1 The Muppet Mindset: May 2013

May 31, 2013

Sesame Street Summer Fun (PICTURES)

Ahh, summertime! That glorious time of the year when the kids are out of school, the sun is shining, the beach is crowded, and it's really, really hot. It's also that fine time of year when laziness sets in, which brings us to today's post: a series of photos featuring the Sesame Street Muppets in their summer gear. So head out and get a tan, or stay in and look at Bert applying sunscreen to his nose. Choose wisely!

May 30, 2013

Muppets Most Wanted Cameo Rundown

Ryan Dosier - Long-time fans of The Muppet Mindset will remember way back in 2011 when news about The Muppets was coming almost weekly, we had a continually updated post called The Great Muppet Cameo Rundown. In this post, we collected all of the confirmed, rumored, and hinted at cameos for The Muppets, so we've decided to it... again for Muppets Most Wanted! Here we go!

Starring Alongside The Muppets (confirmed by Disney Press Release)
  • Ricky Gervais as Dominic ("Number Two")
  • Tina Fey as Nadya (Russian Gulag Prison Guard)
  • Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon (Interpol Agent)
Confirmed Cameos 
(NOTE: As with The Muppets, just because a celebrity is seen in a trailer does not necessarily mean they're in the movie for sure.)
  • Frank Langella (confirmed by "Muppets Most Wanted Read-Along" Book)
  • Sean "P. Diddy" Combs (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Selma Hayek (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Danny Trejo (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Ray Liotta (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Jemaine Clement  (confirmed by Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack list)
  • Debby Ryan (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Bridget Mendler (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Ross Lynch (confirmed by Teaser Trailer)
  • Tom Hiddleston as "The Great Escapo" (confirmed by theatrical trailer)
  • Christoph Waltz (confirmed by theatrical trailer)
  • Celine Dion (confirmed by theatrical trailer)
  • Stanley Tucci (confirmed by theatrical trailer)
  • Hornswoggle, WWE Wrestler (confirmed by theatrical trailer)
  • Zach Galifianakis as Hobo Joe (confirmed by theatrical trailer)
  • Usher (confirmed by StitchKingdom.com)
  • Lady Gaga (confirmed by Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack list)
  • Tony Bennett (confirmed by Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack list)
  • Josh Groban (confirmed by Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack list)
Rumored Cameos
  • Peter Serafinowicz (rumored by DigitalSpy)
  • Dexter Fletcher (rumored by DigitalSpy)
  • Til Schweiger (rumored by German news site)
  • Randa Nelson (unconfirmed in theatrical trailer)
Other (Minor) Cameos
  • Silvana Lovin (told The Age she filmed a cameo with P. Diddy and Pepe)

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

May 29, 2013

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Andy and Randy Pig

Today's post was written by Michael Wermuth, Jr. Special thanks to our good friend Chris Stulz for doing Photoshop work for our new Weekly Muppet Wednesdays logo!


Performed by...
Steve Whitmire (Andy Pig)
Dave Goelz (Randy Pig)

First appearance...
Muppet Classic Theater (1994)

Most recent appearance...
The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora (2010)

Best known role...
Miss Piggy's dim-witted nephews

Memorable quote...
"This job's too hard!"

Andy and Randy Pig are two of the dumbest Muppet characters ever. They first appeared in 1994 in Muppet Classic Theater, playing two of the titular "Three Little Pigs" with Miss Piggy as their sister, Sandy Pig. In this performance of the classic story, Papa Pig sends his three offspring's into the woods to build houses of their own, assuring Andy and Randy that they are "strong smart boys who can take care of [themselves]," all oblivious to the fact that Sandy is the most capable of taking care of herself. She ends up having to take care of Andy and Randy after the wolf blows down their house.

It was first established on Muppets Tonight that Andy and Randy are Miss Piggy's nephews. In the first episode, Miss Piggy, who had left the Muppets for a career in infomercials, agrees to be the first guest star on the condition that Clifford give Andy and Randy a job on the show. Clifford is quick to hire them, but soon learns they are so dumb they don't even know which one's which (for the record, Andy is the one with the wider snout and the blue shirt with white lines, Randy is the one with the rounder face and red and white shirt). In fact, they are so stupid that when asked the simplest of questions, they reply with "this job's too hard!"

Andy and Randy got to appear in front of the camera frequently. They played the regular roles of Donnie and Art C. Shell in the recurring segment "Bay of Pigs Watch," and Sam the Eagle reluctantly made them guests in every installment of his discussion series "The Eagle's Nest." When Heather Locklear was the guest star, they wrote a sketch for her, but admitted that they can't read and based the sketch on "one of those things that's hard on the outside but soft on the inside" (not a book, but a pizza).

When John Goodman was the guest star, he made the mistake of saving their lives when they almost electrocuted themselves. On TV, you can't save somebody's life without them volunteering to be your slave, and they messed up their attempts at being John Goodman's slaves, especially annoying him as he had hoped he could relax during his guest spot. By the end of the episode, they are not only STILL John's slaves, but they also get jobs on the set of Roseanne.

After Muppets Tonight was cancelled they did not continue as main characters, although they have occasionally had featured roles since. In the video game Muppet Party Cruise, they host the mini-game "Pig Sty Party," and are among the few non-playable characters to participate in the game . They occasionally popped up for cameos in The Muppet Show Comic Book, and starred in one issue of the "Family Reunion" story arc, where they visit their Aunt Piggy at the theater. Finally, in 2010, Andy and Randy appeared in an episode of The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora, where Angelo invited them to a sleep over after misunderstanding what pigs in a blanket is.

Well, Andy and Randy may be among the dumbest, most annoying characters of all time, but... Uh, well, let's put it this way. Even though many fans hate them... Uh, they serve a great purpose, and that purpose is... Uh... Uh... THIS JOB'S TOO HARD!!

It would have been so much easier explaining why the Muppets need The Talking Houses or Headless Bill...
Two of the most despised characters of all time... and Andy and Randy

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

May 28, 2013

Muppetology 101: Muppet Automobile Mechanics

Ryan Dosier - Greetings, class! Welcome to the first summer school session of Muppetology 101. As it turns out, we're now only being offered as a summer course, since I've been politely asked to resign since I don't have a "degree." But I figure since no one uses the classrooms in the summer, no harm, no foul (but plenty of fowl). Anyway! Today's lecture spotlights the many Muppet vehicles seen in the Muppet movies and Muppet television programs. Let's get underway, shall we?

  • Fozzie's Studebaker - The Muppet Movie (1979)
    • The original Muppet vehicle is one of the favorite cars the Muppets have ever driven. The car was a 1951 Studebaker Commander. Fozzie inherited the Studebaker from his hibernating uncle, and used it to drive Kermit and the gang cross-country. It starts out a tan color and gets repainted in vibrant colors by the Electric Mayhem in order to "disguise" the car. Kermit and Fozzie enjoy their newly colored car... until Gonzo crashes into it with his plumbing truck. Fozzie finally parts with the Studebaker when he trades it in at Mad Man Mooney's.
  • Gonzo's plumbing truck - The Muppet Movie (1979)
    • The wackiest and weirdest vehicle on the list goes to Gonzo (of course). Gonzo and Camilla drive the truck happily--and haplessly--down the road. Gonzo's driving is so poor, that he crashes his truck into Fozzie's Studebaker. The collision ends up with Gonzo's truck on top of the Studebaker in a weird, dual-car combo. The truck (minus Gonzo's plunger) got traded in at Mad Man Mooney's with the Studebaker.
  • Fozzie's new car - The Muppet Movie (1979)
    • After trading in his Studebaker and Gonzo's plumbing truck, Fozzie becomes the proud owner and driver of a brand new car from Mad Man Mooney's. Thanks to Sweetums and an unfortunate fly, the car only ends up costing $11.95--less the $12 trade-in on the old vehicle. So in the end, Mad Man Mooney owed the Muppets a nickel. It's hard to say if they ever got it. This sleek, black new car (which I can't find any make or model info about...) runs until it breaks down in the middle of the desert.
  • Electric Mayhem bus - The Muppet Movie (1979)
    • My personal favorite Muppet vehicle of all-time, the Electric Mayhem bus is the colorful, rockin', awesome transportation for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Dr. Teeth drives (with a piano right next to the driver's seat), and the rest of the band chills in back where there's ample room to jam. The bus provides crucial transportation for the gang after the Electric Mayhem saves them in the desert and drives them on to face Doc Hopper and become rich and famous in Hollywood. Righteous.
  • Beauregard's taxi - The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
    • The Muppet vehicular excitement continued in The Great Muppet Caper, boasting some great means of transportation as well. First off was Beauregard's bright yellow taxi. The dopey janitor-turned-cabbie proved just as unable behind the wheel as he was in any other situation. He takes Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo on a wild ride through London culminating in a crash through the lobby of the Happiness Hotel. Hey, at least they got steering wheel soufflĂ© out of it. 
  • Happiness Hotel bus - The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
    • Muppets and buses sure do mix well, don't they? This brightly lit, rocking roadster was big enough to hold most of the Muppets (even though a few were relegated to the fenders) as they escorted Miss Piggy and Kermit on their date. Pops drives the bus while Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem utilize the open roof area to rock hard with their song "Night Life." You won't be seeing a bus like this at the Four Seasons!!
  • Miss Piggy's motorcycle - The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
    • The only true non-car on the list is Miss Piggy's white stunt motorcycle that she acquires during the climax of the film. After hijacking a cement truck (driven by Peter Ustinov), Miss Piggy finds herself with a turn of good luck as a stunning motorcycle falls out of a truck. Piggy takes the bike and rides it to the Mallory Gallery, where she crashes it through a stained glass window, tackles Nicky Holiday, saves Kermit, and saves the fabulous Baseball Diamond. Not bad for a pig.
  • Electric Mayhem bus - Muppets From Space (1999)
    • The Electric Mayhem bus made its triumphant return in Muppets From Space... minus most of the Electric Mayhem. Yes, this time Fozzie got behind the wheel of the bus while Animal was the only member of the band to take a ride in it (at least on screen). Fozzie, Animal, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Pepe, Bunsen, and Beaker (briefly) take the bus to go rescue Gonzo and Rizzo from C.O.V.N.E.T. They succeed, and end up taking the bus to Cape Doom to witness a spaceship landing. Once again, the Mayhem bus plays a crucial role--if only the Electric Mayhem could've been there to see it.
  • Kermit's car - The Muppets (2011)
    • In the latest Muppet movie, Kermit is the proud owner of a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur. The car is driven by Kermit's chauffer, '80s Robot, and is used to collect the Muppets from around the world. The car possesses the ability to travel by map, which allows them to drive all the way to France. The car is used throughout the film to kidnap Jack Black and even by Tex Richman to shut down the Muppet Theater phone lines.
Well that about does it for this class. Check back next time when we'll discuss the myriad of vehicles used in various Sesame Street productions! Also, bonus points for anyone who can give me more information about Fozzie's new car in The Muppet Movie. Class dismissed!

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

May 27, 2013

The Great Muppet Survey: Fawn Feather

Answers from Fawn Feather

1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet ShowMuppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Well, Robin and Scooter are my first two favorites because Robin, besides being small and cute, can be very touching in his way of seeing the world. Scooter, well, I just seem to connect on some level with Scooter. I think that it's the running around and doing things for people. My third favorite is a tie between Beaker and Rowlf. Beaker is adorable with his mee's and meeps and is always the scapegoat for Bunsen's experiments. Rowlf is a piano player, like me. There are times when he just appears to be overlooked. He also appears wise, in a way, to me.

2. Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Oh jeez, well then, they would be Slimey, Count von Count, and Baby Bear. Slimey is... well... just plain cute. I don't think that anyone would disagree to that. He has his own little way of communicating and even made it into space! The Count von Count just has this special something to him, given to him by Jerry Nelson. I would call someone crazy if they did not like the Count, with his love of counting that is evident to everyone and the friendliness that surrounds him. Baby Bear is one who really has a trueness to him in regards to his character. To me, this is most evident in his little speech impediment that he has that some of us can relate to in various ways.

3. Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
My three favorite characters are Wembley (He's my favorite!), Cantus, and Gobo. Wembley tries to see the good in everyone. He doesn't understand why others argue or fight, as we see in "Fraggle Cave" and "Uncle Traveling Matt Comes Home." He is very loyal to those that he calls his friends, so when his friends are in trouble, he will go and help them. He also does what he thinks is right, without any thought of what others may think of him. His bravery comes through in various episodes whenever his friends are in danger. Also, I just think that some of Wembley's antics are just plain adorable. Cantus is very wise. He has his own way of saying what the Fraggles want to hear, and a knack of appearing out of nowhere. Gobo is the one who, besides Wembley, shows a lot of bravery. When his friends are in trouble, he will go and help them, even if this is after he has done something wrong. Once he realises that he is wrong, he will admit his wrong and try to fix it in any way he can.

4. What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson's creations (e.g. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
Fraggle Rock. To me, those characters seem to have more depth of character and personality than some other characters. These characters really reflect real life, with their friendships, misunderstandings, arguments, and so on that make up the real world.

5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
My favorite Muppet movie is The Muppet Movie. This movie really shows the relationships and connections that the Muppets have with each other. When in trouble, they come to each other's aid, as demonstrated in Kermit's speech to Doc Hopper. To me, it shows that there are other people out there with a dream similar to yours that will always stand by you.

6. What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
My favorite song is a Fraggle song which is called "The Friendship Song" because this song really touches me. I have friends, not many, but I do have friends; I have even fewer best friends. I know that I can trust my friends, it didn't take any special circumstances for me to discover that, I just knew. This song says to me that sometimes, when you are in a tough situation, all you need to do is "Try a little longer for your friends. Try a little stronger for your friends."

7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
For me, it would be Steve Whitmire because he is just fantastic in so many ways, and his ability to perform many different Muppets, from Wembley and Rizzo to Kermit and Beaker, is amazing.

8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
I would tell him that "Your productions have really had a big impact on my life by showing me what people of different races and of both sexes can do when they come together to pursue a dream that they all believe in because they know that they are helping to make the world a better place."

9. If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the "Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time"?
Um... well ...after a lot of thinking on this I would say that, for me, in terms of entire projects, it would probably be The Muppet Christmas Carol because, to me, this movie shows that, even with the loss of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt, the Muppets could keep on living.

10. What's the name of that song?
Um... if you mean the Sesame Street song, then just What's the name of that song?

11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
Oh, well, I would have Grover meet all of my friends, who would undoubtably love him, and have him help us see the world in his way; and just be his usual, lovable, self.

12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
That's easy, Muppets From Space.

13. Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
Patrick Stewart

14. If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
I would take a picture with Wembley Fraggle. I would pose sitting at a grand piano playing the Fraggle Rock Theme with Wembley sitting next to the music stand playing his bongo drums along with me.

15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
Well, it is a tie between my Wembley Fraggle plush and my Kermit watch.

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

May 24, 2013

News Update: May 24th, 2013

NEWS UPDATE: May 24th 2013
As we reported last week, The Muppet Movie is coming to Disney Blu-ray on August 13th. Unsurprisingly, the Muppet Facebook pages have been celebrating the upcoming release, but so has the official Disney fan-blog "Oh My Disney," which has come up with an article called "Reasons Why We're Excited That The Muppet Movie Is Coming to Blu-ray." The reasons are pretty great and very Muppet-fan friendly, so be sure to check it out.

The first official products from The Muppets... Again! have been made available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The products are two books, the first Kermit's Double Trouble is an illustrated storybook about the film, and the second, Muppets: Official World Tour Book, which is described as "Filled with photos and props from the movie, this paper-over-board storybook will be the souvenir tour book from the Muppets' international tour in the film." The second book definitely sounds awesome. Both will be available on February 11th, 2014 and both come with this description of the film:

"The Muppets are off on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe's most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine-the World's Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit-and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two."

In more news about The Muppets... Again! another cameo guest star has been reported in rapper/actor P. Diddy. Our friends at ToughPigs.com broke the story from an Australian news source, which talked to an actress who appeared in the scene with P. Diddy and Pepe the King Prawn. The actress said, "Travelling on a train, she plays the dice game craps with both of them, then dances with Pepe and ends up in a tussle with another girl while vying for the prawn's affections. 'It was funny as we ended up tearing both his hands off in the scene. It was an amazing experience,' she said." So this confirms both Pepe and P. Diddy! I know which one I'm more excited about.

In the biggest news of the week, New York City's Museum of the Moving Image and The Jim Henson Legacy announced this week that they are opening a brand new, permanent Jim Henson Gallery. Opening in "Winter 2014-2015," the gallery will be home to more than 400 puppets, costumes, props, and more from Jim Henson's creations ranging from the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and more. It sounds like a truly amazing gallery--but what is even more amazing is the announcement of the gallery, which featured Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cheryl Henson, Miss Piggy, Oscar the Grouch, and Gobo Fraggle!

And the best part is, our friends at ToughPigs.com were on hand at the announcement to take video! Watch below for Miss Piggy, Oscar, and Gobo. It's truly fantastic. Eric Jacobson, Caroll Spinney, and John Tartaglia prove again how truly fantastic they are. Enjoy and thanks ToughPigs!

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

May 23, 2013

Muppet Retro Reviews: Muppet Classic Theater

Kyle Mahoney Muppet Classic Theater was a straight to VHS feature-length production released in 1994. In a similar vein to the previously released film The Muppet Christmas Carol, the Muppets are retelling classic stories. It takes place in the Muppet Theater where Gonzo and Rizzo once again become the narrators as the rest of the gang act the story on stage.

The six stories told are The Three Little Pigs, The Midas Touch, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, (followed by a brief intermission) then Rumpelstilskin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Elves and the Shoemaker. This production was significant in that it was one of Bill Barretta’s first Muppet productions. This also was the debut of some Muppets Tonight faces: Andy Pig, Randy Pig, and the Elvises.

Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo, Fozzie, and even Robin the Frog each take the stage, some in several roles, bringing their own flair and classic breaking the fourth wall into these timeless tales. Each story featured one original song by Philip Balsam, Dennis Lee (both of Fraggle Rock fame), Mark Radice, and Michael and Patricia Silversher.

Some of the best moments of the video include Miss Piggy sending the Big Bad Wolf into orbit via fireworks, Gonzo (as a Satyr) taking a nap in King Kermit’s rose bush, and Norman the Ox thwarting another wolf. Other hilarious moments are Piggy finding out Rumplestiltskin's name by looking at the name his mother had sewn into his clothes, Robin revealing that Emperor Fozzie was scammed and is in his underpants, and lastly the Elvis Elves receiving Sequin Jumpsuits as thanks.

One of the writers, Jim Lewis, had this to say about the project:

"My personal favorite among my own projects is Muppet Classic Theater which I co-wrote with Bill Prady. It was done relatively soon after Jim's passing, and it was in many ways a re-gathering of the clan. It was fun. Plus it's just silly, with no great message. I'm fond of it and hope it sees the light of DVD someday."

Although Muppet Classic Theater has only been released on VHS, you can watch it all right HERE with this link to Part 1.

All in all Muppet Classic Theater is an absolute delight. The songs are catchy and the script is fantastic in giving the Muppets their classic humor while also giving respect to the original stories.

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