On November 23, millions of kids and adults who love to act like kids will be treated to The Muppets, the latest film about Jim Henson’s beloved puppets, brought to us by the Muppets’ No. 1 fan, Jason Segel. Segel and Nicholas Stoller wrote this new take, and James Bobin of “Flight of the Concords” fame is directing. And all of the marketing, promotional materials and trailers suggest that this is going to be an awesome movie and disappoint no one.
That is, no one but Muppet conservatives. Oh yes, they exist.
The concern among Muppets insiders is that Segel and director James Bobin (a writer on Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords) didn’t have a complete understanding of the Muppets characters or were willing to sacrifice the characters’ integrity to land a joke. “They’re looking at the script on a joke-by-joke basis, rather than as a construction of character and story,” says one.
A small example is in one of the many trailers Disney has released, when Fozzie makes a fart joke. “We wouldn’t do that; it’s too cheap,” says another Muppets veteran. “It may not seem like much in this world of [Judd] Apatow humor, but the characters don’t go to that place.”
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)
That’s right, the Muppets are above fart jokes and we should be outraged – OUTRAGED! – that Segel gave Fozzie a pair of fart shoes. And if you think that the complaints can’t get much worse than objections to fart humor, well hold on to your bottle cap collection.
There is a list of similar concerns: Kermit would never live in a mansion, as he does in this movie. The Muppets, depicted in the script as jealous of Kermit’s wealth, would not have broken up in bitterness. The script “creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie,” says an old Muppets hand.
Gee, sounds like a bunch of sourpusses to me.
Frank Oz, the most famous living Muppets performer — known best as Miss Piggy — spoke more harshly in a recent interview with the British paper Metro. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” he said bluntly. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”
That’s like saying I’m not trying to hurt your testicles but I’m still going to kick you really hard in the crotch. I don’t want to take anything away from their scorn of someone who loves the Muppets and is rising in popularity (Segel) trying to keep his childhood obsession alive, as the old writers and voices – and even Jim Henson before he died – are all complaining that the Muppets have faded, but they do know that they’re talking about a show that centered around a pig trying to rape a frog, right?
And you can judge the fart joke for yourself in this trailer. I laughed a little harder than I should have.