Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Muppet Update

Is it just me, or are Muppets like so hot right now?

Between one of the best 30 Rock eps ever, the What Not Shop at FAO still cranking 'em out and this dude's humorous conspiracy theory about 30 Rock being a Muppet Show ripoff, which it totally is - The Muppets are what's up. They're everywhere.

Did you know that there's a Muppet comic book and it's super popular? I sure didn't.

Oscar The Grouch (and Darth Vader) are in Night at the Museum 2. Since I won't see this until years from now when my only choices of TV viewing one Sunday evening are it on ABC and Patriot Games on TBS, for now I'll have to assume Oscar has huge role. Check him out at 1:45-1:47 of the trailer.

Also the UK has granted Muppets the right of citizenship, according to this (funny?) article on a blog I've never heard of and can't really get my head around.

‘We have learned lessons on this one,’ said new Home Secretary Alan Johnson at a press conference ‘The Government understands that the public want to provide a welcome to those who have dedicated their lives to entertaining our nation; that’s why we’re giving all Muppets the right to live in the UK, not just those who retired before the disastrous Muppets Tonight series in 1997.’

Um, OK. Read all about it here. Seriously, I don't get this. Perhaps it is too British for my vulgar American palette?

Anyhoo, Jimmy Smits (Yes! Senator Organa himself, can you believe it?!) is hosting our nation's B-Day celebration in D.C. this year and not only will Barry Manilow and the cast of Jersey Boys be performing, but the Muppets from over on Sesame Street also scored the gig. Those cats are hot, even if most of them are pushing 40.

I'd call myself connected and aware of current events, so I can't believe I missed this one. Jim Henson's Fantastic World! Luckily, I'll have another chance to catch it this fall in the burbs.Jim Henson's Fantastic World traveling exhibition

So, it's pretty clear that the Muppets are going strong and their latest Christmas Special (which drops on DVD September 29th) was better than most recent efforts. Keep on the look out for a Halloween TV special this fall. But, as we watch these beloved characters change with times and with favorite Muppeteers long gone leaving some voices still just not quite right (I assumed Frank Oz would continue perform until he died, but I guess movie-making is a full time job), one can't help but notice that this generation of kids and Muppets are vastly different from the Henson years. While I really enjoyed seeing all the Muppets in ridiculously cute L.L. Beany holiday sweaters for the Christmas special, it makes me a little nervous when they try to be too topical or realistic. The Muppets aren't from this time. They're a vaudeville troop that still exists for some reason decades after the death of that genre. Their magic lies in interacting with current celebrities and scenarios but still remaining true to their spirit - to entertain, save the day and tell really old timey jokes in the process.

The time is ripe for the Muppets to host SNL. Who's with me? Let's get a petition started or something.