Here’s a comparison that is so utterly ridiculous, it actually works.
“Oh Marni,” some of you may quip, “Are you seriously doing yet another post about Steve Whitmire? We get it already, you love him. But come on, it’s time to let it go. It’s nearly been three months! The Muppets Take The Bowl was a smash hit, all of the recasts have made their debut and Matt Vogel in particular has been getting rave reviews. Just move on already!”
And to those people, I respond with a big, “No, thank you! Writing about this has been hugely therapeutic and I won’t apologise for my extended grieving process. Whether you want to read my posts or not is entirely up to you.”
For tonight’s therapy session, as already stated, I’m going to draw parallels between Steve’s situation, my situation as a Muppet fan and two songs that come from a very odd source, completely unrelated to the Muppets: A Very Potter Senior Year.
That’s right. My source material is the third and final instalment of a Harry Potter musical parody.
Just…just go with it, okay? Trust me, there is much merit in this.
In AVPSY, Harry Potter finds himself having an existential crisis. After capturing the last of Lord Voldemort’s remaining Death Eaters, it becomes apparent that Harry’s time in the spotlight is coming to an end. There’s no need for him anymore, no more daring battles to fight and no more glory to be claimed. Therefore, he is no longer relevant, a fact that Harry find’s rather difficult to accept.
The first song I’m going to discuss, ‘When I Was’, is a duet between Harry and a young Tom Riddle (who is planning revenge in the present day). They sing their anguish over no longer being who they thought they were going to be forever. Just from that description, the song can be connected to Steve, who really did believe that he was going to be with the Muppets for the rest of his life.
While Steve’s story correlates almost perfectly with Harry’s, in a way, Steve can also relate to Voldemort in this song, being framed as a villain no matter what he may say to defend himself. The lyrics are incredibly sombre and resonate so well with the current situation: Steve has been left in the dust by the majority of the Muppetdom, who just want to move on with their lives. Don’t get me wrong, they have a right to do so. But for those of us still standing next to Steve, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Take a listen, read the lyrics and I dare say you’ll also pick-up the same undertones I have every time I listen to this song.
The second song is, unsurprisingly, called ‘Everything Ends’. It’s that song that occurs in every musical when the star has hit their all-time low and needs to accept their circumstances before they can move on and save the day with a new outlook on life. Harry finally gives into the truth that he is no longer relevant and as a result, his father James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin come back as ghosts, along with a few others, to sing this song and to give him a new sense of hope.
Let’s switch things around: instead of a down-and-out Harry, you have a down-and-out Steve. In the place of James, Sirius and Remus, you have Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt, who are eventually joined by other Muppet folks who have passed on. In turn, they reassure Steve that if he decides he wants to, it’s okay to let go and move on to another adventure. After keeping up with Steve since July, I know that this certainly isn’t the case. Steve’s protectiveness over the Muppets defeats any notion of completely detaching himself from them.
So let’s change things up again: placing myself in Harry’s position and pretty much the rest of the fandom in the phantom shoes of James, Sirius and Remus.
“You can’t hold on to what’s gone,” my fellow fans inform me, “Don’t try to fix it, just move on. Only then you’ll see the world [the Muppets] all brand new.”
I’m doing my best to move on, but it’s still difficult to adjust to the Muppets without Steve being apart of the cast. I rather enjoyed the videos that have emerged from the Bowl shows, however there was that niggling feeling in the back of my mind that something was sadly amiss. It’s going to be that way for a long time. It was probably the same for most fans after Jim passed away. Forgive me for saying something so brash, but in this case, it’s somehow worse, because unlike Jim’s death, this whole situation could have been reversed with some open conversation from both parties.
I’m trying to be understanding of those fans who have already moved on and I hope that they are willing to extend that courtesy back in my favour. As for Steve, I’m not going to try to speak for him as that is rather disrespectful, but I will ask of Muppet fans everywhere that they allow him to continue to speak out for what he feels is the truth. Just as I write on the Halibut to clear my head, Steve has obviously had a lot things he’s been wanting to get off his chest over the years, Muppet Pundit now being his place to vent.
Even if it permanently disconnects him from the Muppets, at least Steve will be able to look back on his efforts and say that he did everything he could. As for me, I’ll continue to help him do so. It’s the least I can do for the guy that inspires me everyday.