Jimmy Fallon and Late Night were already on a roll last week, thanks in large part to New York Mets ace/budding fashionistaMatt Harvey and rippedRIPD star Ryan Reynolds, but they saved the best for last, and in doing so perhaps experienced their finest hour yet. In a flight of fancy that could only have been ripped directly from the pages of our diary, Fallon did the impossible , reuniting the legendary [and fictional] rock band Jesse & the Rippers, fronted by heartthrob and dedicated uncle, Jesse Cochran Katsopolis. They said it couldn’t be done, mostly because the band never actually existed, but Late Night has demonstrated time and time again that they have no interest in getting bogged down with details and logic and whether or not something is quote-unquote real. That’s for Leno to do.
And in proving once again that there’s an undeniable and insatiable appetite for everything we love and hold dear and want to keep only for ourselves90s nostalgia, the performance, a blistering mega-mix of their greatest hits, was an instant sensation, showing once and for all that Jesse & his Rippers were indeed ahead of their time and only through the benefit of reflection and the passing of decades has their genius been truly appreciated. Would we want to see J & the R mount full-scale reunion with a never-ending world tour and a hit new record? Of course. But if Jesse never dons his leather vest again or lifts his guitar strap over his shoulder or raises a fine-toothed comb to feather his hairt, we’ll forever have “Forever.”
And not only did they did pull off a miracle with this one TGIF night only performance, they topped it off with Mrs. Jesse & the Rippers herself, Becky Donaldson. Talk about get out of my dreams and into my car!
If you had a chance (or the misfortune) to read our tweets from last night’s Oscars telecast, you’ll know that we were very sore that Bret McKenzie was not given a chance to perform his Oscar-nominated “Man or Muppet” (and one would assume a theoretical performance would include Jason Segel & Walter, if not the Muppet cast), and we took every opportunity to point out an uninspiring three minutes that could have been better spent with a Muppet musical interlude (which, basically, was any three minutes in the show, save for Tom Hanks’ presentation and Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis’s own musical interlude). And, despite the hope that we foolishly granted ourselves in our most private moments, the Muppet contribution to the show was limited to a short bit with Kermit & Miss Piggy introducing Cirque Du Soleil (so you had time for those freaks and not the Muppets? C’mon). So with that you could consider the chance to do something fun and different and special officially thwarted, in favor of the same old pabulum (and the new old Billy Crystal).
BUT, despite all that, the Muppets did deliver two of the night’s best moments. First, of course, was Bret McKenzie’s triumph (although, let’s be honest, if the song from Rio won, we should just pack it in. That would have been worse that Meryl Streep’s victory (which, by the way, was a win for lazy white people everywhere)), winning the Oscar for a film that deserved much more acclaim and recognition than it received. The second moment was McKenzie’s gracious, earnest acceptance speech, and, more to the point, Jason Segel’s reaction when McKenzie offered his gratitude to Jim Henson. That moment of pure joy could warm the coldest heart.
We can’t find that clip online (thanks a lot, the man!), but this almost approximates that joy and innocence:
On a related note, for the better part of the last year we’ve been slogging our way through Michael Davis’ Street Gang, the wonderfully detailed and thoroughly researched history of Sesame Street. Not surprisingly, we found the most engaging excerpts to be those that touched on Jim Henson’s contribution to the show, and, in a macabre way, the description of his passing and his now legendary memorial service. We finally came to this event towards the end of the book as we were riding along the E train yesterday; at one point the doors open, we look up and what should we see? Jim Henson, surrounded by his greatest creations, a poster for their exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. It was a bit eerie, but even more it felt special, serendipitous. And, then, mere hours later, McKenzie invokes Henson’s name, providing another fitting tribute to a man who remains an inspiration to so many of us.
In two days The Muppets will return to theaters after more than a decade away from the big screen. It seems like just yesterday that we were salivating over the whispers of a Muppet resurrection orchestrated by Jason Segel (yes, that Jason Segel). After spending years on the brink of obsolescence – thanks to bad business deals, changing tastes, the boom of CGI, and general Hollywood bureaucracy – it began to seem like the Muppets would never be given the opportunity to recapture the glory they once possessed, that they would forever be relegated to an aging, evermore antiquated attraction at Disneyland, and truly exist only on DVD and in the hearts and memories of people over 25. We yearned for their return, and while we never imagined their savior would be a geek in shining armor like Segel, we were thrilled when the rumors began to circulate that someone who grew up on the Muppets, someone who loved and cherished them as much as we did, was going to resuscitate them. Not some out of touch, graying puppeteers, or even the Henson family, but someone with a fresh, relevant perspective whose primary hope was to honor the spirit and style of Jim Henson. We could not have been more excited.
And now, with The Muppets about to unspool at theaters across the country, what we feel is not excitement, but trepidation. Why? Because of this:
It’s been a long, long, too long time since we brought you a Muppet Monday, but this was the one we were waiting for, the one we couldn’t deny. After months – and years – of anticipation, the trailer for The Muppets arrived, delivering a teaser in the truest sense of the word. And while our excitement level for this film couldn’t have already been any higher, this trailer provided us with something greater than excitement: confidence. If the brilliance, whimsy, and poise demonstrated in the teaser is any indication, than we have nothing to worry about come Thanksgiving 2011.
If we weren’t so sick of this rain and the mild temperatures, then we’d say that we can’t wait until November. But, then again, why rush this?
This doesn’t thrill us. In fact, we don’t like this at all. But we feel like we’re kind of obligated to acknowledge its existence.
But thank goodness Cee Lo wasn’t backed by Kermit or Fozzie or The Electric Mayhem or any other significant Muppet. That would have been a bitter pill to swallow. No bigtime Muppet of mine should ever collaborate with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Well, I’m sure you could come up with a couple good answers for this question. Both are good Saturday morning past times. Both can be found in many countries (we assume). Both are two of our favorite things. But what we have in mind is something else. A whatchamacallit.
When we came upon this item in the IKEA marketplace we only thought of one thing: the episode of Muppet Babies in which Kermit and Fozzie find one of these in the basement and the little Muppets use their imaginations to suggest various uses for the gadget, including a microphone, intergalactic cheeseburger maker, dinosaur head, alphabet soup strainer and something called the “Mupp0-Matic” (thanks, Fozzie). And even though Nanny eventually explains the actual use of the item the kids refuse to let their creativity be stifled. To top it all off, the episode is titled “Muppets Not Included,” a reference to the 1987 Steven Spielberg-produced film *Batteries Not Included. What other late 1980s children’s cartoon had such deep subtext, tapping into the cultural zeitgeist? None.
Quick one today! Check out a featurette about Being Elmo, an upcoming documentary about Kevin Clash, better known as the puppeteer behind the little red Muppet monster (also known as the voice of Splinter in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films). As much as we resent Elmo for obscuring the other Muppets on Sesame Street (and, to some extent, watering down the show’s material), we most certainly respect Clash’s body of work.
And we also respect the filmmakers for resisting the urge to title their documentary Tickle Me: The Kevin Clash Story.
With the new Muppet movie just 11 months away, we already know that 2011 is going to be a HUGE year for the Muppets, perhaps their biggest in three decades. But one intrepid tumblr-er is already getting the ball rolling with the creepy good Muppets with People Eyes:
That one actually kind of works. Cookie Monster probably should have hazier eyes.
So how long until we see “People with Muppet Eyes?” You can have that one if you want, provided we see 10% of any profits.
Or how about “Hall & Oates with Muppet Eyes?”
We think Sesame Street just found their new viral hit.