Tag Archives: The Muppets

In Memoriam: Ed Koch; Cool Old Guy First, NYC Mayor Second

Mayors, and politicians in general, usually possess the stereotype of being buttoned up, polished, careful with their words and actions. They’re not usually schlubby Jews with thick Noo Yawk accents and the kind of appearance that more resembles the Uncle at your Bar Matzvah who drinks too much Kiddush wine, commandeers the microphone and tells hackneyed jokes than the leader of the most influential city in the world. But former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who died early this morning, defied those stereotypes, and many others. Indeed, had you presented a four-year-old me with a photo of our Uncle Morty side-by-side with one of Koch we would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference, and that, perhaps, speaks to his appeal and to his legacy.

There are two real cornerstones that shaped our youth and who we are today: The Mets and the Muppets. And Koch had a history with both of them. Before we every really knew Ed Koch as the outspoken Mayor of New York City, we knew him as a Mets fan, an old guy in a Mets hat who seemed to be of some import but we weren’t really certain what. Our first memory of the late Mayor is probably his brief appearance in the 1986 Mets music video “Let’s Go Mets Go,” popping up next to NYC luminaries such as Robert Klein, Howard Stern, Twisted Sister and Gene Shalit, seeming more like a crazy, die-hard fan than a political heavyweight. But Koch proved you could be both simultaneously, and few reveled in the Mets World Series victory more than Koch. You can accuse some politicians of feigning allegiance to their local teams, especially in times of triumph, but you can’t say that about Koch and the ’86 Mets.

Our other early memory of Koch – and something of a rite of passage for NYC Mayors – was his work with the Muppets, offering a cameo in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Certainly, a Muppet film taking place in the country’s largest city would require an appearance from its leader. But that much, a rote cameo, was somewhat perfunctory. What was special about this particular cameo was that Koch felt right with the Muppets, that his off-kilter brand of governing was somehow complimentary to the bizarre, left-of-center sensibility of the Muppets. They were, in a way, a natural match, with Koch even appearing in “The Great Muppet Look-Alike Contest,” a feature in a 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine, paired up with Gonzo naturally. And he was right at home sparring with Gonzo again in Muppets Take Manhattan. 

Twins.

We’re too young to have really understand Koch’s impact as Mayor of New York City. We think he generally did a good job, but that might be because we like him, because he remained a visible, outspoken presence in NY life. We’re not even familiar with his hosting turn on SNLthe third piece of the triptych that helped define our personality along with Mets and the Muppets. But we know that he was a fan of and a part of two things that we love, that are a part of our very makeup. And he’s also an integral part of another strand of our DNA, New York City. We’ve come to love this city the way that Koch did for so many decades. He was a quintessential New Yorker, a wise-cracking, tough-talking, bald-headed Jew who became Mayor.

Only in New York.

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Filed under Checks & Balances, In Memoriam, Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Local Flavor, Matt Christopher Books

All Good Things Have Sequels, But Not Segels: Looking Ahead on the Day ‘The Muppets’ Arrives on DVD

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.

Read on: Why a Jason Segel-less sequel is no reason to panic.

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Filed under Be careful what you wish for, Freak Out Control, Muppets

Happy St. Patrick’s Day: It IS Easy Being Green

At least Kermit made it look like a breeze when he made a visit to The Colbert Report to analyze the Republican Southern primaries plug The Muppets on DVD, available Tuesday, March 20!

Okay, okay, so that video had nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day.  Let us make it up to you:

HAPPY GERBITZ DAY!

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Filed under Checks & Balances, Lady Holiday, Muppets

STOP THE PRESSES!

The Muppets is here and the Muppets are finally back.  Sigh.  We did it.

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Filed under Freak Out Control, Lady Holiday, Muppets, The Big Screen

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:

Kermit, Miss Piggy

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Filed under Be careful what you wish for, Bert-n-Ernie, Flashback!, Freak Out Control, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, Saturday Night Live, The Big Screen

Yep, They Did It Again

We’ve been dogged busy at work the last couple months, and have not only neglected this blog but also most pop culture news, viral videos, recent interviews, season premieres, breaking stories, and new music.  However, when we discovered the existence of the first trailer for the new Muppets movie, we dropped everything.  We made time.  In fact, we made a general announcement that we were taking a two-minute break from our immediate responsibilities to enjoy the tease of a teaser.  And enjoy we did.

And they must have also enjoyed it because they went ahead and put together another trailer steeped in the same kind of misdirection.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Muppets teaser #2:

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Filed under Freak Out Control, Muppets, The Big Screen, Virulent

Muppet Monday: And So It Begins

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?

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Filed under Freak Out Control, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, The Big Screen