Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Thoughts - Can The Muppet's Save Television From Itself?

Last weekend, as reward for completing a paper I went with my sister for a bit of nostalgia, The Muppet Movie. It was one of those times when your glad the characters you love are back on stage. It held every bit of the cheesiness of the TV show and previous movies ... and it was awesome. The plot revolved around the Muppet's fighting for retention of their studio, which is going to be purchased by an evil oil tycoon (who can't laugh). They had to put on one last show to raise 10 million dollars to save the studio.

SPOILER ALERT: Plot developments from the film will be revealed (and are necessary for me to make my point)

They pitched their idea to every major TV network and were rejected by all of them in typical Muppet outsider fashion. Kermit and company are told they are irrelevant. Their type of genuine homegrown slapstick comedy without violence, cursing, or much to any sex appeal. The show is picked up when a small TV network has to drop its show Punch Teacher because it is being sued.

The Muppet's are a different sort of brand for Disney. They seem to transcend, in a certain sense, today's media. They appeal via nostalgia to parents and naturally to kids. They break the mode or rather retain the mode that has been broken. Said mode is that non-human characters; i.e. animation, puppets, claymation, etc. do not dabble greatly in the sins of man (murder, excessive violence, sex). That is part of the Muppet's brand.

And, frankly, give the world more. America needs actually wholesome television. Spongebob Squarepants is far from wholesome. Thanks to the 'pioneer' writers and animators of Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead cartoons have become more and more adult. The Muppet's can bring back good childlike entertainment. Bring the brand to a major television network. It can survive. I'm putting all my entrainment eggs in one basket but that's because I look at the store and its the only one I trust with my fragile entertainment eggs.

P.S. Mahna, mahna


Erin Welther said...

I absolutely agree that the Muppets brings back something that seems to have been forgotten in recent years. That a genuine and innocent outlook on life can be entertaining. It might just be nostailgia, but I was surprised how many actors jumped at the opportunity to have a cameo in the movie when their own shows and movies are full of the violence, fowl language and sex that is the opposite of what the Muppets represent. They were drawn to something even if it simply reminded them of the innocence of their childhood.

Colonel4God said...

That cameo insight is a great insight.
Jason Segel, of How I Met Your Mother fame, not only acted in the film but co-wrote the script. You can tell of a certain fanboy desire to be faithful to the roots of te Muppet's within the plot and script of the film. I hope its genuine and innocent outlook wasn't just retained because of fanboy faithfulness but out of a genuine desire to provide such entertainment. You can tell an almost CBS cameo with the different CBS comedy actors.
There is even a conversion to good from evil from one of the Muppets, which is great.