Muppet Fans Who Grew Up

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

 

News! Links! Christmas!


by Ryan Roe

Is it just me, or is there a lot of Muppet stuff to talk about right about now? Let's go down the list...

Muppets on Christmas in Rockefeller Center TONIGHT!
According to the still-shiny-and-new official
Muppets Studio Twitter account, the Electric Mayhem, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and Pepe will be appearing on NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center special on Wednesday, December 2 at 8:00 PM/7:00 Central. I don't know about anyone else, but I always resist getting into the Christmas spirit until the beginning of December, so this should be the perfect way to get my head in the Joyeux Noel zone.

Muppets say hi to Today and Jay Leno
It's also been announced that the Muppets will be appearing on NBC's The Today Show on Thursday, December 3rd, and on The Jay Leno Show on Monday, December 7th. So set your DVR, and then fast-forward to the Muppet parts!

Kermit and Tiffani Thornton believe
I'm not exactly sure who Tiffani Thornton is, but she and Kermit sang the Christmas song "I Believe" at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and now there's a music video you can watch by clicking the above link. The song itself doesn't do anything for me... It just kind of exists. But the video is reasonably cute. And the song will be available for download on iTunes and Amazon on December 8th. Speaking of which...

MP3s to Santa
Remember the songs from last year's Muppet Christmas special Letters to Santa? Like that memorable tune "Something-something Christmas," or the lovely "Something-something Santa Claus?" Now you can own those songs by downloading them from iTunes or Amazon. I got them all on iTunes for a grand total of $2.99, so the price is certainly right.

Kermit on your mail
Do you send Christmas cards to your friends and family around this time of year? If not, now's the time to start, because the US Postal Service will be stamping this nifty Kermit postmark on holiday cards and letters this December. Merry Kermitmas, everyone!

The Muppets jingle with Andrea Bocelli
The whole Muppet gang recorded a version of "Jingle Bells" for Andrea Bocelli's new Christmas album, which is now available -- you guessed it -- on iTunes and Amazon. They also showed up to sing it on the PBS special Andrea Bocelli & David Foster: My Christmas, as seen below:






Mohair Kermit makes his triumphant debut
Remember that limited edition, made-of-mohair, 265-dollar Steiff Kermit doll that
we ridiculed a while back? It's now available for purchase, and you can get it from the Steiff official website by clicking above. Add it to your Christmas wish list! Or for the same price, you can just ask for a goat and make your own mohair Kermit!

"Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody" conquers the universe
By now, pretty much everyone with a computer is aware of the Muppets' cover of the Queen song "Boheiman Rhapsody," which has taken the internet by storm. It's been linked-to, blogged, Facebooked, e-mailed and Twittered a zillion times, and it's been featured on various TV shows as the Hot New Thing. It was posted just over a week ago, and as I'm writing this, it's up to 8,626,531 views... so by the time I click the button to publish this post, it'll probably be about 50 million. For some reason, embedding has been disabled, but you can watch it (again!) by clicking the above link.

Click here to ride in a one-horse open sleigh on the Tough Pigs forum!


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Saturday, November 7, 2009

 

Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary Roundup


by Joe Hennes

Sesame Street's 40th anniversary is fast approaching, and there has been a slew of birthday-related shenanigans going on all around us. Let's take a moment to fondly remember them before Sesame Street gets old enough to need bifocals.

The most noticeable celebration has been over at Google, where Sesame Street characters have been incorporated into the Google logo every day. As of press time, we've seen Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, and Oscar, as well as a handful of international characters on the international Google sites. We'll keep on seeing more Sesame characters every day until the official anniversary on Tuesday, but who will we see next? I'm holding out hope for Herbert Birdsfoot hovering over the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.

Pretty much every news source in the world is talking about Sesame Street this week. From New York to Chicago, all over the USA, in merry old London, and even the bizarre planet known as CNN, you just can't get away from it. But frankly, why would you want to?

Sesame Street has finally caved in and joined the Twitter and Facebook games. And that's pretty impressive, considering the fact that most 40-year-olds still don't know how to turn on their computers.



Big Bird traded barbs with Jimmy Kimmel on his show last week in an interview that reminded us how great these live appearances can be. A few furry friends will be on that other Jimmy's show (Fallon) on Monday the 9th, and on the same day Oscar will show up on Bonnie Hunt's show, probably to mock her fake relationship with Brian Williams.

Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Cookie Monster showed up on The Today Show this week, most likely airing at the same time as Sesame Street on many PBS stations. What a ratings killer!


No Sesame celebration would be complete without a little controversy. A two-year-old Sesame Street clip was recently discovered by the right-wingers in which Grundgetta declares her love for trashy news show, "POX News". Naturally, the Bill O'Reilly fan club got all up in arms because they hate all of that un-American tolerance and education and Michelle Obamas that Sesame promotes. Of course, Sesame Workshop and PBS aren't apologizing for the joke, but they are saying that they could have made the "P" a little clearer to avoid confusion that grouches actually watch FOX News. Spoiler: Only grouches watch FOX News.

And don't forget about the new Sesame Street anniversary book (and our interview with writer Louise Gikow, here and here), the Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD, the paperback printing of Street Gang, and of course, the 40th season, which premieres on Tuesday, November 10 on your local PBS station.

Click here to count to 40 on the ToughPigs forum!
joe.toughpigs@gmail.com

Bonus: Revisit past birthdays with our recent "My Week with Sesame Anniversaries" anthology: 10th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th (Ah, ah, ah!!).

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

 

News! Links! Katy Perry!


by Ryan Roe


Hey, did you hear Kermit the Frog won the Nobel Peace Prize this week? If not, that's probably because it's not true. But here's some stuff that did happen recently.

Katy Perry goes Muppet chic
The world took notice (and by "the world," I mean celebrity bloggers) when Lady Gaga wore Muppet-themed clothing recently. So at the 2010 Jean Charles de Castelbajac fashion show, Katy Perry was all like, "I wanna do that too!" and she wore this Muppet print dress. To be honest, I think it actually looks pretty good... At any rate, I'd rather my prom date wear this dress than the Animal-head skirt Lady Gaga wore. So do we want to take bets on who will be the next singer to show up in public wearing Muppets? I'm gonna guess either Fergie, Britney Spears, or Susan Boyle.

Muppets on Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Details are still pretty vague on this one, but apparently the Muppets will be appearing on an episode on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this season. Over on the Tough Pigs forum, this news has led to a lively discussion about whether the Makeover show is a force for good or evil in the television world. What do you think?

Fraggle Rock Easter DVD coming
Fraggle Rock was a television show about non-human characters that lived in caves underground and had no knowledge or understanding of human culture or traditions. So it makes no sense at all that there's a Fraggle Easter DVD coming out on February 9, 2010, but it will be interesting to see which episodes are on it.

Letters to Santa on DVD
In case you missed it, A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa was released on DVD on September 29th. The list price is $26.99, which seems pretty steep for an hour-long TV special, but the above-linked Amazon.com has it for $16.99. I'll confess that I don't own it yet... but I have an important question for anyone who does: Exactly how awesome is the collectible o-sleeve???

Sid the vaccinated kid
Do you have kids who are skittish about getting a shot? Then set your DVR for the October 26 episode of the Henson Company's series Sid the Science Kid. It's a special episode all about vaccination, and the press release promises "a fun learning experience filled with music, games, and lots of laughs. In other words, it'll give your kid completely unrealistic expectations about what it's like to get vaccinated. Enjoy!

Marty Robinson blogs
Marty Robinson is the veteran Sesame Street Muppet performer who plays Telly and Snuffy. Annie Evans is a Sesame writer. They happen to be married, and together they have two kids... and a blog. There are lots of interesting posts there about the recent Daytime Emmys appearance, and working on international co-productions, and all kinds of other stuff. Check it out.

Sesame Street joins forces with American Apparel
I don't know much about American Apparel, except that they always advertise on the back page of the print edition of The Onion, which always makes me self-conscious about reading it on the subway, what with the suggestively posed, half-naked, dead-eyed models. So it seems like an odd choice for a new line of Sesame Street clothes, including t-shirt designs like the one seen here. And aren't their clothes really expensive, anyway? As you can tell, I'm not salivating over this development, but if that's what you're into, keep an eye for it, I guess.

Labyrinth & Dark Crystal on Blu-ray, Starlog posts Jim Henson interview
Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal were just released on Blu-ray. I don't have a Blu-ray player, but that's a pretty persuasive argument for owning one. I mean, I've gone on record as saying The Dark Crystal isn't that great a movie, but I'd still probably buy it on Blu-ray just because it would look so cool.

Anway, to mark this occasion, the science-fiction magazine Starlog has posted an interview Jim Henson did in 1986 when Labyrinth was released. There's some stuff I'd never heard before about the film's development, and it includes this quote from Henson: "Computer-generated stuff will be the biggest single change in film in the next 10 years," thus proving once again that Jim Henson was some kind of super-powered fortune-telling genius.

Where the Wild Things Are opens this week
The film adaptation of the classic kids' book Where the Wild Things Are opens Friday, October 16. Jim Henson's Creature Shop built the titular wild things, which look pretty great. People are really excited for this movie, so let's cross our fingers and hope that excitement is justified.

Thanks to various folks at the Tough Pigs forum for bringing various stories to our attention. Speaking of which, click here to discuss all these stories on the Tough Pigs forum!


ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Monday, September 14, 2009

 

What's the Exciting-est News?


by Ryan Roe



Are you all caught up on all the Muppet news from Disney's recent D23 convention? If not, you can click here or just scroll down for Tough Pigs' coverage of all the Muppet-related announcements.

Of course, the Disney people and the Muppet people act like everything they announce is the greatest thing ever. But in reality, a lot of this stuff is probably not going to be that thrilling, even to us fans, and I'll bet you a shiny new penny that not everything announced even sees the light of day.

And yet... Muppet news! Yay! So let me ask you this: Which of the Muppet announcements from D23 is the most genuinely exciting?

Is it the newly announced Muppet film, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made? Is it the new viral videos, which all your friends will be e-mailing you, asking "Have you seen this?"

Or are you more excited about the new options for the Whatnot Workshop Muppets, which will allow you to own your own very furry Muppet? Or the Electric Mayhem bus at the Disney parks, giving kids of all ages the opportunity the chance to exchange sleepy mumbles with Zoot?

Or maybe the sure-to-be-terrifying upcoming Halloween special gets your motor running. Or the sure-to-be-adorable Muppet Pook-a-looz, or maybe the Vinylmation figures. What about the rockin' Muppets Revisited CD?

Or are you more like, "Hey, screw all this new stuff! The only thing I'm excited about is finally getting season four of The Muppet Show on DVD!"

Or maybe you're completely unmoved by all this stuff, and you're more worked up by something else I didn't mention here because I don't care about it very much.

Either way, let us know which announcement makes the Muppet aortas of your heart go pitter-pat by voting in the poll on the Tough Pigs forum, which can be found by clicking here. And while you're on the forum, feel free to join the discussion! We have a lot to say about all this stuff, and I bet you do too.

Click here to talk about Muppets and stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Muppets at D23: Movies, DVDs, and Merchandise News!


by Joe Hennes

Update #5 on Sept. 16 at 10:00pm.

D23, Disney's answer to Comic Con for Mickey fanatics, was the big event over in California this weekend. Amidst all of the Pirates, Poohs, and Plutos, Disney found the time for some big Muppet announcements. The big one being: Disney has not forgotten that they own the Frog.

We had a few agents in the field at D23's Muppet panel, and we're proud to bring the latest news to you of what Walt has in store for all those dogs and bears and chickens and things.

First off, the Muppets appeared in Friday's big Disney presentation, which you can view a bit of in the video above. The Muppets sang to some prerecorded tunes, and they make a second appearance at the end of the video.
As we mentioned yesterday, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made is being dusted off and handed to Jason Segel (of I Love You Man and How I Met Your Mother fame). We have no word on what will happen to his "The Greatest Muppet Movie Of All Time" script, but the promise of a theatrical Muppet movie (the first since Muppets in Space in 1999) has got us paying attention. Of course, the elephant in the room is Kermit's performer. Will Steve Whitmire be back for the Muppets' biggest break in years? That's a question for another blog. UPDATE: We've got a promotional picture! For realz.
Hey, remember those fantastic YouTube videos from last year? Well, so does Disney. They've announced that more of them are on their way, and this time they're branching out and recording non-Public Domain songs. "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Dust in the Wind", and "Stand By Me" will hopefully show up on your YouTube station soon (check local listings). UPDATE: We have more info on the upcoming viral videos! Dust in the Wind will be sung by Beaker, Bohemian Rhapsody by the Electric Mayhem and Gonzo, American Woman by Sam the Eagle, Popcorn by The Swedish Chef, as well as Carol of the Bells. Also, at least three Muppet Labs videos are coming, including "Carve-O-Matic", "Pumpkin Carving", and "Ghost Hunting". UPDATE #2: Stand By Me will be sung by Carl the Big Mean Bunny. No, really.
I am a bad Muppet fan, because I am one of the few who haven't been to a Disney theme park since Muppet*Vision 3D came out. Thankfully for me (and I guess you guys too), Disney will be releasing a "Remastered" version of the show into their parks. I don't know what that means, but it sure sounds exciting! Not to mention, maybe it'll still be there by the time I can afford a ticket to Orlando.
Also at the theme parks, the successful Muppet Whatnot Workshops will be opening new stores, causing exhausted parents to lug those giant bags around while their kids ride Space Mountain. The Workshops will also be carrying new puppet designs, accessories, and facial features, so now you have to buy at least three more! UPDATE: We have pictures of the new Whatnot accessories, plus monster fur!
More theme park stuff! Remember how we all marveled at the Muppet Mobile Labs, featuring an animatronic Bunsen and Beaker riding through the crowds, actually talking to and playing games with passers-by? Pretty soon, there will be another Mobile Muppet vehicle, and it'll be the Electric Mayhem bus! You'll be able to do the Hokey Pokey with Dr. Teeth, listen to Janice wax poetic about her trip to the beach, and watch Zoot take a nap! The possibilities are endless!
Rumors flew by a few months ago regarding a Muppet Halloween special, due out this Halloween season. And since we're already halfway through September, that rumor is decidedly bunk. Or, it was, until Disney announced that the Halloween special will be out next year. And while we wait for details about that, feel free to play through Muppet Monster Adventure for your PlayStation video gaming system and pretend it's a new TV special.
Got an iPhone? Muppet iPhone apps are coming! Personally, I have a phone shaped like a letter I, and the apps for it are terrible. Thanks for nothing, AT&T! UPDATE: We have images of two of the iPhone app ads! Soon you'll be able to carry Sexy Pepe around with you wherever you go.
Cat Cora, best known as one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America, will be starring in an online cooking show with the Muppets. Will she be cooking bacon with Piggy? Bear claws with Fozzie? French Fried Frog Legs? Buns and Honeydew? Figs in Space? Yeah, I have no freaking idea. UPDATE: The show will be online this fall and will feature funny topics like "Food You Can Eat with Your Hands Night" and "Food That Gets Caught in Your Mustache Night".
More Steiff plush dolls are on their way, featuring Kermit and Piggy (UPDATE: A Fozzie Bear doll is also on its way!). We featured an article here on ToughPigs recently about the ridiculous price for the Kermit doll, so you'll excuse us if we don't foam at the mouth over more merchandise we can't afford. The good news is that there will be affordable merchandise. For example...
Pook-a-Looz! The name that means nothing! They're cuter than Ugly Dolls, and not even attempting the realism of, well, any other dolls you can think of. So far we've seen Kermit, Animal, Gonzo, and Fozzie, but I wouldn't be surprised if more were right around the corner. They'll be available in large and "keychain" sizes. I have already fallen in love with the Kermit doll, and the cuteness of Fozzie burying his face in his neckerchief has already got me emptying my wallet.
While we wait patiently with our hands folded on our laps for the Swedish Chef Christmas ornament coming out this holiday season, Disney is already jumping the gun on next year's design. Get ready for Animal at his drumset! Nothing says Christmas cheer like a furry beast chasing your wife and shouting "WOMAN! WOMAN!"
Disney is hoping that "Vinylmation" will be the next big fad for toy collectors. The toys are all shaped like Mickey (ears and all), but will have different paint jobs to resemble different characters. Some come out looking a little strange (like Kermit), and some are adorably ugly (like Sweetums). I think they'd all look less creepy if they didn't have Mickey's "nose", which would keep their faces from looking all wonky.
Statler and Waldorf will be breaking out their typewriters (which I'm sure they use to write many letters of complaint to various newspapers) and penning a book. I'm going to hazard a guess and say that the book will be in the same format as the awful "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp" and "The Diva Code". Look forward to our we-read-it-so-you-didn't-have-to review here on ToughPigs! UPDATE: We have a cover! Are you excited yet? How about now?
Weezer, who I'm still mad at for stealing my music video idea, will be recording a new version of "Rainbow Connection" for an upcoming CD due out next year called "Muppets Revisited". UPDATE: We have album art and more artist info! The Fray, Ami Lee, My Morning Jacket, and Andrew Bird will be singing Muppet covers too! I'm hoping for more songs, because that would make for one short album.
The Muppets will appear on David Foster's Christmas special this December with Andrea Bocelli. And since we don't have a picture of it yet, please enjoy this picture of Boccelli with Elmo and pretend it's, oh I dunno, Beaker. UPDATE: And now we have a picture! So that previous sentence makes absolutely no sense.
UPDATE: Muppet Halloween costumes! I'm thinking about having a kid just so I can dress him up as Fozzie Bear. Adowable!
UPDATE: Kermit will once again sing "I Believe" at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this time with Tiffany Thornton. Are they trying to make this an annual thing? Because Thanksgiving already has that day saved every year. UPDATE #2: Kermit and Piggy will also be appearing in the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade Show, which will air on ABC on Christmas Day.
UPDATE: Lots more merchandise! Boy, that Kermit guy really likes being green, doesn't he?
UPDATE: We have images of two of the new parody posters that will be outside the revamped Muppet*Vision 3D show. Another one which we don't have an image of yet is Beaker as "BEAK-E". Hopefully Disney will turn these into a calendar or something so we can all enjoy them! UPDATE #2: We found BEAK-E!
And lastly, here's the big news for most of you out there. Studio DC: Almost Live will be released next year! What's that? You thought Studio DC was unwatchable? Well then maybe you'd prefer The Muppet Show Season 4 DVDs! (That's what we call the ol' switcheroo.) Yes, finally we're taking the next step toward actually owning legitimate copies of The Muppet Show, and this one will feature Gonzo and his schnozz on the cover. UPDATE: We have DVD cover art! I'm happy to see it's an old Gonzo picture, and not, say, the "chili pepper shirt" Gonzo. Then again, I'd be happy if it had Don Rickles on the cover, just as long as we get these DVDs!

And that's the bulk of what we learned at D23! We'll update this page as necessary if more reports come in this week from other D23 attendees, so feel free to bookmark and revisit. And as always, we'll keep you in the know on a more instant basis via the ToughPigs forum and our Twitter feed.

Special thanks to Danny Horn, Wilson Swain, and Greg James for all this amazing info! And thanks to Leighanne for those culinary puns!
Click here to discuss ALL of these Muppet news bits on the ToughPigs forum!
joe.toughpigs@gmail.com

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

 

News! Links! Emmys!


by Ryan Roe



Here's some stuff that's been going on in the greater Muppet universe lately:

Sesame Street gets more Emmys!
You probably didn't see the Daytime Emmy Awards on August 30th, because a) They were broadcast on The CW, and b) They're the Daytime Emmys. But if you did, you saw Sesame Street get a lifetime achievement award, which is one of the most deserved lifetime achievement awards in the lifetime of lifetime achievement awards. To celebrate, the cast did a medley of Sesame songs with some new Emmy-related lyrics, and then executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente gave a little speech. Take a look:



Of course, Sesame Street doesn't need the Academy to hand it free Emmys. The show is perfectly capable of winning them all by itself. Kevin Clash won for Outstanding Performance in a Children's Series, and the show won for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling, Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series, and New Approaches - Daytime Children's, which probably means something but I don't know what.

New Shalom Sesame
Have you ever seen Shalom Sesame, the bilingual, bi-cultural co-production of Sesame Street and Israel's Rechov Sumsum from the late 80s? Well, it was pretty great. Now Sesame Workshop has announced a whole new batch of Shalom Sesame episodes, set to premiere around Hannukah 2010, with guest stars like Debra Messing and Cedric the Entertainer, and appearances by Grover doing his Global Grover schtick. And presumably it'll feature Moishe Oofnik the grouch, who is of course one of the greatest international Sesame characters out there.

Sesame Street vs. the economy
On September 9th, PBS stations will air a new Sesame Street special called Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times. The show is designed to help families deal with the current financial woes that all Americans are facing, including monsters like Elmo's parents. Al Roker and Deborah Roberts guest star. And thus, Sesame Street proves that a lifetime achievement award doesn't mean it can rest on its laurels.

S.U.D.S. exists
Some time around 80 years ago, the Jim Henson Company announced a new webshow called S.U.D.S. (short for Simian Undercover Detective Squad), a series about secret agent apes. Last week, S.U.D.S. finally surfaced, with a preview episode on YouTube and a promise of more to come soon on Film.com. I really, really wish I could say I'm looking forward to it, but I didn't even crack a smile while watching this thing.



It's a puppet show about talking monkeys! When that magical combination fails to make me laugh, there must be something wrong.

Henson brings monsters to the UK
And speaking of The Jim Henson Company, they also recently announced a new series for the UK's CBBC kids' channel, called Me and My Monsters. It's about an American family who moves into a house in London and discovers three friendly monsters living in the basement. Henson geeks like me will recall that the last time the company produced a show about three monsters in a basement, it was called Little Muppet Monsters, and it didn't go so well. But presumably these monsters won't be making Pigs in Space cartoons.

Fraggle Rock final season arrives, fans smack their foreheads
Hey, have we not mentioned this here on the website yet? Henson and Lions Gate have made a deal for DVD distribution, which includes the upcoming release of the final season of Fraggle Rock. This comes months after most fans gave up hope of ever seeing the final season get its own release, after it was postponed with the release of the complete series set. If you already own the first three DVD sets and you managed to hold out until now -- or if you just couldn't afford the complete series set -- congratulations! You shall be rewarded with the remaining piece of your Fraggle collection. For the rest of you, who went ahead and got suckered into buying the series set, please join me in some tooth-gnashing and garment-rending, starting... now.

Click here to talk about everything on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

 

What the Frog?!?


by Ryan Roe


So the Muppets performed Wednesday night on America's Got Talent on NBC, and the question all Muppet fans are asking now is: What the hell happened to Kermit?

Kermit, Miss Piggy, and some chickens appeared on the show, singing "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart." The chickens were lovely, and I thought Miss Piggy looked and sounded great. Of course, the Muppets have already done "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" once before, on
The Muppet Show with Elton John, but most people don't remember that, so it's not a bad song choice for a Kermit/Piggy duet. The attempt at presenting the number as a little romantic drama was really awkward, but that wasn't the thing that made Muppet fans do double takes and fall off their couches in disbelief.

Perhaps it wasn't obvious to David Hasselhoff or Sharon Osbourne or the average viewer, but we Muppet geeks noticed immediately that Kermit the Frog -- our old pal Kermit, our close personal friend Kermit -- was not performed by Steve Whitmire, the dude who's performed the frog since Jim Henson's death in 1990. If you missed it, you can see for yourself -- As of this writing, the number is on YouTube, as seen below:



So we Muppet fans are confused and upset right now. There are two questions that immediately come to mind. The first, of course, is
Who? If Kermit was not played by the guy who's been playing him for the last 19 years, then who was it? Word has it that it was Artie Esposito, a puppeteer who's worked on several Sesame Street projects in recent years. You know, I have no doubt he's a decent guy and a fine puppeteer, but I gotta say, I'd hate to be in his shoes right now.

Of course, every professional puppeteer wants to work with the Muppets, and I'm sure it would be very tempting to take a gig as one of the world's favorite puppet characters... but on the Tough Pigs and Muppet Central forums, reactions to the appearance have been overwhelmingly negative, and not without reason. Kermit's performance was stiff, and the voice... well, we know what Kermit sounds like, and this just didn't sound like Kermit. The moment when he ran backstage and yelled at Nick Cannon was especially unfortunate.


The next question, then, is
Why? Why wasn't Kermit performed by Steve Whitmire? And that question is bound to have a more complicated answer. I don't have any first-hand information, so all I can do is speculate, which is exactly what we've been doing on the Tough Pigs forum. Did Steve have to drop out unexpectedly? (We were originally promised a Statler & Waldorf cameo, and the fact that they failed to materialize is eyebrow-raising considering Steve Whitmire has been Statler's performer for the last few years.) Was the new performer brought in at the last minute?

Or is there a more dramatic reason? There's the possibility that The Great Kermit the Frog Switch has something to do with contract negotiations... but that suggestion opens a door to a dark and messy place I'd rather not venture into. In fact, I had a lot more to say here, but I just deleted it because it's way too early to get too doom-y and gloomy, as fun as that would be.


The fact is, this thing just happened, so the whole story's not clear yet. With any luck, we'll get an explanation soon... though it may or may not be reassuring. Jeez, what a weird day to be a Muppet fan.

Click here to talk about the AGT Kermit debacle on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

 

Muppet Chic


by Joe Hennes

For a group of characters who mostly either wear the same thing every day or prefer to be completely nude, the Muppets sure are having their say about fashion this week.

Miss Piggy, who probably travels with her own J.C. Penney outlet, has allowed her wardrobe to go on display at the Macy's in Chicago. Rumor has it that there will be lots and lots of pink gloves. I, for one, would be very disappointed if they didn't have at least a dozen hats with ear-holes cut out of the top.
The display is connected to the Glamorama event, which featured Miss Piggy singing Lady Gaga's "Pokerface." The irony isn't lost on us, since Lady Gaga might be most famous for going out in public wearing those horrible Muppet outfits last month. Sorry Gaga, but your 15 minutes are up, and you're being replaced by a lady pig.
On the other side of the franchise, the Sesame Street gang was interviewed by Harper's Bazaar about their fashion sense. The interview also includes a photo shoot and a video, none of which actually involve the Muppets, y'know, wearing new stuff.
And I believe these are from about a year ago, but they're too pretty to be ignored. Here's a few pictures of Miss Piggy doing her Lady Holiday thing. How... daring!


UPDATE: Miss Piggy answered a few questions about her wardrobe in an interview at TwinCities.com. Read all about it here.

Click here to discuss Piggy's plethora of pink gloves on the ToughPigs forum!

joe.toughpigs@gmail.com

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

 

News! Links! Tickle Hands!


by Ryan Roe


We have several news-y things to talk about here on Tough Pigs. So what are we waiting for?

Jim Henson Company on YouTube
Tough Pigs forum member Grant recently pointed out to us that the Jim Henson Company has its own channel on YouTube. There's some new stuff (Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train clips), some old stuff (Fraggle Rock clips), some behind-the-scenes stuff, and a few obscure and rarely seen videos, like this outtake from The Jim Henson Hour, which I'm pretty sure has never been seen publicly until now:




Elmo's Tickle Hands hit toy stores, inappropriate jokes follow
Since the introduction of the original Tickle Me Elmo, there have been a heck of a lot of ticklish, vibrating Elmo toys, and by this point, Fisher Price and Sesame Workshop have run out of ways to make Elmo vibrate. But last week, they released a new innovation: Elmo's Tickle Hands. Here's how it works: You put them on your hands, and Elmo giggles, and your hands vibrate. I think Tough Pigs' own Joe Hennes summed things up nicely when he said, "So many kids are going to discover themselves because of that toy."

Wilson & Ditch: A new JHC webshow
Ah, the Jim Henson Company. How you tease us with announcements for TV series, movies, and internet productions that never get made. Has anyone heard a single modicum of news about that monkey secret agent show that was announced last year? Well, now they've announced another new project, but it looks like it'll actually happen: It's called Wilson & Ditch: Digging America, and it's a social studies-themed webshow for PBS. It'll be animated, and educational, and Brian Henson will voice one of the title characters.

Street Gang paperback coming
The paperback edition of Michael Davis's Sesame Street history Street Gang will be released this October, with new material... and this lovely cover:


So if anyone managed to miss the book in the hardcover edition, that ought to catch their eye.

Emmy for Henson
Variety reports that the Jim Henson Company will be receiving an award at this year's Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards, for its Henson Digital Puppetry Studio system. So, yay for Henson. They should absolutely let Gerald, the super-hyper guy from Sid the Science Kid, give the acceptance speech.

The ladies of The View yell at each other about Cookie Monster
The topic: Has Cookie Monster contributed to childhood obesity? Whoopi Goldberg says no, Sherri Shepherd says yes. Loudly. It's just as ridiculous as it sounds:




Muppets are the key to everything
Isn't it boring locking and unlocking doors with the same old non-Muppety keys day after day? Well, now all your problems are solved! Now you can order Muppet keys -- Animal, Fozzie, Kermit, or Kermit/Piggy -- and Sesame Street keys -- Big Bird/Snuffy, Elmo, Oscar, Super Grover, or Ernie -- and have them sent to you. Then you take them to your local locksmith or hardware store and have them cut while ignoring the judgmental stares. Fun!

Sesame 40th anniversary toys
And speaking of cool Sesame Street stuff, the Chicago Examiner's website reporta that there's a new batch of toys coming just in time for the 40th anniversary. There's a bus driven by a Honker, there's a pretty Elmo doll... but most notably, there's this 123 Sesame Street playset:



Now, the rational part of me says, "I could get one of those... but I'd never play with it, and it would just sit on a shelf collecting dust." But the less rational part of me counters with "MOMMY, BUY ME THAT!"

Sesame Workshop brings peace to the Middle East
CNN.com has a lovely article about Sesame Street co-productions and "Muppet diplomacy." You should read it.

Click here to talk about all this stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

 

News and Goings-on 7/18


by Ryan Roe

Hi, fans of Muppets. It's been a while since we did one of these news round-ups, so we have several things to talk about...

"I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus" nominated for Emmy
This year's Emmy nominations were announced this week, and the nominees in the "Music and Lyrics" category included one of Paul Williams' songs from the Muppet special Letters to Santa, "I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus." That's the one where Gonzo sings about how depressed he is that he's not a fat bearded man, and then Fozzie gets depressed for the same reason. Will it win the award? Well, the competition includes a Saturday Night Live song about Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg having sex with each other's mothers. So... probably not.


Swedish Chef Hallmark ornament
Speaking of Christmas, is there anything that captures the true meaning of the holiday better than a befuddled Scandanavian man being held at gunpoint by crustaceans? That's right: This Christmas season, $18.50 will get you Hallmark's new Swedish Chef ornament, complete with sound clips. It's so strange, I can't wait to put it on my tree.


The Muppet Show Comic Book's Roger Langridge at Comic-Con
Roger Langridge, the writer and artist of the universally-loved Muppet Show Comic Book, will be at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego, giving fans the opportunity to tell him personally how much they loved the talking cheese in issue #2. Langridge will be at the Boom! Studios booth during the convention, and he'll be hosting a Muppet Show Comic panel on Sunday, July 26th at 10:00 AM. Chances are he'll be teasing the upcoming Peg-leg Wilson storyline and the Pigs in Space one-shot we've been hearing about.


A Whole Lot of Muppets
In honor of Sesame Street's approaching 40th anniversary, NationalPost.com posted an amazing drawing of 101 Muppets who have appeared on the show over the four decades. Rolling over each character pops up a tidbit of information... and the source cited is none other than Muppet Wiki! But how many can you name without rolling over? I'll confess I didn't recognize Poco Loco or Jamie Fox...


Lady Gaga wears Animal
Remember a while back, when photos hit the internet of a fashion show in which all the outfits were made of Muppets? This week, Lady Gaga wore Animal's head as a skirt. In public! Animal's head was unavailable for comment. If you don't know who Lady Gaga is, you are incredibly uncool and out of touch with popular entertainment. (She's a pop singer.)


USB Crunching Elmo
This one was spotted on a website called CraziestGadget, and it is, in fact, the craziest gadget. See, it's Elmo, and he's doing stomach crunches, and you plug him into your computer, and... yeah. I don't understand it either, but that photo made me giggle for an hour.

Click here to join us on the Tough Pigs forum, where we're having lively and devastatingly witty conversations about all this stuff!


ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

 

Newsbits - May 30, 2009


by Joe Hennes

Who's up for a newsbit or twosbit? Yes, this is the caliber of jokes I will be telling in this article. Feel free to just look at the pretty pictures.
Every year, Sesame Workshop holds a gala, and every year they neglect to invite me (I'm sure it just got lost in the mail, right Joan Ganz Cooney??). This year, to celebrate the big four-oh, Brian Williams hosted the event, which included famous folks like Sheryl Crow, Al Roker, and Joel Schumacher. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was also on hand to accept a special honor for appearing in Letters to Santa last year. The surprise of the night was a special video recorded by former Presidential nominee Barack Obama. I'm sure glad I voted for a guy who loves Sesame Street.
Now that you've read a few issues of The Muppet Show Comic Book, and you're all primed for Muppet Robin Hood, check out the first details from Muppet Peter Pan! In the comic, Kermit will play the part of Mary Martin, Piggy will lose a lot of weight to portray Tinkerbell, Gonzo will embrace the obvious jokes about his nose as Captain Hook, and Robin, Janice, Scooter, and Bean Bunny will trade duties as the kids who run away from home without a clean set of underwear. There's no release date set yet, but the comic will most likely come out immediately following the end of Muppet Robin Hood.
Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and other characters (I'm gonna guess at least one performed by Joey Mazzarino) will appear on A Capitol Fourth, a PBS special filmed in front of the Capitol Building in Washington DC on July 4th. I'm not sure when it will air in countries that don't have a Fourth of July.
A little birdie told another little birdie, who then told an albatross, who told Kevin Bacon, who told me that Archaia Comics will soon be publishing Fraggle Rock comic books. With the success BOOM! Studios is having with the Muppet comics, this seems like a no-brainer. But if it turns out to be a false rumor, then maybe they can just reprint the old Fraggle Rock comics from the 80s. And here's a better idea: They shouldn't do that, because those comics were terrible.
Kermit Culture, an academic anthology peering deep into the cellular structure of the Muppets, just became available from McFarland Publishing. The book features one article written by ToughPigs' own Andrew Leal, so kudos to him! Unfortunately, because it's an academic text, you probably won't see this book on shelves, so if you're interested, you'll have to buy it online. The nice thing about that is that you feel a certain air of superiority when you order academic texts while in just your underwear.
Oscar (the grouch) appeared on an ABC special earlier this week called "Un-Broke: What You Need to Know About Money." Unfortunately, I'm a big stupidhead and I forgot to watch, so I have no idea what it was all about. Un-unfortunately, ToughPigs' own Ryan Mead is much less of a stupidhead and watched the program. Says Ryan, "Oscar's sketch was about the importance of having stocks in your retirement account, and there were a few amusing bits here and there, such as Oscar explaining he hopes to move out of his trash can and retire to a Dumpster someday, and the revelation that his poor portfolio (Enron, etc.) is due to the fact that, not surprisingly, his only 'investing' is stock certificates that other people threw out in his can." I couldn't have said it better myself. Seriously.
Former Jim Henson Company President and CEO Charlie Rivkin was tapped by President Obama (did I mention how awesome that guy is?) to be the next US ambassador to France. That means he can park wherever he wants! What a great gig! Rivkin might seem like an odd choice to you , but his father was Kennedy's ambassador to Luxembourg and Johnson's ambassador to Senegal and Gambia, so ambassadoring must run in the family. I've got suspicions that he's only taking the job so he can secretly complete Kermit's World Tour. Quelle difference!
I have been waiting my entire life for someone to make a Super Grover shirt with just the logo, and MyPartyShirt.com made my dreams come true. I'm sure they made some mad money from just the folks who ordered it on the ToughPigs forum. I bought one, and it gave me the power to fly around the neighborhood. It did not, however, help me to land, so now I'm in traction. Maybe the shirt should come with a helmet.
Click here to park anywhere on the ToughPigs forum!
joe.toughpigs@gmail.com

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

 

Daytime Emmy Awards Announced


by Joe Hennes

The 2009 Daytime Emmy Awards have been announced, and it's no surprise that there's a bunch of Muppet-related nominations on the list. Let's take a peek:

Sid the Science Kid is nominated for Outstanding Children's Animated Program. They're up against Curious George, Little Einsteins, The Backyardigans, and Wordworld. Prediction: Sid wins, but I only say that because it's the only one on this list I've actually seen.

Sesame Street is nominated for New Approaches - Daytime Children's. I have no idea what constitutes a "New Approach", so I'm gonna assume that Sesame will win, if only because it's freaking Sesame Street.

Sesame Street is also nominated for Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series, and they're vieing against Between the Lions, Johnny and the Sprites, and two other shows that don't have Muppet people working on them. That's a tough choice, but does Sesame ever really lose in this category?

There's a whopping four Sesame Street nominees in the Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series category. They are: Chris Knowings (for Chris), Kevin Clash (for Elmo), Marty Robinson (for Telly), and Leslie Carrara (for Abby Cadabby). Man, that's a hard vote, but most of me is saying that this is Marty's year. Alls I know is that Bindy Irwin better not surprise us and win.

Johnny and the Sprites is nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction. They're up against a bunch of booooring talk shows, so the puppets deserve the Emmy.

Sid the Science Kid is nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Main Title and Graphic Design. Considering the whole show is one big graphic design achievement, they should win this one.

Sesame Street has three nominations for Outstanding Original Song (Children's and Animation) for Elmo's Ducks, I Don't Wanna Be a Prince, and The Addition Expedition. I don't know what those songs are, but they sound like winners to me!

Sesame Street garnered yet another nomination for Oustanding Achievement in Costume Design, up against Barney and Friends, The Price is Right, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and Yo Gabba Gabba. I do love the designs on Yo Gabba Gabba, but the other shows consist of a purple bodysuit, a suit, and some clothes for dancing. Let's give this one to Sesame too.

Sesame Street and Johnny and the Sprites were both nominated for Oustanding Direction in a Children's Series against From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Yeah, you know what I'm gonna say about that.

Sesame Street has another nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series. I'm an advocate of them winning that award.

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction? Sure, let's let Sesame Street win that too.

Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition? Yeah, Sesame Street.

Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction? It's Frank Biondo for the win!

And if 15 nominations isn't enough, Sesame Street will also recieve a Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of their 40th year on the air. Grover sure is going to have a lot of statuettes on his mantle this year!

The Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony will air on the CW Network on August 30 at 8:00EST.
Click here to thank the Academy on the ToughPigs forum!
joe.toughpigs@gmail.com

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

 

Newsbits - May 9, 2009


by Joe Hennes

Ever get those little bits of news stuck in between your teeth? And then you've got to find your newsfloss? And if you don't, then you have to visit the newsdentist? Yeah, I took that stupid joke way too far.
First Lady Michelle Obama visited her buddy Elmo, which puts her in that elite club with Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush, who have all also made appearances on Sesame Street. Also, they were all married to Presidents.
The great Dom DeLuise passed away this week. Dom is remembered for appearing alongside Koozebanians, monsters, and one irate pig on The Muppet Show. He also set Kermit on his cross-country journey to fame and fortune as Bernie the Agent in The Muppet Movie. He was a fantastic comedic actor, and he'll be sorely missed by Muppet fans (and everyone else) worldwide.
Kermit made an amphibious appearance in Prince Charles' Rainforests Project Awareness Campaign video along with James Bond, Indiana Jones, some royal British guys, a Buddhist monk, and Mork from Ork.
Click the images to view in more detail.
Last year, a gallery in Seattle showed a series of artworks featuring the Muppets on famous album cover parodies. They're at it again this year, and a few of the pieces have already been leaked. We'll have more on this show as it gets closer to the premiere, so keep an eye on this site. Click here for info on the show, and click here for a gallery of last year's works.
Have you seen the new trailer for Night at the Museum 2 yet? No? Well, go see Wolverine and get back to me. Rumors were confirmed that Oscar the Grouch (who actually does have a second home at the Smithsonian) makes a "very brief cameo", alongside Sith grouch Darth Vader.

Did you know that you could be receiving these newsbits faster? We're always chatting away on the ToughPigs forum, and I'll be posting news as we hear it on our Facebook page. Yeah, we make it easy for you!

Click here to discuss the dental analogy on the ToughPigs forum!
joe.toughpigs@gmail.com

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

 

Beaker Is a Winner!


by Ryan Roe

Yep, the headline is true.

Beaker's original YouTube video "Ode to Joy" has won a Webby Award -- the "People's Voice" award, to be exact -- for best music video. We Muppet fans braved inclement weather, mudslides, and swarms of locusts to make it to our computers so we could vote for Beaker, and now all our hours and hours of hard work has paid off! Check out the
list of Webby winners for proof that I'm not lying.

As of this writing, Beaker's video has received over 5 million views on YouTube. Five million! That sure is a lot of people watching Beaker butcher Beethoven.

And speaking of the voice of the people, here's what some of the world's most respected and influential critics are saying about "Ode to Joy":

"soooooooooo cute! "
-nerdtainment

"I love that orange haired guy!"
-octoberfest521

"lmfaorofl omg i think i blew my lung out omg
Beakers awesome meep meep"
-grimm656

"
so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye"
-rockerchick428

"*head asplode*"
-deadwaldo

"pure utter genious"
-stalkerperson

"This is made of 73H 4W350M3! Jim Henson productions wins a free internet!"
-DecKrash

"x] this iz gangsta"
-MrSaNcHeZZZ

"OMFG BEAKER IS AMAZING!!! hes mine and kasey's bestieeeee :D"
-eyecatherine302

"it was sooo funni wen the violin caught fire and that guy got electrocuted!!!
welldone!! sooooo cute :D :D "
-vbstar1221

"rofl"
-Subscribing Sam

"rofl"
-xandra0bobandra

"
OMG ROFLOL"
-alextyrey

"Nice harmonics and dackup singers!"
-poptheman1

"tits"
-striake209

"he looks omish"
-dopesniffereater

"these r the guys from studio DC almost live"
-gamemaster0999

"ther al jonesen for some crack get them a dime bag"
-salviowens098

"so funny... loved it
and check out mi videos
real funny 1 of mi bro
after his hair cutt....
you have to see it!!!!!"
-ballvolley20

"holy hell im so horney now!!"
-evelynad

"omg jajajjaja XD"
-lujurioscabaret

"im very confused."
-fineswine09

"lame"
-xMikuruChanx

"this... are... disgusting"
-IVOLEDED


With high praise like that coming from all over the globe, is it any wonder Beaker won this coveted, prestigious prize?


Now, just to help Beaker get a few more million views, here, yet again, is the video in question:



Click here to love that orange haired guy on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Monday, April 27, 2009

 

Beaker's Campaign Ad, Muppet Comic Sell-Out, and Other News


by Ryan Roe


Beaker Wants Your Vote!
As we reported last week, the official Muppet YouTube video "Ode to Joy" -- starring Beaker, Beaker, and Beaker -- has been nominated for a Webby Award for Best Music Video. If you haven't voted yet, here's something that might persuade you: All of the official Muppet YouTube accounts have uploaded this video to get out the vote:





So go ahead, get over to the Webby Awards site and vote. After all, Beaker would vote for you if you were nominated.


Muppet Show Comic Book Does Big Business Before It's Released
In other Muppety news: Boom! Studios has announced that issue #2 of The Muppet Show Comic Book has sold out in pre-release and will be going to a second printing. What does that mean? Well, the new issue will be on sale at comic book stores everywhere on Wednesday, April 29th, but you might want to grab a copy as quick as possible if you don't want to wait for the second printing, because these things are selling like four-color hotcakes.


Spaced-Out Elmo
Elmo appeared at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum this week, dressed as an "Elmonaut" to publicize the Smithsonian debut of the Sesame Street planetarium show "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure," which stars Big Bird, Elmo, and the Muppet character Hu Hu Zhu from the Chinese Sesame co-production. The show is also playing in Chicago and New Jersey, so if you live near of one those places and you're a fan of both Sesame Street and the galaxy, you should check it out.



Muppet Stuff for Your Torso
Do you like Muppet t-shirts? If you just said "yes," take a look at these Muppet shirts at Teenormous.com. And here are some Sesame Street shirts, including the truly amazing "Mustache" shirt seen above.

Click here to talk about Muppets and other crap on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

 

Vote for Beaker!


by Ryan Roe

Here's some reasonably exciting news: The original Muppet YouTube video "Ode to Joy" has been nominated for a Webby Award! The Webbys, naturally, are awards given for stuff made for the web, and Beaker has been nominated in the Best Music Video category. In case you need to be reminded how award-worthy the video is, take a look:





You can show your support for Beaker and classical music by going to the Webby People's Voice voting site and placing your vote. You do have to register before you can vote, but don't let that stop you. I'm 85% sure they won't use your information to steal your identity.

You may remember that back in 2007, the web series Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony won a Webby Award. Except you probably don't remember, because most Muppet fans completely lost interest in that silliness when the producers replaced Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz as the title characters. But the point is, Muppets won before, and Muppets can win again! And this time, the thing that got nominated is actually good!

So vote for "Ode to Joy!" If for no other reason than so we can hear Beaker give an acceptance speech.

Click here to lay odds on Beaker's Webby chances on the Tough Pigs forum!


ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Friday, March 27, 2009

 

Doozers Make Their Triumphant TV Comeback


by Ryan Roe

Are you a big fan of Fraggle Rock, but you've always felt like it had too darn many Fraggles? Well, the Jim Henson Company has just the show for you.

Kidscreen and various other websites are reporting the announcement of a new animated Doozers TV series, which will follow the adventures of three young Doozers named Baxter, Puzzlebea, and Daze. I guess it'll be sort of like Scrubs, but with apprentice Doozers instead of medical interns, and probably fewer sex jokes.

Of course, the Doozers were way ahead of their time in the area of green construction. All their buildings on Fraggle Rock were made of material that was completely biodegradable, and heck, edible. So it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch when the press releases say this new show will focus on "ecological concepts." As long as Captain Planet doesn't show up at the end of every episode to deliver a sermon about the week's environmental message, they should be fine.

The show will be animated, so that apparently means no puppetry. I'm okay with that, especially because the Doozer in that picture up there looks just like a Doozer from
Fraggle Rock, albeit with more hair and a touch of huge-headedness.

We've been talking about this announcement on the Tough Pigs forum, and we have lots of questions: Will there be any Fraggles, Gorgs, or humans? Will there be any kind of tie-in to the upcoming
Fraggle Rock movie? Why aren't these three characters named after tools like all the other Doozers? Will we see any familiar Doozer characters (e.g. Cotterpin) on the new show? And will there be songs?

With any luck, we'll get answers in the months to come. This new show is an unexpected move from the Henson Company, but there were some pretty good Doozer-focused episodes of
Fraggle Rock, and if they're going to make a spinoff based on any of the supporting characters, the Doozers make the most sense by far... A Doc & Sprocket show wouldn't have the young kid appeal, a Gorg show wouldn't work because as far as we know there are only three Gorgs, and... I don't know, who else is there? The Trash Heap? She never moves from her spot in the garden.

So anyway, it'll be interesting to see what they come up with. And who knows? This just might be the perfect time for a television series about tiny naked green people who are obsessed with engineering.


Click here to talk about Doozers on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

 

News and Goings-on 3/22


by Ryan Roe

Here are some noteworthy links and news items to make you laugh and cry, gasp and salivate, trip and fall down the stairs...

Muppet Show Comic Book Preview

Comic Book Resources has an 11-page preview of issue #1 of Boom! Studios' new Muppet Show comic book. It looks a lot like an episode of The Muppet Show, except there's no guest star. Eleven pages seems like a pretty big chunk of the issue to be giving away for free on the internet, but I'll admit it piqued my interest. What was in that letter Kermit received, anyway?

Muppets Are Still in Orlando
!
If you live anywhere near Orlando, don't forget the Muppets, Music and Magic exhibit at the Orange County Regional History Center, now through May 3. A complete schedule of screenings accompanying the exhibit is available on their website.

An Article About Muppet People Talking
Dave Goelz, writer Craig Shemin, and Heather Henson appeared at a special event in Orlando last week to show clips and talk about various Muppet productions. Gonzo showed up too. Of note is the paragraph that mentions an allusion to a possible upcoming Muppet Halloween special.

Elmo spars with Ricky Gervais

The British comic appears with Elmo in a very funny video clip that's making the rounds. It was shot on the set of Sesame Street during Gervais' upcoming appearance on the show. When Elmo improvises, everyone wins.

Sesame Workshop layoffs
In less amusing news... As you may have heard, Sesame Workshop recently made the tough decision to cut 67 employees. Working for Sesame would be a dream job for just about anybody, so it must be excruciating for those affected, and I'm sure Sesame Street fans everywhere will join me in extending sympathy and well-wishes.

Piggy on Podcast
Miss Piggy appeared on the Sound of Young America podcast recently to talk about her new book, The Diva Code.


Thanks to various people on the Tough Pigs forum for sharing news links.

Click here to talk about Muppet stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

 

Muppet Fashion: A Hot Mess


by Ryan Roe

As you know, Tough Pigs has been the internet's #1 source of fashion news since 1923. Continuing in that tradition, we'd like to draw your attention to the following photograph, taken at a fashion show in Paris last week and stolen from somewhere on the internet:


This was part of a series of outfits designed by Jean Charles de Castelbajac. Now, when you see this picture, you probably have one of three reactions:

1. "Sweet merciful crap, she KILLED all those Kermits!!!"
2. "Dude... She's totally topless under the frogs."
3. "Ooh, are those the 2003 Sababa Kermit dolls?"

But either way, the real question is, Why would somebody do this? Even a Muppet fan wouldn't wear this thing, unless he was a real weirdo, and to be a weirdo on top of being a Muppet fan is to exist in a very special echelon of strangeness.

But wait, there's more.


I was about to say, "Man, Animal looks pissed to have his hollowed-out skull used as a miniskirt!" But then I realized the model isn't smiling either. So Animal's just playing along. He's a model too.


Here's Kermit practicing for his role in Hamlet while standing in a crosswalk. This outfit's not so bad, actually... As some folks on the Tough Pigs forum have pointed out, the pearls seem to be a nod to Miss Piggy, which is a nice touch. But I really have to wonder how this chick can keep a straight face when she has Kermit the Frog's head on top of her head.


It's nice to see Animal in a better mood. Hey, have you noticed that all these women are wearing gray and white wigs? I'm sure the designer would be able to tell us how the whole thing represents the fact that we are all puppets our entire lives, manipulated by forces beyond our control until we grow old and our hair turns gray. Or maybe he got drunk one night and bought a bunch of Muppet stuff on eBay and didn't know how else to get rid of it.


I guess this is Fozzie, although it's possible it's an Ewok.

So there you go. The Muppets take the fashion world by storm. If you click around the web, you can probably find a few more of these pictures. And if you're wondering where to buy these outfits so you can wear them to your next fondue party, I have no doubt that all of them will soon be sold off the rack at every Wal-Mart in the country.

Click here to strut your stuff on the catwalk at the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

 

News and Goings-on 2/28


by Ryan Roe


Greetings, Tough Pigs readers. Here's another collection of tidbits for you:

Redesign That Bird Deadline!
Remember when I asked you to design a new DVD cover for Follow That Bird? Like the silly person I am, I never set a deadline. So here's the deadline: March 6th. Got that? Good, now send your Follow That Bird cover to ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com.

Muppets in Orlando!
Any Muppet fan who lives near Orlando has no reason not to go see the Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit, which is currently at the Orange County Regional History Center.

In addition to the exhibit, they'll be screening Muppets, Music and Magic, a selection of various Henson and Muppet-related programs, in March and April. Heather Henson gets things started on March 6 with Muppets 101, which includes early commercials and other TV appearances.

Bert and Ernie: The musical!
A Minneapolis children's theater is planning a new (and authorized!) musical about Bert and Ernie to debut next September, entitled Bert & Ernie, Goodnight! in which America's favorite roommates will be played by human actors. Will it confuse the kids? I can't wait to find out.

John Tartaglia's nose grows
Jim Hill Media reports on the current gig of sometime Sesame Street Muppeteer and former Avenue Q star John Tartaglia, playing Pinnochio in the Shrek musical on Broadway. The article also includes info on an upcoming solo concert in which Tartaglia plans on singing "Bein' Green."

Click here to sing and dance about Bert and Ernie -- and to discuss everything else Muppety -- on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

 

News and Goings-on 1/27


by Ryan Roe


Thanks for dropping by Tough Pigs, everyone. Here's what we're jazzed about these days:

Sesame Street Muppets on Scrubs Tuesday night!
Grover, Elmo, and Oscar will be getting some primetime screen time on ABC's medical sitcom Tuesday, January 27th at 9 PM, 8 Central.

Of course, this isn't the first time Eric Jacobson has performed alongside Zach Braff and company... The show's cast had a scene with Miss Piggy
in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie in 2002.


Don't forget to buy Street Gang!

If you haven't read Street Gang, "the complete history of Sesame Street," you should, because it's pretty good. And you should read Joe's interview with author Michael Davis on this very website.

New Jerseyans like Sesame Street
On Friday, January 30th, a bunch of Sesame Street people and the aforementioned Michael Davis will be appearing at a panel discussion at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. In anticipation of that event, the news site NorthJersey.com published an article about the show, which includes this section of readers' fond Sesame memories. It's pretty sweet.

Sesame interviews kids about the environment
Speaking of Sesame Street, now that they've taught kids everything there is to know about healthy habits, words, and basic math, they're planning to talk about the environment in season 40. This article gives us a glimpse at the research process as they try to determine what kids already know and what they don't know.

Does anyone care that the Jim Henson Company is relaunching its consumer products division?
Well, they are. This will allow them to be closely involved in the merchandising of productions like Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train. I want to buy a life-size model of a dinosaur riding a train!

Frances comes to DVD
The Muppet Newsflash reports that the Henson Company's series Frances will soon be released on DVD. I've never seen the show, but I'm curious to see how the digital puppetry system translates to animal characters, and I've always felt that the book Bread and Jam for Frances was one of the great works of American literature, so I'd be willing to give it a try if the price is right.

The Jim Henson Honors
This year's Jim Henson Honors, for "true creativity and commitment to innovation," have been awarded. The recipients include Shigeru Miyamoto, the General Manger of Nintendo and the man who is largely responsible for my spending so many hours of my life playing video games. Congratulations, Shigeru!

Click here to talk about various and sundry on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

 

Redesign That Bird: Call for Entries!


by Ryan Roe


It was recently announced that a new 25th anniversary edition of the Sesame Street movie Follow That Bird will be released on March 24, 2009. Extras will include a featurette and an interview with Caroll Spinney.

All of which is great. Follow That Bird is a fun movie with good songs, touching moments, and the lesson that it's okay for a six-year-old to jump from a moving truck. So we Muppet fans really have nothing to complain about here... but that's never stopped us before.

See, where the previous DVD release basically just duplicated the original movie poster, this release has a brand-new cover. And it's hard not to notice that Elmo is prominently featured along with the other Muppets, despite the fact that the film was made before he was really a character, and he only appears onscreen for about two seconds as part of a crowd scene (and not performed by Kevin Clash).

We've been talking about this over on the Tough Pigs forum, and one thing led to another, and now we're asking ourselves: Could we do a better job? A couple of forum members have already whipped up their own alternate versions, and I'd like to see more from the Tough Pigs reader population at large. (Longtime TP readers will recognize that this is the same concept as the highly successful "Muppets Magic Extreme Makeover" commissioned by Danny Horn way back in 2003.)

So here's your assignment: Come up with a new Follow That Bird DVD cover and send it to me at ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com. That's it. It can be a legitimate redesign, or it can be silly, and a few weeks from now I'll post the good ones here. Here's something I just came up with to give you some inspiration:

Look, Big Bird has a moustache! And glasses! And the movie is called Follow That Cow! Ha ha!

Okay, that's really terrible. I know you can do better... so get to it.

Click here to do something or other on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

 

News and Goings-on 1/9/09


by Ryan Roe


Here, everyone, have some links:

Street Gang discussion with Michael Davis, Roscoe Orman, Caroll Spinney, and Christopher Cerf
The Street Gang publicity train rolls on, and this week the four aforementioned gentlemen talked about the history of Sesame Street at a Barnes and Noble in New York City. Click on the link above to find an audio recording of the event, and you'll learn how Michael Jackson saved the song Letter B, why Oscar made the cover of Davis's book, and why Sesame Street is a good TV show.

Dinosaur Train is coming!
Speaking trains, it's now official: The new Henson series about thunder lizards riding locomotives will premiere next September. I just hope there are no cavemen on the show, because it would be so historically inaccurate to show them existing at the same time as dinosaurs.

Brian Henson talks about Puppet Up and puppetry
The LA Weekly has this article on Mr. Henson discussing puppety stuff.

Muppets from Space on Hulu.com
Yeah, it's the weakest of the theatrical Muppet movies... but on Hulu, you can watch it for free from the comfort of your own browser! But you might want to open another tab and check Facebook during the crappy Hulk Hogan and Dawson's Creek cameos.

Click here to talk about Muppets and other things on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

 

Ugly Muppet Toy Pageant DEADLINE! and Other Goings-on 12/9


by Ryan Roe

First things first: The deadline for the Ugly Muppet Toy Pageant is this Friday, December 12th! If you haven't sent in your votes, check out the pageant and join in the fun.



Meanwhile, it's beginning to look, sound, smell, and taste a lot like Christmas. Here's some stuff that's been going on:

Kermit interview
This is actually Thanksgivingian rather than Christmassy. Before his appearance on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Kermit did this fun little interview with Broadway World.

5-minute preview of Letters to Santa
The new Muppet Christmas special Letters to Santa is rapidly approaching... It'll air on NBC on December 17th! NBC's posted this 5-minute chunk of the special to get us jazzed about it.

Official YouTube music video
As if that weren't exciting enough, all the Muppets who have YouTube accounts have posted a music video to promote the special. It's pretty fascinating, actually... The song is "Glad All Over," and they're using the same gimmick used by other YouTube users to make it look like the Muppets are gangsta-rapping, by matching the words of the song to the lip-synching of the... you know what? Just watch it. You'll get it.

Kermit and Piggy at Rockefeller Center
Did you happen to see Kermit and Miss Piggy on the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special last week? The whole thing is really just an excuse for celebrities to promote their current projects disguised as a bundle of holiday cheer, but hey, Muppets on TV.

We've been talking about Piggy a lot lately over on the Tough Pigs forum, and how much better she is when she's not just getting mad and karate-chopping everyone every five minutes. This time around she just was teasing Kermit for being jealous of her crush on Harry Connick Jr. It was entertaining, and she didn't even get a little bit cranky. Yay, Piggy!

Emmet Otter on stage
The live stage musical adaptation of Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas premiered this past weekend in Connecticut. You should go see it if you live near Connecticut and you like singing otters.

Click here to discuss all this stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

 

News and Other Goings-on 11/23


by Ryan Roe

Here's what has us salivating this week:

Don't forget to vote in the Ugly Muppet Toy Pageant!
It's going on on this website, right now! Take a look at the ugly toys, and send in your votes today!

Whatnotmania!
Did you see the whole "Muppets take over The Today Show" thing on NBC last week? That was pretty cool... Ann Curry has never looked better. It was all done to promote the Muppet Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwartz... which has proven so popular that they've suspended new orders for Whatnots on the FAO website until February 2009. February! No doubt they got a huge promotional boost from being mentioned here on Tough Pigs.

Kermit interviewed in Time Out New York
Kermit did a nifty interview with the NYC magazine this week. Check it out.

Steve and Dave in Atlanta
Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz appeared at the Atlanta History Center recently to host some Muppety screenings. They brought along their friends Kermit, Rizzo, and Gonzo too.
The Loose Toon blog has a nice report with some video clips.

Ricky Gervais to appear on Sesame Street
Various sources reported this week that Ricky Gervais has been asked to appear in the next new season of Sesame Street. No word yet on what he'll be teaching, which characters he'll be working with, or whether he'll be allowed to go wildly off-script.

Kermit Chaplin gets a bath
Tough Pigs' close personal friend David S noticed this week that the Kermit-as-Charlie-Chaplin statue has been removed from its perch at the gate of the Jim Henson Studio (the complex was originally the studio for United Artists, founded by Chaplin). Further investigation has revealed that it's just being cleaned, and it will return soon.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinnochio
Guillermo del Toro, director of
Pan's Labyrinth and two Hellboy movies, has announced plans to make a puppety feature film version of Pinnochio, based on the book adaptation by Gris Grimly, and he wants the Henson Company involved. Presumably this would be a bit darker, more dramatic, and capital-F Freakier than the Pinnochio movie the Creature Shop worked on in the 1990s, which starred Home Improvement's Jonathan Taylor Thomas.


Click here to talk about this stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!


ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

 

News and Other Goings-on 11/2/08


by Ryan Roe

Look, it's another collection of links to all the Muppety-type stuff that's been going on this week!

Ernie/Bert or Gobo/Red?
Don't forget to vote in the Tough Pigs presidential election!

Fran Brill in Orlando!
Muppeteer Fran Brill will be appearing in Orlando on Sunday, November 9th at an event called "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sesame Street But Didn't Know Who To Ask." She'll speak, take questions and sign autographs, and Zoe will be tagging along.

It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp
Pepe's new book is out. Buy it and read it, or eat it with some cocktail sauce.

Pajanimals
Are they half-pajama, half-animal hybrids? Whatever they are, they're the stars of the Jim Henson Company's new preschool series on the Sprout network, which debuted on Sunday, November 2nd. The characters look like stuffed animals, which is appropriate, as the show is designed to convince kids that going to bed is fun.

Elmo Live: What's Inside?

Digital Journal took apart an Elmo Live doll to see what makes him giggle.

Animal caught speeding in Germany
Here's a story that took the news blog world by storm this week. A clever British driver has been tearing around Germany, foiling attempts to catch him by sticking an Animal doll in the passenger seat, so only the Muppet shows up in the surveillance photos.


Click here to talk about all this stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!


ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

 

News and Other Goings-On


by Ryan Roe


There has been a heck of a lot of news in the Muppet universe lately. If you're interested in the Muppets, Sesame Street, or the Jim Henson Company, read on for a delightful collection of links, and click away for more info. If you're not interested in any of those things, why are you on this website?

FAO Schwartz Muppet Whatnot Workshop
This is exciting. Have you ever wanted to design your own Muppet, then sit back and relax while somebody else builds it for you? Well, now you can. Sure, it'll cost you 90 bucks, but it'll be worth it when you and your buddies bring your Whatnot puppets to work and put on a variety show in the break room. Also cool: The website for the Workshop has a video of Kermit and Piggy explaining what Whatnots are.

Pepe on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
The Muppet Newsflash is reporting that Pepe the King Prawn will be on Craig Ferguson's late night talk show on CBS this Tuesday, October 28th, to promote his new book It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp.

Street Gang website
Street Gang is a behind-the-scenes history of Sesame Street, which we'll be talking about more in weeks to come. For now, check out the official website of the book.

Emmet Otter musical has been cast

We've been waiting for more details on the new Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas stage musical that's premiering in Connecticut this winter, and now the cast has been announced. No word yet on whether Yancey Woodchuck dolls will be available for purchase.

Elmo and Bloomberg dig Queens
Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, New York, where Sesame Street is taped, is expanding, and Elmo was there with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the groundbreaking.

New live Puppet Up shows
The Jim Henson Company's Puppet Up improv comedy thingy has some live shows coming up in the Los Angeles area.

The Happytime Murders
The Hollywood Reporter and various other sources are reporting that Brian Henson will direct a "puppet noir" movie called The Happytime Murders, a murder mystery that takes place in a world where humans and puppets co-exist, but puppets are considered inferior. Entertainment websites and blogs have been reacting in typically under-informed fashion to this announcement, with lots of people assuming that this somehow means it'll be a movie about Fozzie shooting Kermit, or something.

Oscar is green
Of all celebrities who live in trash cans, Oscar the Grouch has to be one of the ten most famous. Which is why he's the spokesperson for Waste Reduction Week in Canada. The link above features a video of Oscar.

That'll do it for now. Keep checking back here in the coming weeks for more Muppet-related news... unless absolutely nothing notable happens, in which case never mind.

Click here to talk about stuff on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

 

Muppets on YouTube, Dogs on Skateboards


by Ryan Roe

A few months ago, we wrote about the new Muppet videos that popped up on YouTube. (Those articles are here and here.) Now they're popping again: Fozzie and Rizzo have started their own YouTube accounts, joining Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Sam, Gonzo, and Statler & Waldorf.

Fozzie's video is "Rolling with the Skateboarding Dog"...



...and Rizzo's is a video response to Fozzie's, called "Skateboarding Dog gets served."



So these are pretty exciting, especially given the prominence of Rowlf, even if Bill Barretta's Rowlf still sounds a lot like Bobo. Here's what I find interesting about these new clips (other than the fact that we've yet to see Kermit and Piggy): Those other videos they posted -- Stars and Stripes Forever, Habanera, etc. -- were all presented as performances by the Muppets, whereas these look like the characters were bored on a Saturday afternoon, so they picked up their camcorder and went to the beach to see if anything happened.

As Peter mentioned in his review, there was something about the Studio DC specials, with the Muppets squeezed uncomfortably into a show starring fresh-faced preteens, that made the Muppets seem old. I was a little worried there for a while... Does Kermit's unfamiliarity with text message shorthand mean he's over the hill, out of touch, and completely irrelevant to anyone too young to vote, drink, or buy cigars?

But now we see that the Muppets not only have YouTube accounts, they also go out and shoot random, pointless, shaky, handheld video to post online. Suddenly they're more contemporary than ever!

Welcome to the internet age, Muppets. Just don't pay too much attention to the Comments.

Click here to discuss this article, and how funny it is to see Rizzo's legs,
on the Tough Pigs forum!

ToughPigsRyan@yahoo.com

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Monday, September 8, 2008

 

Yet Another Muppet Christmas Special


by Ryan Roe



How many Muppet Christmas specials have there been? Twenty? A hundred? Nine thousand? It must be one of those numbers.

And now there's another one on the way... The Hollywood Reporter is, um, reporting that NBC is working on Letters to Santa: A Muppets Christmas. Which is interesting, because you might think that Disney, who owns the Muppets, would want their special to air on ABC, the network which they also own.

But whatever. If there's one thing Muppets know how to do well, it's being merry at Christmas, so this should be fun. The plot is something about the Muppets intercepting kids letters to Santa Claus, which promises to be just adorable.

Guest stars include Whoopi Goldberg (Will she be reprising her role as God from It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie?) Tony Sirico and Steve Schirripa from The Sopranos (Will they be reprising their roles as Bert and Ernie from Elmo's Christmas Countdown?), and some people from Harry Potter. And the Reporter says the songs will be by Paul Williams, who wrote the songs for a little thing called Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas.

So, assuming The Hollywood Reporter has their facts straight, the whole thing is really just going to be a Muppet Christmas reunion. Ho ho ho.


Click here to comment on this story and eat some figgy pudding on the Tough Pigs forum!


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