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The muppet movie made me sad.

Not just because it recalled what was in many ways a better time for our country, and brought back the tragically unnecessary death of Jim Henson (and the subsequent corruption of the enterprise he built). Because it felt like a huge corporate slap in the face, all beautifully packaged in a well-written savvy feel-good movie.

The kicker that the writer and performers are playing with is that the plot of the movie is the plot of the making of the movie, but not in a good way. Old, respected but now obscure hangovers from a less nasty-and-cynical age: check. Owned by a ruthless conglomerate run by power-mad jerkwad(s): check. Power-made jerkwads leveraging wealth and monopoly in other areas into control of a formerly independent enterprise, check. Heroes lose, have to go on anyway because it's the thing they love and the only thing they know how to do well, check. Writers pretending it's really OK because the power-mad jerkwad(s) had a change of heart: check.

I was sad at the endless shoehorning in (often lampshaded) of every other possibly-bankable disney property that could be made to fit.

I was sad at the neutering of Animal, who got one barely-loud drum riff. It's like the new Cookie Monster on Sesame Street, who doesn't even eat the cookies any more.

One of the things I particularly missed -- in retrospect, while I was trying to figure out why the movie made me so sad -- was the kindness. Sure, it was funny to have violent comeuppances and a hot who was tied to his chair, desperately trying to escape, but one of the things that really marked the old muppet show was the rapport between the muppets and their human guests, and the empathy so many of the human stars showed for the muppets around them. This was just mean in a lot of places.

The 7-year-old and the 3-year-old liked it, though.

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selki
Nov. 30th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
I didn't go b/c I was so dubious it could be as good as the old show.

Yes, I loved the rapport the old guests had with the show. Danny Kaye and all. And the kindness.
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