After R-rated muppet film The Happytime Murders revealed its outrageous trailer full of copulating (and ejaculating) puppets, all legal hell broke loose. Sesame Street filed and lost a copyright infringement lawsuit after fretting that these obscene puppets would sully the Muppets’ reputation, but it seems that this movie did draw a line somewhere, and director Brian Henson says that some scenes actually didn’t make the film’s final cut.
Henson, who is the son of late Muppet creator Jim Henson, told Collider that while he and the rest of the team did not actively censor themselves, there were indeed some scenes that were too much for the final cut, even for an R-rating. Details of one scene in particular popped up:
“We did have a bar scene, with a bartender puppet that had a singing penis, which was a very funny joke that we decided not to do. That one won’t make it in the movie. We probably have stepped over, in a couple of places, that I’ll learn as I get it all cut together, and then maybe will pull it back a little bit, but the idea is that it really is uncensored. It really is quite dirty, but it’s mostly language and implied sexuality. It’s not graphically sexual.”
So, a singing penis was a step too far, and Henson further clarifies that no actual puppet penises will appear, although it’s amusing at how he describes the film as relying upon “implied sexuality” when there’s no other possible interpretation from the obviously sexual poses and reactions of the puppets, especially when silly string flies through the room. Still, Henson maintained that there’s “a little bit of an innocence” about these puppets (that he didn’t want to completely defile), who are trying to survive in a “gritty, tough world.”
The Happytime Murders does have an actual plot, which revolves around the investigation of deaths of puppets who are a part of the fictional Happytime Gang. The film arrives in theaters on August 17.