When you watched Muppets Haunted Mansion, didn’t you think it felt a little… familiar? Okay, yes, you’re familiar with the dozens of Muppet characters. But besides them? Yeah yeah, you know all about the Haunted Mansion ride, so that’s bound to be familiar. But besides all that – wasn’t there a tiny voice just tickling the back of your Muppet-obsessed brain, just screaming to jump out and shout, “THIS IS MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND!”?
Okay, so it doesn’t take place on an ocean cruise (only you don’t go anywhere), and it features 100% more haunted housiness, but other than that: They’re basically Pizza Twins.
We’ve been down this road before, with the similarities between It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas and the 2011 The Muppets film. It seems the Muppet overlords have done it again, reaching into the deep pool of Muppet canon (or, cannon) for inspiration to steal for the Next Big Thing. Despicable.
Still not seeing it? Fine, I’ll show you the receipts. Prepare to have your mind blown to smithereens, after which it will have to live in a spooky, cobwebbed manor for all eternity.
The Muppets have historically been one of the most original franchises in entertainment history. So when they cribbed the intellectual property of first Robert Louis Stevenson and then Walt Disney’s Imagineers, it’s hard to believe there’s any originality left in the world. There must not be, or else the Muppets wouldn’t be looking to all these dead guys for ideas.
Gonzo and a Small-Stature Partner
Look, I’m all for Gonzo taking the lead in Muppet productions. But they could’ve paired him up with literally anyone from Rowlf the Dog to Lew Zealand to Timmy Monster, and it would’ve been comedy gold. Muppets Haunted Mansion didn’t choose to keep his connection to Rizzo the Rat from Muppet Treasure Island (for obvious reasons – Rizzo has yet to be reassigned to a new performer), but it seems glaring that his new partner is another member of the Tiniest Muppet Brigade.
Everyone is dead! Muppet Treasure Island broke ground on Muppet death by not only memorably killing Billy Bones, but also including an actual corpse as a member of the crew. Muppets Haunted Mansion takes it a step farther by killing off, well, everyone. Almost every Muppet gets a turn in the afterlife as ghosts, effectively stealing MTI’s schtick and blowing it way out of proportion.
It’s not just the concept of shuffling this mortal coil that Muppets Haunted Mansion cribbed, but specifically that of the existence of ghosts! Sam the Eagle, who dons some powdered asbestos and seaweed to cosplay as a spirit later becomes the real deal within the Haunted Mansion.
There are also goats!
A Mysterious Human Star with Facial Hair and a Red Aquatic Sidekick
Both films feature human males with secret agendas, hair on their upper lips, and crimson familiars who can breathe underwater. Look, I’m sort of grasping at straws at this point… or am I???
Also, Angel Marie is there.
Kirk Thatcher and Brian Henson
Both films were co-written by Kirk Thatcher, with surprise performances by Brian Henson. Okay, so maybe we can’t fault Muppets Haunted Mansion too much for basically being a carbon copy of Muppet Treasure Island, especially since they were made by the same people. Let’s just forget this article ever happened, mmkay?
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com