Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quick Film Thoughts: The Muppets

So, I saw The Muppets. I wasn't planning on doing a review on it, since for the most part everything that's been said has already been said in other reviews. It is everything everyone is saying it is. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

I still believe that, but after thinking about it for a bit, I figured I might as well give a few non-to-minimal-spoilery thoughts regarding the film.

By now, you've read or seen the basics (including on my failed Muppet Month feature here): why Jason Segel wanted to make it, how Disney's trying to ressurrect the Muppet franchise, what the basic plot of the film is, etc. So we don't need to go into that. Let's just delve right in.

Plot: the plot is incredibly basic and cliche. But it doesn't need to be anything more than that. The plot is in a way allegorical (perhaps a bit too heavy-handedly at times), but it works for what it is. At one point, our stereotypical rich oilman villain threatens to replace the Muppets with a replacement act more fit for our modern "hard and cynical world". The Muppets are the opposite of this: they live in a world all their own, aware of the culture of ours but never using it too much, equal parts self-aware, sarcastic, silly, and sentimental. They can make you laugh and cry and sing. We can see a little bit of ourselves or someone we know in their personalities. This is the message of the Muppets, as well as the message of The Muppets. There are a few misfires here and there, but once the gang gets back together, it's impossible not to end up laughing and leaving the theater with a goofy smile on your face. Basically, the plot of The Muppets is an old "Hey, let's get the gang back together and put on a show" story. It's hokey, but it's the sort of thing the Muppets do best. This is one of those films where stuff like plot and character development take a backseat to the jokes. We know what's going to happen (for the most part- this is the Muppets, after all, so there's bound to be a surprise or two). What's important is how it happens.

Gary and Mary: Our requisite humans, they don't really add much to the story. But then again, they're not supposed to. This is the Muppets's movie, and the humans are pretty much there for moral support (and because they're taller). That's not to dis Jason Segel and Amy Adams. They play their parts well. The story about how their support of the Muppets throws a monkey wrench into their relationship isn't really captivating (the same is true about the story about Kermit and Miss Piggy's relationship, which isn't really explained that much as to why it got that way), but again, it's the Muppets that matter here. For the most part, the humans play their part well and never interfere.

Walter: Walter easily could have been a Gary Stu, but he thankfully doesn't come off as such. He gets his own share of funny moments, and as far as Muppets go is quite talented. I hope he has a long career in show business ahead of him. Walter is somewhat like Kermit, both in construction and personality. He has a flexible face and can make many facial expressions like Kermit (and does it well). But he's also like Kermit in the sense that he's the Everyman. Though whereas Kermit is the glue that holds the insanity that is the Muppets together, Walter is the Everyman in the sense that he represents us, the viewer. He wants to see the Muppets succeed as much as we do. He's not expecting to be rewarded for it...though in the Hollywood version of Hollywood, one never knows what might happen.

Songs: The Muppets have always been musical, and the songs here are no exception to that legacy. Not as many as I expected, but for the most part those that are there are catchy and fun. Besides the classic Muppet numbers and Top 40 hits (including two very "unique" performances), the highlights of the original music are the sentimental "Pictures in My Head" and "Life's A Happy Song", which will most likely get stuck in your head for days and will give you a smile you can't wipe off your face, just as the lyrics state.

Cameos: There are lots of cameos in traditional Muppet style and practically every one of them is fun. Giving them away would ruin the fun. So I won't.

Muppets: As it should be, the Muppets are the true stars of the film. For the most part, all of them are being portrayed by different performers than those who originally brought them to life, but other than one line where Fozzie sounds like he's on helium, it's almost impossible to tell the difference. The Muppeteers do well. As do the Muppets. And if you're a Muppets buff (or just someone who knows a bit more than your casual Muppet fan), you'll have a lot of fun spotting a lot of obscure Muppets who make appearances.

"Small Fry": Opening the proceedings is a fun short from Pixar Canada featuring the Toy Story gang and a case of mistaken identity after a visit to the Poultry Palace. Also a lot of fun, the highlight being the roll call of rejected fast food toys (which includes an '80s Disney shout-out that will most likely go over the heads of a majority of the audience).

Other things to watch out for: It would be impossible to list them all, but among them: hoboes, Punch Teacher, a therapy session gone horribly wrong, fourth wall jokes, '80s Robot, the three greatest things in the world, visual and audio nods to the original Muppeteers, the rather familiar reintroduction of Sweetums, and did I mention those surprise celebrity cameos?

Frankly, I could just write the words "Go see The Muppets" over and over and it would have the same effect as this article did. It definitely lives up to the hype. Do we need the Muppets in today's world? This is the question the movie asks and tries to answer. Only the moviegoing public can answer. Let's hope they answer in the positive.


THE MUPPETS ©Disney. No ownership intended or implied. Photo by Patrick Wymore/Disney

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Muppet Babies are Baby Muppets

Since this is Muppet Month, I am going to talk about Muppets this month. But for some reason, something was on my mind recently that is somewhat related...and is related at the same time. So rather than the regular Muppet Month post I was going to do today, I'm going to do a diversion and talk about Muppet Babies.

Muppet Babies was a cartoon that ran from 1984 to 1991. Inspired by the "I'm Gonna Always Love You" sequence from The Muppets Take Manhattan, the cartoon involved baby versions of the Muppets living together in a nursery and imagining things. It won an Emmy Award and is most likely fondly remembered by a certain generation, and due to its unique and constant use of clips from movies and TV shows to illustrate the characters' fantasies, will most likely never be legally released on DVD. Muppet Babies raises many questions about the Muppet universe. If the Muppets were babies (and Kermit's nephew was a tadpole), were all the Muppets babies as the same time? (Statler and Waldorf occasionally appeared on the show in adult form, but this is not surprising, seeing as Statler and Waldorf are older than dirt.) What happened to Scooter's sister Skeeter that caused her never to be seen again outside the series save for a Happy Meal bag and a four-issue story arc of Roger Langridge's Muppet Show comic book where she could only actually be called "Skeeter" for two pages in the last issue due to some bizarre legal reason? Why was Nanny only seen from the waist down? Did she have no head? Her model sheet actually implies such. But none of these things are what I'm going to talk about today. I'm just going to say random things about the Muppet Babies. Because I feel like it.

-In 1985, Muppet Babies was combined with a new series called Little Muppet Monsters in a one-hour block called "Muppets, Babies, and Monsters." Little Muppet Monsters combined original puppet segments with animated segments featuring the adult Muppets. 13 episodes were produced, but only three aired, apparently due to the fact that Jim Henson himself was disappointed with the quality of the series. Despite this, the "Muppets, Babies, and Monsters" block theme, which combined the themes to both series, continued to be used as the closing theme for Muppet Babies throughout its run.   

-One of the things that has always randomly stuck with me regarding Muppet Babies (besides a passage in a book called Playing with Power referencing the Lone Ranger's crotch) is a scene in one episode where Miss Piggy is playing Little Miss Muffet but has no idea what a tuffet is. I was surprised to discover that Jeffrey Scott, the head writer for the series, is a Scientologist, and stated in an interview that that scene was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard's theory of the Misunderstood Word, which is frankly the only one of Hubbard's teachings that I know of that both actually makes sense and I agree with. As Scott himself explained it in an interview: "I also used one of L. Ron Hubbard's discoveries in the field of study in a Muppet Babies episode I wrote. Hubbard discovered that the number one barrier to study was the MISUNDERSTOOD WORD. He found that the moment a student went past a word he/she didn't understand the rest of the material became more or less "blank". If I told you to attach the creddlefur to the neuron, chances are whatever I said after that wouldn't make much sense. So in a "Muppet Goose" episode I wrote Piggy was reading Little Miss Muffet, and when she read "sat on a tuffet" her imagination went blank until she cleared up her misunderstood word."

-Earlier this year, a bizarre yet amusing series of videos went viral online. Called "Tiny Fuppets", the videos by certified Internet Humor Genius and frequent Funny or Die contributor Scott Gairdner managed to spoof both Muppet Babies and the bizarre direct-to-DVD ripoffs of big-budget CGI movies created by Brazilian company Video Brinquedo such as The Little Cars, The Little Panda Fighter, and Ratatoing. Gairdner created a bizarre yet believable backstory involving a blind Portuguese man named Arturo Lima, who proudly describes in fractured English how the Tiny Fuppets came to be, their use in hundreds of cartoons and commercials, and the rivalry between him and the poorly-made Tiny Fuppets ripoff Juniors Minis. Here's perhaps the funniest of the Tiny Fuppets cartoons, in which our hero Kormit wishes to be taller, then not.

-You know when you see a bizarre video online, then think about it months later only to discover it isn't there anymore, but it's so strange that if you describe it it sounds like you made it up? Well, I was going to end this post with one of those. Not only was it bizarre, it was actually well-made for what it was, in that a lot of time obviously went into it. It would have also proved even more so than usual I can connect everything in the freakin' universe to Phineas and Ferb. It was called "Phineas and Ferb's Conker's Bad Fur Day Adventure" or something like that, and it was clearly made by someone who probably both had a lot of time on their hands and is a mentally disabled teenager. In not-really-that-shoddy-but-still-kind-of MS Paint, it opened with the opening theme from some Clifford the Big Red Dog VHS tapes from the late '80s but with Phineas and Ferb characters doing the actions, creating bizarre visuals like them licking Candace. And having a song about Clifford playing while Phineas and Ferb are doing things. Then it was just the Phineas and Ferb characters acting out the opening to the "It's Only Pretendo" episode of Muppet Babies until they find Conker's Bad Fur Day and play it. Then I think there was some sort of High School Musical parody.

But, like I said, that video (which definitely existed at one point) isn't online anymore. But I have it on good authority (in that I believe he's said it a couple times) that "It's Only Pretendo" happens to be my pal Galileo (he of Beaming for Bunnies and In 10 Words)'s favorite Muppet Babies episode. So let's end with that.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Muppet Month: The Making of The Muppets, Part 1

We’re here to sing, dance, make people laugh and somehow, just maybe, make the world a little bit better place. That may sound silly, especially coming from a frog. But the Muppets have always tried to inspire the world with silliness and to show folks that no matter who you are or how weird you seem to others, there’s a place for you and people who care about you. And when you find that place and meet those people, wonderful things happen.” —Kermit the Frog 

He’s green. He has crazy friends, flippers, a penchant for pigs…and one of the most recognizable singing voices since the King. And he’s coming to neighborhoods everywhere for the holidays. Kermit the Frog is back on the big screen, and this time, he’s teaming up with Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and newcomer Walter, plus the whole Muppet gang, for a brand-new, big-screen adventure in Disney’s “The Muppets.”

“It’s funny, upbeat and full of laughs for everyone…frogs, pigs, bears…even people,” says Kermit. “For new fans, it’s a chance to see the Muppets in action on the big screen. And for old fans it’s a chance to get together with old friends…and get a little crazy together.”

Muppet fans span the globe. So it makes sense that Disney’s “The Muppets” was ignited by a Muppet fan. “It started when I was a kid,” says Jason Segel. “The Muppets were my first comic influence and I was in love with puppetry. I just thought it was an amazing art form.” “All comedy writers are Muppet fans,” adds Nicholas Stoller. “It’s the gateway to comedy. It’s like the first thing you try and then you slowly fall down the rabbit hole of comedy.” A film Segel and Stoller previously collaborated on actually set things in motion, says Segel. “We ended ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ with a lavish puppet musical, and The Jim Henson Company designed the puppets. Something started growing in my belly, and Nick and I came up with this idea and pitched it to Disney. Disney liked the idea so we wrote the script.” 

Enter producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman—each with their own affinity to all things Muppets. “I think there's always been a timeless quality to the Muppets,” says Hoberman, who cites the Muppets’ recent online smash viral video “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “These characters are as contemporary today as they were when Henson first brought them to life. I think people of all ages will respond to them on the big screen.” While president of the motion picture group at The Walt Disney Studios, Hoberman was behind releases like “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island.” Meanwhile, Lieberman’s appreciation for the franchise grew from personal experience. “I have always been a big Muppet fan,” says Lieberman. “There’s clearly a nostalgic love. The characters are just inherently lovable and I’m thrilled that we’re bringing them together again in this movie. It’s been beautiful introducing them to my own children.”

And that’s a good thing, says director James Bobin. Disney’s “The Muppets” will welcome a whole new generation into the world of the Muppets, and Bobin can attest to the positive influence these characters can have on young audiences. “I watched the Muppets at a very early age in England, and they have significantly influenced my sense of humor and what I find funny.” Segel says it’s the Muppets’ sense of humor that differentiates them. “Modern comedy makes jokes at other people’s expense,” says the actor, writer and executive producer. “The Muppets never make fun of anybody. They’re all about being good and nice and trying to make the world a better place. It’s easy to get a laugh out of making fun of somebody, but the Muppets never relied on that.”

Influenced by their affinity for Muppet mayhem, filmmakers introduced a central character who’s driven by his lifelong love of the Muppets. According to Jason Segel, Walter’s wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets. “Walter is naive, sweet, innocent, wide-eyed—he’s very much like Kermit before Kermit became famous,” says Segel. “But he just wants to belong. He’s looking for a family, really. The Muppets are the only people he’s ever seen who were like him, so his quest is to become one of the Muppets.” Adds Walter, who is as big a Muppet fan in real life as his character is, “I start out just wanting to meet the Muppets but then have to help Kermit get the gang back together to save Muppet Studios. It’s the role of my lifetime. In fact, it is my life.” 

The movie opens in Smalltown, USA, home to Walter, brother Gary and his girlfriend, Mary. It’s the kind of town where people smile a lot, give apples to teachers and break into song—just because. But the trio leaves the safety of Smalltown behind for a long-awaited trip to Hollywood—and an opportunity to visit Muppet Studios at last. While there Walter overhears the evil plan of nefarious oil baron Tex Richman and finds himself navigating a long-awaited, never-imagined, can’t-believe-it’s-really-happening-to-me Muppet reunion. It’s not long before the world’s biggest Muppet fan is face to face with the heart of the Muppets—Kermit the Frog. “Kermit is my all-time hero,” says Walter. “I have his poster in my room, I’ve seen everything he has ever done and meeting him was the greatest moment of my life.” Says Kermit, “Walter gets so excited being around the Muppets. I’ve never met anyone like him…except maybe Jason Segel.”

Segel can certainly relate to Walter’s enthusiasm, but his character, Gary, shows a little too much interest in his brother’s Muppet dreams. His girlfriend Mary has her own California dreams, it turns out, and is secretly hoping for a marriage proposal during their vacation. But she is a team player and willingly jumps on board to help reunite the Muppets and save the studio. They track down Kermit and learn that he’s lived a quiet life since the Muppets last performed together. It takes some convincing to get the now low-key frog to agree to the plan, but once Kermit realizes just how much he misses his friends, it’s “go” time. 

“They embark on a huge journey around the world to find the rest of the Muppets who have gone their separate ways,” says Bobin. “The first Muppet they find is Fozzie, who’s performing with a Muppet tribute band called the Moopets. The Moopets are cynical characters who are taking advantage of the Muppets’ legacy. They sing tacky versions of their songs and sadly, Fozzie is the only real Muppet who joined up with them. He’s in a tribute band of his own group. It doesn’t take too much persuading to get Fozzie to come along for the ride.” Next up is Gonzo, who has left show business behind in favor of his first career choice: plumbing. He is to plumbing what Tex Richman is to oil—minus the evil-villain part. But Gonzo’s plumbing empire is no match for the lure of the stage, and he soon agrees to return to Muppet Studios and his daredevil act. 

Perhaps the trickiest piece to the Muppet reunion is Miss Piggy, who’s landed a posh gig in France as plus-size editor of Vogue Paris. She’s enjoying the big life and doesn’t exactly dream of reuniting with the Muppets—unless, of course, it’s Kermie who’s asking. But it’s not all romance between them, says Miss Piggy. “The scene where Kermie begs me to come back to Hollywood with him is the funniest scene in the movie,” she says. “I’m hilarious, and the frog isn’t half bad either.” Back together at last, the Muppets must put together the best show of their lives—no small feat considering their past efforts. And it’s been years since they last performed—rusty doesn’t begin to describe their acts. Can they break through the obstacles and create a show of a lifetime? Can they convince a network to broadcast the show? Will they raise enough money to silence Tex Richman once and for all—or will he foil their efforts and destroy the studio despite everything? “Well, see the movie and find out for yourself!” says Miss Piggy. “Moi can’t do everything.”

This post utilizes promotional material provided by Disney. I am not being compensated in any way for my opinions and/or promotions, and any opinions given in this post are solely mine.

THE MUPPETS ©Disney. No ownership intended or implied. Photo by Andrew MacPherson/Disney

Friday, November 4, 2011

Muppet Month: Henson & Oz: Never Before, Never Again

Jim Henson and friend on the set of The Muppet Movie (1979). Photo: The Jim Henson Company/Disney
To know where you're going, you have to know where you've been. At least, I assume you do. It sounds nice, anyway. Either way, the Muppets's long history of singing, dancing, and being silly has taken them from the Street to the theater to the big screen and everywhere in between. That's why I'm alternating between taking a look at the new Muppet movie and taking a look at where the Muppets came from to get here.

And what better way to do that than to take a look at the two men who were the heart and soul of the Muppets for many years? The Muppet performers- including Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, and Bill Baretta- have done a great job carrying on the legacy that was started by a group of puppeteers led by the man himself, Jim Henson. I have no qualms with the modern-day performers who are keeping the Muppets alive, but Henson deserves his due as the man without whom there would not be a Kermit the Frog, a Rowlf, an Ernie, or a Dr. Teeth. But just as legendary but oftentimes not as celebrated as Henson is his long-time collaborator, Frank Oz. Performing such characters as Animal, Sam the Eagle, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Bert, Henson and Oz often served as a comic duo when it came to Muppets: Ernie playing off Bert, Miss Piggy playing off Kermit, Grover playing off Kermit. Perhaps one of the best examples of this partnership is the Swedish Chef, performed by both Henson (the voice and face) and Oz (the hands, using his actual hands).

Much like Mel Blanc was the man who brought Bugs Bunny and so many other characters to life, Henson and Oz were the heart and soul of the Muppets for many years until Henson's untimely passing at age 53 in 1990. Oz has unofficially retired from puppeteering and has chosen not to do the new Muppet film because he found it "disrespectful" to the characters (a statement which, along with some other comments made in the press, caused a bit of controversy which I touched on a few weeks ago). Whitmire, Jacobson, and Baretta have done a great job carrying on the legacy of these two men, and I look forward to seeing how they'll bring the Muppets back in the new movie. But Henson and Oz have to be given their due, as their partnership was something irreplaceable and, much like the Muppets themselves, magical.

As part of the Jim Henson exhibit now running at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens (something which I've also covered), the Museum commissioned this short film by Matt Zoller Seitz and Ken Cancelosi showing the Henson/Oz comedy team in action. Perhaps Henson and Oz aren't a well-known comedy duo on the level of Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, or even Bert and Ernie, but looking at this film- and all of their classic Sesame Street and Muppet Show sketches- one could make the argument that they should be.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Muppet Month: Intro and History of the Muppets

If you haven't figured it out by now, there's a new movie coming out starring the Muppets. This film is getting a lot of publicity- sponsored and otherwise- as Disney is really trying hard to make sure Kermit and company's comeback is a successful one. Seeing as everyone seems to be promoting this film one way or another, I figured I'd join in the fun with something I like to call Muppet Month. Because it's a month of Muppets. And alliterative.

Every day in November (or at least most days, seeing as I've already missed two and, giving my legendary non-existent on-timieness, I'll probably miss more), we'll take a look at both the past and future of the Muppets. Every day, I'll alternate between some of the press material Disney has released for the film and an original look at the past of the Muppets. So, let's play the music and light the lights and do all those other things.

Muppet Show Theme by Jim Henson and Sam Pottle
LP version (1977)

Season Five version (1980)

(provided by Disney)

Since “The Muppet Show” began in 1976, the Muppets have been embraced by audiences worldwide. What began with a single appearance from an unknown frog puppet became a global phenomenon that is still going strong 35 years later. 

Early Muppet appearances date back to the mid-1950s, when a primitive version of Kermit the Frog began the American sensation by appearing on “Afternoon, Footlight Theater” and “Sam and Friends” in 1955. A year later, a revised version of Kermit appeared on national television on “The Steve Allen Show.”

Later, Rowlf the Dog was created for a Purina Dog Chow ad in 1962 and then began making regular appearances on “The Jimmy Dean Show” in 1963. Gonzo was next with his first appearance in “The Great Santa Claus Switch” as the “Cigar Box Frackle” in 1970, later appearing as the Gonzo we know today on “The Muppet Show” in 1976.

Throughout the 1960s, Muppets also made appearances on dozens of nationally broadcast variety shows including “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Their first international exposure came on Canadian television with the airing of the special “Hey Cinderella!” in 1970. By 1971, the Muppets could be seen on U.K. variety shows, such as those hosted by Tom Jones and Julie Andrews, before making their way to Germany for “The Peter Alexander Show” in 1975.

The first pilot of what would become “The Muppet Show” aired on January 30,1974, and was titled “The Muppets Valentine Show.” After that the characters of Fozzie Bear, Statler & Waldorf, Sam Eagle, Swedish Chef and The Electric Mayhem Band (featuring Dr. Teeth, Animal, Janice, Floyd and Zoot) were created for the second original pilot titled “The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.” The show aired on March 19, 1975, and contrary to the scandalous name, the premise of “The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence” was to parody the rise of sex and violence on television with the Muppets performing a pageant based on the seven deadly sins. “The Muppet Show” as we know it officially began in 1976 and was well-received internationally, going on to broadcast in more than 100 countries. The show was in first-run syndication from 1976-1981 on CBS affiliates domestically as well as numerous outlets globally. At its peak “The Muppet Show” was seen by more than 235 million people.

During its run “The Muppet Show” received countless awards, including three Emmys®, and featured guest appearances from the most prominent actors, musicians and public figures of its time. “To me, ‘The Muppet Show’ in that era was a little bit like ‘American Idol’ of the current era,” says executive producer Martin G. Baker. “The day after a new episode, everyone was talking about ‘The Muppet Show.’ It was front-page news: Who was the guest star this week? Who’s coming up next week? It was one of those things everybody talked about.”

After 1981, “The Muppet Show” was repackaged for syndication, airing on various networks, including TNT from 1988-1992, Nickelodeon from 1994-1999 and Odyssey from 1999-2000. With the success of “The Muppet Show,” the Muppets branched out to the big screen, releasing their first feature film, “The Muppet Movie,” in 1979. The film starred a myriad of actors, including Bob Hope, Cloris Leachman, Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor and Paul Williams. This impressive list of celebrity cast and cameos became the hallmark of all Muppet films, five of which followed, including “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981), “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984), “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992), “Muppet Treasure Island” (1996) and “Muppets From Space” (1999). All six films have signature soundtracks that received countless awards, including an Academy Award® nomination for Best Song for “Rainbow Connection” and Best Original Score for “The Muppet Movie.”

In addition to feature films, Muppet mania continued long after “The Muppet Show” went off the air. Many television specials and documentaries featuring the classic Muppet characters have been produced, as well as arena shows of both “The Muppet Show” and “Muppet Babies,” which toured domestically from 1984-1989. Muppet Magazine was published from 1983-1988 and “The Muppets” comic strip was syndicated in U.S. newspapers from the early to mid 1980s. Museum exhibits (“The Art of The Muppets,” “The World of Jim Henson: Muppets, Monsters & Magic,” “The Vision of Jim Henson” and others) featuring Muppet characters toured domestically and internationally from 1980-2001.

Multiple record albums for “The Muppet Show,” “Muppet Babies” and all of the Muppet movies have been released worldwide. Hundreds of Muppet books have also been published around the world since 1976.

Throughout the years the Muppets have also produced numerous public service announcements and have acted as spokespeople for many causes both domestically and internationally, ranging from The National Wildlife Federation, UNICEF and the American Film Institute, to the University of Maryland, the American Library Association and the Better World Society. Kermit regularly appears as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.

The Muppets once again reinvented themselves by creating viral videos of the gang performing popular songs. Their first video for “Ode to Joy,” performed by Beaker, appeared on various video-sharing websites in 2008 and received more than 14 million views on YouTube. Their second video, for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” came out Thanksgiving week in 2009 and received more than 23 million views on YouTube. The video also garnered a People’s Choice Webby Award.

“The Muppets are just your average, everyday dysfunctional family: loud, crazy, odd, silly…total chaos all the time. But that’s okay, because when you get right down to it, we really do care about each other. We believe in each other, and we help make all our dreams come true. And that’s what really matters. Besides, I kinda like weird.” —Kermit the Frog 

This post utilizes promotional material provided by Disney. I am not being compensated in any way for my opinions and/or promotions, and any opinions given in this post are solely mine.

THE MUPPETS ©Disney. No ownership intended or implied. EMMY® is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS. Photo by Patrick Wymore/Disney