The Muppet Mindset is the go-to blog for everything Muppet related from The Muppets Studio, Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop. It is dedicated to spreading the good news the Muppets are bringing and providing Muppet fans with an outlet to express their fandom through opinion articles, product and appearance reviews.
Every Friday until August 1st, Disney Junior will be premiering Muppet Babies Play Date, a series of shorts which showcase the Muppet characters from the CGI series reimagined as actual real life Muppet puppets. The series is unique in that some of the core Muppet performers returned to perform their characters, with dubbing done by the cartoon series cast. Be sure to come back each Saturday as we share each short video.
In this episode Kermit, Kingston and Gonzo play a rousing game of ‘Gonzo Says’.
Gonzo Says | Muppet Babies Play Date | Disney Junior - YouTube
Avenue Q, the Tony Award winning musical began as a parody of Sesame Street, and it’s original Broadway cast included Muppet performers John Tartaglia, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Rick Lyon and Jennifer Barnhart. This Sunday May 26th 2019, the show will officially close after 16 years and thousands of performances.
Our own Rachel Herrick managed to pull off a last minute interview with John Tartaglia, where they discuss the origins of the show, John’s history as a Muppet performer, and much more in this half hour chat!
Rachel Interviews John Tartaglia of Avenue Q! - YouTube
Jarrod Fairclough – A long, long time ago, in fact exactly 2 years ago today, it was announced that The Jim Henson Company and Netflix had teamed up to create a series that acted as a prequel to Jim Henson’s cult classic The Dark Crystal, entitled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The teaser trailer had everyone excited that the series was using actual practical effects and puppets, rather than relying on CGI. But besides a casting announcement late last year, we’ve heard very little.
Until now. Netflix has announced that the series will premiere on the streaming service August 30th! And with the announcement came a bunch of images from the show, all of which you can see below.
Jarrod Fairclough – Late yesterday afternoon Twitter account @TheDisInsider posted an article claiming that The Muppets will be filming a series of short sketches to premiere on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+.
It’s alleged that the series of shorts will feature three different genres – a Cooking Show, a Game Show, and a Talk Show, all of which The Muppets have had experiences in before. What’s more interesting is that the series is said to be unscripted, meaning the Muppet performers have the ability to make the entire thing up as they go! This could go to show Disney that these guys know the characters better than anyone, and they should let them have a little more control going forward.
The talk show is also said to feature a Muppet girlfriend – could Denise be returning?
While the news is totally unverified (so take it with a grain of salt), we’ve done some research in to some dates that the Muppet performers have coming up, including the Sesame Street roadtrip, and it seems that the dates the article mentions line up pretty much exactly. We’ll share more if and when it comes to hand!
Jarrod Fairclough – Muppet Babies is one of Disney Junior’s biggest hits, in part because of the show’s design. The characters are made to look like puppets, to the point where you can see individual fibers on Kermit’s felt skin. So, it was only time before someone made actual puppets of them, and it just happened to be Disney themselves!
Airing yesterday, and premiering every Friday on Disney Junior’s YouTube page until August 1st,these new videos feature the Muppet Babies characters as actual Muppets, singing songs and playing games!
Let's Play Together Music Video | Muppet Babies Play Date | Disney Junior - YouTube
Even more amazing is that Disney Junior actually got some of the real Muppet performers to come in and play their characters, working with the voices of the animated show’s cast! So, Matt Vogel lip synced to Matt Danner’s Kermit, Eric Jacobson lip synced to Eric Bauza’s Fozzie etc. We aren’t sure who else was involved on the puppeteering front, but safe to say we’ve likely heard of them!
The idea sprung from the mind of Exective Producer Tom Warburton, who was interviewed about the process by Entertainment Weekly.
Of course, this feels very reminiscent of I’m Gonna Always Love You from The Muppets Take Manhattan. Doesn’t that nostalgia just punch you in the gut?
Muppet Songs: Muppet Babies - I'm Gonna Always Love You - YouTube
Enjoy these two behind the scenes shots from Eric Bauza’s Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to come back every Saturday as we share the shorts.
Jarrod Fairclough – Yesterday marked the 29th anniversary of Jim Henson’s untimely passing at the age of 53, and social media was filled with fans and friends of the visionary filmmaker remembering him and honoring his work.
We’ve grabbed just a handful of our favorite tweets and posts and collated them here for you now.
Today we remember #JimHenson, who died 29 years ago. Thank you, Jim, for the movies and the TV shows and the characters you left behind. But thank you even more for the community of artists we get to interact with every day to keep the Dream moving forward. #PuppetTearsPod#TBTpic.twitter.com/3Mc58NO5sf
“Instead of using his sorrow to create dark and gritty material, the loss of his brother only pushed Jim’s creations towards zany, colorful, humorous, and, above all, optimistic works.” —DefunctTV: The History of Sam and Friends
There are many ways to honor the life of Jim Henson. Our own Jarrod Fairclough got this tattoo late last year of Kermit’s eye. It’s just his small way of carrying Jim with him wherever he goes. pic.twitter.com/6ASXILw7wZ
Defunctland is one of YouTube’s most endearing series, with well crafted, thoroughly researched pieces on the history of long gone theme park attractions and television series. Now, they’re presenting a 6 part series on Jim Henson, and with the blessing of Defunctland’s Kevin Perjurer, we’ll be sharing each new episode every week.
Watch Week 1’s episode here showcasing Sam and Friends.
Watch Week 2’s episode here showcasing Sesame Street.
This week, Kevin looks at Jim’s life and career around The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie.
DefunctTV: The History of the Muppet Show - YouTube
Jarrod Fairclough – Incase you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, Sesame Street has been gearing up to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary! We’ve got a tour, stamps, and merchandise galore. But that’s not enough, dag nabbit! No, I’m super selfish, and I want the world to be celebrating Sesame Street even more than they are. So I’ve come up with 4 different things I’d like to see in 2019 as we celebrate this half century milestone!
1 – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Tattooed Sesame Street is a New York insitution, having been not only filmed there, but set in its streets. So it’s only right that New York City returns the love, by having New York City’s current mayor, Bill de Blasio, tattooed with a Sesame Street character or two, preferably ones that have been there since the beginning like Big Bird and Oscar. This not only shows a commitment to the love for this New York insitution, but it’s a commitment to people everywhere that you’re relatable, and willing to have an 8 foot tall yellow bird tattooed on your arm.
2 – Empire State Building Painted Yellow The Empire State Building is known to light up with different colors to celebrate various holidays and triumphs. Around Christmas it can be seen in Red and Green, Fourth of July has it Red, White and Blue. It’s been Pink, and even lit up like a rainbow.
But all of these are too temporary. Sure, we could light the place yellow for Sesame’s 50th, maybe even slap a Big Bird projection up there. But where’s the spectacle in that? Instead, let’s paint the entire thing yellow for an entire 12 month period, maybe cover the first few floors in feathers, and have speakers on the top floor blasting out ‘ABC-DEF-GHI’ on repeat for the entire city to enjoy!
3 – Sesame Street Takes Over HBO With Sesame Street’s move to HBO a few years ago, they’ve become part of a family that houses some of the most successful television shows in history. So I want to see HBO let Sesame Street take over for the entire year, completely re-casting their shows. I want to see Elmo sit on the Iron Throne. I want to see Grover shouting about the latest Trump atrocity on Last Week Tonight. I want to see The Count shoot someone then act poorly in Barry. Cast Abby, Prairie, Zoe and Rosita in Big Little Lies. But it has to be full seasons of everything, otherwise what’s the point?
4 – A Full Stage Musical Based On The Song ‘Do De Rubber Duck’ Sesame Street has conquered television and film, so what better way to complete a hat-trick than by setting the stage on fire in a full scale Broadway musical, based on the biggest hit Sesame Street ever produced – Do De Rubber Duck! Lead by an all-star cast of Tony Award winning legends, this show will tell the story of Ernie (Hugh Jackman) bathing while listening to reggae music, before being joined by the likes of The Count (David Hyde Pierce), Telly Monster (Neil Patrick Harris) and Biff (Ben Platt). Ernie’s confused roommate Bert will be played by Nathan Lane.
Jarrod Fairclough – Something’s seemed off this year. I couldn’t tell if it was the feeling of anxiety that came with a new job, or if it was weird feelings about turning 30. Maybe it wasn’t related to me at all, and instead the world felt off its axis just a little. Could it be the impending doom of climate change? Could it be the already overwhelming news cycle getting in to the 2020 American Election? Was it a bad sandwich I ate?
Then it hit me. I realised what’s been wrong recently.
Where the hell are The Muppets?
Seriously, think about it. Besides the stuff on social media, when’s the last time you saw Kermit, or Piggy, or Fozzie, or Gonzo, or any of those guys? Their YouTube page hasn’t been touched for 6 months, since they released the music video for ‘Can You Picture That?’. There’s been no new Muppet Thought of the Week, no appearances all year, nothing.
So, where are they?
It’s entirely possible that Sesame Street has stolen their thunder in 2019. With the 50th anniversary in full swing, Matt Vogel, Peter Linz, David Rudman and Eric Jacobson are all busy with their characters, whether it be filming special videos, or the upcoming road trip across America. So perhaps they don’t have the time to pick up their froggy and piggy pals, but couldn’t Bill Barretta and Dave Goelz have a go at something while we wait?
It’s also possible that Disney just aren’t 100% sure what to do with the characters at the moment. I’m told by a source that the Josh Gad series isn’t confirmed, and the last big thing The Muppets did was the live show at the O2 in London last year. Could Disney want to do more of that? Or are they still trying to figure out what’s next?
Personally, I’d argue it’s a mix of the two theories. It’s possible Disney have some ideas they can’t put forward until the performers are done on the Street, and when Sesame’s anniversary celebrations wrap up perhaps we’ll get some sort of idea of what’s next. Thankfully the tremendous Muppet Babies can hold us over until then. But still, it’d be nice to see our old friends in the felt, just to check in and assure us they’re still around.
Jarrod Fairclough – Recently we told you that the city of New York would be permanently renaming the interesection of 63rd and Broadway ‘Sesame Street’! And, sure enough, it happened just moments ago.
Big Bird, The Count, Grover, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grungetta, Rosita, Rudy and Louie, plus their respective puppeteers, were all on hand (Wocka Wocka) to celebrate the occasion, as were previous cast members Sonia Manzano (Maria), Emilio Delgado (Luis), Bob McGrath (Bob), Dr Loretta Long (Susan), Alison Bartlett (Gina) and Roscoe Orman (Gordon), alongside current cast members Alan Muraoka (Alan) and Suki Lopez (Nina).
The New York City Mayor’s Office tweeted this official video of the sign being revealed, as well as cast members old and new coming together to sing the famous theme song. Watch below!
Join us at the NEW Sesame Street — "A place where people, birds, monsters all live in perfect harmony.” https://t.co/C4a9BxvDZy