Annie and Danny takin’ over your blog

Or not. I’m just trying to suggest that they are up in your internet right now. 🙂  In other words, notes on the past month or so of episodes, plus a couple of older ones!  Listen and enjoy, especially to Episode 27, which for reasons unknown is just FABULOUS. *lalala…*  Oh, and the notes for the episode started getting long recently. I don’t know why, I’m serious, but I’m kind of trying to dial it back…

 

Episode 26:
Annie the Robot. Well okay! 😀

OOooh!  Disney cookin’, Dan style!  For the record I have made Boatwright style Sweet Potato Pancakes. They were good but I didn’t do anything special with them so none of my customers paid for them. My customers were my husband and children so I let it slide.

Ticket price increase. From what I have heard on Internet, “to the ire of everyone” is not exactly true. You’ll hear from many people defending Disney’s right to raise their prices by $10 over 2 years if they feel like doin’ it. 😉  For me it’s… complicated and like with anything complicated I tend not to express an opinion.  Other than the way I put it there, lol.

To relate it to this show though, I love that you guys argue about almost every subject you tackle. Dan and I had a conversation about how in my last post I made it sound like they’re both jerks (okay that’s not what he said *lol*) when I said they are cranky about popular things, but what I really meant about it is that they both hold strong opinions but even when they do the other one usually holds the other opinion. So Annie and Dan get into these awesome debates and usually cover everything I feel PLUS the other perspective.  These discussions are great, seriously. I actually find them enlightening.

This is the worst elevator story I’ve ever heard! And I have had times when, not fooling, I’ve been sure that right before my elevator doors closed I would be attacked by the killer in the “Scream” movies. (this has been a fear since 1998, I’m dating myself.)

Big Thunder Oz? D:  I agree about the freaking mutiny Annie refers to. There is not a shortage of people ready and willing to go on that ride!

Universal is “New Money” and Disney is the old-fashioned lady saying “I can’t believe she’s drinking in diamonds at lunch time!” –I didn’t come up with that, that was Annie. But I paraphrased a tiny bit hence the partial quotes.

Is this the first time Dan has dropped the F-bomb? LOL probably not, but… it stood out for me 😉

Veiled classism! No actually Robot Annie is making for deep discussion! ;D No but seriously… this person came to hate Disney World so much after working there that they have to sign up onto forums just to tell everyone how awful it really is and they don’t realize it?  “I’ve seen the REAL Disney World and it’s not what you think it is!”

Robot Annie is not a science-tist.

I will say I hate leaving the parks at night and having to take the bus back. That specifically is the main reason I prefer to have my car. I’ll take the bus to get there in the mornings, return to the hotel for a break, and then drive back in the aftern oon/evening so I can drive back at close/whenever we leave.  I have had the experience the person was complaining about, and it’s hard.

Having said that, I wouldn’t write an entire “I would not stay here again!” post based just around that experience. LOL.

I LOVE Flame Tree Barbeque! Annie you have to go there it’s so good! Ahhhh. 😀  Funny thing is that I apparently have similar taste in restaurants to Dan.  Huh.  Not that I dislike the ones Annie is picking but I haven’t been to most of them. Or any, actually.

Though really I haven’t been to ABC Commissary either.  I’ve been to Backlot Express and I kind of think they’re the same? (They’re not)  But I think they’re similar and I love Backlot Express.

OHHHHH I haven’t been to Yorkshire County Fish Shop. Broke the similarity streak there, Dan. 😦  You should’ve picked something else.

But we got it back on the Boma/Jiko part. Score. 🙂

No, Be Our Guest is Counter Service for lunch and Table Service for dinner.  So it’s BOTH!

!!!  ANNIE! My worst dining experience was at Tony’s too! It was actually quite nice IN the restaurant but my food was weirdly sweet.  I don’t know but it was yicky to me.

This episode was like The Distant Future, The Year 2000.

 

Episode 8:
This episode is starting out with some real ol’ country rhythm.

Dan: We’re recording this a little bit in the past…
Annie: We’re recording this in September, that should give you an idea, because you’re going to be like “D*** it’s August!”
–And she immediately starts laughing b/c as she said it she realized what she was saying. XD

By the way, “D***, it’s February!”  I think that EVERY episode. 😉 [It’s now March so… there’s that.]

Sometimes… I get this strange impression that Annie, maybe, just maybe, gives Dan a hard time for no reason but to give him a hard time.  I don’t know. Maybe I’m imagining it. (Sarcasm is hard to pick up on in a blog so… it’s thick in this statement.)

All this time listening to the show and I’m finally finding out about Dan’s wife Kasmira. Frequently mentioned but rarely in personal detail!

OMG! This episode was before Frozen came out! Annie doesn’t understand why everyone apparently hates it in advance. LOL.

Why does everyone discuss the sexual orientation of the Winnie the Pooh characters?  I won’t ask why everyone thinks Rabbit is gay, because well, EVERYONE thinks Rabbit is gay. *shrug* 🙂

HAHA, Annie’s story about responding to forwards with Snopes.com articles… I do that too and every time I do people seem vaguely offended as if I’m calling them stupid. XD

Annie: “If you are listening to this and you don’t know Would You Rather, then we need to become best friends immediately so I can teach you about everything that’s fun in life.”
That’s actually the kindest thing I’ve ever heard. I usually say “then we aren’t friends” or something like that. LOL, because I’m callous that way.

I LOVE Tom Bergeron! 😀

You know, I can’t say “never ever again” to anything. So I pick the limit of SSE to once per trip. Because on my last two trips I’ve only managed to ride it once anyway. 😛  I’ve only had 2 Dole Whips in my entire life but I like having the option.

I’ll take the Deluxe upgrade on my suite thanks.

OMG the third question is HARD. I have NO idea what I would answer.

Dan, you are so lucky you have never seen any ads or anything of those stupid Buddies movies.  Ugh. No. You’re wrong about it, Dan. You’re just WRONG.

Dan: “Secret time, I don’t like kids very much…”
This is the worst-kept secret on earth, Dan. 😉  This is even worse-kept than when they used to call the DVC the best-kept secret. XD

And this inspires a great performance from Annie.

 

Episode 9:
“This is Episode 9, can you believe it?”
“No!”
“She can’t.”

Life before Twitter… It’s like the Time of Legends!

I have the same reactions to a lot of things as Annie does with Cinderella – yeah, I know I saw this as a kid, but then when I watch it I’m like “OH GEEZ this is burned into my memory now!”

Incidentally the term “burned into my memory” is appropriate with this one; it was never a favourite, but my sister watched it perhaps once a day every day one summer, so I had it kind of memorized. And I don’t like it.  I don’t know if it’s because I saw it so many times (even peripherally) at age 10, or if I just think it’s bad, but I’ve shown it to my kids perhaps twice and I just go leave the room. Bleah.  Regardless, I KNOW I will remember it well enough to enjoy your discussion. 🙂

The trailers on Cinderella DVD… Chicken Little, Cinderella 3, Disney Princesses: A Christmas of Enchantment. This is just scraping the bottom of the barrel. 😛

You guys actually make me want to watch it again to look at the animation.  I haven’t paid too much attention to it since I’m not (notnotNOT) into the mice at all, but the Mary Blair parts make me interested.  My memory in the parts that I saw last time were that the animation was just meh.  Like it looks like the direct to video stuff in terms of quality.

Frog & Toad? The Fabulous Mr. Frog? LOL.

YES! It is like Tom & Jerry shorts in the start of the movie, BAH.  All the reasons I dislike this movie are flashing through my mind. XD

And also, I LOVE Alice in Wonderland. Just in case anyone thinks that, like, I hate fun or something.

This clock segment! Dear God XD

“I don’t think her life was that bad.”  Heehee. I’m kind of loving the turn this is taking. XD  I never bought Cinderella’s “so kind and loving that she’ll take everyone’s s***” attitude. Something else is up there.

I’m going to go to the Country Bear Jamboree someday! I never have. Ever. But I’m totally going to go!  I’ve tried to go the past two trips. LOLOL.

This Cinderella talking to the mice thing is one of the things that has always REALLY bugged me. Well ever since I was like 18 or so. 😉

Oh SWEET! More intermission music! The sad part is I legitimately bop around at my desk while this is going on.

And now I got to the part where the episode title comes from. Douchey nudist chickens. 😀  The hierarchy of the animals makes no sense. Too much of this movie has no thought in it and makes no sense! There is NO LOGIC!  Aaargh, HATE MOVIE!

No no, you guys, the cat’s name is “Lucy Fur”. I’m totally lying. But you could make that claim!  Maybe Lucifer is just what Cinderella calls him because she hates him so much.

I do love Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo. I actually totally do. XD

Dan: “You’ve become very antagonistic.”

That dress is not blue. It’s the colour of moonlight thank you.

Your final decision on this movie is much, much kinder than mine would be. There are a handful of good musical moments but I don’t share your liking of Cinderella – I’ll take Snow White over Cindy any day just because Cindy has no real personality. I’m sorry but as much as Snow might be an out of it baby-woman, at least she’s got a personality.
Episode 27:
The episode begins with Annie and Dan introducing themselves in NEARLY the same voice! Hmmm. You know – when I was on Skype with them, I could only see Annie. Dan’s video was not showing up for some reason. I am now convinced that Dan is not a real person, just a creation of Annie’s.

And then I brag about my legions of followers who do whatever I say. LOL. That’s so not true. XD

And begin the R. Kelly jokes! Whoop! Never gets old. 😉

I’m going to confess that I was very nervous about having the buzzer. Then I let Annie peer pressure me into using it constantly. Although it does seem that until you buzz Dan, he just keeps going, so I’m not sure WHO was right here.

Dan: “I have an inappropriate thing I want to say. I want it to be clear that I was the first person to ask you to be on a podcast.”

Sadly, not true. 🙂 But he wants it to be, so I think he gets major points for that.

Annie points out my favourite thing to do with these recaps, which is to take some of the funniest things they say and quote them without any context at all! It’s AWESOME. “Teachers are pedophiles all the time!”

And Dan is just sitting there patiently waiting for us to stop talking about bows. XD  But he’s not allowed to buzz!

And now somehow we end up on pee stories. See how can you not love a podcast that will spend a good 5 minutes talking about various kinds of pee stories? 😀  By the way my husband had a ton of follow-up questions on Dan’s story.

I’m not sure what I was buzzing.  I mean we weren’t talking about news anymore, just pee, so…

So then I got to firsthand experience how sometimes Annie will just challenge Dan on the news he’s reading as if he invented it and is like “But that’s STUPID! Why are you so stupid?!” in all but the words she uses. And sometimes in the words too. Oh, I love you guys, you’re very amusing. XD

Oh, and by the way, I have no concept of how much Legos actually cost. My “like $100” price tag is completely realistic and reasonable, thinking back.

Annie wouldn’t want Suri Cruise to be the prototypical rich kid to get her Spaceship Earth Lego set, once developed, because “She’d kick it over!”

I can’t believe how annoyed Dan got over the Tron comparison with Test Track and the announced Shanghai Disney (? was it that or Hong Kong) Tron Roller Coaster. “They’re not comparable. Not comparable!” The mean part of it is that I really did get what he was talking about, but I think Test Track is very Tron-inspired, so I just stuck with that argument. I’m not sure if it counts as trolling if it was done without malice… 😉

Oh here we are. “So R. Kelly, tell us about yourself…” and this is where I get embarrassingly bad here and say “Make something up.” I, augh, I cannot believe I did that. XD  Please don’t judge me!

On this podcast I learned that airplanes are just basically like big flying toilets. I mean between the pee stories and now the next discussion that has come up… This was supposed to be a discussion about travel agent stuff and here – I just… Well!

And here comes the Dining Plan discussion. This is probably what you most want to tune in for, guys. Here’s me trying not to encourage either Annie or Dan into arguing, which didn’t work. XD

Annie: “The Dining Plan is worth it if it’s free…”
Dan: “You know what else is worth if it’s free? A lollipop.”

Comparison = apt?  You decide, listeners!

Puttin’ me on the spot with questions about what kinds of surprises I’d do for Disney “Experts”, stuff like that… This poor guest sounds so nervous 😉

Oh, how I loved the best resort for a girls’ (adults) trip question.

Annie and Dan are so nice though. Everything I say they’re really nice about. They’re clearly taking pity on me. XD

“If you had to live in a ride like a bum, what ride would it be?”  My husband was in the room for this question, and he was like “Well, where else would you live? For all those reasons!”

Anyway… Sigh. 🙂 I can probably be funnier/more interesting on my next appearance. It was awesome. A++ would guest again! Especially for singing, although that would probably go best if I got some liquor in me first. 😀

 

Episode 28:
Nice opening music!

So ANNIE is Adele Dazeem. I thought it was me!  And I agree… that was just… SO BIZARRE. Hilarious and bizarre.

I was not watching the Oscars, I got my info JUST from Twitter, which was kind of hilarious.

Good point about the Croods – THE CROODS – being nominated over Monsters U. I think it’s politics. Like “Well Pixar just won last year and we’ll look like we’re just nominating it because it’s Pixar. We need another movie!”  Pffff. Monsters U was good.

ERNEST SCARED STUPID. 😀

St. Patrick’s Festival is ALREADY ON! Dude! It’s been on for 5 days already!!

I agree with Dan, this description sounds like ChumbaWumba. Dropkick Murphy? I haven’t heard of them. Apparently they sing about kicking things, according to Annie. XD

The rule about the 7 days’ worth of reservations in a 60-day window actually isn’t so bad, because it’s a rolling 60-day period rather than a set period. So you can do 7 days of reservations on Monday, then when you’ve used the first day you can go right in and make more if you want.

Why did Annie make me buzz Dan so much last show?  She hasn’t buzzed him at all this time. I feel like I was tricked into buzzing the poor guy. XD

OOOH! TWENTY QUESTIONS!  Attractions, questions, or resorts. I CAN DO THIS. I sucked at Birnbaum Blitz but that was Mickey Mutineers!

Dan: “See if you can beat us to the knowing.”
Annie: “I bet you can beat Dan.”
Dan: “How dare you.”

I love it when he says that! 😀

Annie: “Next week we’re going to play Monopoly.”
Dan: “But we’re not gonna narrate or anything, we’re just gonna play. Quietly. Just the sounds of the dice and the paper money…”
Annie: “And then the sound of me swiping the whole board off the table in a rage… and then the quiet sounds of Dan’s last breath.”

That escalated quickly! 😀

I should also mention there is this elevator music in the background and just… lol XD

Are there parades at Epcot?! 😛  Oh – I thought this was at Epcot. Never miiiind…  Annie’s AGONIZING over what she doesn’t like, hahaha.  Geez Annie! You gave up early! LOL!

GO DAN! He got it! 😀  The tension was incredible!

IS IT FORT WILDERNESS? IT IS ISN’T IT?  Oh.  I’m going to go with Annie’s reaction here. XD  “Does the name offend you?” Haha.

Annie gets bored, Annie starts singing her answers.

You guys really mess with me. Did Dan not ask “is it in Hollywood Studios?” Did Annie not say yes? But it wasn’t, it was in Animal Kingdom! So lost over here…

WAIT! I call foul! You can’t ask a question that is not yes or no! Dan you cheater!

Dan: “When did Dumbo come out? Like 1939?”
Annie: “Yeah, what were you, like, 25 when it came out?”
Dan: “Well, more like maybe 30?”

Timeless ride: Yeah it’ll totally be Haunted Mansion, or Pirates, for me.
Least timeless: would that be timeful? Anyway… I think American Idol Experience. That’s my thinkin’. Honestly though anything that ties into something current.  I keep praying that in another 5-10 years nobody will be into American Idol anymore. It’s not going to work that way for me. Sigh.

I can’t believe how well the I Dream of Jeannie music fits at the end here. Wow.

That’s it for this time but there are another two recent episodes I’m just not posting my write-ups on yet… I’ll try to have more earlier episodes too 🙂

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March 2014 Giveaway: from Sew Cute by Cheeky!

Hellooooo everyone, happy Spring!

This month my giveaway is coming a little bit late in the month, but there’s still more than a week of  March left so we’re still good!  I’m really pleased to offer the prize I’ve got this time around, too!  My friend Carrie is a handy crafty sewing type and she has a lot of great ideas, so she has begun a little sewing-type craft shop to earn some extra money to get to Disney. 🙂  (Don’t we all want to do this…)  Carrie’s niche is decorated, Disney-themed towels and other items!  And for this month I have a FREE set of her items to give away: a tea towel and matching potholder, both Star Wars themed! (I have a second set too, and it’s even cooler, but I’m doing this one first!)

Enter the March Giveaway here!

STAR WAAAARS! (guest-starring my kids' arms to show these babies off!)

STAR WAAAARS! (guest-starring my kids’ arms to show these babies off!)

That’s right – because Star Wars Weekends is approaching at Hollywood Studios, because May the 4th is Star Wars Day (yes, I know it’s March, I’m building excitement early), because Episode VII is in development, because… Star Wars is cool!  For all these reasons and MORE, from 12am EST on 3/24 (as in, pretty much now) until 12am EST on 3/31 (ie next Sunday night basically), you can enter to win these items for free courtesy of Carrie and myself!  The cost of the above items together, including shipping, is normally $15 – win them and they are totally free! 😀  Please also check out Carrie’s inventory for sale at her Facebook Group, Sew Cute by Cheeky. This group is closed but you can be added easily.

Here are some samples of Carrie’s other items – with many more on display at her group:

Halloween style!

Halloween style!

More Halloween - Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas! (This is just TOO perfect!)

More Halloween – Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas! (This is just TOO perfect!)

Utterly adorable Lilo & Stitch!

Utterly adorable Lilo & Stitch!

Sorry folks, the Princess & the Frog ones are for ME. ...Oh okay, you can request them too. I won't mind. :)

Sorry folks, the Princess & the Frog ones are for ME. …Oh okay, you can request them too. I won’t mind. 🙂

This is an evil pillowcase! And I want it! :) Pillowcases are $18 including shipping!

This is an evil pillowcase! And I want it! 🙂 Pillowcases are $18 including shipping!

Counteract the evil pillowcase with fairydust. :) $18 including shipping!

Counteract the evil pillowcase with fairydust. 🙂 $18 including shipping!

Muppet Shorts: Wilkins Coffee

Well before there was a Muppet Show or even a particularly well-defined cast of characters (other than “Sam & Friends”), the Henson company started getting recognition for 10-second TV spots promoting Wilkins Coffee.  As has been pointed out, when you only have 10 seconds to get your audience’s attention, you have to get creative.  Fortunately that was Jim Henson’s speciality.

The result is a long string of amazing, amusing and just plain weird spots of two Muppets – Wilkins and Wontkins – talking about Wilkins Coffee. By “talking” I basically mean Wilkins would say how great it is, Wontkins would disagree, and somehow Wontkins would then have some great bodily harm come to him, either by Wilkins or just by an act of “God”. 😀

I don’t need to explain much more than that; once you watch a few you pretty much know what to expect. Except you don’t, because there are easily 40-50 of these or maybe more, and at least half are original ideas.  I won’t show them all here, but you can find collections on YouTube if you search. Enjoy!

The ol’ cannon gag:

Similar, but a different punchline, and Jim did the voices differently:

You would NEVER see a commercial like this today!

Merry Christmas!:

Someone’s Top 10 collection (I disagree, there are others I’d put in here):

Top 5 or 10: Jim Henson Muppet Characters (2 of 2)

Yesterday I posted my picks for numbers 10 to 6… now here are the Top 5!

5. Swedish Chef

Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue, Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue, Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

What separates the Swedish Chef from the other characters who didn’t make it into the Top 5? Is it the fact that he exuberantly and gracelessly destroys things (including his ingredients) left and right while cooking?  The fact that he speaks something similar to gibberish but with a mock Swedish accent? Is it the mustache?  Actually, in my mind, it’s the fact that he has live human hands.  The rest is just gravy. Also there’s the recurring gag that if he is not being a Chef, he is inevitably running a projector. (“The Muppet Movie”, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, and “MuppetVision 3D” all show this to be the case!)

4. Cantus the Minstrel

This is Cantus's winter wear look. (I'm not kidding, either.) He really rocks the fingerless gloves.

This is Cantus’s winter wear look. (I’m not kidding, either.) He really rocks the fingerless gloves.

What’s this!? A show with Muppets that is NOT the Muppet Show???  But yes! Many Muppets aficionados may remember Fraggle Rock, a Jim Henson Co. production from the 1980s.  Jim was heavily involved behind the scenes, but rarely performed – he was not one of the regulars, but he did have two recurring characters (not in more than a handful of episodes each, as I recall). Of the two, Convincing John and Cantus, I prefer Cantus… he’s sage, laid back, full of “implacable calm”, and also delivers sage, laid back, implacably calm verbal smackdowns whenever the Fraggles require it. 😀  In addition, his songs are usually really beautiful.

3. Ernie

What can I say about Ernie? I've always just kind of wanted to hug him.

What can I say about Ernie? I’ve always just kind of wanted to hug him.

The other not-The-Muppet-Show TV series that Jiim was really heavily involved with: Sesame Street.  AS IF I could not have Ernie in the top 3!  I knew Ernie before I knew ANY of Jim’s other Muppets (although I know I was aware enough to hear Kermit and Ernie sounded the same).  I’ve always thought of Ernie as a friend. He was like somebody I just knew liked me. He’s also, I realized as I got older, a merciless prankster and total pest to his friends (or at least, to Bert). But he gets away with it because he’s always so happy!

2. Rowlf

OK this one time I saw one of the original Rowlf puppets on a museum tour and OMG. Life. Made.

OK this one time I saw one of the original Rowlf puppets on a museum tour and OMG. Life. Made.

Rowlf the Dog is my number 1 Muppet. I love his voice, his delivery, his piano-playing, and his fluffy fur.  I also love it when he meets other dogs who can’t talk and he communicates in Dog. “Oh yeah, Woof Woof! Yeah, Bark Bark!”  Rowlf, like many of Jim’s best characters, is kind of laid-back and cool, not prone to stressing out.  Because he’s not among the higher-strung characters, he gets a lot of “reaction” lines to other characters who ARE a bit more… insane… and he plays off of them really well. But for me, Rowlf’s highest moment is still way back in “The Muppet Movie” when he befriends Kermit and Jim Henson sings a duet with himself, “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along”. 😀 

“Stay away from women… that’s my motto.”
“But I can’t.”
“Neither can I. That’s my trouble.”

Rowlf is a very “adult” character, which is not to say that he’s profane or inappropriate for kids, only that he follows an adult sensibility. And, well, he does get away with a few risqué lines here and there.  But you don’t notice because you’re just sitting there thinking, “I wish MY dog could play the piano!”

1. Kermit

I really have nothing in particular to say except Hey Look! It's Kermit The Frog!

I really have nothing in particular to say except Hey Look! It’s Kermit The Frog!

Even though Rowlf is my own personal #1, I cannot fake it. The real life truly true number 1 HAS to be Kermit.  I don’t really totally subscribe to the idea that Kermit IS (was?) Jim Henson, but regardless, he came to be the most strongly associated with Jim and there’s clearly an identification there.  Kermit was initially just another odd little puppet created for “Sam and Friends” in 1955 and over the years ended up making at least an introduction or something in nearly all of the Muppet productions up through the mid-80s.  He never appeared in “Fraggle Rock” but he interacted with the Fraggles anyway, in “A Muppet Family Christmas”.  Kermit is the “brand” Muppet, the leader, the top banana, the boss; he holds together chaos and does it with, at least, some semblance of understanding.  And what Kermit really wants is not to be rich and famous – he understands that other people want that and he’s happy to help them, but it’s not his thing. He wants to make millions of people happy, and I can’t believe that Jim Henson would’ve given that as Kermit’s motivation if it were not, at heart, what he really wanted as well.

Thanks, Kermit and Jim, for making me happy. 🙂 

Top 5… or 10?: Jim Henson Muppet Characters (1 of 2)

On the heels of my biography post about Jim Henson, I thought I’d try to do a Top 5 of his best characters!

…Only all his characters are great so it’s kind of a fail. And I have to make it a Top 10. And then I had a really hard time ranking them. So if you disagree, just remember, I struggled with this! 😉  Here is the first half, numbers 10 to 6.  Top 5 will follow tomorrow!

10. Link Hogthrob

I just noticed that his design makes him part Kirk and part Spock. :D

I just noticed that his design makes him part Kirk and part Spock. 😀

 

Link is a wonderful character, because he is attractive and masculine – I like the fact that the majority of the most stylish and attractive characters on The Muppet Show are pigs – and also self-adoring and dumb as a post.  His voice just kills me.  After rising to fame as the Captain of the Swine Trek on “Pigs In Space“, Link showed up regularly backstage and in the background of other sketches; he was also in the 2011 movie, performing a barbershop quartet rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.  The other thing that amuses me most about Link is how Miss Piggy seems not to be able to stand him.  I guess it’s the battle of the egos. 😀

9. Muppet Newsman

And now, a Muppet News Flash!

And now, a Muppet News Flash!

Semi-ubiquitous, the Muppet Newsman was usually in extremely brief skits where he’d come in with breaking news and fall victim to the news as the punchline. In genuinely ridiculous ways, like “the worst blizzard in 60 years, barometers are falling sharply!” and then a bunch of barometers fall on him. Not a lot to say about a quick recurring gag, but he’s a sharp dresser, and evidently dedicated to his job. 😀

8. Mahna Mahna

What a fluffy guy!

What a fluffy guy!

So here’s a secret: as a kid, Muppets with eyes like his (or like Floyd Pepper’s) freaked me way out.  I later decided that Floyd’s eyes must have been dark glasses (which may have been wrong, but it helped me get over my fear of the character as a kid), but I still don’t know what Mahna’s are. I mean he blinks, so… not glasses?  ANYWAY! The slightly growly voice is a standard of Jim Henson’s (there’s not a huge difference between Mahna and Rowlf, for instance), but the design sets this guy apart.  That and the fact that all he ever really says is scatting. 😀  He’s just basically a big furry… music-lovin’… free spirit!  I think he might be kind of a hippie mountain man who loves jazz! Or something. 😀  It doesn’t really matter, does it?  He tried to follow the rules, but the love of music and rhythm keep leading him down into improvisation and the melodies filling his head.  What a joy!  Rules, schmules!

7. Dr. Teeth

Golden teeth and golden tones, welcome to my presence.

Golden teeth and golden tones, welcome to my presence.

Teeth is among my favourite characters ever, anywhere (but attempts to remain unbiased put him into the second half of the top 10 instead of closer to #1).  Iconoclastic and lyrical at all times, Dr. Teeth is the perfect front man for Electric Mayhem.  He’s loud, showy, and kind of a guru.  Love, man!  It’s all about love! And peace! And probably some stuff that the kids shouldn’t know about. 😀  He’s a born leader and has a pretty amazing sense of fashion. I can’t say “style” but I can say “fashion”! So what are those on the top half of his eyes: eyelids, or lenses?  It’s a pretty amazing design touch: even though his eyes don’t close per se, he always has a sort of relaxed look to him when the ‘lids’ are down. And they can be raised to give him a change of expression. I always loved the Muppets who had moveable eyelids, but Teeth’s are an extra step of cool.  Even cooler: his general look is based on Dr. John, the blues musician from New Orleans.

6. Waldorf

Waldorf is the shorter one. With the mustache.

Waldorf is the shorter one. With the mustache.

Waldorf, of course, is one of an inseparable pair so if you just hear the name “Waldorf” you could almost be like “Huh? Who dat?” And then you hear “Statler and Waldorf” and you’re like “THE OLD GUYS IN THE BALCONY!” of course.  Since Waldorf is just half of the “character”, basically, it’s hard to single him out as one of the best; but their role is one almost everyone loves.  These two guys have devoted their entire twilight years to planting themselves wherever the Muppets are performing, and heckling them mercilessly. They get no greater pleasure in life than telling the Muppets how unfunny they are. They especially love tearing Fozzie apart, possibly because Fozzie really is just not funny, and because he takes all of the comments so personally. In addition to having an entire balcony seat dedicated just to them every week on “The Muppet Show”, they have travelled to Hollywood to view (and mock) the screening of The Muppet Movie, entered and won (or lost?) a contest to attend Muppet Vision 3D, and now spend much of their days watching Muppet YouTube videos and mocking those as well. 😀  Some trivia: Statler and Waldorf were each named for famous New York hotels (Waldorf-Astoria, and Statler – later renamed Hotel Pennsylvania).

Tune in tomorrow for the top 5!

Biography: Jim Henson

I know, I haven’t been as constant with my Muppet posts as I wanted to be. It’s really tricky to stay daily! But I’ll do what I can. 🙂

I want to have, in addition to Muppet skits and reviews and such, some biographies of the people who bring the Muppets to life. Naturally this means I’d start with Jim Henson, the brains behind the entire venture!

Love.

Love.

Jim Henson was born in Mississippi in 1936, but his family relocated to Maryland when he was ten; due to this I tend to think of him as a “local boy” and this seems to fuel my unfounded sense that I know or understand him more than others. 😉

I live like 30 minutes from this and have never been to see it. I think I would cry.

I live like 30 minutes from this and have never been to see it. I think I would cry.

Following high school, Jim enrolled at the University of Maryland – where there is still a statue of him and Kermit, to this day! – where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. I’m not joking. 🙂 However, he was working in puppetry and on television throughout his time at UMD, and even before; he and his friend, Russell Wall, began doing some shorts on a local morning show during the summer before he began college, and this eventually led to 5-minute live segments called “Sam and Friends” following the news twice a day on a local NBC affiliate.

“Sam and Friends” ran from 1955 until 1961, and is the reason that many DC natives knew Jim Henson’s name and work – particularly Kermit, who was created for this show, though not considered a frog yet – even before The Muppets grew to great fame. (I’ve heard quite a bit about “Sam and Friends” from my father.) It was also during production of this show that Jim Henson met Jane Nebel, whom he would later marry. They had five children together, and though they separated in 1986, they remained close friends and never divorced.

Jim soon (while still attending college) extended from just “Sam and Friends” to creating puppets and performances for other companies as well, including commercials for Willkins Coffee, and later, La Choy noodles.

Strange things happen to people who don't drink Willkins Coffee.

Strange things happen to people who don’t drink Willkins Coffee.

Just tell 'em the La Choy Dragon sent ya!

Just tell ’em the La Choy Dragon sent ya!

In the late 50s and early 60s, Jim met Frank Oz and Jerry Juhl and began partnering with them as well; Muppets Inc, the company he had created, spread to include Rowlf the Dog, who appeared on the Jimmy Dean Show and began to give the Henson creations a national presence, leading to appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and elsewhere.

Rowlf on Jimmy Dean:

A string quartet that is not, on the Ed Sullivan Show

A string quartet that is not, on the Ed Sullivan Show

Jim Henson always wanted to be considered an entertainer for all ages and strove not to be categorized as childrens’ entertainment in spite of his use of puppets. With that being the case, his involvement with “Sesame Street” beginning in 1969 was a little dubious at first since it would, guaranteed, tie his name directly to children’s television. However, he ended up (with others in his company) designing the Muppets used on the show, and performing many of them himself, even using Kermit, the character who would eventually be most closely associated with Jim himself.

In the last 1970s, The Muppet Show was contracted as a half-hour comedy variety show. Jim, still interested in providing adult entertainment that was appropriate for children (rather than children’s entertainment), ended up getting away with a lot of wink-wink material that apparently made it past the censors just due to their being puppets and nobody paying close attention. 🙂 The format worked and served not only to introduce numerous characters who remain famous and well-known today, but also to make Jim Henson a household name in television and, eventually, movies and other medium as The Muppets created a springboard opportunity to branch out.

First Appearance of the Swedish Chef, in 1975’s “Muppet Show: Sex and Violence” pilot

Unfortunately, and frustratingly for Jim, few of the projects that he spearheaded that did not have the core Muppets in them were as successful as The Muppet Show and its film counterparts. Efforts at fantasy films, like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, or more fantastic television shows like The Storyteller, were met with less enthuasiasm and generally relegated to cult status.

If you're over 30, you've probably seen this movie, and may have been kind of traumatized by it (like me).

If you’re over 30, you’ve probably seen this movie, and may have been kind of traumatized by it (like me).

Regardless, the strides that the Henson Company has made in puppeteering and special effects in general have been amazing. Jim Henson was known as a creative genius, always pushing the envelope and trying to keep doing new things rather than settle into a rut of sticking to what worked. Jim continued to work with the Muppets, and in 1990 was working on an agreement to have the characters and distribution rights bought by Disney; they made a 3D movie, MuppetVision 3D, which has been running in Hollywood Studios since 1989.

Sadly, the deal was not completed as the agreement grew complicated, and in the midst of negotiations Jim neglected what at first appeared to be a cold that blossomed into what was deemed walking pneumonia. On May 16, 1990, on the point of collapse, he was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead less than 24 hours later. The business was taken over by his adult children – Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, John, and Rachel – and by Jane Henson. The deal with Disney wasn’t closed until 2004, and does not include characters created for Sesame Street or other PBS shows. The Muppets have gone on to make numerous other movies and TV specials, and Steve Whitmire took over performing Kermit (which had been arranged in advance: all Muppets typically have an “understudy” which I guess nobody ever thinks will need to be used.)

In the 24 years since Jim Henson’s death, the company has had its ups and downs, but Jim’s influence and presence can still be felt, even as recently as 2011’s “The Muppets”… Jim’s picture and voice are woven subtly throughout the film.

 

Jim Henson & some friends

Jim Henson & some friends

 

Trivia:

– In addition to the Muppets, Jim did multiple short films and animations for Sesame Street, most famously the “Song of [number]” skits. If you grew up in the right era you will remember these as the Baker skits, where every one ended with the Baker singing what he was carrying, then falling down the stairs. 😀 Jim provided the voice of the Baker, but a different actor did the falling.

– Kermit was, originally, made out of an old coat that belonged to Jim’s mother. Jim chose it because he liked the colour. (Funny part of that being that “Sam & Friends” was initially in black and white.) Kermit was not designated as a frog until shortly before he began regularly appearing on “Sesame Street”.

– Jim and Frank Oz performed Muppets on the first season of Saturday Night Live, in a bit called “Land of Gorch”. The content was not written by the Muppets Inc writers, thus apparently the Muppet performers never really felt quite like they “fit”.

Gilda Radner and a character from Land of Gorch

Gilda Radner and a character from Land of Gorch

King Ploobis from Land of Gorch

King Ploobis from Land of Gorch

– Jim enjoyed making short movies and on occasion made non-Muppet commercials, such as the Bufferin commercial he produced (“Memories”) with a musical score by Raymond Scott (known for the music he produced for old Looney Tunes cartoons).

– Jim performed over 175 Muppets in his career, including 50 on The Muppet Show alone. Many of these are “anything” Muppets used in the background.

I’m Super Sweet, and So Are You!

I have been nominated for the Super Sweet Blog Award!  The nomination is from Heather Fraser Brainerd, a blogger and author! Her author blog (along with her brother, David Fraser) is here, and Heather’s Disney blog – which was featured on my Saturday Blog Showcase a while back – is Disney For Five+. Check both out and be sure to check out Heather’s novels!

super-sweet-blogging-award

Now, well-deserved plugs aside, here is what this award is all about! Having been nominated, I apparently accept the award by doing the following:

1) Answering 5 super sweet questions, and

2) Nominating a baker’s dozen other bloggers for the award!

I think I can do that. 🙂 I’m always good with answering questions, after all! It gives me an excuse to talk. 😛

The five Super-Sweet Questions:

  • Cookies or cake?
    –Definitely cookies. I’m baking some right now! 😀
  • Chocolate or vanilla?
    –Probably vanilla. Especially when it comes to cake.
  • Favorite sweet treat?
    –Hmm, that’s hard to say! I don’t have a particular favourite but I am partial to chocolate chip cookies. The Nestle Toll House recipe.
  • When do you crave something the most?
    –Either mid-day, or at night after about 9pm.
  • Sweet nickname?
    –Sweetie.  My father used to call me and my sisters that when we were little. 🙂

Now I shall attempt to nominate a full 13 other bloggers! Here goes… Actually I think I don’t have enough room for all the people I’d LIKE to nominate!

  1. This Happy Place Blog
  2. Kasey Knows Orlando
  3. Living A Disney Life
  4. The Pixie Dust Princess
  5. Plus the Magic
  6. Joanna and Her Amazing Technicolor Interwebs
  7. The Disney Beat
  8. Frontierland Station
  9. Mouse on the Mind
  10. At Disney With Emily
  11. Princesses and Pixie Dust
  12. The Disney Freak Blog
  13. Sassagoula Steam Boat Co.

There are SO many more… and if anyone (or everyone!) that I just nominated doesn’t want to actually do it, that’s fine. I just thought I’d give a shout-out! 🙂  If you do want to do it, just post the Super Sweet Blog Award on your blog and answer the questions! (And tag a baker’s dozen… if you can!)

Thanks, Heather, for the nomination! I’m not sure if it’s in the rules or not to re-nominate the person who nominated me, so since she’s already a winner I opted not to… but check out her blogs linked above anyway, okay? 😀

Muppet Shorts: Beaker

Several years ago The Muppets set up a YouTube channel to put up little short videos. These are usually along the same line as the brief skits they did on The Muppet Show in years back.  While I do prefer the actual clips from The Muppet Show, some of the YouTube clips are hilarious. So I thought I’d present a few of each, focusing on certain characters at a time.  Today I’m going to start us out with Beaker.

Beaker – or as my son calls him, Meeper – is perhaps the unluckiest of Muppets and exists solely to demonstrate Bunsen Honeydew’s ridiculously dangerous inventions.  For whatever reason, Beaker more or less has faith in these inventions and shares Bunsen’s enthusiasm for them and how they will better society and the world in general – until he has to test them.  And they unfailingly turn on him. XD  Here are a few of Beaker’s best classic turns:

Fireproof Paper:

I love this one. Fireproof paper! Actually a great idea! The second one… not so much. LOL!

Edible Paperclips:

Notable for Beaker flat-out refusing at first.

Germ Enlarger:

Goes about as well as you’d expect such an idea to go…

After years and years, Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker are still churning out the “That’s a really bad idea” inventions. New Muppet Labs skits showcased their newest developments:

Carve-O-Matic:

Note the gag with the clock, which is a callback to the earlier clips 🙂

Ghost Hunt:

This one is not actually the best or the cleverest, but it’s a fun romp.

And then there was the time when Beaker decided to use the Internet to showcase his artistic side and attempted a one-man video cover of Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy”:

This, I avoided for several years, because I thought it was just obvious. It turns out it’s classic. In spite of the setup that each camera angle (six in all) is filmed separately, the classic Muppets metaphysics are involved so everything is happening at the same time and can influence each other. XD

And I’ll close out with a great moment from The Muppets in 2011: Beaker, Rowlf, Link, and Sam the Eagle perform a Barbership Quartet rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with an unwilling Jack Black as their customer:

 

Beaker was initially performed by Richard Hunt, until 1991 (last performance was in MuppetVision 3D), and since then has been performed by Steve Whitmire, who does a terrific job with him IMO.  Whitmire has a great insight into Beaker, which I always appreciate the performers having; he sees him as being an introverted lab guy, smart but socially inept, so when he’s not working he’s probably on the computer. Which is the reason for the non-Muppet Lab YouTube videos, they’re his attempt at “branching out” and they go just as well as his day job. LOL!

The other thing I like about Beaker is his appearance; I can’t remember where I read it, but basically Beaker’s bug-eyed, frowny-faced look and shock of stand-up hair come from his being the lab rat in so many experiments. He’s been electrocuted enough times that his hair is permanently upright, and his eyes and mouth are because he’s perpetually living in fear of the next disaster. 😀

Review: “The Muppets”, 2011

Back in 2011, after seeing “The Muppets” in the theatre, I wrote a review of it. So yes, this is a little over 2 years old and some of it may not still stand (I’m not going to edit anything). But I thought it would be fun to post here, because when I read over it, it’s really not bad! I had it posted only in a LiveJournal I keep locked to non-friends, and I felt it was kind of wasting away there. So to kick off my real, actual “With a purpose” Muppets content, here we go!

—-

December 13, 2011 – “It’s like a kind of torture”

I just wanted a cute, random way to quote the Muppet Show theme song.  Because I need to write a review of “The Muppets”!  I mentioned it really briefly on Facebook, a bit more in-depth on DA, but haven’t really given my full thoughts on it yet to anyone outside of my family.  So let’s make up for that. 🙂

Does it seem kind of weird to anyone else that the non-regular Muppet cast is on the foreground of this soundtrack cover? Just me?

Does it seem kind of weird to anyone else that the non-regular Muppet cast is on the foreground of this soundtrack cover? Just me?

Okay, as I mentioned in both other venues, I liked the movie.  I actually liked it a lot.  I think I like it better as a movie, that had the Muppets in it, than as an entry into Muppet moviedom.  Because having it be a Muppet movie means inevitably comparing it to the three Henson-produced Muppet films, as well as to the rest of his body of work, and in that regard it does come up lacking (for reasons I’ll get into later).  But it also has you compare it to recent, post-Henson Muppet work, and in that regard it shines.  It’s lovely because of the shininess.

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve seen the movie, so you don’t need a summary.  If that’s not the case, you can find a summary any other place and come back to read this afterwards.  So hi!  Let’s move on!  We’ll go over the good stuff first.

First and most of all, this movie was funny.  The past few Muppet specials and movies have been not so funny.  Like at all.  They’ve had moments that made me uncomfortable, moments that made me groan, and moments that made me kinda go “heh”.  There have been parts that I’ve liked but on the whole the product was shoddy because the characters weren’t right and the writing wasn’t tight.  The problem, I’ve felt, with recent Muppets is that they are new people who are imitating other peoples’ creations.  We’ve had close to 20 years now of Steve Whitmire imitating Kermit, so I guess that means that technically he’s no longer imitating now, but as far as I’m concerned there’s a difference between Jim Henson performing Kermit and inventing, and understanding and – in all honesty – BEING the character, and Steve Whitmire performing Kermit and having inherited him, learning to do the voice, the mannerisms, and the characteristics.  Now we’re several years into Eric Jacobsen doing half of Frank Oz’s characters and Matt Vogel (?) doing the other half… The end result has been that between new people taking over, and their not having solid writing to rely on for their performances, we basically have seen a major decline in the characterizations of the Muppets.  Which for some bizarre reason are TRULY very important for their movies, which you wouldn’t think would be the case, because the Muppet movies are piles of silliness made out of felt and sometimes, googly eyes.

Googly eyes... LIKE THESE?

Googly eyes… LIKE THESE?

But it’s true.  The Muppet movies operate largely on the strength of the characters, not on the fact that you can throw a Muppet down a flight of stairs or something and the gag will make me laugh EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY DO IT.  So – I said we were starting out with the good stuff, and despite the long preamble, here it is.

Poor Fozzie's time without the Muppets is perhaps the saddest of anyone's fall from grace ;)

Poor Fozzie’s time without the Muppets is perhaps the saddest of anyone’s fall from grace 😉

This movie wins for not only being funny but for having meaningful characterizations.  Fozzie, for instance, has never been the brightest bulb in the box but in the post-Henson performances, Fozzie somehow got relegated to Incredibly Stupid Sidekick.  It was weird and I don’t know why.  My best guess is that Frank Oz wanted a diminished role on all his characters (Piggy got pushed to the side too) but that doesn’t explain the change in characterization.  And in fact, I heard that he initially thought Fozzie’s role in the script for “Muppet Treasure Island” was pretty bad, but sort of warmed up to it during filming, so it’s obviously not Oz’s input that has had Fozzie become a dimwit.  That just somehow sorta happened.  Anyway, Jason Segel’s script knocks that out and we go back to Fozzie, loyal believer and follower of Kermit, not the brightest bulb in the box but not out-and-out stupid, and still telling some of the most godawful jokes around. 😀

The Great Gonzo, plumbing magnate.

The Great Gonzo, plumbing magnate.

Other than Kermit, Fozzie and Piggy, the rest of the original Muppet cast isn’t featured prominently but that’s really sorta OK.  Gonzo has a GREAT scene and is truly The Great Gonzo again in this – I wasn’t really enjoying the forays into deepening his character, Gonzo is supposed to be a thrillseeker with a semi-masochistic bent and he was getting a bit too heartfelt when movies and such were focusing on him. (I LOVE Dave Goelz, don’t get me wrong, but the roles he was given were not so great.)  I’m also just thrilled to death that Rowlf had screentime and a couple of lines in this – he’s been noticeably absent for years and I have a Muppet Crush on Rowlf. ❤  Anyway, Miss Piggy had some interesting characterization – there was a sympathizing of her in this film, something that is somewhat overdue but also somewhat out of place.  (That’s hard to explain.)  Basically in recent years, even more than before, the Muppets have focused on Piggy’s ego and made her the butt of a lot of jokes because of it.  She’s come across as vain for no reason, self-important and aggrandizing but not actually as talented as she thinks she is, so of course it’s funny to laugh at her.  Frank Oz actually gave her a backstory, and it’s partially a joke, but I think of it sometimes when I think of the character as “real”, and it’s essentially that her father left early, her mother drank, and she had a lot of siblings.  She wanted to make something of herself so she dragged herself out of the mud (literally I guess, being pigs) and practiced poise and fashion, entered and won beauty contests, and climbed the ladder (such as it is) until she reached The Muppets.  And yes she has a huge ego and is spotlight-crazy, but in a way I feel like she deserves it, because it’s like she’s legitimately fought for what she has and will keep fighting for the rest of what she thinks she deserves.

And yes I know she’s a puppet. XD  But I think it’s funnier when Piggy has a certain sense of dignity and likability, and then does something so silly herself that it’s removed, then when she’s just made to look pathetic and we all laugh at her.

In The Muppets Piggy may be taken a bit too seriously, since she’s the only truly successful one of the bunch, being the plus-size fashion editor for Vogue in Paris.  She’s been wronged, somehow, by Kermit and she spends a lot of time clinging to her dignity around him and deliberately not doing the “kissy-kissy” thing and throwing herself at him.  She’s incredibly mature and powerful and yeah, egotistical and rude.  But there’s something slightly *serious* about it that feels off. Regardless, though, I love Piggy in this movie.  I love how she is the one who pulls the s*** together and gets the celebrity host when Kermit can’t.  And I love that she does it the same way she does everything, which is to say, by force.  Piggy will get what she wants, SOMEHOW, and if she has to knock heads together to do it she will do it.  We see the lengths she’ll go to in all three of the Henson movies and this is really very natural in building on that.  And she succeeds.  It goes off *perfectly*.  I love that. 😀

Miss Piggy may possibly have a record number of hairstyles in this movie. :D

Miss Piggy may possibly have a record number of hairstyles in this movie. 😀

The last note on the characterizations is that the new Muppet, Walter, is wonderful.  For a completely new and deliberately sorta bland Muppet, he’s very engaging and sympathetic.  He’s not a crazy Muppet (as most of them are) but he’s not boring.  I really felt for him and I really wanted him to be happy and join the Muppets. He carries the film very well.  I was impressed. 🙂

The rest of the good: the music is fun; the cameos are worthwhile; the movie itself is a love letter to the early, Henson years of the Muppets and Jim Henson is a phantom presence throughout.  He’s on banners on the street, he’s dead center in a shot of a “wall of celebrity photos” in Kermit’s office, and I swear that the group rendition of “Rainbow Connection” was a tribute to Jim.  They also play old clips from “The Muppet Show” that include him, even going so far as to use clips of Kermit being performed by Jim Henson, which is interesting to me – it seems strange in a sense to show clips of Kermit being performed by someone other than the person performing him in this film, given that Kermit himself is supposed to be the same guy.

So we can move on to the less good stuff, and that centers almost entirely on Kermit.  I think this is something that has to do with my age group, my respect and affection for Jim Henson, and the fact that I was 12 already when Henson died and had solidified my recognition of Kermit’s voice by that point so that when Steve Whitmire entered the scene as Kermit I could hear a HUGE difference.  If I were younger and had grown up with both of them maybe this wouldn’t bother me.  But, here’s the thing.

Well, I mean, he LOOKS fine.

Well, I mean, he LOOKS fine.

Steve Whitmire’s Kermit is not the same as Jim Henson’s and I don’t just mean the voice.  Whitmire’s Kermit is too quiet, too serious, too maudlin, and dare I say it, don’t kill me, too nice.  Kermit is a nice guy, yes.  But he has a temper; he gets frustrated; he blows his top.  He can be sarcastic and even hurtful (on The Muppet Show, at least).  There are times when he steps back and views what’s going on with a sort of dry humour, and there are times when he is clearly a little disgusted with everyone.  A lot of this is Kermit in The Muppet Show so you can say well, he was NEVER like that in the movies.  Okay, fair enough.  But he gets annoyed in The Muppet Movie, he has a full-on fight with Piggy in both “The Great Muppet Caper” (one of my favourite scenes) and “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, and he shows a full range of emotion in all three Henson films.  He’s very restrained in this one – it seems to be mainly either a kind of reticent chagrin, or he’s doing his YAAAAAYYYYY! flail on stage  which is more showmanship than anything else.

The Kermit/Piggy stuff is interesting.  Almost all unspoken and even though I’ve been a Kermit/Piggy shipper forever and ever, I’m not sure how I feel about it being taken so seriously in this film.  (See how the whole “serious” thing keeps coming back up?)  It’s never stated why they are on such shaky terms in this movie or what came between them.  They don’t quite have a fight, Kermit just tells her that she’s so melodramatic and it forces him to do things that hurt her.  She says that she bought them a house to live and raise kids in and they have a torn picture of themselves evidently on their wedding day.  I actually have a theory that she walked out on HIM for some reason but that it was due to something he said because she was so “melodramatic”.  Here’s the thing: I’d like to have seen them fight in this.  I think that would’ve been more “realistic” for the Muppets than the subdued and sort of heartbreaking conversation/almost-fight they had on the streets of Paris.

This is just... a strange scene.

This is just… a strange scene.

I feel like Steve Whitmire has always been at a disadvantage because his first Kermit role was as Bob Cratchitt in “Christmas Carol” and then he was Captain Smollet in “Treasure Island”.  Neither of these are actually Kermit.  It seems as if when he needed to be able to secure the character, he instead was told to impersonate the character impersonating other characters.  No wonder he’s got a limited range.  (I actually adore Steve Whitmire and when I was really young I kinda had a crush on Wembley Fraggle.  But I have never, ever, ever accepted him as Kermit.)

So in a big way the problem with the film can be summed up thusly: for all that it’s incredibly funny it’s also too serious.  There’s a serious, sad undertone to it about the passage of time, loss, and change.  Growing old and losing loved ones.  Yes, this is combatted by the Muppets’ big comeback and their choosing to remain together as a group, and yes the ending is happy, but the tone is still one of nostalgia and it’s too pervasive.  Too “days gone by”.  I don’t really, really feel as if that’s right for a Muppet movie.  And I guess that’s what makes it work somewhat less *as* a Muppet movie and somewhat better as a movie with Muppets in it.  In fact the opening sequence where the Muppets are basically guest stars to Walter and Gary’s lives growing up in Smalltown or wherever, that part was *great*.  I wouldn’t out and out say it was the best part of the movie… but it was up there.

Life's a fillet of fish! (Yes it is!)

Life’s a fillet of fish! (Yes it is!)

So there’s my really long, in-depth review of a movie that is not meant to be taken so seriously. 😀  I would see it again.  And for all that I complain about the nostalgic tone, it made me INCREDIBLY nostalgic and there were so many parts I kept talking about over and over again… I really loved seeing it.  But it also really really made me miss the original Muppets.  So I guess that’s part of why I loved seeing it, and take from that what you will.

That time when I was on every podcast ever

Sadly, that’s not literal: I am not on every podcast ever. But I am, by sheer coincidence, on episodes of several of my favourites last week and this week! It’s weird that it worked out that way – I have recorded 4 out of 5 guest appearances since last Saturday.  It’s pretty boss. 🙂

Well, since this post is about me, I'll just go ahead and play to that fact. My excuse is that this was Halloween.

Well, since this post is about me, I’ll just go ahead and play to that fact. My excuse is that this was Halloween.

I’ve recorded an episode of At Disney With Emily (which is the name of Emily’s blog and podcast), which is being edited and has not been released yet. I’ll link to it when it’s ready! Our discussion was mainly about FastPass+, with several diversions because I cannot stay on one topic to save my life. XD

Then I was on episode 18 of Enchanted Tiki Talk with Sean, Alan and Keith, and co-guest Matt Holley!  We played $40 a Day at Downtown Disney – lots of fun, harder than it seems, and great to listen to! (You will leave hungry though.)

Next to be recorded, but not yet released, is Episode 27 of Annie and Danny’s FastPass Podcast where we talked travel planning, I buzzed Dan multiple times at Annie’s urging over news releases (then felt guilty for it), and I completely failed to introduce myself well as a travel agent. I don’t perform well under pressure! XD  However, I had a great time and I hope I can come back! Monthly would be fine. ;D  Here is the direct link to the episode!

Following that recording, I joined Emily (from At Disney With Emily) and Dave Tupper from Kids’ Aventures in Hawaii as guests on David Hodges’ The Dis Life podcast. We recorded episode 22, Muppet Mayhem (obviously, March’s theme) and then I pushed David into releasing it a day early, because I think it’s so good. It was fun to record and when I listened to it I really felt it was just as fun to hear. I hope you agree! I’m a know-it-all about the Muppets, obviously. 😀

And I have not yet recorded, but will be tomorrow, the next episode of Mickey Mutineers. Yep, that’s right – dream accomplished. LOL! I have a feeling I’m going to come off poorly but… it’ll be fun. XD Edit: The recording went INCREDIBLY well. 😀 Link coming once it’s posted tomorrow!

Since I’m clearly some kind of internet celebrity now, I’ll just mention, I love podcasts and would always be happy to be a guest on ANY of them. Just ask. 🙂 I doubt my transparent begging effort will bring much results, but hey! It’s worth a shot, right? 😀