Hello again! This is the second of two posts compiling the responses I received from YOU, the readers of this website, when I asked you to tell me one thing you liked and one thing you didn’t like about Muppets Haunted Mansion.
As I mentioned last time, there were a TON of responses. In fact, there were so many that they might not have all made it into these articles. For example, I have a vague memory of a few responses about Kermit’s “new” “voice actor” being “wrong,” but those have mysteriously disappeared, a poltergeist having absconded with them before they could make into the final post.
Anyway, let’s see what else you had to say about our new favorite Halloween special!
Liked: The return of Johnny Fiama and Sal Minella
Didn’t Like: Not enough Fozzie Bear
Seth in Kansas:
Liked: Such a great Gonzo performance (pun intended)!
Didn’t Like: Maybe just my system but sound mix was odd and made it hard to understand song lyrics.
Liked: The old-school Muppet feel of it all.
Didn’t Like: The wasteful, meaningless cameos of the singing statue busts.
Liked: Hard to name just one, but my favorite has to be the first song Rest In Peace.
Didn’t Like: Constance Hatchaway….. wasn’t bad per say but she really hammed it up..even for the Muppets it was cheesy.
Liked: The Ballroom scene
Didn’t Like: Pepe
Liked: The way they incorporated the ride just enough. All the Easter eggs.
Didn’t Like: Pepe… I’m more a fan of Rizzo with Gonzo than Pepe.
Liked: Dr Phil Van Neuter being back from the Muppet graveyard if you catch my drift
Didn’t Like: They didn’t do the lab scene with Bunsen and Beaker with Dr Phil Van Neuter and Mulch doing stuff with Gonzo’s brain
Liked: Easter eggs & deep cuts. Lots of nods to classic Henson.
Didn’t Like: Too much digital manipulation. Always marveled at Henson’s practical effects artistry, but the digital imposition took all the magic away.
Liked: All the characters together
Didn’t Like: The obvious limited budget!
Like: The special felt Muppety but not in a way that was based in ‘nostalgia’. It felt like a way of showing that The Muppets are capable of doing great new things that feel like they used to, but can be totally different.
Didn’t Like: Kermit being down in the dumps at the Halloween party about Gonzo’s need to be great. Sad Kermit isn’t my favorite Kermit.
Liked: All the cameos. Actors and muppet wise.
Didn’t Like: It was too short!
Liked: That’s it really took you through the ride elements very well (+love Pepe)
Didn’t Like: I kinda wanted the full grim grinning ghosts song to be played, especially like the ride with a full on grave scene, not the small element BUT that’s minor… I loved it
Cáceres Guerrero Erick Eduardo:
Liked: Everything!! I love it
Didn’t Like: Nothing
Liked: The music and humor were spot on. This is exactly the type of project that Jim Henson wanted to see come out of Disney owning the Muppets.
Didn’t Like: The fan response to Matt Vogel. He’s taken on an incredibly difficult role and he can’t do anything right in the eyes of some fans. He seems to be a class act that loves the history and the art of the characters he plays.
Liked: The production design was phenomenal melding of the Muppets and the mansion! Fantastic costumes and scenery that was filled to the brim with Easter eggs was the icing on this spooky cake!
Didn’t Like: I still am trying to get used to Kermit’s new voice, it’s still a little jarring to hear the drastic difference.
Didn’t Like: Too short
Liked: The whole premise was amazing! What a great way to combine Disney and the Muppets.
Didn’t Like: While I loved seeing the Electric Mayhem with a featured song again, and I thought “Dancing in the Moonlight” would have fit perfectly on the original Muppet Show, I was really hoping to hear them sing the classic Grim Grinning Ghosts song from the attraction. Dr. Teeth in particular would have sounded great on that tune!
Liked: Visually amazing
Didn’t Like: Lacking, not exciting, not good story
Liked: The love put into its creation. Lots of nods to popular culture and (especially) Muppet Show era bits
Didn’t Like: the lack of Steve Whitmire
Liked: Loved that they incorporated the narration from when the ride stops moving.
Didn’t Like: Wish there was more Miss Piggy
Liked: The Haunted Mansion is my favorite. I loved all the references and direct connections to the ride in the movie. It was beautiful.
Didn’t Like: There’s no Tom Hiddleston in this one. But meh it is what it is.
Liked: I loved when the “ride” broke down and the announcement was made! I couldn’t stop laughing!
Didn’t Like: The writing was not good. It seemed forced and ended abruptly. There was so much more that could have been done with it.
Liked: It felt like I was watching the Muppets I grew up with!
Didn’t Like: Pepe is a great character but you could really feel the absence of Rizzo. 🙁
Liked: The “You speak Spanish?” joke was freaking awesome!
Didn’t Like: Gonzo’s lower lip in the limo ride there… Just seemed…off.
Liked: The four (by my count) “Be Our Guest” references inside “Life Hereafter”
Didn’t Like: The big “eater” Muppets didn’t eat anyone??? Was it a COVID precaution??
Liked: It exists
Didn’t Like: Looked like everything was filmed on a green screen and put together in post.
Liked: The jokes.
Didn’t Like: Too much John Stamos
Liked: The wallpaper
Didn’t Like: Wish it was longer
Liked: I absolutely loved that Gonzo was the star!
Didn’t Like: I needed more Kermit.
Liked: Muppets Tonight character cameos
Didn’t Like: Green screen shots(the entire film!)
Liked: The Kim Irvine cameo!
Didn’t Like: The fact that they tried so hard to make it “a” haunted mansion, not THE Haunted Mansion (the exterior seemed loosely based on Mystic Manor and Will Arnett’s butler costume was not even close)
Liked: The songs.
Didn’t Like: Any scene between Pepe and Constance.
Liked: I liked too many things to single one out, but the storm that passed on my second watch added some very fitting additional rumbles of thunder after some of the Host’s lines, which still sticks out to me for the excellent timing.
Didn’t Like: Being completely lost by any references to the rides
Liked: The return of Johnny Fiama, Sal, Dr. Phil van Neuter and Mulch
Didn’t Like: The Hitchhiking Ghosts being CGI instead of casting Old Tom as Gus, Bobby Benson as Ezra and Angel Marie as Phineas
Liked: Loved the comedy! Puns for days
Didn’t Like: The length was PERFECT for primetime network tv and yet it’s on Disney plus. Come on ABC! Play it!
Liked: When the doom buggy got stuck in the ride, just like we’ve experienced
Didn’t Like: The bride was more weird than creepy
Liked: Thoroughly enjoyed the humor of the special and found the songs fun.
Didn’t Like: The human ghost cameos in the graveyard felt like such a waste. Those could have been Muppets too. And have the singing busts be Jim, Frank, Richard, Jerry, and Dave
Liked: I love anything Gonzo based and Muppets Haunted Mansion really got the core of Gonzo. Fearless in terms of stunts but very afraid socially.
Didn’t Like: The Constance Hatchaway stuff really slowed down the special a lot. While Gonzo is having this emotional journey Pepe is having this really slow side plot. The joke is that she wants to kill him and they repeat the joke ad nauseum. It had me checking the time a ton. Nice to see Walter though.
Liked: References to the ride
Didn’t Like: That the ghosts are trapped. There 999 happy haunts! They like being there!
Liked: I really enjoyed how big and diverse the Muppet cast was. We saw appearances ranging from legacy characters (Lew Zealand, Sweetums, Robin) to 90’s-era characters we haven’t seen in years (Johnny Fiama & Sal, Dr. Phil Van Neuter), to the most recent additions to the cast (Beverly Plume, Joe the Legal Weasel). I personally wouldn’t have been surprised to see the likes of Clifford, Zippity-Zap, or even Bean Bunny placed in there somewhere.
Didn’t Like: While they had a LOT of characters in there already, they should’ve also included Constantine somehow. He probably could’ve been a ghost and lamented about how a heist went fatally wrong or something. Also, they rebuilt Doglion for the Hollywood Bowl/O2 performances and also brought back Mean Mama for Muppets Now. Why couldn’t THEY make appearances as well???
Liked: The way they captured both the essence of Muppets entertainment and the essence of the Haunted Mansion and it’s lore.
Didn’t Like: It was too short. It needs to be a series!
Liked: The Muppets were singing songs. It sounded like music, and the music sounded good.
Didn’t Like: Pepe as costar. I’d have strongly preferred a Jim era character. Or Beverly Plume. Or Walter.
Liked: The focus on Gonzo and the exploration of his character. They managed to be a decent comedy without falling on pure slapstick.
Didn’t Like: The reliance on guest stars. One, two, or even three would have been cool. But the amount of guest stars they jam packed into the first 10 minutes made me start to worry about what the rest of the show would be like. Was it going to be so bad it needed these stars just to stay afloat?
Liked: The dancing ghosts at the dinner party was a throwback to the dance hall sketches on the original Muppet Show.
Didn’t Like: The puppeteering of Gonzo was off. This mouth movements were mushy and were not open/close in synch with the dialogue.
Liked: A true return to form for people who grew up with the Muppets in the 90s.
Didn’t Like: It’s not on Blu-Ray yet.
Liked: I liked the “Life Hereafter” segment
Didn’t Like: I wish Phil Van Neuter had something to do.
Liked: If you’ve ever been on the ride you will recognize several things taken directly from the ride experience.
Didn’t Like: I did not like the song sequences and repeatedly fast-forwarded past them.
Liked: I saw Rizzo 🙂
Didn’t Like: Rizzo wasn’t speaking
Liked: Screaming goat
Didn’t Like: Nothing
Liked: Most of the humor was pretty good *arm flailing excitement*
Didn’t Like: The emotional end felt rushed and not 100% true to character; little too Disney and clashed a bit with the rest.
Liked: All of it.
Didn’t Like: Bullshit surveys like this trying to find a negative take on a sensationally successful movie.
Liked: A Gonzo centered story with Kermit and other bigger name Muppets playing smaller roles. Not only is Gonzo my favourite but moving forward I’d like to see more specials that focus on a wider roster of character.
Didn’t Like: Just one? Geez. Probably the overall lack of heart. Celebrity cameos every two second, bad jokes that weren’t Muppet quality bad jokes. Super flat directing, there were no dynamic camera work. It’s was all basic mid shots in front of a green screen.
Liked: The old school Muppet callbacks like At the Dance, Beaker and Honeydew, Wayne and Wanda and the slightly risqué ‘nibbled my neck ‘ joke
Didn’t Like: It was very ride specific and almost TOO self aware
Liked: I loved how much it felt like the ride !
Didn’t Like: It was too short
Liked: The jokes were quite funny although there could have been more of them.
Didn’t Like: It was too short & needed to be more zany.
Liked: The surprise return of “At the Dance” in an appropriate ballroom setting
Didn’t Like: While Pepe was great, Rizzo’s almost total absence is hard to ignore. Just recast him already.
Liked: The storyline was so fun and different. Way better than the Haunted Mansion film.
Didn’t Like: How short it was. I wanted more!
Liked: The myriad of characters they were able to bring into the special! It was lovely to see so many beloved faces.
Didn’t Like: No spoilers, I wish they had reassured Gonzo a bit more about his fear. The resolution felt a bit rushed.
Liked: I liked the concept. I want to see Muppets in every Disney attraction!
Didn’t Like: It was cheap. I had the feeling they used a green screen during all the movie.
Liked: All the things from the Haunted Mansion ride
Didn’t Like: Too short
Liked: I love Gonzo as the star. It’s a great way to highlight Goelz and it’s a nice throwback to the 90s when Gonzo sometimes outshined Kermit. Besides the frog, Gonzo seems to be the only character with enough depth and dimension to carry a film (or special).
Didn’t Like: I miss the Rizzo and Gonzo friendship. Pepe’s great, but Gonzo and Rizzo were a nice comic duo.
Liked: I feel like this was the first Muppet special since the Disney acquisition where they were largely allowed to put something together their way. The Muppets were the stars, there were original songs and Muppet sung covers, and every detail showed just how much the current team wanted this production to work. You cannot say that about a lot of the specials the last 30 years. You couldn’t do this special with the cast of Sesame Street or The Office. I smiled and laughed with my kids (10 and 7) for an hour – that right there is a heck of a thing to like about it.
Didn’t Like: I feel like they’re doing the same thing they originally did after Jim died and Steve took over – they are afraid to use Kermit. I want them to give Matt’s Kermit a lead again – not cameos – and forget message boards, forget Family Guy’s “wrong sounding muppets” cutaway, and just do whatever they feel right by Kermit. Let the frog sing, host, get unbelievably frustrated. There is so much more to the character than “making people happy” and the MTM wedding close. I think after the last few years, an old school Kermit meltdown would feel good right about now.
Liked: All the obscure Muppet cameos
Didn’t Like: Old creepy Gonzo
Liked: One thing I liked about the special was its faithfulness to the source material. Pretty much every important element of the ride is incorporated into the special to contribute to the story such as The Caretaker, the ballroom, the stretching room, the Ghost Host, and Constance. I am glad that this was more faithful than the Eddie Murphy movie, as it satisfies both fans of the Haunted Mansion and the Muppets.
Didn’t Like: This should’ve been a major theatrical film lasting for an hour and a half, not 48 minutes. Had they gone with a theatrical route, they would’ve had more time for gags and additional plot points. In a recent Barretta Brothers vodcast, Jim Lewis mentioned a scene that was written but not filmed where Bunsen and Beaker attempt to get inside Gonzo’s head in a laboratory setting (yes this scene is very similar to the one from Muppets from Space, so similar in fact that Dr. Phil Van Neuter would’ve been in this scene too). This proves that the writing staff had tons of great ideas, but the dreaded time and budget given to this special crushed these ideas.
Liked: The references to the true lore of the ride. The homage to the ballroom dancing of The Muppet Show. The celebrity cameos weren’t forced.
Didn’t Like: Too short
Wallace X. Quibblemore:
Liked: My favorite part was seeing all of the Muppet characters we haven’t seen in years!
Didn’t Like: I didn’t like the somewhat disconnected storyline and also old Gonzo gave me nightmares.
Liked: The freaky old Gonzo puppets.
Didn’t Like: The sound mixing. I couldn’t understand half of “Life Hereafter” because the music was drowning out the lyrics.
Liked: After going on the ride for the first time in August, I loved feeling like I was on the ride but in the middle of all the scenes.
Didn’t Like: I wish it was a little more scary
Liked: It seemed to go back to the way the original movies were. Retro-perfect!
Didn’t Like: The King Prawn romance thing seemed so… out of place. It didn’t work with the rest of the movie.
Liked: Callbacks to The Muppet Show such as the ballroom dancing jokes.
Didn’t Like: Felt rushed and like the storyline was sloppily pieced together.
Liked: It had Muppets in it.
Didn’t Like: It didn’t feel like the Muppets. They are very one dimensional, whereas when they were with their original creators they were more layered.
Liked: I loved having Gonzo & Pepe at the helm and enjoyed their comedic banter and timing.
Didn’t Like: The plot (especially relating to Gonzo and his fears) felt unnatural, forced and shoe-horned into this special. The scene where he “overcomes his fears” felt random and unearned to me.
Liked: The ominous voice sample from when the Doom Buggy stops.
Didn’t Like: Pepe? Where is Rizzo? What happened to Rizzo?
Liked: Gonzo and Pepe – two of the best overall Muppets – make for a fantastic, hilarious pair to focus on
Didn’t Like: Who let Will Arnett play himself?
Liked: The references to the ride
Didn’t Like: Kermit wasn’t Master Gracey
Liked: Use of Gonzo as a “fearless” character being tested in a haunted house was excellent.
Didn’t Like: It was still just a corporate shill for the Haunted Mansion ride when it could have been more about the story and characters
Liked: Classic one liners that only the Muppets can deliver
Didn’t Like: It wasn’t long enough, 90 minutes at least next time please
Liked: Incredible faithfulness to the original ride. Loved it.
Didn’t Like: The plot was a little thin
Liked: I liked the fact that the special made it like Kermit and Piggy were back together again by doing that ‘dress up as each other’ schtick that couples do. The fact that they are sort of turning the narrative back to the way it was in MMW.
Didn’t Like: The ending didn’t really seem like a Muppet ending. By just having Gonzo and Pepe leave the mansion after the night and nothing else made it seem, idk, boring.
Liked: I really liked the music. I thought all the tunes were good and they fit into the Muppet vibe well.
Didn’t Like: I didn’t like the ratio of cameo to Muppet. Several times they acted like seeing actual main Muppets was a cameo. The IT guy from the ABC muppet show had more screen time than Miss Piggy. Her line about only showing up for a minute read as legitimate anger and I felt the same way.
Didn’t Like: Started with a strong plot but devolved into a rush job to get cameos in and the story fell apart.
Liked: Cameo by Andy and Randy
Didn’t Like: Puppetry (or was it animation?) of three hitchhiking ghosts
Liked: I loved that it had so many references to the actual ride at Disney! It made me feel like I was riding all over again!
Didn’t Like: I don’t know. I loved it!
Liked: Wonderful way to update this ride
Didn’t Like: Gonzo’s eyes were WRONG, as was his mouth movements.
Liked: How Muppets from every era got used.
Didn’t Like: That they didn’t immediately announce “Muppets Jungle Cruise”
Liked: Imagineer cameo!
Didn’t Like: Not enough 80s Robot
Liked: It felt very nostalgic, with great throwbacks to The Muppet Show, and easter eggs from the ride.
Didn’t Like: Alphonso Ribero didn’t do The Carlton
Liked: The ride references
Didn’t Like: How soft spoken some characters were
Liked: This is hard because there were so many things I liked about it! The songs were great. “Life Hereafter” and the cover of “Dancing in the Moonlight” are still stuck in my head almost a week later.
Didn’t Like: I like Pepe in general, but I think he works better in small doses. He had some good moments in this special, but too much of him can get annoying, and there was too much of him. I think it would’ve been better to have a different Muppet as Gonzo’s sidekick.
Liked: The throwbacks to the original Muppet Show
Didn’t Like: Rizzo wasn’t Gonzo’s sidekick (but I agree that Pepe worked better for the Bride story)
Liked: Pepe’s conversations with Will Arnett and Taraji P. Henson in Spanish. For most of this character’s existence, the Spanish accent has been a glorified gag, and it’s part of what’s made him one of the more grating characters in recent memory. With these two little scenes, Pepe shows a meaningful-adjacent connection to this part of his identity, which makes him feel like a more grounded character.
Didn’t Like: “Life Hereafter” bears a distracting resemblance to “Be Our Guest”. They probably did that on purpose, but why would you build your big ensemble showstopper around an extended “heh, more Disney references” joke?
Liked: The sets
Didn’t Like: Not enough Kermit the Frog
Liked: I liked seeing some of the classic characters.
Didn’t Like: I didn’t like the length of it. I wish it was longer.
Liked: Andy and Randy: “Come and play with us, Gonzo…. forever and ever…. or not.”
Didn’t Like: I’ve never liked the eye placement of the modern Gonzo puppet. Something’s off. Bring back early 80’s Gonzo!
Liked: As someone who has always like Pepe (but can understand why some may not) I have to say this may be one of the best uses of the character for a long time. At least when compared to the 2011 Muppets and Most Wanted films. Hopefully if they continue to use him as Gonzo’s “second banana” it helps flesh him out more.
Didn’t Like: It’s been mentioned on this site before but it bears repeating, The marketing for this was terrible. While being on Disney Plus means it’s not going to get the same promotional campaign a big theatrical release gets, something just doesn’t seem right with how they showed off all the cameos. After a while I was worried if besides Gonzo and Pepe there’d even BE Muppets in this movie! But thankfully that turned out not to be the case, still hurt my excitement for this though.
Liked: Seeing Muppets I haven’t seen used in a long time.
Didn’t Like: Some of the CGI was very cheap looking
Liked: All the obscure Muppet cameos such as the Beautiful Day Monster, Johnny Fiama, Sal Minella, Wayne and Wanda, Howard Tubman and of course Uncle Deadly
Didn’t Like: I didn’t like the fact that Ed Asner didn’t have any lines in the movie.
Liked: I like that this had an old school Muppets feel to it – we need more from those that know the Muppets best!
Didn’t Like: The runtime needed to be longer so the emotional beats hit harder.
Liked: The meta humor!
Didn’t Like: The subplot with Pepe and the Bride.
Liked: All the cameos – not of humans, but of Muppets
Didn’t Like: Excessive goat yelling. Props to Julianne Buescher for making that sound. But once was enough.
Liked: The set design. I love all the homages to the ride, from the iconic purple wallpaper to the grandfather clock. And I love how everything was given a Muppet twist! I NEED that Mahna Mahna gargoyle.
Didn’t Like: I wish it was longer. Certain scenes felt very rushed and would have done much better with a few more minutes to breathe (Madame Pigota especially)
Liked: The music. It was great.
Didn’t Like: It needs more songs.
Liked: In between all the cameos and puns, this special had a lot of heart. The heart and real horror came from the same place–Gonzo’s fear of his friends not liking him and the idea of never seeing them again. The character’s care for each other may be the make-or-break element of a Muppets project, without the Muppets’ heart they feel soulless and empty. This special is all about souls, so it makes sense that it would be at the forefront here.
Didn’t Like: This may not be a very original thought, but I do really think the cameos were wasted. Eve\n though they couldn’t have known at the time of production, it was still disappointing to see Ed Asner have such a tiny role after his recent death. He didn’t even speak at all!
Liked: I liked the combination of Disney Parks and Muppets characters
Didn’t Like: I did not like Pepe being a main character and I especially did not like his taking Rizzo’s place as Gonzo’s sidekick
Liked: Disneyland’s creative director Kim Irvine appearing in the seance room. A nice insider nod to those in the know as she is the daughter of Leota Toombs, the Imagineer who was also the face of Madame Leota. Irvine appears as Madame Leota in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Didn’t Like: The “At the Dance” sequence in the ballroom needed more jokes!
Liked: “Life Hereafter” reminds me of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
Didn’t Like: It doesn’t remind me of the Fred Astaire version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” but rather the 1980s cover by Taco.
Liked: It was like I was watching a film adaptation of the Muppet Character Encyclopedia. The number of characters packed into this special is incredible.
Didn’t Like: I couldn’t recognize the celebrity busts without the aid of credits.
Liked: Everything? Seriously though, it was really funny!
Didn’t Like: If I had to pick SOMETHING, maybe the old Gonzo? He was kinda creepy!
Liked: The scene in the middle that straight up becomes The Muppet Show
Didn’t Like: Very little Rizzo
Liked: The Room 999/666 scene, probing Gonzo’s psyche by way of the “Act Naturally” sketch on the Muppet Show
Didn’t Like: Less a complaint and more a flat “what”: I don’t know what to do with the implication that Taraji P. Henson boned a penguin.
Liked: The music
Didn’t Like: Kermit’s cheesy lines
Liked: Every main Muppet player (as far as I can tell) made an appearance.
Didn’t Like: Alfonso Ribeiro didn’t do the Carlton dance during the credits.
And that’ll do it! Thanks to everyone who sent in Two Things. And Happy Halloween!
Click here to do an homage to “At the Dance” on the Tough Pigs forum!
by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com