Kermit the Frog will be fine…..hopefully. Matt Vogel will do the absolute best he can, but as Disney has made abundantly clear, the Muppet Performers only have so much say before they just have to shut up and read the script.
Oh…and Muppet fans can be a bunch of dicks, including me.
Let’s be real, no side of whatever there is left to argue about is coming out of the conflict squeaky clean. This is what happens when a bunch of people who all came together to support and cherish something that condemns conflict wind up being thrown into the middle of it. Jim Henson avoided confrontation as often as possible and it seems we had been following suit for the longest time.
Bad idea. Very bad idea. Once one cat was thrown out of the bag, the rest still inside started tearing each other to pieces.
I’m certainly not innocent in all of this. I’ve willingly involved myself in roundabout arguments, called people names and insulted their intelligence, probably losing the respect of several people along the way. When Kermit made his little comeback on Monday, I expressed my distaste for his new voice, pretty much forgetting about more important elements, such as puppetry and personality, cracking jokes and booing people who didn’t agree with me. A couple of days later, I’ve pulled my head in and realised that I really should be on the ‘wait and see’ wagon like any sensible person would.
Looking back on it, I should perhaps regret my previous behaviour, but I don’t. Some of the things I have said have been downright heinous, however, mistakes are made for a reason. I’d like to believe I’ve learned a valuable lesson in engaging with a fellow human being and will try to do better from here on out.
Look, if you’re one of the truly innocent parties, then well done, this post clearly isn’t addressing you. But to all the Muppet fans out there on either side of the tracks who are going to insist on treating this fandom like a battlefield for the foreseeable future, put your weapon of words down, take a spoon of cement and harden the fuck up. If we don’t agree to disagree, then the senseless conflicts will never end. If you really insist on going on a crusade, don’t knock other people over as you do.
Personally, I’m going to continue to be outspoken about the Muppets integrity and I fully expect my stance to repeatedly change as time goes on. I’m still very much on the ‘I wish open communication had saved Steve Whitmire’s career’ side of things. Again, if it were up to me, Steve would be heading off to rehearse for the Hollywood Bowl, but current circumstances being what they are, all I can do is work with what has been presented and that is Matt Vogel as Kermit the Frog.
Okay then, let’s give this a shot. If it turns to shit, which I rather doubt based on Matt’s immense talent, then we’ll deal with Disney’s casting decision. It’s Disney’s burden to prove to us that they have the best interests of the Muppets at heart, not the Muppet Performers. Have the core team not proven time and time again that they only look out for what is best for the characters they perform? It astounds me that people are still questioning that. And before anyone throws the ‘Yeah, but if they really cared about the characters, they would have tried harder to get Steve back’ argument at me, you try speaking up while the Mouse has your career in a stranglehold and see how that works out.
My attitude towards The Muppet Studio is going to shift quite a bit, including when it comes to the eventual recasting of Rizzo, Lips, Beaker, Link and the Newsman, especially Rizzo. I couldn’t give less of a damn as to where Foo Foo is thrown. The same goes for future Muppet projects, whether they’re viral videos or another attempt at a film or TV show. These are all bridges we will cross once we get there. I could speculate all day, but what’s the point?
There’s not much left to add other than that I feel like the Muppet Fandom has a certain flair for the dramatic that we tend to overuse. Let’s just be real for a moment, are we really willing to divide the already small space we take up in the bigger scheme of things? It’s about time we found some metaphorical duct tape and began to mend the rifts caused by our differences of opinion. If there is an afterlife, Jim is probably watching the proceedings with his face in his hands, shaking his head.
Let’s not make that anguish eternal, shall we?