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The Muppets’ Dark Master

September 28, 2008


As a media-soaked Gen-Xer, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing my childhood memories bastardized by the Hollywood Nostalgia Patrol. Cases in point: The Wachowski brothers’ CGI-laden “Speed Racer,” Tim Burton’s pointless remake of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and Richard Linklater’s even more pointless remake of “The Bad News Bears.”

Now, as if to rub salt in my culturally sensitive wounds, The Walt Disney Company is planning to overhaul the Muppets.

The New York Times‘ Brook Barnes reports that Disney, which acquired the rights to the Muppets in 2004, has had trouble marketing Jim Henson’s furry friends to a generation weaned on Pixar and Hannah Montana. This is to be expected considering that “The Muppet Show” bowed in 1981, and it’s been nearly a decade since Kermit and the gang have appeared on the big screen. The most recent Muppet incarnation I can think of was Miss Piggy’s Pizza Hut commercial. And, let’s face it, the last thing Miss Piggy needs is another helping of mozzarella sticks.

The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me -- Will any of us still recognize the Muppets after their Disneyfication?

 So, okay, I’m a realist — I understand that cultural entities will, over time, evolve to meet the sensibilities of ensuing decades. Moreover, I’ve always considered the type of pop-culture purism practiced by the comic book set impractical. (Imagine if the creators of Tom and Jerry had never done away with Mammy Two Shoes.) But when I hear that Disney is tinkering with my beloved Muppets to appeal to today’s youngsters, I fear the worst. The genius of Jim Henson, after all, was that he aimed his puppet characters at adults. Somehow I doubt Disney will do the same.

I swear if Kermit starts rapping I’m going to kill myself.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2008 9:54 pm

    I had no idea Disney was thinking about this! Just imagine Miss Piggy dancing to Britney Spears’ hits and Gonzo redoing his motorcycle act with the music of 50 cent. I’m against!

  2. September 29, 2008 1:41 am

    Ugh, I know… the possibilites are scary.

  3. Carolina Maine permalink
    September 29, 2008 10:24 pm

    We must be near in age.
    My mama wouldn’t let me watch the Muppets, but I did watch them as an adult on PBS with my oldest child.
    They really shouldn’t mess with the Muppets, the Care Bears, or Alvin and the Chipmunks!
    I watched Curious George for the first time the other day–what a cute little movie!

  4. Carolina Maine permalink
    October 6, 2008 3:03 pm

    The Muppets were on Martha Stewart this morning!

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