Miss Piggy

The Muppets Christmas Carol

Another wonderful moment from the archive to help you celebrate Christmas… Christmas is just around the corner, and you’re probably catching up on some old and new favorite films about the holidays. Among your viewings of A Christmas Story, Die Hard, and Gremlins, maybe you picked up a copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol, which has recently had a 20th anniversary Blu-ray release. This repackaging of the 1992 holiday classic includes a commentary track by Brian Henson as well as a new commentary by the Muppet characters themselves. One is more technical, and the other is more silly, but together they give a nice look at the making of one of the more faithful-yet-original adaptations of the Charles Dickens book. And on to the commentary…

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Miss Piggy Wedding

Kermit and Miss Piggy famously got married in Muppets Take Manhattan (sing-along here), and according to /film, at least one of them will be walking down the aisle in The Muppets…Again. At this point, it’s pretty clear that the individual movies don’t bow down to any sort of consistent canon, although the Jason Segal-starring adventure that brought them back to movie life saw Kermit and Miss Piggy dealing with some relationship strife so the progression here makes modern sense. Maybe the joy they found will continue into the sequel, or maybe she’ll have found a new beau by then. You know, a suitor. Hopefully he’ll be bona fide. Word comes from production designer Eve Stewart (who’s been nominated for three Oscars, including this year for Les Miserables) that she’s crafting the ceremony to take place at the Tower of London. This sounds like a bit of fun, but I hope Disney is listening when I say this: I will pay good money if Ricky Gervais is the one officiating. Clerical collar and all.

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Reel Sex

Over two days in the winter of 2010 I read Julie Klausner’s hilarious and intimate memoir, I Don’t Really Care About Your Band. As someone who spends just as much time loving guys as I do movies, Klausner’s welcome invitation to her past dalliances touched me in a way I so craved at the time. When I wasn’t conflicted over the similarities between her love choices and mine, I was laughing because “thank god!” she experienced some of these situations and not me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read my fair share of twenty-somethings struggles with love and life creative non-fiction offerings. But with each turn of the page I wondered if Klausner and I were the same person, each separately living the same life experiences. By the time that book ended up in my hands, I had suffered through two consecutive heartaches and was stumbling headfirst into a year of life changes I wasn’t sure I could handle. With a year’s perspective, I can assuredly say the life lessons in I Don’t Really Care About Your Band directly contributed to me not losing my boy-crazy mind. Early in the book Klausner shares her first relationship “ah-ha” moment. She reflects on the personal damage of her first celebrity crush and how that man unconsciously embodied all the men she would shack up with through her formative teen and adult years. This man wasn’t the conventional Brat Pack heartthrob frequently fantasized on by ladies of the 1980s, but rather a tiny green […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets his grading done early because school is off for the rest of the week. With three family movies opening in theaters for the Thanksgiving weekend, Kevin tries to keep things respectable. Reliving his childhood, he sings and dances his way into the theater for the revival of The Muppets, then takes a serious look at 3D and avant-garde filmmaking with Martin Scorsese’s latest film Hugo. Finally, he bundles up and heads to the North Pole on a search for Santa and his family, knowing it has to be exactly like it is depicted in Arthur Christmas. Movies don’t lie, after all, do they?

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The Muppets Musical Numbers

One of the mainstays of the Muppet world is their love of music and over the years they have put their Muppet “spin” on a number of popular songs. The soundtrack for the newest film (The Muppets) continues this trend with Camilla and the Chicken’s version of CeeLo’s “Forget You” and the Muppet Barbershop Quartet taking on Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The Muppets never just cover these songs; they incorporate their crazy antics and sometimes even change up the lyrics making the song their own. Although the Muppets have their own band (shout out to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem) it never stops the rest of the crew from getting in on the musical action.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

After cutting his puppetry teeth on short films and episodes of Sesame Street in the late 60s and early 70s, legendary puppeteer Jim Henson finally got a chance to give his felt faced creations a spotlight show of their own in the mid 70s. That show was The Muppet Show, and it was awesome. So awesome that it eventually spawned a series of feature films. While there’s always room for conflicting opinions, some consensuses (consensii?) about these movies have popped up over the years. It seems that all Muppets are not created equal. Generally everyone agrees that the original film, The Muppet Movie, was the best. And it’s also largely agreed that the first three movies, the ones that still had Jim Henson involvement, are better than the ones that came after. While there’s some general truthiness to these beliefs, I can’t say that I think those divisions hold up as absolute truths. Thank God, this column would have been a wreck otherwise.

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Jim Henson and Kermit The Frog

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending”. ~ Jim Henson When Jim Henson died in 1990 there was speculation about the fate of Kermit the Frog. Had Kermit died with his creator? Could Kermit, Henson’s alter ego, survive the sudden loss of the man who had lent him his voice? The answer was Kermit and his Muppet family would carry on, even without the brilliant creative force that was Jim Henson. The art of puppetry goes back thousands of years, but it’s an ancient art that Jim Henson revolutionized. What makes the Muppet world so believable even when we know we’re looking at fabric creatures? For starters Henson’s use of fabric made his puppets malleable and expressive; the faces of his puppets aren’t static. Henson also understood the power of television. On stage the puppeteer is hidden behind a curtain in a puppet theater environment. That carried over to television with, for example, the classic Kukla and Ollie puppets of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame. Henson was inspired by them, but he didn’t use the static traditional puppet theater. He opened it up by having the cameras focus on the puppets. By keeping the puppeteers out of the frame, Henson liberated the puppets and their puppeteers, allowing them to move more freely and take on a life of their own.

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The Muppets Parody Trailers

There’s always been something inherently brilliant about the world of The Muppets. In their world, one in which felt-skinned frogs live in real life swamps and sing songs and a bear’s natural habitat is a Studebaker, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished if you follow your dreams. It’s a world very much like our own, only a lot more optimistic. There’s also always been something to the way the world of The Muppets seamlessly works alongside reality. They don’t feel like fictional characters, but characters we could very well meet on the street someday. Or so we should hope. It’s this no-wall approach that allows the folks behind The Muppets to make them nonfiction and fiction all at the same time. It allows them to deliver both a new movie and some silly marketing fun that comments on other movies all at the same time. And as we’ve come to expect, these parodies of Twilight and Green Lantern and the like aren’t made with cynicism. They’re made with the unbridled optimism and fun-loving spirit that has been a part of The Muppets all along. To celebrate this lovely campaign of marketing mastery, we’ve assembled all the parody trailers into one place (right here) and posted them below for your viewing enjoyment. It’s just another part of our joyous week of celebration through our Guide to The Muppets. 

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Things We

It seems appropriate that Jim Henson’s legendary creation, the Muppets, got their start on children’s programming and public television because they have a lot to teach the world. Not only did they spearhead the low-rent show Sam and Friends on WRC-TV in Washington DC, they were also instrumental in making Sesame Street a primary education powerhouse. But even when the Muppets branched out from their roots to land in their variety show and later major motion pictures, they still had a lot to teach us. Like many folks out there, I grew up with the Muppets, and these are some of the most important lessons I have taken away over the years.

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Drinking Games

This week, modern TV stars meet with nostalgic puppets in the new film The Muppets. And while we don’t condone sneaking booze into a theater filled with families and kids, there’s always the option to watch some of the original Muppet content on DVD, VHS, Netflix Instant and various other On Demand platforms. This game works for any of the Muppet movies, though we suggest starting with The Muppet Movie from 1979 before checking out the later films (like The Muppet Wizard of Oz). In theory, it’s also compatible with The Muppet Show, though Dr. Bunsen Honeydew is currently conducting experiments with Beaker to be sure. Poor Beaker.

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The Muppet Movie Dinner Scene

Editor’s Note: As part of our week-long Guide to The Muppets, Gwen Reyes takes a look at one of the funniest, most intimate and lovely scenes from the 1979 classic. Setting the Scene: 1979 was a pivotal year for cinema. Not only did modern classics like Alien, Apocalypse Now, and Caligula (!!) make their way into local movieplexes, but in the summer a little green frog and his lovable band of merry men (and pig) leaped from American homes to the big screen. Thanks entirely to the popularity of The Muppet Show Jim Henson’s iconic Muppets were in high demand. Considering how Hollywood obsessed Kermit and company were on their TV series, it only made sense the first film in a long line of Muppet features would be about the crew’s showbiz aspirations. Intentionally self-aware, the film begins with Kermit (voiced by Henson) introducing the final cut of The Muppet Movie in a private studio screening room for all the Muppets we know in love. The camera bounces around from face to face, stopping at everyone from Fozzie Bear (voice by Frank Oz) to Miss Piggy (Oz). Kermit explains to his nephew Robin (voiced by Jerry Nelson) that the film is a loose adaptation of how the Muppets met and made their way to Hollywood—read: meta moment if we ever saw one. And just as Hare Krishna jokes become a running gag anytime says they are looking for direction, The Muppet Movie’s self-consciousness allows the audience to feel as if […]

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FSR

It’s time to start the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to get things started on this epic Thanksgiving weekend, in which we will all once again meet The Muppets. The affair between Miss Piggy and Kermit The Frog rages on, the shenanigans of Gonzo and his poultry posse continue, and the likes of Scooter, Rowlf, the Swedish Chef and even Electric Mayhem are all here and ready to party. Yes, on Wednesday, November 23, Disney’s latest entry into the franchise featuring some of Jim Henson’s most beloved creations will hit theaters, and The Muppets will look to connect with generations of happy moviegoers, young and old. In celebration of The Muppets, and because we simply love those little puppets, the Film School Rejects team will be presenting our Official Guide to the Muppets. Within said guide, you will find a number of fascinating articles, everything from our review of The Muppets to our looks back at Muppet movies of old, to features about the music of The Muppets, a guide to the characters, things we’ve learned from The Muppets over the years and yes, even a Muppets drinking game. There’s something here for everyone. So stay tuned as we spend this entire week celebrating our old friends, The Muppets. To keep tabs on all of our Muppet-related goodness this week, you may want to head over to (and bookmark) our Muppets Guide homepage.

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Emotions are running high in Hollywood this morning after the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominations. Or at least that’s the sort of thing that people say when they talk about the Academy Awards. I don’t know if anybody really takes this kind of stuff seriously or not. Variety has been hard at work getting reactions from as many of the nominees as possible, which may just give us some insight. Joel and Ethan Coen may have given the most sincere response by saying, “Ten seems like an awful lot. We don’t want to take anyone else’s,” but they weren’t the only ones who avoided the word “journey” like 90% of the pack.

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The Muppet Show: Season Three

Classic running sketches like Pigs in Space, Muppet Labs (featuring Beaker, one of my favorite Muppets) and my all time favorite, the Swedish Chef, are just as funny – if not funnier – than when they first aired.

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