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Friday, August 09, 2013

NEW * FINAL INSTALMENT * My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part XII: My Big Musical Finale by Nicholas Napoli

Nicholas Napoli & Friends
On May 1st, 2013 MuppetsHenson was proud to bring to you the first of a series of great articles all under the heading of "My Journey As A Muppet Fan". They were all written superbly by a great friend and supporter of MuppetsHenson, Nicholas Napoli.

Today, sadly, we present to you his last instalment, Part XII. I want to personally thank Nicholas for all his hard work and time he has put in to these great stories. They have been a great success and very popular with many of you wonderful MuppetsHenson Fans and supporters. I have had so many wonderful comments sent to me about them.

We are hoping in the future, Nicholas will have more stories to share with us for all to read here.

Thanks again Nicholas! Now onto the final edition .....

My Journey As A Muppet Fan Part XII:
My Big Musical Finale

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending…
expect everyone to edit it, people to change it
but that's what makes life so interesting
the lovers, the dreamers and everyone else.
My journey is finally over and after twelve instalments I’ve been able to share with all of you how I survived 2012. The film had wrapped, my nephew now recognised the Muppets, I was officially back to my normal healthy self and in the past year my Muppet collection had expanded… life was good. After a very long time I finally felt “settled” and all I needed now to continue improving was to find the right job for me.


Is this Nicholas?


You got the job

I got the job? I got the job! I GOT IT!

I can’t believe I got the job especially considering that was the only interview I had gone too after leaving my job a year ago.

Now I work with a great group of kids who I don’t mind waking up for every morning because honestly they are my new inspiration, they are what keep me going. I was broken when I met the Muppets, I was ready to give up on myself but thanks to the Muppets I’m better than new and now it’s my turn to return the favour.

I remember when I was a teenager I was so eager to find myself as were all the other teenagers in the world.

We all want to know who we are, we all want to fit in, we all want to belong somewhere and many of us do stupid thing’s trying to answer that question and honestly it’s one of the most important questions on our test. The truth is there is no rush to find out who you are, that’s the whole point of living this life so you can figure it out along the way. Once you finish your test you’ll move on to the next one knowing exactly who you are. I’m twenty-six years old and only recently have I began to discover who I am and honestly the longer you take the better, just means you’ve covered more ground, gained more experience, you are who you truly believe you are. I knew I was still weird but at least I had accepted the fact that I was different and I eventually discovered who I was… a weirdo.

It's not that easy being weird
Having to spend each day
feeling like the weirdo that I am
When I think it could be nicer being
accepted or average or even part of the majority                   
Or something much more normal like that.

It's not easy being weird
It seems I don’t blend in                       
with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass me over
'cause I’m standing out                     
like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky.
But I’m the colour of failure
And I can be silly and idiot-like
And I’m as blue as an ocean,  
or in the way like a mountain,                     
or thick like a tree.
When weird is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why,  
but why wonder, why wonder,                     
I’m a weirdo and it'll do fine, 
it's strangely beautiful                   
And I think it's what I want to be.

My life was finally falling into place as I now had a steady job, one where I can accomplish great things, I didn’t live my days fearing I’d pass out on the side of the road and I had met the Muppets.

Not only that but I was learning how to do a whole load of neat new tricks such as cooking, cleaning and even how to bring out a roast from the oven. Since my last trip to London you’ll all be happy to know I have learnt how to make scrambled eggs, it’s so damn easy, basically you get an egg and you scramble it.

Sometimes when I’m feeling extra adventurous I’ll go as far as making myself scrambled eggs… on toast. I no longer wondered if I was a Man or a Muppet, I had finally realised that I’m two
in one. Who says you can’t be a Muppet and a Man at the same time? Now all that is left for me to do is find a nice pig…

Pop the question!

Marry that piece of bacon

And dance all the way to the farm with her

How big of a Muppet Fan are you? Did you realise it wasn’t Kermit in one of the above pictures?

After waiting so long for The Muppets (2011) to premier we are now only seven months away from the Muppets Most Wanted hitting the big screen. This is going to be an exciting and long seven months and if they don’t start releasing trailers soon it’s going to be even longer. So what are we all hoping for from The Muppets 8th feature film? For one I hope they keep the new title because the old one didn’t do anything for me. Muppets Most Wanted already sounds classic but The Muppets… Again won’t even make sense a few years from now.

Apart from telling a good story, having great musicals and keeping The Muppets in character the thing I want most from the new movie is an even balance between characters. I want all the
Muppets they are allowed to use to be used in this movie and with speaking roles.

If you think about it what Muppet production has taken advantage of all the Muppets available and at the same time found balance between them all? I think the clear winner has got to be It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie which I honestly think is a very under appreciated gem.

It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie for me was the first time I knew Rowlf, Scooter, Lew Zealand, The Electric Mayhem and other missed characters were finally coming back. This movie
was also the first time the Muppets had returned to their theatre in a very long time and best yet they were all playing themselves. Although a movie technically this was the closest thing we had
got to a Muppet TV Special in years. Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Animal and Sam the Eagle who I had missed so much in the last few years were back and I can’t believe how perfect Miss Piggy had returned.

The movie seemed a bit dark but it was very Muppety although I would have added some Muppet Whatnot Angels in heaven. I don’t see the point when there is a scene in a Muppet movie without
any Muppets.

What I loved best about this very merry Christmas movie was the fact that for the first time ever the whole Muppet universe of characters were mixed together and balanced out very well. I remember when Muppets Tonight first aired I wasn’t a very big fan of the show because to me hoping excitedly to see a familiar Muppet face pop up on a Muppet Show isn’t a Muppet Show at all.

We had just been introduced to Johnny Fiama, Sal Manila, Seymour, Pepe, Dr Phil Van Neuter, Mulch, Andy Pig, Randy Pig, Bobo Bear and in my case even Clifford. As much as I was warming up to these characters at the same time I resented them for stealing the spotlight from The Muppets I had actually tuned in to watch.

I’ve just realised Sal Manila is missing from this group photo, the same as what happened to him in Palisades line of Muppet Action Figures.

Poor Sal is the Mokey Fraggle of the Muppets with Floyd coming in a close second.

Eventually the years passed and Pepe abandoned Seymour, Clifford stopped hosting, Bobo Bear got cast-typed as a villain and Johnny Fiama and Sal solved the case of “who cut the cake?” These
characters are now the reason I go back and watch Muppets Tonight because now I actually miss the fact that they are not getting enough screen time because the classic Muppets have taken over... it’s definitely hard to please a Muppet Fan. I grew up watching Muppets Tonight before ever seeing a single episode of The Muppet Show which meant that I was actually introduced to many of these new characters before meeting the old ones properly.

In the last Muppet movie I loved the fact that the background was filled with obscure Muppet characters but I just hope that this time they don’t stay in the background to much.

I also hope that they use as many characters as they can that came after the original Muppet Show. Wouldn’t it be great to see Polly Lobster, Clueless Morgan and Mad Monty pop up again? What about Bean Bunny? The Muppet Treasure Island Pirates would also be cool to see again as many of them were fantastic characters. Actually they would have made excellent Moopets… speaking about The Moopets what do you think about them?

I liked the idea of giving the Muppets a rival gang especially one named the Moopets but the actual Moopets didn’t really work for me. Roowlf, Janooce and Foozie are not only terrible names but they resemble Rowlf, Janice and Fozzie too much. Kermoot looks like an old faded 1960’s Kermit found in the back of The Muppet Workshop and Miss Poogy although again a terrible name was actually okay. I don’t think that was the right way to go adding a random Rowlf, Janice and Fozzie look alike into The Moopets especially when you’re trying to introduce the audience to The Muppets all over again. I always thought it would have been a great idea to use this opportunity to reintroduce the Muppet Tonight characters to a new generation of fans just as they were doing with the original Muppet characters. Imagine Bobo Bear replacing Fozzie, Howard Tubman portraying Miss Piggy, Droop standing in for Gonzo and maybe even Clifford trying to pass himself off as Kermit. Johnny Fiama and Sal Manila would have made a great Statler and Waldorf and why not even throw Dr Phil Van Neuter and Mulch in there pretending to be Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.

How about adding Pepe as The Moopets manager? That would have been hilarious having him try to sell The Moopet Show to the Network Executives. In conclusion more post Muppet Show Muppets and less Moopets except for Miss Poogy I wouldn’t mind if she returned and not because she has a knife to my throat… somebody please call the police.

At the same time there is only one true diva...

I know The Muppets aren’t canon but if we try to give this some logic we could say that it all started with The Muppet Movie. The Muppet Movie is as Kermit explains “approximately how it all
happened” and in order for a nice happy ending The Muppets pretended they arrived to Hollywood and immediately became rich and famous.

In reality the movie leaves out the part where The Muppets struggle in Hollywood by putting on a variety show for five years. During these five years Kermit’s small cast of co-stars soon began to expand when The Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, Lew Zealand, Beauregard and a whole heap of Muppets joined Kermit and pals as they put on a show. Eventually after making so many celebrity friends and their determination to make it on the big screen the Muppets decided to quit their show and marched into Lew Lord’s office demanding to become rich, famous and make millions of people happy.

The Muppets got their deed to fame and fortune and the budget to make a movie and what movie did they make? The very movie we had just watched. Following the success of The Muppet Movie
the Muppets were signed on for another two feature films. They all took this opportunity to get a free trip to England and decided to shoot The Great Muppet Caper in London. Then they made
their third film and also took advantage of their budget and decided to film it in New York City. The Muppets then took a much well deserved break and eventually Gonzo and Rizzo managed to strike a deal with Disney to produce two feature film adaptations based on A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island as well as a new Muppet Show.

Wanting to concentrate on their upcoming movies Kermit past off his duties as host to Clifford and newer Muppets were hired to fill the void left behind by those Muppets working on the movies.

After their new Muppet Show (Muppets Tonight) didn’t work out the Muppets decided to chill out for a while and moved into a giant boarding house together. After years of wondering who he was or even what he was Gonzo finally found his answer.

The Muppets then enjoyed a very merry Christmas together and apparently after all this had happened Kermit and Miss Piggy got into a big fight over their relationship which tore the Muppets apart. The Muppets began seeing less of each other as the years went by only getting together on Christmas. One particular Christmas Kermit and Miss Piggy tried fixing their relationship by deciding to spend a romantic Christmas together alone in the Caribbean but as always plans change and instead Kermit left with his friends to deliver letters to Santa. This was the final straw for Miss Piggy and angrily in the spare of the moment decided to pack her bags, move to France and forget about the Frog. Eventually Gonzo reopen his plumbing business, Fozzie moved to Reno, Pepe became a dance instructor, Rowlf moved in with Sprocket, Sweetums begged Mad Man Mooney for his job back, Thog ate to hide his depression and the Muppets basically all said goodbye to each other.

Kermit in the hope of finding work for The Muppets in order to bring them back together tried finding The Muppets some work and when he was having no luck Kermit decided to visit his good old pal Mickey Mouse.

Mr Mouse wasn’t sure if to take the financial risk on Kermit and the Muppets but being such good friends with Kermit over the years decided to give them a chance. The Frog and the Mouse shook hands and The Muppets got the go ahead to produce two television specials plus a telemovie and the result was not very good. The Muppets new show Studio DC was not picked up and the Muppets ended up having to sue Ashanti for ruining Oz for everybody. Things did not seem well for poor Kermit and the Muppets and once again the Muppets went on to continue living their separate lives. Kermit being too depressed and humiliated to return back to his hometown in the swamp decides to stay behind living out the rest of his days in the mansion Miss Piggy had originally bought for them many years ago. Miss Piggy might no longer be around anymore but living in this house reminded Kermit more of her than at the swamp and all Kermit wanted now was to keep the memories he had made with Miss Piggy and his friends throughout the years.

Luckily a die-hard fan of their previous work named Walter managed to hunt them down and reunited all the Muppets so that after almost forty years they could all put on a show together again. Apparently Muppets Most Wanted continues right where The Muppets (2011) left off so who knows how this crazy forty year old story comes to an end or if it ever will.

Next week the much anticipated and in our case long overdue The Muppet Movie on Blu-Ray is finally released and I know like all of you what I’ll be doing August 13th 2013,I think it is safe to say that at least ten thousand people worldwide will be watching The Muppet Movie on that same day. Let’s just hope that nearly thirty-five years from now the same will one day be true for Muppets Most Wanted. Honestly from what I saw people are going to be watching this movie well after thirty five years because seriously it’s going to be amazing! We’re still seven months away but at least next week we’ll all have something to be excited over which will just make the time pass quicker and maybe even make the wait less painful. Who knows maybe the Muppets have other tasty surprises in store for us before the release of Muppets Most Wanted and if not we have Funko figures, Vinylmation, Wacky Wobblers, Muppet/ Star Wars Action Figures and a year worth of Fraggles to keep us busy.

It has been a pleasure writing for all of you, I really hope you enjoyed my story because only a true Muppet Fan will understand how much that experience changed my life.

I hope you all get your happy Muppet endings and if we ever get a Muppet Fest 2 I hope to see all of you there and this time I’ll be ready to hear your stories instead.

I would also like to thank Brian Knatchbull not only for adding all my pictures along with my stories onto his website but for actually giving us a website where us Muppet fanatics can get our daily dose of Muppet updates and now it even has its own radio station! Thanks for the awesome site my friend, it’s very much appreciated.

And now please join me for my grand musical finale…
I just hope I don’t end my journey by making a fool of myself.

- Nicholas Napoli

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