It’s time to play the music
It’s time to light the lights
t’s time to….talk about The Muppets again!

 

I have talked about how I loved The Muppets. From the fantastic TV show to the great movies. But fair is fair, and not everything the Muppets have touched has been gold. Today I wanted to talk about six Muppets productions which were not so great.In fact, they are best forgotten!
From “it could have been better” to “that just plain sucked”, here are 6 Muppet Productions that just did not work IMHO.
#6.Muppets Tonight
Was this the worst thing ever? Heck no. Was it really good? Heck no. This was an attempt to revive The Muppet Show but in a sleeker format…minus the charm that made The Muppet Show so awesome. it had lots of issues. Like, why were the main Muppets barely in it? Kermit made cameos, Fozzie is a total no show. How about the fact Kermit is not the host, instead we got Clifford who was alright but never really clicked for me. It did stick to The Muppet Show formula in many ways, but something always felt missing. Each episode of the Muppet Show had a structure which was absent in this. And the sketches were awful random, sometimes not even coming to a conclusion before we cut away! While it’s true it introduced some new characters who have stuck (including Pepe), I’ve noticed that this whole show has kind of faded from “Muppet canon” if there is such a thing, and maybe that is for the best. It was a good idea but needed some real work. I will give it one thing, the opening theme was really cool!

#5.Here Come the Muppets/Muppets on Location
Show of hands, who has heard of this? When Disney aquired (or tried to aquire) the Muppets back in 1990 they wanted something to tide people over until Muppet 3D was built. What did they come up with? An elaborate stage show. Much like the kind they did, and still do, with Mickey and Co. The problem I think was that what worked for Mickey just didn’t work as well for Kermit. Why? The Muppets are, well, MUPPETS! The costumes were full size costumes and while they resembled the original characters, they also weren’t right and it wasn’t the same. It lasted a year before being removed and replaced with the Muppet Vision 3-D whch was world’s better! I got to see that a few times and loved it! Muppets on Location: The Days of Swine & Roses was another attempt at a stage show, and it closed in 1994. The saga of Disney and The Muppets is a long one, and maybe someday I will get into more detail on that. There was even supposed to be a land dedicated to them, which never happened.
#4.Muppets Babies and Monsters
I either forgot about this or totally missed it. Either way one thing is clear, it was one bad idea. Not Muppet Babies, that idea was fantastic and is still one of my favorite cartoons ever. But for some reason around the third season the creators decided to combine it with a differnet show. That show was Jim Henson’s Little Muppet Monsters. And it was bad. There was just no focus with the show, the characters were all over the place. We got pointless cartoons, cutaways, and no real story. If the show is Little Muppet Monsters why are we getting Pigs in Space and Kermit cartoons? Anyway it only lasted three episodes before Muppet Babies was back as its own standalone show. Was the problem that Little Muppet Monsters sucked, or was it that they combined it with a very different kind of cartoon and they two just didn’t work togetehr? Hard to say, but this is best forgotten. Oh, and do noy listen to the theme song or you will get it stuck in my head like it has been in mine for the last two days!!!
#3.Muppet Wizard of Oz
Oh, the pain! Do I really have to talk about this? Ok, on the surface this sounded like it might work. Heck, The Muppets did A Christmas Carol and Treaure Island pretty well, right? But this was a massive failure. It was dark, depressing, and just terrible. The premise is that Dorthy, played by Ashanti, dreams of being a singer. Ok, a few problems. Ashanti? Really? And making Dorothy want to be a star, rather than looking for a way home, just waters down the whole point of the story! After an encounter with The Muppets who are doing an American Idol kind of thing, Dorothy dreams she is in OZ and Kermit is the Scarecrow, Fozzie the Lion, and Gonzo the Tin Man. Piggy plays not one, but four witches! This movie is lacking any charm at all. Ok, the line where Kermit asks The Great and Powerful OZ if he is related to Frank Oz was a clever joke. But aside from that the movie is just plain unpleasant and boring! In fact when I watched it I couldn’t even get through it, that’s how boring it was. And I haven’t watched it since.
#2.Muppets From Space
What makes this worst? Muppet Wizard of OZ was a horrible TV movie. Muppets in Space is a horrible TV movie that GOT A THEATRICAL RELEASE!! And I am sad to say, I saw this movie in the theatres when it came out. Well, someone had to! All kidding aside, the premise behind this wasn’t that terribly bad but the execution…man was it lame. I think my joke at the top was right, this felt more like an episode of some Muppet TV show than a real big budget movie. In fact if this were an episode of a show I would be saying it was great! But movies need to be bigger and this movie is just flat boring. Besides that, did we really need Gonzo’s “secret origin” so to speak? That was the premise, Gonzo wants to find out where he comes from and long story short, we discover he is an alien. His “species” arrives and after a big dance number Gonzo decides his place is with his friends. That’s it! Heck, Muppet Letters From Santa has more heartwarming moments than this! But the worst thing may be that we just didn’t need this. Gonzo was fine as he was, an odd character no one was sure what he was. It gave some meaning to his character and the story in this movie kind of waters him down. But maybe that’s just me. I guess it’s fair to say this isn’t the worst thing ever, and does TRY to capture the magic of The Muppets. The opening song is actually decent. But ultimately this movie failed and is best forgotten.
By the way I am so glad that the term “weirdo” is no longer used in Muppet shows and movies. I never liked the way that term was thrown around in the old days. Anyway, you are probably wondering what is even worst than all five above? Glad you asked!
#1.Kermit’s Swamp Years

 

How bad is this? It was forgotten even before it aired! It went direct to video though I did watch it on TV so it must have aired. It’s a prequel to The Muppet Movie. Remember what I just said about not needing Gonzo’s backstory? This is even worst! Who cares what Kermit was doing before the events at the start of The Muppet Movie?? The story has a young Kermit wanting to see what is beyond the swamp (gee, like in The Muppet Movie!?!). When his friends are taken by a pet shop owner, Kermit sets out to rescue them. Oh no, not a pet shop owner! The horror! Ok fair is fair and it turns out that the frogs are being sold for disection in a science class. I can buy the peril there. Boring story short, Kermit frees his friends and the whole thing is bookended by the adult Kermit returning home to vist his friends. It was boring, it was boring, and oh….IT WAS BORING! And it’s interesting how for a movie about Kermit’s swamp years we get a plot eerily similar to The Muppet Movie and a story which takes Kermit out of the swamp for the majority! I guess this is fine for little kids, until you get to the disection scene anyway, otherwise don’t waste your time.
Finally, some may wonder why “A very Merry Muppet Chistmas Movie” is not listed. I actaually like that. And no, I decided not to be a wise guy and put The Muppets on here. As I said I did like that movie.  If you disagree, or feel I missed something more deserving, let me know.
All in all, while some of these were failures it doesn’t take away from what The Muppets did right and the legacy they created that will be around for a long time, I hope. There is a new movie coming in March and more than likely I will see it.

By richb

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