When this blog first began, nearly three years ago, a new Muppet movie was just a dream, a boogeyman whose existence was whispered about at camp fires and sleepovers. But since that time the hope materialized into a serious possibility, thanks to Jason Segel, and then a reality, and then a living, breathing motion picture that we saw twice in theaters. And now it’s available for home consumption on both DVD and Blu-Ray (and we assume digital download). What was once a mere figment of our imagination, a fantasy, is now something that we can and will have on our bookshelf, taking its place in the Muppets movie cannon next to The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan. And the production of The Muppets, its critical appreciation and relative commercial success, did equal a comeback for Kermit and friends. Maybe not quite a phoenix rising from the ashes, but a legitimate return to the public consciousness, and, more importantly, proof enough that Jim Henson’s creations are once again a viable commodity. Which means, then, that a sequel is the natural next step. That was the plan all along.
Tag Archives: Jason Segel
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.
Muppet Monday: Our Long-Awaited Thoughts on the Impending Arrival of ‘The Muppets:’ Or Why We’re Dreading the Thing We Wanted More Than Anything Else
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 really hard to pinpoint when we fully realized the genius of Late Night with Fallon, because there have been so many brilliant moments, like the California Dreams reunion, or the Muppets dropping by to sing “The 12 Days of Christmas”, or the visit from Zack Morris, or the Lost homage “Late,” or the Parks & Recreation-assisted Glee‘d version of “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” It’s really been an incredible twelve months for Jimmy Fallon and his team, whom we’ve praised over and over again, and plan to keep doing so. But, for us, there was perhaps no greater pop-culture tribute than Late Night‘s very own incarnation of the a capella legends Rockapella, which they gifted us in March of this year. Lost, Glee, even Saved by the Bell, those are rather obvious objects of affection. But to channel something like Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?‘s house band, well that’s truly special, and perhaps more than anything else Late Night has done that showed the depth of their knowledge, humor, intelligence, and a disturbing awareness of references from our childhood that we will go crazy for.
And, just in time for the holiday season, they’ve done it again (this time with more Jason Segel!):Vodpod videos no longer available.
Hats off, once again, gentleman. Brava.
By the way, did you know that Rockapella founder Sean Altman auditioned for Season 1 of NBC’s The Sing-Off with his new a capella group the GrooveBarbers? They didn’t make the cut. Which somehow feels like if Marcel Marceau was rejected from a mime competition. Must have been the name. Oh, and it sorta sounds like he’s taking credit for the success of The Sing Off. Sure, why not?
Jimmy, let’s get this guy on the show.
…with the news that the Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made, initially slated to arrive on Christmas 2011, has been pushed up a month to Thanksgiving (yes, we admit that this news is a little outdated, but we’d be remiss not to mention it at all). So rejoice this Christmas, Muppet fans, knowing that a new, fantastic, Muppet movie is less than a year away.
In very much related news, here’s Jason Segel on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon describing his first encounter with Kermit:Vodpod videos no longer available.
We imagine we’d react the same way.
Anyone know if Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving next year? That would certainly qualify as a miracle.