Despite the fact that it’s only February, 2017 has already been a long, long year.  And the highlight so far is the news that Frank Oz is directing a documentary about the Muppet performers.

If I had my way (and dammit, why don’t I???), we’d have a thousand Muppet docs, chronicling every aspect, tidbit, detail, and moment of Muppet history.  Okay, so maybe we won’t get all that, but counterpoint: Maybe we will?

If anyone out there is thinking about starting their own Muppet-related documentary, I’ve got a few suggestions for what we’d want to see on the big screen.  And if you’re not a documentary filmmaker, I guess you can read this silly article too.

More Muppet Performers

Yeah I know, Frank Oz is handling this one.  But akin to I Am Big Bird and Being Elmo, I want to see some deep dives into each of the individual Muppeteers.  How great would it be to see two hours about the saga of Richard Hunt?  Or for cameras to follow Leslie Carrara around on her wacky adventures?  Because we all know that Leslie’s life is full of wacky adventures.

The Making Of…

What is stopping us from getting James Frawley, Austin Pendleton, and Paul Williams in front of a camera and getting the full story about how The Muppet Movie came to be?  What’s Ken Kwapis doing that’s so important he can’t talk about what it was like directing Follow That Bird?? Literally any of the Muppet films or TV shows would make for great spotlights, and we’d finally get all the secrets we wanted to know about what goes on at the El Sleezo.

The Muppet Soundtrack

It’s a shame that Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss, who collectively wrote the soundtrack to my childhood, never got the chance to star in their own documentaries about how they wrote almost every Sesame Street song known to man.  But it’s not too late to give them the spotlight they deserve, and so we can finally learn how “C is for Cookie” sprouted from Raposo’s head.

Fraggle Rock: The Show that Changed the World

Jim Henson had a dream to create a show that would bring peace to the world.  But did we ever really get the story about whether or not it worked?  I mean, you could look out the window to see whether or not we have peace, but what about the kids (who probably became adults) who might’ve been affected by Fraggle Rock?  I want to know what kind of difference those Fraggles, Gorgs, and Doozers had in the end.

The Muppets: The Lost Years

What were the Muppeteers doing in the years between Muppets Tonight and 2011’s The Muppets?  Not much.  Let’s get a deep dive into the missing years that brought us a few choice projects, but mostly a Disney ownership and no Jim Henson to steer the ship.  It’d be a sad documentary, but at least there might be a happy ending.

Busiest Year of Jim’s Life

There’s a great 30 for 30 documentary about the sports-related news of one single day in 1994, which included OJ Simpson’s car chase, Arnold Palmer’s final game, the New York Ranger’s Stanley Cup win, and the NBA finals.  The breakneck pace of all these stories happening at once is insane.  Jim Henson was always juggling dozens of projects at once, and I’d love to learn more about how exactly he managed it all.  Let’s see what it was like to jump from Muppet movies to Fraggle Rock to Sesame Street to his pet projects and commercials and interviews and signing paychecks and so on and so on.

Very Special Guest Stars

Crazy idea: Interview every living Muppet Show guest star.  I would pay so much money to see this.

Jim Henson: The Biography: The Movie

With the upcoming Street Gang documentary, based on Michael Davis’ Sesame Street book of the same name, why not adapt Brian Jay Jones’ Jim Henson bio too?  Sure, we’ve seen a lot of Jim documentaries already, but what if we really got to cover the interesting details that we read about in the book?  It could be enlightening, and it would likely shine a light on a lot of the shadows in Jim’s life.

Muppet Guys Talking: The Sequel

With Frank Oz seemingly interviewing the biggest names in Muppetry, how about a sequel in which he talks to the second tier of Muppet performers?  Karen Prell and Kathy Mullen, David Rudman and Marty Robinson, Louise Gold and Pam Arciero, and hey, how cool would it be to see Frank and Eric Jacobson discuss the secrets of performing as Miss Piggy?

Let’s Be Frank: The Frank Oz Story

Speaking of Frank, nobody deserves a documentary more than him.  As Jim’s closest friend and colleague, he is the most prominent Muppet figurehead alive.  He’s also hilarious and brilliant and beyond talented.  And once you get past the Muppet stuff, there’s also plenty to cover including his work as a director, as the performer of Yoda, and his cameo in Trading Places (okay, maybe that last one isn’t as important).  And hey, maybe the Muppet performers from his documentary will want to return the favor by co-directing this one for him!

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by Joe Hennes –

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