Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A brief Muppet rant.

These are Sesame Street characters, but the image of Muppets arranged in a mass grave feels apropos.

I haven't seen the Muppets, but I read an early draft of the script. I regret to say that I appreciate the Muppets on a deeper level than Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller.

I didn't make it all the way through--it was too painful--but I counted a whopping total of three jokes in the first act: on pages ten, sixteen, and twenty-one. There's a fourth joke on page twenty-five, if you count the phrase "freedom fries" as a joke.

Without exaggeration, there are more non-sequiturs than jokes.

For some reason, it keeps insisting they're puppets, not animals.

The Muppets, who are perennial underdogs, spend the first act being rich, successful, and wholly unsympathetic.

The best part is when they sing a great song from another Muppet movie.

It relies heavily on the beat where there's shitty writing, and a character breaks the fourth wall to acknowledge how shitty it was. The trailers were full of this, too.

There's a parody that fails so thoroughly that the script feels obligated to name the original work in parenthesis.

There's a speech about how the Muppets lost their relevance because they're too wholesome. Kids today want violence. (Henson took up puppetry so he could blow up his characters.)

It's great that this is drawing interest back to the Muppets. I cherish the franchise. But it's heartbreaking to see them handled so poorly. And I'm in pretty good company, here.

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