Whatever Happened to the Muppets?

I grew up with the Muppets.  I have distinct memories of Sunday evenings, eating dinner on TV trays (a special Sunday night tradition), watching The Muppet Show.  And lately, Doug Pagitt and I have often been compared to Statler and Waldorf.

At The Awl, Elizabeth Stevens tracks the long, strange, and not always wonderful path of the Muppets, post-Jim Henson (when Kermit was voiced by Steve Whitmire).  Money quote:

Let me preface my next statement by saying that I know it will seem ridiculous to the casual reader, inflammatory to a good many fans, and downright specious to the expert of rhetoric, but for me watching Steve Whitmire’s Kermit is akin to watching someone imitate a mythic and longed-for mother—my mother—wearing a my-mother costume in a my-mother dance routine. This person’s heart is in the right place, which only makes it worse. “You should be happy,” the person pleads with me, “Look, Biddy! Your mother is not gone! She is still here.” Now, no one would ever do that. No one in her right mind would think it would work. A child knows his mother’s voice like he knows whether it’s water or air he’s breathing. One chokes you and one gives you life. Strangely, I feel the same about Kermit. Whitmire is an amazing performer—especially as the lovable dog Sprocket on “Fraggle Rock”—but, when he’s on screen as Kermit, I can feel my body reject it on a cellular level. [READ THE REST]

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  • Dan Hauge

    This link is . . . a very long, detailed post about what constitutes Muppet authenticity. I’d say it’s kind of obssessive, except that it’s also pretty awesome. I’m cautiously optimistic for the film (and even if it sucks it will still have Amy Adams in it so it can’t be all bad).

  • Forever missing Jim.

  • mr hanson

    the muppets like most good things, went corporate. Disney got hold of them and homogenized their act.
    The muppets inc, apparently had to pass the censor of Disney who are very wholesome (sounds familiar?). Look what happened with Motown years back. They were bought out by Universal, me thinks, and never got decent sounds or songs.
    Both were excellent, until Corporate america decided to homogenize them, to mind numbling babble that we enjoy today.