Can you believe that Round 1 of The 2013 Muppet Madness Tournament is already over? Well it is, baby, so get used to it! (Sorry, I've been watching a lot of action movies lately.) Anyway! Round 2 is in full swing so as per our annual tradition we're taking a look at the match-ups and making our picks for the victors in each competition.
DISNEY MUPPETS STUDIO
ROWLF vs. BEAKER - If you had asked me about this match-up before I looked at the current poll results, I would've said Beaker had this locked down. But boy oh boy is Rowlf proving the dog can dominate. Rowlf has a steady, impressive lead over Beaker currently and it looks like he could hold it through to the end. Poor Beaker might be in pain some more!
SWEETUMS vs. ANIMAL - Unfortunately, I don't think poor Sweetums stands too much of a chance against a powerhouse like Animal. Granted, the race is currently very close, but I think Animal will drum up enough support to win the race competently.
COOKIE MONSTER vs. GROVER - Wow! This is definitely bound to be the closest race in this Round, if not in the entire Tournament this year. I imagine Cookie Monster is taking most of the general public votes with Grover winning with most Muppet fans. It's hard to say, because both of these monsters are hugely popular and hugely beloved. I'm predicting a Grover victory, but I really don't know what to expect with this one. COUNT VON COUNT vs. SNUFFY - I think this is one, one more victory you can count for the Count. Snuffy may have somehow toppled Big Bird, but I don't think he can compete with the wave of renewed love for the Count. Snuffy's only win in this round will be imaginary.
SPROCKET vs. BOOBER - Woof. This is a hard one to predict. I'm thinking Sprocket will win over poor Boober here. Pantomiming dogs seem to draw more support than perpetually negative, laundry-loving Fraggles. Maybe Boober could pull out an upset... but it would be a surprising upset, and we all know how Boober feels about surprises. WEMBLEY vs. GOBO - There's no wembling necessary here: Wembley's got this one locked. If he and Sprocket both win, it will make for a very interesting Round 3 pitting two of Steve Whitmire's greatest characters against each other.
THE JIM HENSON COMPANY
BABY SINCLAR vs. BEAR - I think that Bear is about to make Baby Sinclair extinct. The furry, lovable big Bear has a steady, impressive lead over Baby. I guess you don't gotta love him. This quadrant is proving to be very competitive and very interesting. It will be really intriguing to see how it all plays out come Round 3. SIR DIDYMUS vs. FIZZGIG - I have no idea how to call this race. I'm thinking Didymus will leash Fizzgig once and for all, but the ravenous little ball of fur could come out on top. It will come down to people voting between Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal and I think Labyrinth will win every time.
And that's Round 2! A lot of really exciting races here. Head on over to www.muppetmadness.com to cast your vote now for all of your favorites!
A Random Selection of Favorite Sesame Street Sketches
Michael Wermuth, Jr. - Today I'm going to talk about some of my favorite Sesame Street sketches. A random selection of favorites, in a random order, and a random amount. Pretty much all of these are segments that I have not written about on the Mindset. Well, let's get started!
"I Am Proud of Me" Not to be confused with the similarly-titled "Proud of Me," this song finds Grover being proud of himself after building a castle out of blocks. The block castle is impressive and the tune is quite nice and catchy. I hadn't known about this segment until last year when it was included in the iTunes release Sesame Street Classics Vol. 2 (it's in episode 1954).
"My Rock" A nice, quiet song sung by Bert as he goes to a school to show students his rock, which he admits doesn't do anything (something Zoe rarely does regarding Rocko) but appreciates anyway. This is the only time I know of where Bert enjoys a rock, and it does seem to be one of his oddest interests. (Maybe he gave it up after the one segment?)
Ernie's broken window Ernie notices that his window is broken, and Sherlock Hemlock suddenly appears to investigate. They find a baseball and that the hole in the window is shaped like a ball, concluding that somebody hit the baseball through the window. And then Ernie suddenly notices that Sherlock was holding a baseball bat and has a number on his back, indicating that Sherlock was the one who did it. But Sherlock passes it off as him solving the case, and Ernie doesn't get too mad. I guess he should be lucky Bert wasn't there...
"Tu Me Gustas" The version with Rosita and Gabbi is great. It's just a nice, fun little song with the two singing in Spanish words and declaring their friendship with each other. The two make a good team, and I don't think they get paired enough. The song has also been performed by duos including Luis and Elmo, Maria and Grover, and Maria and Cookie Monster.
Kermit's telephone demo Kermit teaches Forgetful Jones how to use the telephone, and it's very funny how Forgetful struggles to remember. It's funny seeing him refer to Kermit as "McKermit" (I don't think he's done that in other sketches). put the whole phone (not just the receiver) to his ear as he answers, and when at the end, when he's finally done it right, refers to the phone as the toaster. One of the best Forgetful Jones segments.
"Air" with Guy Smiley A barber gets ready to cut his customers hair, but whenever he says a word that rhymes with "air" (like "hair" or "chair" or "rare"), Guy Smiley randomly bursts in asking, "Did somebody say AIR???" and then ignores the barbers correction to sing about air, joined by a marching band. The song is good and this sketch provides some of the funniest Sesame randomness ever. Hmm, maybe I should make sure in this article I don't talk about Baby Bear... (CRASH! "Did somebody say AIR?")
Grover the Baker Mr. Johnson goes to a bakery and as usual he has to deal with Grover. Despite the fact that Mr. Johnson is the only customer, Grover makes him take a number, 40, and has him wait until his number is called. And in this segment Grover makes a good point: "This is John's Bakery, not Grover's Bakery. I do not make the rules." Mr. Johnson always blames Grover, but at times the poor service is due to rules or policy, which Grover does not make.
The Geefle and the Gonk A rather weird story about two aliens who want a nectarine from the nectarine tree, but have problems that prevent them from eating them. The Geefle can't bend his arms while the Gonk is too short to reach the nectarines, so they decide to cooperate: The Geefle picks them and the Gonk eats some of them. When I first saw this I thought the Geefle was rather freaky-looking and that this was rather weird, but it is very funny. And this sketch appears to show us the origin of the word "Shirley"--Err, that is, cooperation.
"Be Doodle Dee Dum" I first saw this segment a couple of years ago, but it is one of Elmo's catchiest songs. Elmo sings about what to do when you're really angry, which is to sing this silly song. Several of Elmo's friends make appearances, including Ernie and Bert, the Honkers, and Zoe.
"D-U-C-K-I-E" I feel this song is very underrated. It's never been released on video, and has only had one audio release. It's a nice song with a nice setting: Ernie is in the living room, with the lights turned out, looking at a portrait of his Rubber Duckie as he sings of what each letter in the word "duckie" means, and is then joined by a choir of Anything Muppets. So maybe it lacks the fun of "Rubber Duckie", the presence of Honkers and Dingers that "The Honker Duckie Dinger Jambouree" has, the celebrity cameos from "Put Down the Duckie" and the all-star cast of "Do De Rubber Duck," but it's still a great song.
First Appearance... Fraggle Rock Episode 101: "Beginnings" (1983)
Most recent appearance... Fraggle Rock Episode 513: "Change of Address" (1987)
"Attention all Doozers, prepare for construction!"
Best known role...
Tiny green creatures who love to work, but hate to play
WHO ARE DOOZERS? The Doozers are a species of characters in Fraggle Rock who love to work all day long, but hate to play games. Most of them wear construction helments, boots and tool belts, while the others are seen naked. They stand at six inches tall, knee-high to the Fraggles.
Most of the Doozers are construction workers while the others are architects and miners. They build constructions all over Fraggle Rock with the help of their machines and vehicles, such as towers, buildings, roads, and bridges. Their helmets come in many colors, most notably red, orange, pink, and yellow.
The Doozers create their special building material made of radish dust called Doozer Sticks. They use them to build their buildings for the Fraggles who love to eat them. The Doozers don't mind their buildings getting eaten by Fraggles, because if the Fraggles didn't eat the Doozers' constructions, they would run out of building space, forcing them to move away from Fraggle Rock as mentioned in Episode 106: "The Preachification of Convincing John."
Doozers and Fraggles communicate together rarely, but one of the few Doozers who loved to communicate with Fraggles is Cotterpin. Cotterpin is one of only a few prominent Doozers on Fraggle Rock, others include her parents Flange and Wingnut, her best friend Wrench, and of course the Architect Doozer. All of whom live together with the other Doozers at the Doozer Dome.
Doozers appeared in quite a bit of Fraggle Rock merchandise as well as books focusing on them, such as "What Do Doozers Do?" and "The Doozer Disaster." They will appear in animated form on their own animated series The Doozers, which is set to premiere on the European channel Cartoonio in fall 2013.
Although the species does not like to be seen having fun, Doozers are known for the rousing musical numbers. Their songs may not be as prominent as Fraggle songs, but Doozers can certainly sing with the best of them. Here are some Doozer song examples.
"Doozer March Song (Set Your Shoulder)
"Doozer Knitting Song"
"The Way I've Got to Go"
"Yes, We Can"
"Sing That Law Again"
"Eye to Eye"
"A Time to Build"
"Gonna Party! (Saturday Night)"
WHY DOES FRAGGLE ROCK NEED THE DOOZERS?
Fraggle Rock needs the Doozers to build their buildings so the Fraggles can eat them... Mmmmm. To be honest, talking about the Doozers sure makes me hungry.
Ryan Dosier - Can you believe there's only 30 songs left on our list of 120 Awesome Muppet Songs to get through? For the past six weeks we've been spotlighting songs, so it seems crazy that next week will be the end. But enough about that, let's dive right in to Part 7 of our countdown! But don't miss out on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 for all of the Awesome Muppet Songs!
91. “Rubber Duckie” from Sesame Street I can't think of a better way to start the list this week. A true, undeniable classic and the first true big-time Muppet hit song, "Rubber Duckie" was and is huge for Sesame Street. Most of us obviously know this song by heart and have been singing it since we were kids. It's joyful and fun as Ernie sings about how much he loves his Duckie. I really don't know what more I can say about this one... other than, "You're the one!" Favorite lyrics: "Rubber Duckie, joy of joys/When I squeeze you, you make noise/Rubber Duckie, you're my very best friend it's true!" 92. “Cabin Fever” from Muppet Treasure Island Another fantastic song from Muppet Treasure Island and one of the craziest numbers the Muppets have ever done. The amount of wacky things going on here is great. The lyrics are equally manic and goofy. My favorite part about this song is how many different voices Jerry Nelson does. So many different, one-off characters sing in the song and Jerry sings for most of them in different voices. It's amazing. Favorite lyrics: "Grab your partner by the ear/Latch him to the wheel/Do-si-do, step on his toe/Listen to him squeal!" 93. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The Muppet Show This list has been chock full of great Floyd Pepper songs, which is no surprise since Floyd was Jerry Nelson's most musically talented character. This marks the second time on this list that we've picked a Beatles cover of Floyd's. Again, I think Floyd's version is superior to the original, but that's just me. I love how soulful and purposeful Floyd is while he performs. It's true magic watching this character play his guitar, so the song about how much he loves it is perfect for him. Favorite lyrics: "I look at you all, see the love there that's sleeping/While my guitar gently weeps/I look at the floor, and I see it needs sweeping/While my guitar gently weeps." 94. “The Batty Bat” from Sesame Street I'll have to add it all up when the list is done, but I think Jerry Nelson sings the most songs on this list. It wouldn't surprise me in the least, given the wide array of characters and songs he sung. "The Batty Bat" is my favorite Count von Count song, one whose music and lyrics make for a true, under-appreciated Sesame Street classic. The Count and Jerry are having a great time singing this and it shows. Favorite lyrics: "One, two, three spread out the cape/One, two, three twirl round the floor/One, two, three left foot you swing/One, two, three then start to sing/One, two, three loud as you please/One, two, three counting with ease!" 95. “Yes, We Can” from Fraggle Rock Well what do you know, another Jerry Nelson song! (This will happen four more times before the end of today's list.) This is a fantastic Doozer song led by Architect Doozer with harmonies by Cotterpin and two other young Doozers. The lyrics spell out the entire Doozer way of life in one convenient, catchy song. It's a spectacular display of Doozer greatness. Favorite lyrics: "Do you know the Doozer lord/Love it as your own?/Do you dream of Doozer chores/Sleeping in your home?/Yes we do, yes we do/Yes we really, really do/Yes we do, yes we do/Yes we really do." 96. “Feelings” from The Muppet Show Yup. Beaker sings lead in two songs on this list. He really is talented, you know. Or... I guess you don't know, since none of us know what he's saying. Anyway, this classic from The Muppet Show is the first example of Beaker's desire to be a performer. The audience hates him, of course, but Animal is on Beaker's side and controls the situation. It's a hilarious number that makes great use of a great character. Favorite lyrics: "Meeeee me! Me me mee me meeeeee me!" 97. “I Seen Troubles” from Fraggle Rock Ah, my favorite Marjory the Trash Heap song. Who knew that a heap of garbage would be the most soulful, enticing singer on Fraggle Rock? Obviously the producers did when the cast Jerry Nelson in the part. Marjory performed some fantastic numbers throughout the course of the show, but none of them quite reach the heights of this soaring, introductory song for the character. It's fun, lively, and 100% Marjory. Favorite lyrics: "Everybody that I meet/Just seems to make my life complete/Bring me troubles/Bring me pain/They bring me woe!" 98. “Brothers in Our World” from Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas Ooh, it's my favorite mash-up! The revelation at the end of the special when Ma Otter's "Our World" and Emmet and the Jug-Band's "Brothers" mix to make the perfect song is fantastic. The song really is perfect. In fact, I don't even think of it as two songs coming together, I usually only think of it as one song. The lyrics weave together so brilliantly that it's hard to separate them. Favorite lyrics: "Our world says welcome stranger/Everybody's a friend/(We could always use a friend)/Favorite stories don't end/In our world." 99. “Halfway Down the Stairs” from The Muppet Show The only song from The Muppet Show to reach top 10 (in the UK) is performed by the wonderfully sweet Robin the Frog. His only real appearance in Season 1 is this magnificent number. Jerry Nelson always brought such wonder to Robin's songs when he performed and "Halfway Down the Stairs" is Robin's greatest. It's because of this song that I count stairs when I walk up them, just in case I need to know where halfway is. Favorite lyrics: "Halfway up the stairs isn't up and isn't down/It isn't in the nursery, it isn't in the town/And all sorts of funny thoughts run 'round my head/It isn't really anywhere, it's somewhere else instead." 100. “Just One Person” from The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson It honestly came as a shock to me when I first found out that the Muppets didn't originate this song. It just fits everything they stand for so perfectly. Yes, the Muppets first sang it on The Muppet Show, but it wasn't until 1990 when it took real, deep meaning after Jim Henson passed away. The choice to perform it in the special that honored him was a perfect one. Robin leads the song and the other Muppets (loads of them) join in when appropriate. It's one of the greatest Muppet moments of all-time. Favorite lyrics: "If just one person believes in you/Deep enough, and strong enough believes in you/Hard enough, and long enough, before you knew it/Someone else would think... if he can do it, I can do it." 101. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from Christmas Eve on Sesame Street I had an impossible time choosing which Muppet version of this song to choose for this list. There's John Denver and Rowlf's amazing version from A Christmas Together, or Kermit and Miss Piggy's duet in A Muppet Family Christmas, and Kermit's perfect rendition from Green and Red Christmas, but I finally decided that Bert and Ernie's performance in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is the greatest one. The duet between Jim Henson and Frank Oz was impossible to resist and it's one of the best moments that Bert and Ernie have shared. Favorite lyrics: "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Let your heart be light/From now on, our troubles will be out of sight." 102. “This Frog” from Sesame Street I love this Kermit song way too much. Not only is it some of Kermit's finest vocal work, but it speaks volumes to his character and his plight as a character. He sings about how he chooses his own path and makes his own choices. He sings about how he knows that he's worthwhile and important even though he's just a frog. It's powerful and inspiring. Favorite lyrics: "This frog has a song to be sung/This frog isn't gonna spend his life in a swamp/Catching flies with his tongue/This frog may slip and stumble/But this frog has to try/This frog is gonna make it/Or know the reasons why!"
103. “Right Where I Belong” from The Muppets Take Manhattan Another magnificent Kermit song and another that speaks volumes about him. This song also leads into the medley that both opens and (apparently) closes "Manhattan Melodies." But it works as so much more than that. What I love about this song is that it works out of context from the movie as well. It's just an uplifting, heartfelt song from our favorite frog. Favorite lyrics: "Look at me, here I am/Right where I belong/I see that face comin' back to me/Like an old familiar song/What better place could anyone be?/'Cause you're here with me." 104. “Gone Fishin’” from Rocky Mountain Holiday One of the very few moments from Rocky Mountain Holiday that I legitimately enjoy is this amazing duet between John Denver and Floyd. Zoot accompanies on saxophone, but the stars are Mr. John and Mr. Floyd. A real friendship is hinted at between these two in this song. Did you know that Floyd and John also performed this song at the Grammy Awards? They did! Favorite lyrics: "Gone fishin' by a shady wady pool/Gone fishin', man you really play it cool/We don't wish to be annoyed/Mr. John and Mr. Floyd/We're fishin' instead of just a'wishin'." 105. “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” from The Muppet Show Ah yes, Lydia the Tattooed Lady. Not only is the puppet wonderful, with tattoos drawn by Jim Henson, but the song was one of Jim's favorites. Kevin Clash sang the song as Elmo at Jim's memorial service and it's hilarious and wonderful. But Kermit's rendition remains the consummate classic. It's just a fun, bouncy song with a fun, bouncy tattooed pig.Favorite lyrics: "She can give you a view/Of the world in tattoo/If you step up and tell her where/For a dime you can see/Kankakee or Paris/Or Washington crossing the Delaware."
Mother always said never try to follow a dancing tattooed pig. So... with that, we bring this week's list to a close! Check back with us next week for the final installmentof 120 Awesome Muppet Songs!
1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why? A. Gonzo was never embarrassed about being weird, and his weirdness
wasn't conscious or affected. B. The Swedish Chef probably made me
laugh the most. C. When I was little I wanted to be Scooter because he
was cool in a Radar O'Reilly kind of way (that probably says way too
much about me).
2. Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and
A. Grover was as close to Gonzo as Sesame Street offered and The Monster
at the End of This Book cemented my respect for him. LOVED that book.
B. Mr. Snuffleupagus for the name, personality, and the lingering
question whether he was real or Big Bird was insane. Proving him to be
real diminished the character for me. C. Barkley, because I always
wanted a dog just like him.
3. Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
wasn't available where I lived (and we couldn't have afforded it
anyway) so I didn't get to see Fraggle Rock until the cartoon premiered
on network TV. I was just never as attached to it, maybe the cable-only
origin gave it elitist or pretentious associations for me.
4. What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson's creations (e.g. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why? The Muppet Show. It had no premise other than comedy.
5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why? The Muppets Take Manhattan because it makes the characters feel the
most real, and seeing the
Sesame Street characters in the wedding scene makes me tear up nearly every time. Tied for favorite is Follow That Bird
because it's hilarious and so completely surreal (just try summarizing the plot for someone who hasn't seen it).
6. What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
"I Don't Want to Live on the Moon" or "I'm Going to Go Back There Some Day." Both are wistful, melancholy, and almost eerie.
7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why? For me it would be Dave Goelz, because Gonzo was always so inspirational and insane. If my children were there, it would be Frank Oz
because both children love Yoda and my fifth grader is obsessed with
8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects,
what would you tell him was the "Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time"? A Muppet Family Christmas perfectly encapsulates what the
Muppets are all about. If you need a specific moment, then Jim washing dishes at the end kind of says it all.
10. What's the name of that song?
I had to look that one up, so I feel unqualified to answer.
11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do? Nothing involving food preparation or handling. Really, I can't imagine anything I'd want him to do unsupervised.
12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made? The Christmas Toy. It's nice enough and I haven't seen it in a
while, but I remember the pacing as slow and the Foley/ADR/etc as being
13. Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
14. If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose? Gonzo and upside down or sideways.
15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
A Muppets Colorforms set.
News has come in (via our friends MuppetHenson) that the fantastic actor Tom Hiddleston will be doing a cameo in The Muppets... Again! Hiddleston is perhaps best known for his role as Loki in Thor and The Avengers. According to sources, Hiddleston will be playing a character called "The Great Escapo." Could this be the new movie's Hobo Joe?!
When The Muppets came out in 2011, Hiddleston was very out-spoken about how much he loved the film. Check out some of his tweets below:
Tom Hiddleston also had an adorable encounter with Miss Piggy when she hosted the red carpet events for the BAFTA Awards in 2011. He told Piggy how big of a fan he is... which you can see in the short video below:
Obviously Tom Hiddleston is a huge Muppet fan and, I think, he's perfect for The Muppets... Again!
According to a picture posted by The Jim Henson Company on Facebook (seen at right), the Fraggles, including at least Red and Gobo, shot a video with NASA'sBobak Ferdowsi. A quick Google search of that name tells me that Ferdowsi works in the NASA control room and has a mohawk that gained him some odd notoriety during the Mars Curiosity Rover landing. Anyway... no word yet on what the Fraggles talked to him about, when a video might be up, or if Gobo speaks, but all of these could yield very exciting developments which we will definitely keep you posted on!
Since they're filming their new movie, The Muppets... Again, in London, the Muppets have become big supporters of the Red Nose Day charity. They've even got Ricky Gervais in on the act as well! Check out the video below to see Ricky poke Pepe in the throat and ask you to send all your monies.
Not to be outdone, Miss Piggy appeared with someone named Dermot O'Leary during the fundraising event to announce the first fundraising total. She's in perfect form and makes a grand entrance. Check out the video below!
In exciting cameo news, British comedian Peter Serafinowicz will be joining in on the fun of The Muppets... Again. If you've never heard of Serafinowicz (which it turns out I hadn't), you may know him from the movies Shaun of the Dead or Couples Retreat. Or maybe you've heard him as the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Or maybe you haven't heard of him at all! But from what I've heard, he's very funny. No word on what his role will be, but it's nice to know more cameos keep coming!