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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"With a lot of hoot and just a lil bit of nanny."
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October 15 2008

Jim Henson Co. ponders mature puppet fare in 'The Happytime Murders'. "I suspect it was also inspired by "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and, maybe, just maybe, that infamous puppet episode of Joss Whedon's 'Angel.'"

'Smile Time' was the first thing I thought of as I was reading the article and was happy to see that they at least gave it a mention.

Henson and Muppets have an interesting history with Buffy and Angel.

I really, really wish people would pull out the dictionary more often.

"Infamous" is not a good thing, especially not a good thing to attach to or associate with a Joss Whedon production.

"Infamous - adj. 1) having a bad reputation; notorious, 2) causing a bad reputation; scandalous"

Do we really want to use that term to apply to anything Our Master Joss has done? Surely even his most questionable choices *cough*Spuffy*cough* can't be deemed so bad as to give him a bad or notorious ("widely known, especially unfavorably") reputation.

(For anyone who wants to argue semantics - yes, notorious can have a positive connotation. However, in this context, when the definition of "infamous" clearly states, both times, that it is a bad thing, notorious in this particular case is not a desirable title.)
Word. Let's save the word "infamous" before it goes the way of "awful" (which originally meant full of awe).

ETA: As for the Happytime thing...sounds awesome. I'd watch it. I'm not so sure about the title, though. Or if it'll actually ever finish production. Henson projects often don't for some reason.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2008-10-15 22:28 ]
Well you learn something new every day! Didn't know "awful" used to mean full of awe but now knowing it, it does make perfect sense!

I hope this is one project they do finish - sounds like it will be fun. And after watching how wonderful they were with the Farscape puppets I think I'd really love this.
Scarecroe, thanks for the Muppet Wiki links; they were a fun read! I knew that Joss' dad had worked on The Electric Company, but didn't realize what an influence The Muppets had on Joss himself.

I was puppet peopled, yes. My dad ran The Electric Company... the show from [Children's Television Workshop] back when they were doing Sesame Street. He actually worked on Captain Kangaroo before that. So a lot of our family friends were Muppet people. We were part of a whole Muppety circle. You know, it was always a big thing in my life when I was a kid, because I thought Muppets were cool. Now, I'm not talking about the ones that had their own show, I'm talking the Sesame Street ones. I was one of the people that felt that Kermit was a sell-out when he started his own show. I was never really into it. Fozzie Bear is just a wannabe Grover. I always thought there should have been war between the East Coast and West Coast Muppets. That's just me. I always liked puppets. They make me laugh, but they were a serious part of what I remember from my youth, so I just have a little obsession. Not so much an obsession. It's not like I'm collecting dolls or anything. Does my son have a Grover? Yes he does. Because Grover is the finest of all of them. Joss Whedon

'Awe' used to mean 'Immediate and active fear; terror, dread' s'why it's just a hop, skip and a jump from "full of awe" to "Eek, too much awe !" to 'awful' as we know it.

(even today 'awe' has a slight connotation of something so big/amazing/divine that you're very slightly afraid of it)

And yeah, since they made me care so deeply about Rygel i'll give an adult 'muppet' show by Henson Co. a chance at least.
Grover is indeed the finest of them all.
Apparently, Henson and Co. have already made an adult "Muppet" show -- The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence which aired in March of 1975.

"In this half-hour variety special, the Muppets parody the proliferation of sex and violence on television. Nigel, Sam the Eagle, and hippie guitarist Floyd prepare for the Seven Deadly Sins Pageant, featuring Muppets representing the sins -- Envy, Anger, Gluttony, Vanity, Lust, Avarice and Sloth. "

I've never seen it, but I sure will be seeking it out!
"Before Jehovah's awful throne...."

sounds like agood property. And I can imagien "smile Time" fed into it; of coruse probably also Greg the Bunny which explored a simialr premise for comedy. The article probably already mentioned that and I just skimmed it too fast.

ShadowQuest: I think you and my mother would have liked each other. Well, in some alternate cosmos; you were I'd guess about 15 when she died.
I wouldn't doubt for a moment that Smile Time enjoys a certain amount of notoriety or infamy among children's puppeteers. I didn't think it was an improper use of the word at all. Being that it's about an evil egg demon possessing kiddie TV stars, I would think the show would be considered quite scandalous indeed. But, you know, in a good way.
Actually melsta, children's puppeteers love the "Smile Time" episode of Angel. After all, they performed the puppet characters in it :) For another example, see Avenue Q, also puppeteered by Henson veteran performers.
I'm sure they do love it! Who couldn't? That doesn't make it not infamous. It may be fondly infamous, but it's still infamous. In fact, I submit that the episode, like Avenue Q, was intended to be infamous.

Not to belabor the point, but I think of it like when old friends refer amongst themselves to "the infamous 10th grade skinny-dipping incident" (or whatever). Clearly they're talking about something that was very "bad" but is also among their all-time fondest memories. Again, evil egg demon!!
Let us not forget those early "Saturday Night Live" grown-up Muppet appearances, or Peter Jackson's (very) pre-"Lord of the Rings" puppet soap opera movie, "Meet the Feebles."
Can't forget "Greg the Bunny" either.

The world needs more Grover.
Yeah, I was gonna say, the episode isn't "infamous." People are always misusing that word.
I didn't know about the Electric Company connection. Joss' father apparently taught my daughter to read, when she was 3 years old. That was one great phonics show, and fun.
The story description also seemed to carry hints of Robert Rankin's The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse.
Wonder Showzen is another "puppets doing naughty things" show. It's brilliant.
Most of the puppeteers and puppet fabricators who worked on the "Smile Time" episode are currently performing monthly in the Jim Henson Company's "Puppet Up" improv show near Hollywood and Vine. And Drew Massey and Victor Yerrid, who performed Puppet Angel and Polo, were also the ones performing the Muppet hecklers Statler and Waldorf for the "From The Balcony" series of videos. Plus, they also worked on Greg The Bunny with Seth Green, so there's another Whedonverse connection, and the fact that Drew Massey was Count Blah on that show means that he's now done two puppet vampires. All he needs now is to do Count Von Count on Sesame Street for the trifecta. (Three! Three puppet vampires!)

Surely even his most questionable choices *cough*Spuffy*cough* can't be deemed so bad as to give him a bad or notorious ("widely known, especially unfavorably") reputation.

Next time you're looking up the definition of a word, try also looking up the Whedonesque policy on "shipping."

"Any post or comment that is aggressively focused on any particular 'ship' and/or actively supports fan factions and feuds is subject to deletion." --Whedonesque

(I'm not a mod, but I thought I'd point that out, since that's not the first time I've seen the same poster bend that rule unecessarily, and we can all use a reminder from time to time.)
Yes I did miss this, cheap digs at 'ships is not cool with us. Not carry on with what ever was being discussed.
Sorry - didn't think I was taking a "cheap dig" and I certainly was not "aggressively focused" on it, nor was I "actively supporting" a faction or feud.

Guess having a sense of humor is tricky around here.

My most humble apologies to any 'shippers I might've unintentionally offended.

Oh, and deanna b? Next time you have a problem with one of my posts, mind bringing it to my attention OFF board, instead of in public? That's just a bit rude, imo.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2008-10-17 01:29 ]
deanna b (redeem147) I can understand your not thinking to take this off-board, since, while ShQ is one of those among us who provides an email, I know not all of us do so I know it can't be taken off board ofttimes.

Those of us who aren't Spuffy boosters do at times get massively borne off by our enthusiastic perfervidity, or perhaps that should be perfervor. (Actually, technically, my fics include 2 Spuffyverses versus one Bangelverse, but the latter is my main playground, so I know whereof I speak attitude-wise. Of course, my ex-wife feels I'm an expert at attitude.)

Bottom line, Japanese puppet theater has always been an adult medium, and so were medieval Punch and Judy shows. It's a good decision.
ShadowQuest and deanna b, you're both out of line. Please don't try to have the last word.

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