakes--keeping me supple & rattled

      A girl called Laura H asked: will you be sampling the British cuisine while you're in London today?

      And Kermit let her know: I luv British food! The damp weather brings out the very tastiest mosquitoes. Bzzz…Yum!

      Similar questions and answers kept popping up all day on the twitter feed, providing endless hours of entertainment (in just 140 characters!)
      But that wasn't all. Kermit also let us know through Twitter that he was popping into the esteemed establishment Great Ormond Street Hospital. Although we have not heard a report of what he got up to there, it must have been a real treat for the kids to see him.
      Later on, Kermit and Miss Piggy showed up for the red carpet premiere at Mayfair!
      Now, as it happens...my name had been left with the lady at the gate.

      So she quickly called security and led me off the premises. (I joke.) (Or do I?) But luckily there were plenty of photographers and reporters who DID get in, and they have released some classic pictures and videos and details of the premiere which are included below.

      This, from LoveFilm, has some fun comments from Pig and Frog and Bob(in).
      As you can see, Miss Piggy is there in a customer Giles Deacon. He told GraziaDaily (who?) "She was the biggest diva we've ever worked with," he revealed. "All the staff had to face the wall when she walked in."

      The Telegraph also had some coverage of the Muppets premiere which they uploaded here. (And a GREAT Miss Piggy interview from a few weeks ago here.)

      Some amazing stars came out to see The Muppets... and also some semi-famous people who we have photos of...
      Georgia Salpa went straight in for the kiss (and was later spotted on a potential date with Joey Essex...unless that is just who Kermit turned into after a kiss from a princess? Perish the thought...)
      Megafan Olly Murs was also there (and rumoured to have exclusive Muppet footage on his tour later this year...)
      Stephen Fry was also on hand (researching a QI episode on amphibian and porcine cross species dating?)
      On close inspection of this image from the night, you can clearly see that Kermit is sporting a Blue Peter badge on his laple. Could he have popped onto the kids show (ship?) while he was over here in the UK?

      This morning, Kermit and Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy popped in to chat to Chris Moyles on (go figure) The Chris Moyles Show. They were all on form, with Fozzie cracking great jokes, Piggy cracking great insults and Kermit cracking up. The whole thing can be listened to here, but you might wanna skip to about 2 hours in (ish) when the Muppets arrive.

      Finally (phew!) do not forget to watch The Jonathon Ross show tomorrow night in ITV! We heard from an insider that they are just great on the (custom built!) sofa with talk show host Jonathon Ross.

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

      Jan 26, 2012

      News Update: January 26, 2012

      NEWS UPDATE: January 26, 2012

      Good news for all you talented musicians who also happen to be Muppet fans out there (and I know you're out there)! Sheet music from The Muppets is now available for purchase online! Now you too can play hits like "Man or Muppet," "Pictures in My Head," "Me Party," and "Life's a Happy Song" on your piano, guitar, or just sing them out loud and strong! The book only costs $17 (plus shipping) on the Hal Leonard Corporation webpage. What more could you need?

      Sesame Street is preparing to release a new DVD called "Best of Sesame Friends," which will feature the best clips from the most famous characters on the Street: Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Telly Monster, Snuffy, The Count, Zoe, and Rosita. The best part? YOU get to help choose the clips! That's right, you can now vote for your favorite clips for each character via Facebook! Voting ends on February 1st, so get in there and vote now! The DVD is set to hit stores in Fall 2012.

      As we reported on Tuesday, The Muppets received an Academy Award nomination for "Man or Muppet" for Best Original Song! Well, music and lyric writer Bret McKenzie talked with MTV News about the nomination and his, as he called it, "surprise nomination." He even hints slightly at how he would like to see the song performed at the Oscars ceremony. (With a man and a Muppet... go figure.)

      The folks who make the extremely popular PlayStation3 game LittleBigPlanet sure do love the Muppets. Awhile back, they released a special edition Gonzo suit for characters to wear, with the promise of more Muppet stuff soon. Well... they weren't kidding. Now available on PlayStation Network are fourteen different Muppet costumes (Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Bunsen, Beaker, Statler, Waldorf, Animal, Floyd, Dr. Teeth, Janice, Zoot, Rowlf), over 200 stickers, and five levels and two challenges inspired by The Muppet Show. It is truly an amazing amount of content made with love and care. Don't believe me? What if I told you that Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, and Dave Goelz went in to record a bunch of gibberish sounds for the characters? Amazing. You can buy LittleBigPlanet and download the Muppet content now! Not sold yet? Watch the fantastic video below and you will be!

      Our good friend at ToughPigs.com have discovered another preview of Bloopers from The Muppets via Entertainment Tonight. The bloopers show off 80's Robot testing his driving skills, Muppet Gary (who sounds an awful lot like Johnny Fiama) visiting human Gary and Walter, and much more. Remember, this is just a small sampling of what we'll be seeing, blooper-wise, when The Muppets hits Blu-ray and DVD on March 20th!

      Last week Miss Piggy appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway All Stars on Lifetime and the All Stars had to create a cocktail dress for our favorite porcine diva. I won't lie to you, I haven't had time to sit down and watch the whole thing yet, but I've heard that le Pig was phenomenal (as she usually is) and proved herself a very worthy judge. You can catch the entire video of Piggy's appearance on the show thanks to Lifetime's website!
      We would also like to send our love to Kermit, Miss Piggy, and James Bobin who are currently in the United Kingdom for the British premiere of The Muppets! Kermit was tweeting and answering questions from fans on the Disney Movies UK Twitter feed. You can read all of Kermit's hilarious and well thought out tweets on the Disney Movies UK page. And to close our News Update, check out this picture Kermit tweeted from the red carpet! The corresponding tweet read: "On Red Carpet doing interviews. Lots of questions abt #MuppetMovie, my tux & whether Piggy & I are wed. Yipes!"

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

      Jan 25, 2012

      Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Bean Bunny

      Written by Ryan Dosier.


      Performed by...
      Steve Whitmire

      First appearance...
      The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (1986)

      Most recent appearance...
      The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005)

      Best known role...
      Sickeningly cute rabbit

      Bean Bunny is a tiny rabbit known for being adorable and cute and sweet, much to the disdain of the other Muppets. As Gonzo the Great once said of Bean, "He's so cute... he's evil!!" Bean first appeared as the star of the little-known 1986 television special The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. In the special, Bean learns that he does have something to contribute and he isn't useless just because he's small. In a take on the classic "Boy Who Cried Wolf" tale, Bean saves the bunnies in the warren from a dog.

      After this, Bean's star rose high as he became a regularly featured member of the Muppets cast with a supporting role in the Muppet Central segments of The Jim Henson Hour (1989). Bean was seen in all but one episode of the show's 12 episode run. During the show, Bean appeared in segments and sketches such as "Space Guy," "Bean Bunny and the Cuteness Thief," and, my personal favorite, "Beanbo," took the satellite dish off the roof of the studio, sang "La Bamba" with the cast, made his own work out video, and scolds people for saying the "P" word (puppet).

      Once the The Jim Henson Hour came to an end, Bean Bunny continued to appear in Muppet television specials. In The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990), Bean was paired with Scooter for the first time as the duo explored Epcot. It was here that Scooter sighed, "Cute is [Bean's] middle name." to which Bean responded, "Actually, it's Norman." in his usual plucky demeanor. In The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson (1990), Bean is seen running the projector that plays Jim Henson's biography until he somehow gets tangled in film and ruins the film. It is also in this special that Clifford calls Bean a "yo-yo."

      Perhaps Bean Bunny's biggest role came in 1991 with Muppet*Vision 3-D, the 3D show at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios. In the movie, Bean messes up Miss Piggy's big song by blowing bubbles, aggravating her with a butterfly and a bumblebee, and forcing her onto water-skis. Sam the Eagle then tells Bean that he is "ruining this movie" and so Bean joins up with Waldo C. Graphic, the spirit of 3D, and runs away. It takes Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie, and Sweetums to find Bean and convince him to come back for the finale--with fireworks! In the end, Bean sets off the fireworks and the show is an explosive success.

      Bean Bunny's most well known role came with The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), where he played a Dickensian poor boy, caroling for Mister Scrooge in hopes of a shilling or shelter from the cold. Instead he got a wreath to the head and was forced to seek warmth in a pile of garbage. It wasn't until the end of the movie that Bean's luck turned when Scooge asked him what day it was--which was apparently enough for Scooge to throw down a bag of gold and ask Bean to go buy a turkey twice his size.

      In Muppet Treasure Island (1996) Bean appeared silently and very briefly in the Benbow Inn. Muppets Tonight (1996-1997) saw Bean appear three times, twice in the background and once trying to sell Johnny Fiama chocolate so Bean's school can buy books. Sal Minella will have none of this, however, so he drop kicks Bean out a window. In Muppets From Space (1999) Bean was crushed by a door when Miss Piggy made her grand entrance. Bean also appeared in the background of It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005), marking Bean's most recent on-screen appearance.

      An animated version of Bean Bunny appeared on Muppet Babies in twelve episodes throughout the sixth and seventh seasons of the show (1989/1990). In 2009, Bean played the part of Michael Darling in the Muppet Peter Pan comic book. Merchandise of Bean has been entirely exclusive to Walt Disney World with plush dolls, plastic toys, and a Vinylmation figure being released throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

      Although Bean Bunny did not appear in The Muppets (2011), he is still a fan favorite, semi-popular character thanks to his continuing role in Muppet*Vision 3-D and the wide popularity of The Muppet Christmas Carol. The other Muppets have an odd relationship with Bean... most of them find him too cute for them, bringing down their image. However, Bean is how most people see the Muppets: cute to an almost annoying point. Think of the fun the Muppets could have trying to stoop Bean from ruining their image. Also... might I propose a Bean Bunny/Animal pairing? Think about this, friends.

      But the Muppets need Bean because he's sickeningly cute. You pair Bean alongside Gonzo or Floyd or Pepe and you can easily show that the Muppets aren't just cute and sweet and nice. They're crazy and sarcastic and adult. It could really shape the Muppets in a different light for a lot of casual fans and viewers.

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