Friday, November 17, 2006

Henson Trys to Sell "Tinseltown"

Over the past year, the Jim Henson Company has been working one many projects. There are have been many family-friendly project in development (such as the "Fraggle Rock" feature film, "Frances", "Unstable Fables", "Laugh Pad" and "The Skrumps"), plus the company's more elaborate fantasy-world projects (including "Power of the Dark Crystal", a "Dark Crystal" TV show and creature effects for "Where the Wild Things Are"). However, recently the company has been vying to restore their presences in the consciousness of adult audiences. Henson's thrust to capture mature audiences started with "Puppet Up!" and continued with the development of "Late Night Buffet".

Brian Henson told the New York Times that "we lost our position as funny, popular entertainment in the prime-time arena, so I’m trying to get back there. To do that and be innovative, we have to really establish a new voice."

Another new project that the Henson Company is currently shopping around is titled "Tinseltown." The puppet sitcom focuses on a gay couple living in Hollywood. There's Bobby, a pig, and his partner Samson, a bull. The show focus on the life of the couple (both puppets) after they adopt a human son; naturally, comedy ensues.

A five-minute presentation tape for "Tinseltown" has been produced and is circulating the industry. In one portion of the tape, family tribulations arise after Bobby and Samson's 12-year-old son pulls a beer from the refrigerator. Samson is distraught over their son's recent action; however Bobby dismisses Samson’s concern stating "Oh, it was a light beer."

Brain Henson emphasized that being offensive is not the goal. "We didn’t set out to do risqué adult-exclusive content," he says. "What we set out to do is forget all the rules of the 8 p.m. sensibility and just do what we as puppeteers think is the funniest thing we can do in the moment." The show's brief description may seem a bit surprising to Henson-fans, but from people who have seen the project, the writing, characters and humor is said to be "unique", "sophisticated", "tasteful", "enjoyable" and "pure Henson".

As of today, no one has officially picked-up the series; and it is not clear how, or if, the concept will move forward. But I'll keep you posted on this, and all of the Henson Company's projects, as more information surfaces.


Lilorfnannie said...

That has got to be about the saddest thing I have seen yet. What's next, Bert & Ernie move to San Francisco and get married?

Anonymous said...

Henson doesn't own the Sesame Muppets, nor are Ernie and Bert are a gay couple couple. Get it in to your head, Pal!

Kelli said...

Extremely disappointing.

Please take me off the list of future Henson Production viewers.

Anonymous said...

At the very beginning, Jim Henson's goal was NOT to relegate puppetry to children's entertainment. He simply wound up shoved into that role. I think it's nice that his son is now trying to expand the company toward the broader identity that his father hoped for. It would've been different if Henson Productions had gotten typecast in ways that Jim WANTED.