Thursday, December 20, 2012

Muppets on WWE: Tribute to the troops

Wrestling company WWE have posted the Muppets segment from their recent Tribute to the Troops special on Youtube. In this segment Kermit is interviewed by wrestler the Miz who wants to know what the status of  Kermit's and Piggy's relationship is.

Prior to the MizTV segment, WWE reporter Josh Matthews interviewed Fozzie on how Kermit was feeling, about to appear on MizTV, followed by a pretty witty comment by Waldorf and Statler.

Later on in the night, wrestler Daniel Bryan, who got the nickname Goat Face due to his beard, got into a discussion with Animal.

While the combination of Muppets and wrestling may seem odd, the Muppets and WWE have teamed up in the past. The Muppets hosted the Halloween RAW episode in which Beaker even interefered in a match, causing wrestler Santino to win. They also appeared in a video message at last years's TTTT.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ceelo Green and the Muppets team up again

After letting his song Forget you get covered by the so called Princesses of Poultry in the latest Muppets movie, Ceelo has once again joined forces with the Muppets. This time they star in a Christmas music video called "All I need is Love". Enjoy:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kevin Clash resigns from Sesame Street

Following the recent controversy surrounding Kevin Clash's personal life Sesame Street announced today that Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street.

Sesame Street workshop has issued the following statement:

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential.  Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization.  Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us wants, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street.  This is a sad day forSesame Street.

What happens with Kevin's commitment in other Henson productions like the Muppets is currently unknown but it's nonetheless a sad day indeed. Kevin was mostly known for taking over the role of Elmo from Richard Hunt and made the red monster the superstar that he is today. Besides Elmo, he is also known as puppeteer of The Muppets' Clifford and Dinosaurs' Baby.

Besides puppeteer he was also senior creative advisor" at Sesame Workshop.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Accuser of Kevin Clash withdraws statement

The man that accused mr. Clash of having an underage sexual relationship earlier this week has withdrawn his statement. His lawyer has stated that the man was not underage during his relationship with Clash and that nothing happened against his will.

Earlier this week the man stated that he was 16 years old when he had an relationship with Kevin Clash which led to tge Muppeteer temporarily leaving Sesame Street.
Clash responded to the update Tuesday by stating he was glad that this painful accusation was shoved aside and wished to give no further no further comments.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kevin Clash takes leave of absence due to accusations 

Kevin Clash, Muppeteer of a diverse group of Muppets like Clifford, Elmo and Hoots the Owl has announced that he will take a leave of abcense due to accusations that he was involved in an underage relationship.

Sesame Street Workshop has released the following statement concering this situation.

In June of this year, Sesame Workshop received a communication from a then 23 year old man who alleged that he had a relationship beginning when he was 16 years old with Kevin Clash, a Sesame Workshop puppeteer who performs as Elmo.

We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action. We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.

Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation. We have granted him a leave of absence to do so.

Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.

A shocking accusation, especially since it involves a man who brings life to one the most beloved children's characters around. Luckily, it seems that the accusation is unsubstantiated but I'm afraid lot's of gossip magazines and websites will use this story in order to sell magazines and give both Sesame Street and Mr. Clash a bad name.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Muppets Christmas comes early this year

The Muppets' Youtube channel has been updated with a brand new video in which the Christmas cheers come early as the Muppets' chickens sing...erm...cluck "Joy to the World" to celebrate the release of the Blu Ray version of The Muppet's Christmas Carol. Enjoy:

Great Muppet movie spoofs

One of the funniest things the Muppets have done is parodying pop culture. From songs to pop groups to movies to fairy tails, they have done it all. Let's look at some of their more entertaining movie spoofs the Muppets Studios have produced:

Saturday Night Fever

We all know our ABC's and a lot of us learned them by singing the Alfabet set to "Twinkle twinkle little star". Leave it to Sesame Street however to make the Alfabetsong sound like one the funkies songs ever. In this spoof of disco film hit Saturday Night Fever Grover's all decked out as John Travolta's Tony Manero and ready to bust some moves. Proclaimed the king of the disco, like Tony was in the original movie, Grover enters the discotheque  being adored by a group of female monsters.  Grover soon finds himself dancing to what quite possibly is the best arrangement of the Alfabet song ever but unfortunately overestimates his endurance. This skit wasn't the only spoof of SNF as the CTW released an concept album called Sesame Street fever with the cover being an replica of SNF's albu cover, with the Beegees and Travolta being replaced by the Sesame Street Muppets. Unfortunately, the ABC song didn't make it to the album.

The Three Musketeers

The Muppets go to the movies was a tv special in which the Muppets spoofed several movies like Casablanca and The Three Musketeers. The latter is one of the more entertaining spoofs. While the other spoofs in this special went for a kind of appropriate casting, this one just went straight for the laughs. With the vastly different enthousaistic Scooter, the coward
ly Link Hobthrob and the careless Gonzo playing the parts of the musketeers, there almost couldn't be a bigger contrast in relation to the original parts. The great thing about this bit is the strong writing when the Musketeers are talking amonst themselves. Great puns, a hilarious fight scene and a crashtastic ending.....all in all, it's classic Muppet fare.  

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a movie that has been spoofed several times by the Muppets, most recently in the disappointing Muppets Wizard of Oz that forced the Muppets in a R'nB direction that was met with a harsh critical reaction upon release which no doubt slowed down the Muppets' return to former glory. Before that however, it was already spoofed in Muppet Babies, even appearing in the series' intro. 
Even earlier, it was spoofed in the same special as the Three Musketeers. Starring Piggy as Dorothy, Gonzo as the tin Woodsman, Fozzy as the Cowardly Bear and Scooter as the Scarecrow, the costumes bear a striking resemblance to the costumes later used in the Disney movie. This spoof was based upon the 1939 classic, originally starring Judy Garland, even beginning in sepia colors, a fact that Rowlf obliviously points out during the sketch. While it doesn't last long, it does feature a medley of the most famous songs of the MGM musical and features a lot of character, something sorely lacking from the Disney full length movie.

Indiana Jones

Picture Kermit. Now picture him with a leather jacket holding a gun. Now picture him shooting Nazis with this gun. Sounds like a Muppets parody made in bad taste. It isn't. The Muppets visit Walt Disney World which was the last Muppets production Jim Henson worked on contained a scene in which all the above happened. As the name implies the Muppets do visit Disney World in this special which was originally part of something bigger with plans of Disney buying the Muppets. Negotiatons fell through when Jim Henson died but Muppet fans at least got this special, along with the MuppetVision 3D movie, which still runs in both Disneyland Anaheim and Disney World. 

Focal point of this article however is the Indiana Jones show where one guest is picked to play the role of Dr. Jones. Kermit is picked and placed in the stage show, which also features Piggy. Conforming to the non-violent character of the Muppets Kermit constantly explains that he's in a stage show with fake weapons and stunts and how he dislikes violence, making for a more comedy oriented bit. Still, we get to see Kermit in a leather jacket, shooting at Nazis. That's pretty unique.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Bird a Halloween smash hit

Big Bird, who suddenly got thrown into the presential election craze by candidate Mitt Romney has experienced a boost in popularity which now translates itself to a peak in Halloween costumes purchases.
According to a spokesman of the outfit wasn't too popular in the past but sold out this year in no time, which surprised the company.

Big Bird made headlines around the world when Republican canditate Romney announced he would cut the funds of PBS, who broadcasts Sesame Street. He did say however that he likes Sesame Street and that he 'loves Big Bird'. Democratic canditate and current president Barack Obama countered this in a satirical commercial in which he described Big Bird as an "evil genious" and "a menace to the economy" and depicted Mitt Romney as being more concerned with cracking down on Big Bird/PBS than on other, more serious problems.

The Sesame Workshop later responded by saying that they didn't like how Big Bird got thrown into the political mix since it's a nonpartisan organisation that doesn't endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns.

                                                       Obama's Big Bird ad

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fraggles return in new Ben Folds Five music video

While Sesame Street and the Muppets have never really faded away, the same can't be said about Fraggle Rock. There is a Fraggle Rock movie in the works but it's still in the writing stages and Fraggle appearances have been rare since the ending of the Fraggle Rock shows in the eighties. 

This ends today however as the Ben Folds Five have released their new music video called Do it anyway  starring none other than the Fraggles. Shades of Weezer's Keep Fishin' video fly by when watching the video. It's a great song and an equeally great music video, enjoy it and be sure to keep watching untill the very end for a special surprise:

Besides just the music video, there's also an interesting and funny Behind the scenes video posted:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Remembering Jerry Nelson

With the loss of Jerry Nelson, we lost  not only a great man but also one of the greatest performers in puppetry history. People may not know him by name but if you talk about his performances as the Count it's hard not to get a smile out of them, remembering the various sketches in which he featured. The Count was perhaps his most famous character, but  Jerry has done far more than perform just that part.

A 'best of Jerry Nelson' would be nearly impossible considering all the work he has done for various Muppet projects. Looking back at Jerry's career I've picked out several of my favorite performances. Of course, they are only samples of the many hightlights of his career that show the level of quality of his work and I fully recommend further viewing of Jerry's performances on the website or their Youtube channel.

Jerry Nelson as The Count

One of the most famous Nelson characters and one of the most famous Sesame Street Characters in general, Count von Count is one of the more unusual characters in the world's most famous streets. Inspired by Bela Lugosi's classic portrayal of Count Dracula, this purple Muppet loves counting more than anything and will stop at nothing in order to do so. Initially portrayed as a somewhat scary character with hypnotic powers and a evil laugh, the Count was soon tone downed a bit in order not to scare the young audience.

While counting was the Count's first love, singing was something he also enjoyed. A perfect with Jerry's love for singing the Count sung many classic Sesame Street such as the Lambaba, the Song of the Count and even parodying Elvis in a Blue Suede Shoes inspired song.
Besides allowing Jerry Nelson to sing a lot, the Count also allowed Jerry to interact with children during the many segments in which the Count interacted with young children.

Mr Nelson as Mr Johnson

Best known as the customer that gets waited on by Grover in the many restaurant sketches, this Muppet actually has a name, Mr Johnson. Although he usually met Grover when dining in his favorite restaurant, the sketches later deviated to airplanes, baseball games and his house amongst others.

Mr Johnson was one of Jerry's long lasting Muppet characters with his most recent performance being last year when he performed a sketch parodying the Spider-Man musical alongside Grover's original performer, Frank Oz. 

The reasons these sketches work so well is the dynamic between Grover and Mr. Johnson. While Johnson is usually a patient and nice man, Grover's well meaning help usually ends in a lot of misstakes, ultimately angering the fat blue Muppet with Grover not realizing what he's done wrong. Interestingly enough, when these sketches started, it was the other way around.

Jerry as Floyd Pepper

The bass playing member of the Electric Mayhem is maybe the most famous of Nelson's Muppet Show characters. A very laid back rocker named after a combination of the band name of Pink Floyd and the Beatles Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band who usually watched the madcap behind the stage antics with amusement. With most of the main Muppets always seeming busy and easily panicking Floyd stood out by his cynical and relaxed attitude.

With Jerry Nelson's love for singing it shouldn't have come as a big suprise that he was asked to perform as one of the band members. Often singing lead, Nelson's singing performances are every bit as memorable as his comedic parts. This is perhaps best shown in the clip below where he's performing a beautiful cover of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Besides performing with the band, Floyd was also seen backstage more than the other members of the band.  While this was due to the fact that the other band member's Muppeteers already puppeteered several main characters it did provide a link between the band and the other members of the cast and made the Electric Mayhem seem more than just a house band.

Jerry as Gobo Fraggle

When Fraggle Rock was created, Jerry got cast as one of the 5 main Fraggles, Gobo. Gobo's a curious guy, just like his Uncle Traveling Matt. Acting as the leader of the Fraggles, he's the one who's brave enough to enter Doc's workshop and retrieve his uncle's postcards. Like many  of Nelson characters, he also liked to sing, which came in handy in this musical series.

Jerry Nelson's Gobo was often paired with his best friend Wembley, puppeteered by Steve Whitmire which highlighted a recurring theme of Jerry's career: he was often paired with another Muppeteer to form a comedic duo. Often these pairings were friends whose character contrasted each other which resulted in great comedic relief.  Some of the more famous pairings include Jerry Nelson's Mr. Johnson and Frank Oz's Grover, Nelson's Biff and Richard Hunt's Sully, Nelson's Biff and Richard Hunt's Two Headed Monster and.
Nelson's Gobo Fraggle and Steve Whitmire's Wembley Fraggle.

Jerry Nelson as Jerry Nelson

Like most other Muppeteers, Nelson has also appeared as himself in several productions. He appeared, alongside his daughter in the Great Muppet Caper and played the part of an  Ice cream vender a few years ago on Sesame Street. He also played the part of the giant in the Sesame Street News Flash about Jack and the Beanstalk.
 His voice may be more familiar with most people though as he did  a lot of the famous voice overs on the Muppet show including those of Vetenarian's Hospital and those of the famous PIGS....IN...SPACE! sketches. He recently reprised this role as announcer of the Muppet Telethon in the Muppets 2011. Besides these projects he also recorded his own CD, "Truro Daydreams", 2 years ago.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jerry Nelson passes away at age 78

Sad news for Muppet fans worldwide as legendary Muppeteer Jerry Nelson has passed away at the young age of 78. Sesame Workshop confirmed this sad news but didn't confirm the date or cause of death.

Jerry Nelson has been one of the lead Muppeteers since working on Sesame Street in 1970 and is famous for his Sesame Street performances as Count von Count, Herry Monster, Sherlock Hemlock and the Amazing Mumford.

He also performed a wide variety of characters on the Muppet Show including Statler, Lew Zealand and Floyd Pepper amongst many others. Jerry was a huge part of these and many other Muppet productions and his spirit and humor will be sorely missed. 

Thank you Jerry for all the joy you have given me and millions of other people worldwide. You may be gone but we will forget you or your

Jerry Nelson 1934-2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I am Big Bird Kickstarter goal reached.

Over the last few weeks people have been donating to the kickstarter project "I am Big Bird" in order to get the documentary made and the required $ 100.000 goal has been achieved. With only 55 hours to go people already donated a total of $ 112,632 dollars which is even more impressive when you realize that the number of "backers" (donators) lies around 1,700. This of course means that the documentary can and will be made.

I am Big Bird is a documentary about Caroll Spinney who performs the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the start of Sesame Street and still does. His facinating live story will be told by interviews with mr. Spinney himself as well as a host of his Muppet cronies. 

Besides the interviews, the documentary will also feature never before seen footage of Spinney with people like Jim Henson and Frank Oz, Spinney's short films, in which he showcases his skill at animation and more. With the makers already unraveling some interesting bits about his life on their website, (Like that Disney offered him a job in animation, which he declined) this documentary has a lot of promise going for it.

For more information on the documentary visit

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Sesame Street movie in the works

A new Sesame Street movie is in the works, following Follow That Bird (1985) and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. According to The Hollywood Reporter Fox bought the movie rights to the popular children's show while Shawn Levy will direct. Levy is perhaps best known for the Night at the Museum movies which should make him at least familiar with one citizen of the world's most famous street; none other than Oscar the Grouch made an appearance in the second Night.

Joey Mazzaro will be responsible for the script who has been a head writer of Sesame Street since season 40. (2009)
With a sequel to the The Muppets being developed, a Fraggle Rock movie in the works and now a Sesame Street movie announced it looks like the Muppet productions are getting bigger than ever.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Muppets 2011 Blu ray Review

About 5 months after Muppets 2011 has hit the theatres in Europe we can finally own the movie on DVD/Bluray. The movie itself is great but how much does the Bluray add or subtract from the experience? Is it worth your hard earned money or should you just rent it or watch it on demand?

The Movie

After 12 years, the Muppets are finally back in theatres. Was it worth the wait or are we better off just remembering the Muppets the way they were?

"The Muppets? Great show back then. What? They still excist?" While it's true that The Muppet Show and subsequent movies were big hits even the biggest Muppet fan can't deny that the Muppets started to fade away from the public eye since Jim Henson's death. Their last theatrical movie, Muppets in Space was a box office disappointment and their last telefilm Muppets' Wizard of Oz was even worse recieved. This year however, (or last year if live in the United States) Disney is poised to bring the felt faced creatures back into the spotlight with a new movie simply called The Muppets. With a title like that you might think the movie's a reboot of the franchise but on the contrary; the movie is a sequel of some sorts to all previous Muppet productions. However, Disney is aware of the fact that a whole generarion grew up with the Muppets and there's a whole new generation who barely even heard of the franchise. They set out to make a movie that's both for the older fans and the fans-to-be but did Disney succeed?

In this movie we meet the newest Muppet, Walter. Walter is the world's biggest Muppet fan and together with his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) travel to the Muppet Studios to finally see where all the magic happened. The studio hasn't been used in years however and looks like a wreck. It gets worse when Walter sneaks into Kermit's old office and accidentally overhears Waldorf and Statler talking to the rich oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). Richman plans to level the Muppet Studios in order to drill for oil. The only way he can be stopped is by raising ten million dollars in order to repurchase the studios. Walter, Gary and Mary look for Kermit and tell him the bad news. Our froggy hero decides to try and raise the money with a big Muppet Telethon but the problem is he hasn't seen the gang in a long time so he, along with his new friends, try to bring the Muppets back together and raise the money needed.

Judging by this summary you might mistake the story for generic, boring and predictable but the story is actually pretty smart written with the underlying question if the Muppets are still relevant in 2012 woven in through the film. The movie acknowledges the slump the franchise has been in head on and uses this to its advantage. The Muppets tries to prove that there is room for the clean, crazy humor that the brand is known for. This time they don't try to stay hip by jumping on a currently coolbandwagon o like they did in Muppets' Wizard of Oz. They simply do what they do best; making us laugh in a same way they did when we first met them in the seventies.

One of the reasons the franchise has been in a slump is the deaths of prominent Muppeteers like Jim Henson and Richard Hunt as well as the semi-retirement of Muppeteers like Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson. Subsequent productions ommitted a lot of their Muppets or relegated them to smaller roles and cameos.
These Muppet productions thus felt a little incomplete since the strength of the franchise lies in the big cast of characters and when certain characters that were popular on the Muppet Show simply don't appear or only have cameo roles it shows.
The Muppets is a comeback of sorts for a lot of characters that were notably missed through the years like Dr. Teeth, Rowlf and Scooter and a slew of lesser known characters like Link Hogthrob and Wayne & Wanda. The cast of the Muppets is finally complete again and it's firing on all cylinders. It just wouldn't feel like a proper Muppet Telethon without Scooter warning acts that there are "15 seconds to curtain" or Rowlf playing the piano. The Muppeteers taking over these roles are doing a great job.

The stronger cast of Muppets also eliminates the need for a big human lead like earlier movies attempted. Jason Segal and Amy Adams perfectly supplement the movie without taking up too much screen time. They feel completely natural in the Muppet world and it shows they had a great time making the movie.

With the lead parts hanging on the shoulders of the Muppets it's pretty hard to tell an convincing story that also appeals to mature fans. It does work though and the reason the Muppet characters work on screen is because they're three dimensional, they're like us. They're not perfect. They laugh, get angry but also get hurt . Kermit hasn't seen his friends and Piggy in a long time and when he's singing about it and is hurting inside,we're hurting inside because even though they're puppets they experience the same feelings we've experienced. Don't get me wrong, the Muppets is far from a somber movie but it does have some truly touching moments and that makes the movie that much stronger. For a movie about felt covered lifestock to touch people it has to be truly special. And it is.

Muppet movies have always been accompanied by great music and The Muppets proudly continues this tradition. The original songs, written by Bret McKenzie of Flights of the Concords fame are great and perfectly fit the feeling of the movie. Life's a Happy Song is an upbeat song, reflecting the Muppets positive outlook on life while Pictures in my Head is an poignant song, describing Kermits feelings on the split up of the Muppets. Accompanying Bret's songs are some song parodies like an amazing cover of Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit by Rowlf, Sam the Eagle, Beaker and Link Hogtrob in a Barbershop quartet style Cleverly, they let Beaker sing (or rather, 'meep') the more profane parts of the lyrics, effectively eliminating those parts. Several Muppet classics are reprised with this movie containing both a (intentionally) horrible and a truly fantastic version of The Rainbow Connection. A review of the offical soundtrack will be up very soon, with a more in depth look at the songs.

The Muppets is fantastic return to form for the Muppets but is there really nothing wrong with it? Well, a strange choice is the cutting of a part of Tex Richman's rap. The soundtrack version contains an operatic part which explains why Richman hates the Muppets. The movie cut the rap short, omitting this part and making his 'maniacal laugh' comments a bit more random. It works as random humour but it's strange that they cut it just to shave of a minute of the movie. The entire song will be an extra on the Blu-ray release.

If they cut that bit to save time, they should have cut the Me party song. It is a nice song but doesn't really add anything to the movie. I'm also puzzled to see why they made this song a cutaway duet between Mary and Miss Piggy. Adding another character to the song was unneccesary and made it feel like a filler song, added just so that Amy Adams and Piggy could sing a duet.
A general complaint about Muppet movies is that Muppet X's part is too small with Muppet Y hogging to much of the spotlight. This was especially the case with the post-Henson movies and isn't really resolvable with such a big cast. If you say, give Scooter more screentime Sam the Eagle-fans would complain about Scooter hogging up valuable screen time and vice versa. I would have liked to see more of Gonzo but as it is, screentime is pretty evenly divided.

Overall The Muppets is a great movie and and an even better movie if you're a Muppet fan. The Muppets are back in full force and haven't been this funny in years. The movie is funny, poignant, exciting and you're guaranteed to leave the theatre without a big smile and humming the catchy Life's a Happy Song.

Disney has a high reputation when it comes to Bluray video and the Muppets doesn't disappoint. Presented in a 1:78 ratio, the Muppets 2011 looks as vibrant and clear as can be which primarily can be seen on the Muppets itself as the sharpness of the image is displayed best when seeing the fabric on Kermit and friends. Colors are strong and there are no signs of artifacting or noice.

Muppets 2011 has a great, rich DTS-HD 7.1 mix that makes good use of the surround sound with sounds moving from one box to the other and spreading the instruments and voices during songs in a good way, ensuring that you can pick apart all the different instruments playing during the songs. There is a good balance between the voices and the background music and dialogues sound clear. Besides a 7.1 English track, the Dutch Bluray also hosts a DTS-HR 7.1 French track, a DTS-HR 7.1 Dutch track, and a 5.1 Flemish track.

Extra features
Unlike most Muppet movie home releases Muppets 2011 has a lot of extra features. All the features are on the same disc as the movie and are as follows:

A funny thing happened on the way to the read-through
A nice little sketch about the Muppets going to the script reading for the movie. Although it's billed as lasting 3.00 the last 30 seconds are comprised of the Muppet Show's theme song playing while the screen displays The Muppet logo. Strange way to end a short feature like this.

The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History We Think)
An eight minute blooper reel which admittedly is pretty long. Like most Blooper reels, some bloopers are funny, some not although it's certainly good to see the fun the performers have on set.

Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney's The Muppets
A 15 minute making of the Muppets 2011. It's more funny than informative but it's entertaining and it features some Muppets that weren't used much in the main feature like Rizzo and Lew Zealand.

Explaining Evil: the full Tex Richman rap
The complete Tex Richman rap, that explains why he hates the Muppets. The rap was featured in it's entirety on the soundtrack but was cut for the movie.

Deleted Scenes
As with most movies that hit DVD/Blu-Ray. The Muppets 2011 also has some deleted scenes on it's disc. Besides the ones listed under the Deleted Scenes there are also some deleted scenes hidden as easter eggs. More on that later.

Missing Verse Life's a Happy Song
A verse that wasn't featured in neither the movie nor the soundtrack that features Walter singing a verse at a slower tempo, like Mary does in the movie. Being that it takes place right after Mary's versie, I can see why they deleted it because it really slows the pace of the song but it's nice to hear it nonetheless.

A Hero in Hollywood
Walter, Mary and Gary arrive at the Grauman Chinese Theater in Los Angeles and want to get their picture taken with a man, dressed up like Superman, played by Rob Corddry
in a cameo role. Very funny scene

Walter's Extended Nightmare
A longer version of Walter's dream at the beginning of the movie where the Muppets escape from the TV screen.

Muppets in Jail
The Muppets get bailed out of jail, a scene that was briefly featured in the second trailer. Cameos by Danny Trejo and Wanda Sykes.

Credit Card Club
Another fictional program the TV executive shows the Muppets to show them how out of touch they are. Boring. Cameos by Sterling Knight and Sarah Hyland.

The Strip Mall Awards
A very funny scene that explains how the Muppets got into jail as they try to get a guest host for their Telethon. Cameos by Kathy Griffin, Ricky Gervais and Billy Crystal.

The complete Muppet Telethon opening
An extended version of the Muppet Telethon opening which features the opening as in the movie but then sees the Muppets walking of the stage, commenting on how well the sequence went.

Bowling for Beaker.
Brief but funny scene with Beaker, Gonzo and Honeydew that features Bunsen's radio controlled bowling ball and a nervous Beaker...

Audio Commentary
An insightful commentary during the film by Jason Segal, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller

Spoof Trailers
A collection of the spoof trailers that let up to the movie's release, including two new ones, based upon Fast Five and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Unfortunately, the Toy Story short Small Fry, that aired before the movie in theatres, is not included. This is a bit strange because the previous Toy Story short that aired in theatres did recieve a home release on the Bluray the movie was originally aired with. (Cars 2)

Also missing is the Muppets Intermission feature, a feature that was dubbed groundbreaking by Disney and was featured on the American Blu Ray. The gist of it is that when you pause the movie the Muppets and cast appear on screen and perform a quick joke, entertaining viewers even when the film's not running. It's too bad that this feature got scrapped from the PAL release.

Easter Eggs
There are also several Easter Eggs to find on the disc. These are all the easter eggs and how to access them:

Highlight Bonus features and press right, An egg will appear. Select this option.
A cut scene from the making of that talks about getting permits when making a picture.

Highlight Play features and press right and then up, An egg will appear. Select this option.
An "oinkterview' with the lovely Miss Poogy appears. I liked Miss Poogy in the movie and this interview with her is an enjoyable extra,

Highlight Bonus features and press left, up, left, An egg will appear. Select this option.
A extended version of the Chicken act from the Telethon plays, featuring a Muppet farmer

Highlight Set Up and press left, up An egg will appear. Select this option.
Another cut scene of the making up that features the Muppet version of the director appears. Just as entertaining as the rest of the making of.

Final verdict
The Muppets 2011 has been a succesful revival of a franchise that has been in a slump for a long time. The Muppet family is finally complete again thanks to the return of several old favorites like Rowlf and Scooter and the film's plot is entertaining and funny. Most of all, it feels like a Muppet movie and not some sort of movie where the Muppets were shoehorned into like some movies from the past.

The Blu ray hosts an impressive amount of extras although it's too bad that the Disney Interaction feature was scrapped for the PAL release and the Toy Story short wasn't included in any of the Blu Ray releases.

Still, the movie is great and Disney delivers a strong presentation with stunning video and a great surround mix and is sure to please anyone remotely interested in the Muppets.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Muppets and the Beach Boys

With legendary rock band The Beach Boys reuniting for a world tour and delivering a brand new album produced by Beach Boy and music legend Brian Wilson it's time to look at the marks they left behind in Muppet history and look back at some of the Beach Boys tributes Jim Henson and his colleagues made.

Miss Piggy and the Muppet pigs performing "I Get Around"

With I Get Around being the first number one hit by the Beach Boys in the United States it seemed like a logical choice for a Muppets cover. The usual beach and sea atmosphere was hard to find in this sketch though as it was performed by the Muppet pigs dressed as a biker gang. Interesting about the production of this number is that in order to make it look authentic the producers ordered real operational (Muppet sized) motorcycles. However, when they arrived, they wouldn't be allowed to run. Because of safety regulations the studio wouldn't allow gas vehicles to run. Muppet fans got a scene behind this hard to make segment in the special Of Muppets and Men.

Kermit performing "Kokomo"

When the Muppets made a album titled Beach Party they covered several Beach Boys songs but only one of the songs on the album was made into a video and that's Kermit's version of Kokomo. This video is particulary noteworthy since it was one of the first videos produced in which Steve Whitmire performed Kermit. The video actually differs a bit from the original recording as it features an alt sax solo that was not heard on the album.

Kermit, Sweetums, and the frogs performing "Surfin USA"

Being that Surfin' USA is one of the most famous Beach Boys songs it's perhaps a bit odd that it got covered so late in the Muppet Show's run but the performance was well worth the wait. In this episode Kermit plays the part of Sinbad the Sailor who, along with his frog henchmen wants to get into a cave. Problem is, the cave is guarded by Sweetums who got strict orders to guard the cave from Sinbad. However, Kermit soon convinces him that he's not Sinbad the Sailor but sinbad the Surfer by singing the Beach Boys hit song.
Surfin' USA was later covered by Kermit and Clifford on the earlier mention Muppets Beach party CD.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The French Muppet Show: Muppets TV

The review of the home release of The Muppets 2011 will be posted soon but in the meantime let's take a look at a Muppet project that most people don't know about, even though it starred most of the original cast. If I'de ask people how many iterations of the Muppets Show have aired most will say one, referring to the original Muppet Show. Most Muppet fans will say two, referring to both the original Muppet Show and the short lived Muppets Tonight that aired in the mid nineties. Ask this question to a French Muppet fan however and he'll probably answer "trios" (three) since France got their own version of the Muppet Show. This wasn't a simple dub of the Muppet Show or Muppets Tonight but an entirely new program, made specifically for the French market starring the original Muppets alongside French guest stars called Muppets TV.

How did this all come about? Let's take a trip back to this year 2005...

French network TF1 and French radio comedian Sebastian Caudet made a deal with the Walt Disney Company to produce a new series for the French market where the Walt Disney Company send the actual puppets to France to get puppeteered by French puppeteers. Caudet himself provided the voice of the French Kermit and was a guest star in the final epsiode.

The show started in 2005 as a 15 minute pilot which featured French humorist Franck Dubosc as the guest star. The pilot contained several sketches including a parody on French TV series Mon Incroyable Fiance starring Miss Piggy. After the pilot a ten episode season was made to air in 2006.

Besides Kermit, a large part of the original cast of the Muppet Show was used in Muppets TV, including Muppets that had been retired for a long time in American Muppet productions like Rowlf, Scooter, the Muppets Newsman and Dr Teeth. Complementing these established stars were new Muppets like Denise and several Whatnots. (nameless Muppet 'extras') In contrast to the American series which were set in a old theater (The Muppet Show) and a television studio (Muppets Tonight) Muppets TV was set on a talk show stage. Like Muppets Tonight, it featured two guest stars per show. Each episode lasted 45 minutes and was broadcast on Sundays. The best bits of each weeks episode where rerun in 5 minute segments from Monday through Friday

Unfortunately, the show failed to hold the interest of the viewing audience and was cancelled in mere months with only 10 episodes produced. While the show was exclusively in France, foreign Muppet fans today can catch a glimpse of the show on Youtube:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Muppets available on Blu-Ray and DVD!

The wait is finally over. The Muppets 2011 is out on DVD and Bluray now in Europe. Along with the movie, the discs hold several interesting extra's although it doesn't include the Toy Story short "Small Fry" that was shown before the movie in theatres. If you like the movie you're  bound to enjoy the home release but of you're not sure if you should spend your hard earned cash you might want to wait on our review which should appear here in a few days.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dutch home release for The Muppets announced

Dutch Muppet fans will be able to buy home version of the Muppets' latest movie this month as the Bluray and DVD version will be released May 30th which is two weeks earlier than the earlier announced June 11th date. According to the press release, the Wocka Wocka pack, which also contains the soundtrack won't get an European release.

If you can't really wait untill May 30th you can always import the US version, which is region free and will play in European Blu-Ray players

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 Great Sesame Street Parodies

While Sesame Street has the focus on the younger viewers, the producers of the show always seem to sneak in a few segments with a wink to the older viewers in order to make them enjoy the show with their children. Some of the most memorable 'adult' segments are parodies of popular movies, music of tv shows. While the young ones won't always 'get' the joke it sure makes for some entertaining television. While there are a lot of parodies to choose from, here are five that still stand the test of time.

Cookie Monster as Isaac Hayes, "Shaft"
While a lot of younger readers will remember Isaac Hayes as the love driven Chef from South Park, older readers will remember him for his Soul career. One of his best known hits is the tune to the Shaft series. knowing this, Sesame Street dressed Cookie up as Isaac, complete with gold chains and beard and let him perform his version, called "Cookie". Can you dig it?

The Beetles as The Beatles performing "Letter B"
The Beatles were and still are one tof the most influential rock groups of all time. Sesame Street and The Muppets have done a lot of parodies of the Fab four, ranging from album covers like Sesame Road (Abbey Road) to performing Beatles songs on both shows. Sesame Street had a number of songs however in which not only the songs but also the members of the band were parodies. Insect pop group the Beetles (without the a) performed several parodies but the best one had to B "Letter B", a parody of "Let it Be". Paul McCartney, the Beatle who had written Let it Be later wrote a letter to Christopher Cerf, writer of "Letter B" saying he liked the parody.

The most interesting aspect of hit show "24" was that it took place in real time which is a big contrast to other series. Every minute of the in-show time lasted a minute in real life. A great concept which also made for a great Sesame spoof also called "24". Lasting 24 seconds, it is the Counts favorite show as he happens to count every second.

Grover performing as "Spider-Monster"
The Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn of the dark has had it's fair share of parodies but even so it was surprising to see Sesame Street take a jab at it. Since the musical is known for accidents happening to the actors who better than Grover to play the part of "Spider-Monster" while Mr Johnson watches the play? It gets even better when the original composer of the musical, Bono gets spoofed by the appearance of Bono monster. I haven't seen Turn of the Dark yet but I would gladly pay to see Spider-Monster the Musical.

Donald Grump in "The Grouch Apprentice"
With the Apprentice being a hit on TV and Donald Trump's haircut being so outspoken it was only a matter of time before it was parodied on Sesame Street. In September 2005 a very special guest appeared on the world's most famous street; Donald Grump, the grouch who has the most trash in the world. Visiting Sesame Street looking for a apprentice to sort his trash. Ultimately, both Oscar and Grundgetta got to be his apprentices. However, they soon learn they have to help Donald and ultimately firing him, ending the parody.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Muppet Movie sequel news

With the upcoming (European) home release of The Muppets in sight news of the sequel is already dripping in. An interview with writer Nick Stoller (who also co-wrote the first movie) revealed the following tidbits:
  • The Muppet Sequel is going to be a comedy caper.
  • Disney really wants the sequel and they want it as soon as possible.  Stoller says Disney wants to release it summer 2013 but he doesn’t think that’s realistic
  • Jason Segel might cameo.
  • The sequel will introduce new Muppets.
  • Bobin (who also directs) and Stoller started writing the script yesterday. They wrote 13 pages after outlining the entire movie over the past few weeks.

Even though I really want to the sequel as soon as possible I hope Disney let Stoller, Bobbin and The Muppets Studio take there time. We've seen a lot of rushed Muppet productions in the 90's and that mostly affected the quality in a bad way.