epershand: Abed saying "movie reference." (Abed movie reference)
epershand ([personal profile] epershand) wrote2011-11-26 05:47 pm

I adored the new Muppets movie but I was confused by its meta-narrative


It was a movie about rescuing the Muppets IP from the evil corporation who bought it. Made by... the corporation who bought the Muppets IP so that it could have eternal licensing rights (didn't someone in the Henson family sue Disney at some point in the 90s or early aughts?) and has been widely criticized by the original muppeteers for what it's doing with the characters (Frank Oz refused to be in the movie). And it ends with Tex Richman holding the IP but the Muppets being triumphant because they still have each other, their souls, and the love of the world. The movie seems really friendly and earnest to be a passive-aggressive "fuck you" to Disney, but... it's a confusing story to be telling about this set of characters given the context.

And it's a movie about how the tv of today is crass and horrible, offering the solution of the Muppets and a return to a simpler, more hopeful and more thoughtful time. Featuring. Uh, the muppets, with their explosions, jumping off of buildings, kidnapping and torturing Jack Black, chicken-based sexual innuendo (OMG THE CHICKENS SINGING "FUCK YOU"! BEST!) And featuring cameo appearances by actors from one example after another of the most complex and engaging sitcoms currently on the air--the weirdest example of this was definitely casting Donald Glover and Ken Jeong as the tv exec and star of the crass TV show the Muppets replace with their telathon. But aside from the Community actors, the cast and cameos included: Rashida Jones (Parks and Rec), Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, along with some dude named Jason Siegel), Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family), etc.

But of couse, I didn't think of any of those things until I left the theatre. When I was actually watching the movie all I could see was the joy in Jason Siegel's eyes at getting to make the movie. And how deliciously evil Chris Cooper was (maniacal laugh). And Fozzie Bear! And GONZO <33333! AND ANIMAL. And BUNSON AND BEAKER. And Googler!Scooter running out of a very authentic Google lobby in the "finding the muppets" montage! And MULTIPLE MANAH MANAH SCENES! And the Jason Siegel/Amy Adams/Walter the Muppet love triangle, which just kept pushing all my buttons all movie long. The cameos mentioned above. The characters' tendency to burst into song, the tendency of crowds to form spontaneous dancing scenes, and the charming lampshading of all of the above. The way I kept thinking "This music sounds oddly like Flight of the Conchords" only to find out from the credits that Bret McKenzie composed it.

I loved this movie. I felt like it was made for me, which, as much as I love the Muppets, has never happened before. It was sweet without being trite, affectionate without being schmaltzy, snarky without being snide. I... yeah. I don't even know.

Also the evil "Moopets" Kermet looked enough like Frank Iero that I wanted to give him a hug every time he appeared onscreen, which I SUSPECT was not intended.

TL;DR Jason Siegel I adored your self-insert muppet fanfiction a lot but suspect you of being crafty.

Also: The last time I was in New York, [personal profile] brainwane and I saw the Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image, and it was really amazing. It's open through January and I strongly recommend going to see it. (I inadvertently wound up wearing a Museum of the Moving Image t-shirt to the movie today and only realized when I took off my sweater after getting home.)
spilledink: (Default)

[personal profile] spilledink 2011-11-27 04:16 am (UTC)(link)
Omg, your discussion of the movie makes me want to see it though I don't know any of the context (grew up in Taiwan and didn't have tv). I mean, it's clear that a large part of your enjoyment derived from knowing and loving that context, but just the meta itself seems so interesting!
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)

[personal profile] brainwane 2011-11-27 11:06 am (UTC)(link)
epershand, did you already see the Muppet fanfic up last week at Strange Horizons?

Also, my review.

I abundantly loved Scooter saying, as he was yanked out of the Google lobby, "Well, off to the TED conference!"
karlht: (Default)

[personal profile] karlht 2011-11-27 11:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Tee-hee! Small universe -- I was a beta reader for the piece in Strange
Horizons -- it's just lovely.

So nice when the streams cross in a good way.


(Anonymous) 2013-05-22 04:13 am (UTC)(link)
I don't have any real good reply to this, other than: When I finished reaidng Cat Valente's 'Orphan's Tales' books, the two comments that I felt were most apt towards my feelings of them were 1) They were awesome; and 2) They made me want to write something just like them.So I did. But then, I've always written -- I'm not sure how one would encourage non-writers to start.
eccentric_hat: (Default)

Somewhat self indulgent reply

[personal profile] eccentric_hat 2011-11-28 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
I think I read the TV thing as "people think everyone wants stupid violent entertainment, but really we're all Muppet fans at heart." And the Muppet ethic isn't simpler or more wholesome really-- it's weirder and more meta and more over-the-top than a lot of children's programming, and people have always gotten shot out of cannons, and the romantic relationships have always been complicated, and Sesame Street was one of the first kids' programs to have a character die when the actor did. Their real advantage is that they're smart and inclusive and immensely caring and they give the audience credit. Going Muppet is about putting on the Ritz and still inviting Hobo Joe.

I thought Fozzy didn't sound quite right, though. I hadn't heard about Frank Oz and was too distracted by the music to watch the credits. So I also missed Bret McKenzie's credit. Yay for him!
raanve: Troy explains that the Happy Days episode where the Fonz jumped the shark is the best one (Fandom: Community: Jump the Shark)

[personal profile] raanve 2011-11-28 01:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Hm. Interesting points, all. Though I thought at the end Ted Richman (sorry, still laughing at rich-man) signed all the rights back over to the Muppets? It was a bit blink-and-you-miss-it, but that was the gist of the headline spin-up (or so I thought).

I agree with [livejournal.com profile] eccentric_hat about the "we're all Muppet fans", and the Muppet ethos with regard to the film's position on television.

And BOCK YOU, I just can't even. I basically laughed through all of that, and I'm pretty sure my parents thought I'd lost my mind.
eccentric_hat: (Default)

[personal profile] eccentric_hat 2011-11-29 04:57 pm (UTC)(link)
But the Community actors weren't playing themselves, and Community, sadly, is not really all that well known. It's the rare TV show that's famous enough for the mere presence of the actors on another project to be a comment on that TV show. (Frasier accomplished it when Kelsey Grammer played Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons and David Hyde Pierce came on for an episode to play his brother. That's the only example I can think of.)
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2011-12-07 07:16 pm (UTC)(link)
So clearly I've been living under a rock, but what was the song the chickens were singing?