Old-School Muppets vs. New-School Muppets: The Conflict That Wasn’t

Part Two in Our Seven-Part Series of Muppet Reviews


Judge PG-13 For Ugly Cast, now presiding.

This court will now hear the case of Old-School Muppets vs. New- School Muppets. And because this case is a trumped-up, media-driven kerfuffle, the Court shall proceed with an air of snide superiority towards the parties involved – and towards several that are not involved at all.

Ahem. The evidence.

On October 20, 2011, the Hollywood Reporter published a piece titled “Kermit as Mogul, Farting Fozzie Bear: How Disney’s Muppets Movie Has Purists Rattled.” After confessing that its sources have not yet seen the new Jason Segel-written movie, the piece launches a barrage of attacks against Segel’s film, all couched as quotes from “the old Muppets guard.”

Let us now openly mock these attacks.

Exhibit A: The concern that the film is “willing to sacrifice the characters’ integrity to land a joke.” Jason Segel makes it clear that he would rather sacrifice his own career, life, and perhaps even family members than besmirch Kermit’s good name. Do not force Jason Segel to choose between harming the Muppets and annihilating a planet, because he will demolish the planet every time, and sleep like a baby that night.

Exhibit B:  An anonymous “Muppets veteran” says of Fozzie’s fart shoes, “We wouldn’t do that; it’s too cheap.” To address this charge, the court calls The Internet to the witness stand. What’s that, Mr. Internet? You have an entire page about the role of whoopee cushions in Muppet history? Do tell.

Exhibit C: “The Muppets, depicted in the script as jealous of Kermit’s wealth… have broken up in bitterness.” This does not remotely resemble the film I saw. Next?

Exhibit D: One insider fears that the movie may seem like “a Jason Segel film that the Muppets happen to be in.” I harbor the opposite fear: that Jason Segel will soon pursue dangerous reconstructive surgeries—such as googly-eye attachment, and felt skin grafts—until he disappears entirely into the Muppets.

Now, my ruling. Ahem.

The court finds The Muppets highly entertaining, and clears it of all charges. We also find the Muppet old-timers honorable and blameless for speaking in their defense of their franchise, and we reassure them that they will enjoy the new film.

Finally, we find the Hollywood Reporter guilty of conjuring up controversy from nothing by trolling for edgy quotes from people who had not yet seen the movie. Although, we have to confess, it did get us to read the piece.

And with that, I lower my whoopee-cushion gavel. Case dismissed.

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