Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Halloween From The Balcony

A series of special holiday clips of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" were created featuring the two old Muppets dressed up for Haloween and discussed their favorite horror movies (Statler was a mummy, and Waldorf was a vampire). This was a special shoot, and were not made for a regular episode of the movies.com series. These clips were made for publicity, so that news stations and TV magazine shows could incorporate the special footage into their own broadcasts. You may have seen these pop-up on in a TV report, an online news video clip, or somewhere else. Be sure to check Movies.com on November 12th for the next regular episode of the show.


Anonymous said...

Didja notice that Mr. Tarleton has a link to download the episodes? Coooooool.

Television's Kynan Barker said...

This goes to show we can't trust Muppets Holding Company.

Here's MHC's Martin Baker, as quoted by Jim Hill: "Our core group of performers will still get the high profile jobs. The TV shows, the movie work. This new group of performers ... will only get the secondary jobs. When Kermit needs to appear at the opening of a mall or in a new show at the theme parks." (http://www.jimhillmedia.com/article.php?id=1643)

That was in September. One month later, MHC is releasing fake Statler and Waldorf clips (NOT performed by Muppeteers Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire, but by sham understudies) to TV networks for broadcast all over the country.

Join in the protest: www.savethemuppets.com

Chris Stulz said...

I was thinking the same thing today actually...

Philo said...

Sorry television's kynan barker but you're wrong - for a certain point of view. Right now, to call Victor and Drew a "fake Statler and Waldorf" would be the same as calling Steve, Dave, or Jerry a fake Statler or Waldorf. You see as of October 12, 2005 Drew and Victor are Statler and Waldorf. Everything since that date has been them. The same way that on December 11, 1992 Dave and Jerry became Statler and Waldorf (and continued it until Jerry handed Statler to Steve in 2003).

SaveTheMuppets is about stopping multiple Statlers and Waldorfs. Stopping a flip-flopping between "Statler A" and "Statler B". But right now there aren’t two Statlers, nor two Waldorfs. Until Dave and Steve start performing the characters in something new (like a TV spot, a new production, or another appearance) these are Statler and Waldorf. For all the audience knows the characters had another slight vocal change and are now recast. Until we get the flip-flopping and multiple characters we have no leg to stand on with the argument of character integrity. For all the common viewer knows, Drew and Victor will be Statler and Waldorf until they retire and hand them off to performer number 4 and 5. There aren't multiple characters here - just diffrent performers (something that happens all the time). Dr. Teeth has had performers for just 1 or 2 gigs (John, Bill, Dave) and no one complained. The argument right now looks like performer sympathy and not character integrity.

How is the shift from Steve to Victor any different from the shift from Jerry to Steve, or Richard to Jerry? Until we see Steve's Statler trying to co-exist with another Statler, we don't have any argument other than there are new guys (something which has happened to most of the classic characters). Until we can prove this is a multiple performer situation, rather than a recast where is our proof, as an audience, that this is happening.

Television's Kynan Barker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Television's Kynan Barker said...

"SaveTheMuppets is about stopping multiple Statlers and Waldorfs."

Thanks for reminding me about the purpose of my own campaign, Philo. But all the recasting you mentioned -- Jim to Dave, Richard to Jerry, Jerry to Steve -- happened because of the unavoidable circumstances of death and retirement. THESE recasts have happened for reasons that are still unfathomable to me.

"Until we can prove this is a multiple performer situation, rather than a recast where is our proof, as an audience, that this is happening."

What you seem to be saying is we shouldn't complain about arbitrary performer replacements until AFTER the rightful performers get their characters back. That every change is acceptable until the next change. Our point is any unnecessary change is to the detriment of the characters.

Everything MHC has said indicates that they are planning on using MULTIPLE performers: "Our core group of performers will still get the high profile jobs." If, as you're suggesting, we accept movies.com as a permanent recasting, then you're calling Martin Baker a liar. Are you calling Martin Baker a liar? Because I am too, but, I think, for different reasons.

[reposting deleted post to amend typographical error]

~ Jenna ~ said...

Here's my two cents == I love these new guys. Vic and Drew are awesome as Statler and Waldorf. In fact, I wish they would take the characters full time! I love Steve and Dave to bits (and I hope they keep Muppeteering all their other characters and whatnot). But the Steve and Dave (and even to some extent, but not as much, Jerry) just never seemed like Statler and Waldorf. They seemed like just impressions of the mannerisms and catchphrases of Jim and Richard. However I feel Drew and Victor have found the essence of the characters, the heart of them, and that they are really a much better fit for the two old curmudgeons.

Steve and Dave were good, but not a “stand out” performance or remarkable, nor memorable. They were good; not great. It seems like they just got the job because they were there (there was a small pool of Muppeteers to draw from). Most of Jim and Richard’s characters that were recast in a flash after they died seemed too forced. The ones that took a little longer (like Bill as Rowlf, or Ricky as Scooter, or Brian as Janice) were more natural and more thought out and natural.

I think if Jim were alive, but for some reason unable to puppeteer (lost voice, lost arm, whatever) he would pick the best performers to take on the characters - even if it ment going outside the 5-6 existing employees he had. Passing Kermit to Steve was perfect. Passing Bert, Grover, Piggy, and Fozzie to Eric (not a key Muppeteer at the time) was perfect too. Passing Statler and Waldorf seemed a little bit more like an after thought, like a “who can pull these two off MCC?” and it stuck. Dr Teeth has had 5+ performers since Jim died; none have been right (that’s why he keeps jumping around and hardly showing up for more than 1-2 lines). Scooter had 3 other performers after Richard Hunt died until Ricky Boyd was able to pick him up and brought the character back to life for the first time. Sometimes the first recast doesn’t work (many times because it was done for convince sake). Sometimes you need “unknowns” or secondary performers; sometimes they are better.

I’m not saying I agree with this whole recasts business, and the whole multiple performers things, and the whole 2 Statlers and 2 Waldorfs -- a Muppet in every city! I support SaveTheMuppets 100% (I’ve written a whole bunch of letters already), I think this action will hurt the Muppets. But in this case, in this one situation, I have to say – I love the new guys; I love Victor and Drew as Statler and Waldorf. I think they should do them all the time; the big stuff, the little stuff, all the stuff! There would not be two Statlers and Waldorfs. There would only be one – Drew and Victor! Sorry Steve. Sorry Dave. These guys are better, in my opinion.

As for what Movies.com did with Dr. Teeth, it is a shame he was done with such a bad Dr. Teeth impersonator (I would have preferred Bill performing), but still no one has really re-captured him yet. Now what was done with Animal was horrific and appalling. Eric Jacobson (and David Rudman, and even Kevin Clash to some extent) have done so much better work with the character. It is a shame Eric and Bill could not have done that bit (maybe that was the plan when the episode was written; who knows?). But that was just bad! All I have to say is I’m torn: I love Drew and Victor as Statler and Waldorf (although I don’t agree with how they got the gigs on Movies.com and ESPN – I love watching them on Movies.com and ESPN more than Steve and Dave); I want to support SaveTheMuppets; I don’t want to seem like a jerk towards Dave and Steve’s work; but I want to have Drew and Victor keep the characters (they make me laugh more, and care more about them – they just feel “right”). I just wish the two would have gotten them under friendlier circumstances. But I hope they stick around.

~~ Jenna ~~

Television's Kynan Barker said...

"I support SaveTheMuppets 100% (I’ve written a whole bunch of letters already), I think this action will hurt the Muppets. But in this case, in this one situation, I have to say – I love the new guys"

While I sincerely appreciate the letters, I think it's unfortunate that you are -- that anyone is -- willing to compromise. Being 100% against recasting except in instances where you personally approve of the performers is just not a particularly tenable position. Experimenting in front of the audience is exactly what this campaign wants to avoid.

~ Jenna ~ said...

I agree that they should not be experimenting in front of the audience. Nor should they be trying new peformers in front of an audience like this (basically causing the Muppeteers to audition and fight for their own job). I mean in this case, I have seen that I would rather have “Statler B” and “Waldorf B” than “Statler A” and “Waldorf A” – when their should not even be an “A” and “B”.

But I think that its sad that the only time a recast is considered is when someone dies or they choose to retire (and when they do they usally look to the small group of existing puppeteers – it hurts the characters). In the case of Statler and Waldorf (even before this whole situation) I would say they should have been looking for a new Statler and Waldorf (and not just hand Statler off when Jerry retired to just another convenient existing Muppeteer). They should reassess some of the already recast characters (such as Rowlf, Janice, Floyd, Dr. Teeth, Statler, Waldorf, Link, Robin...) and see if better people are out there. Scooter didn't stick on the first try or two, but they got it (I hope Ricky continues). It should be an on going process of looking for new talent (for new characters, to bring back old ones, and to train in proper understudy fashion with the Muppeteers to one day take over a character).

I think doing it for an audience, like this is wrong. I think this was handled wrong. But I think that, in the end, these guys are better than Steve/Dave and since sadly we have seen them (and this has happened), I hope they stay as Statler and Waldorf rather than flip-flop back and forth to Steve and Dave (not to avoid a performer switch again, but because they are better at doing the characters). I hope we don't ever get in this situation again. God forbid one day a fake Kermit shows up that blows Steve away (which I think impossible because for the past decade Steve has embodied Kermit; and Kermit and Steve are one, Kermit is Steve and Steve is Kermit - the same way Jim was. We are no longer comparing “2005 Kermit” to Jim’s, he just is Kermit.). However with Statler and Waldorf, I never felt that the performers connected with them. Dave and Steve and Jerry just seemed like they were imitating Jim/Richard the whole time – just playing characters, not being characters. They never really allowing the characters to grow, evolve and become a part of them – have depth and range. Victor and Drew just feel more comfortable and natural and already I love their performances in the Movies.com and ESPN bits 100 times more than any Dave and Steve bit. I don't like what happened here. It should have never happened. (I would still say Statler and Waldrof need a recast, I just wouldn’t have names of replacers and evidence to back them up) But given that is did happen, I had to say I do like these guys better. I feel bad for saying it, but I feel like for the first time since the '80s that Statler and Waldorf have been Statler and Waldorf and have a future. Is that wrong? Am I a bad person for liking the new guys more? I don't like how I came to learn this, or how they came to be here. I don’t want this to continue (or else ever recast character could be in danger of recasting, although some could use it). But given it has happened, I like the new guys (not how they got here, but their performances). I hope this never happens again. I want to be 100% against arbitrary and multiple recasting, but in this case personally approve of the performers. I’m not going to lie to myself and say Steve and Dave are better. What do I do? How should I feel? Help!

~~ Jenna ~~

Television's Kynan Barker said...

Jenna: Convincing, persuasive and handsome I may be, but I can't tell you what to think or how to feel.

What I CAN tell you for sure is that MHC didn't cast Victor and Drew because they're "better." This was not a decision made to benefit the characters or the audience. It saves Disney money, and that's all.

The people who gave Drew and Victor the thumbs up were not reviewing hours of archive tapes looking for the perfect performance. They wanted what they got: the bare minimum required to be acceptable.

If you happen to personally prefer such and such to so and so, well, I guess that's a lucky break for you. But don't mistake this for a quality issue. Don't forget the same casting decision that made you happy also produced the second lousiest Muppet-branded performance ever shown to the public: Dr Teeth and Animal. (Not to mention Pepe the Prawn with a French accent.)

The all-time lousiest "Muppet" appearance was, of course, that German commercial with the fake Kermit puppet. But at this point, we're not so very far from that.

Centipede said...

Seems the link is gone. Anyone know where else I can get it?