So what did you think of the R-rated Muppet Show?
If you can get beyond the muppets as characters part and silly sex jokes, I think the story flows fairly nicely. It has a classic story and character arcs with mystery behind who is killing all the Happytime characters. The Happytime characters are kind of a throwback to the Muppet show, but adult version and this is 20 years in the future, where the reruns are about to kick in and make all the former washedup actors rich again. However, someone is knocking them off one by one before the pay day. I think most critics will get hung up on taking muppets seriously in a cine noir type of comedy.
How would Jim Henson have reacted to this movie?
As you may know, Jim Henson did the original Muppet Show and helped out on creating characters for Sesame Street. So he was crucial to reaching a great kids audience with both of these shows. There were very wholesome, silly fun humor with some education rolled up in the shows. The original Muppet Show was cancelled after only one season, which is disappointing because I really loved the humor as a kid. It was a variety show all wrapped up with crazy characters.
I think Jim may have been open to some of the humor, but not all the humor in the Happytime Murders, since his show was so clean. I think though also the Muppets came out during a more conservative TV era, which is really strange to say about the 1970s, but it was at least on TV. The humor in this movie just wouldn't have worked back then.
Do you think this will revive Muppet type movies?
Depends on how this movie does I think. I think the producers chose the right time to release the film at the end of the blockbuster summer season, where parents are glad to escape the long summer of endless kids activities with a comedy about Muppets in an adult world. Seeing as most people take themselves very seriously in a career, the movie may fall flat with that type of audience that has to see serious TV and movies as their only taste, but comedy is beyond these types of people anyway.
How does the movie compare say to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Yes that was another big cartoon living in real life next to a detective. In this similar world, most of the toons are trapped in toon land and the ones that do live outside of Toon land are living on the edge of society like warped characters that can't quite make it in real life. In this movie, all the humor is clean being in the 1980s, so in a way Happytime is a new direction on kind of a remake of this film. Although now all the muppets are visible vs. cartoons.
The interesting take away of Roger Rabbit was the lead Eddie played by Bob Hoskins said after getting into the role of playing next to a cartoon character who wasn't there in the filming (all edited in later), he started to see Roger as a real person for months after the film debuted. It will be interesting to hear about Jenny and Elizabeth's reactions down the road if they have a similar withdrawal symptoms from a film.
What did you think of working humans and Muppets into the same movie?
Jenny was another pivotal role as the ex-girlfriend of PI Phil. She has a great accent of an actress fallen down to become a pole dancer. Not that strange for an almost Hollywood star or one who spent all the fortunes too quickly. She gives balance to the muppet characters that have frozen faces yet come by full force merely by puppeteering and voices.
Would you have changed anything in the movie?
I think the only thing that bothered me and other critics were the endless sex jokes. It seemed to be overly reaching sometimes in this angle. Of course, they are selling the movie as completely the opposite the original Muppet Show wholesomeness anyway.
Another kind of controversial thing they do in the film is show the making of the movie at the end of the movie. I think they are stretching a bit here. It would have been better to save this part for the DVD sales, right? In any case, I liked seeing how some of the film was made via green screen. You kind of sense that, but really are unaware. The editing is very well done so that the muppets feel like they can truly walk around.
Have you done any type of art related to the Muppets?
The closest thing I have is a painting about Miley Cyrus. I did this painting on her radical change from Disney child star to outrageous dildo riding singer on stage. She certainly has had a wild ride changing her image and being ruthless in her attempt to shock the public and gain an audience at any price. My painting is tongue and cheek look at the singer tying in the famous Trident commercial where 4 out of 5 dentists approve chewing sugar-free gum.