MY MOM: You were in kind of high dudgeon [about Kermit’s recast] before.
ME: Yeah, I still am.
–Excerpt from phone conversation, October 29, 2017.
Well, it’s been two weeks, so I should really talk about this.
It’s hard to find good clips of this on YouTube. Here’s a short, official clip:
Here’s a bootleg clip, which is very tiny and has a flashy background that I think should come with an epilepsy warning:
Some general comments before I get to the Kermit-specific stuff: Drew Scott’s Miss Piggy impression sounds more like Yoda, which (a) is hilarious, and (b) may have just become my new OTP (Yoda and Kermit, that is).
During the actual performance, I didn’t like the style of the vocalist that they had singing “Rainbow Connection”–and also she got the words wrong, which really rubs me the wrong way (as my mom could tell you, I’m sorry to say).
Nevertheless, I’m glad they didn’t have Kermit sing it; it’s still too soon. Not “Rainbow Connection.” Not now. Not yet.
Also, the fact that they had Kermit judge the dance but that his score didn’t count is strangely ironic and sadly fitting.
I will say, in fairness to Matt, clearly he has been practicing really hard since that first “Muppet Thought of the Week” video. In terms of the puppetry/manipulation, he’s improved by leaps and bounds. If I didn’t know all that had happened, and I was watching this without audio, I probably wouldn’t have noticed that anything was different. Personality-wise, he’s doing well too. I have no complaints there. (I mean, apart from the obvious complaint that Matt is not Steve.)
Overall, my assessment of Matt’s performance as Kermit is that he occasionally has these crystalline moments, these brief-but-brilliant flashes of Kerm-itude. With that being said, however, he has yet to string two or more of those moments together to make a coherent performance, and unless/until that happens, there is no way that I’ll ever be able to suspend disbelief that his Kermit is “really” Kermit.
Also getting in the way of my willing suspension of disbelief is the voice. I wish that I had something constructive to say about it. I don’t know if it’s something that can be improved with practice. I mean, maybe he can improve inflection and diction and those kind of things with practice, but there’s still the fact that Matt’s voice is lower than either Steve’s or Jim’s, and there’s not much that anybody can do about that at this point, at least not that I am aware of.
More than anything, I’ve been wondering what I do would if I were in Drew Scott’s position. I don’t know if they told them beforehand that Kermit was going to be there or if they just sprung him on them.
Assuming that it was the latter, if I were in that position that would be tough, because on the one hand, I would be really excited to meet Matt–as, of course, anybody would be. On the other hand, they would obviously want me to interact with Kermit, and that would be really difficult because (a) I would have a difficult time playing along and suspending disbelief, and (b) everything I would want to say to Kermit would pertain to Steve and the Schism, discussion of which would probably be frowned upon–not entirely unreasonably, by the way. But on the third hand, I wouldn’t want to refuse talk to Kermit at all, because that would probably hurt Matt’s feelings.
I’ve said before that I now regard Kermit as a loved one with dementia, so that’s probably the way that I would talk to him. Unfortunately, that might also hurt Matt’s feelings, which would be regrettable, but I’m only human and there’s only so much that a human being can take.
I guess there is one “safe” topic about which I could have a conversation with Vogel!Kermit in that particular situation, and that is my personal history with the song “Rainbow Connection.” How I associate it with happy family times, and how I didn’t know it was a Muppet song for the earliest years of my life, and how I chose it to be one of the songs that we sang as a family for our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. That’s a safe topic. I could have a conversation with Vogel!Kermit about that and not feel disingenuous.
Just so long as he didn’t want to sing it with me. Still too soon.
4 thoughts on “Kermit’s Appearance on “Dancing with the Stars””
This was also my first “forced to watch” Matt!Kermit viewing as I am a huge DWTS fan. I avoided all the other Matt!Kermit postings prior to this. I was pleased in that “he didn’t suck” — had some decent timing on jokes “live” which is hard to do. Comedic timing is a learned skill — he did surprisingly well. I agree the voice isn’t quite right but felt the same way about Steve!Kermit (I’m an OG Sesame Street viewer from Season 1 – when I was 5), but eventually got used to and accepted him. Muppet Christmas Carol (featuring an early Steve!Kermit) is an annual staple in my house.
Sort of going off on a tangent here, but I was watching bootleg episodes of the Muppet Show on YouTube, and they were edited in such a way that the playback speed was ever so slightly faster than it was supposed to be. And I noticed that when Jim’s Kermit voice was sped up slightly, it sounded exactly like Steve’s. So it would be interesting to speed Matt’s Kermit voice up the same amount and see what it sounds like. Not that it would change or resolve anything; I just think it would make for an interesting experiment.
IMHO, it’s kinda like having Tom Haverford and Ron Swanson swap places. Both sure can deliver a joke with perfect timing, but the feel of personality would be certainly different. Same with Matt’s Kermit — the jokes are fine, but you can feel it’s not the same personality as Jim’s and Steve’s Kermit we know. And it’s not really because of vocal timbre, sorry folks.
I remember the sense of awe and that “wow… Kermit… somehow… is… still… himself!” wonder back after Jim’s death, which I will always be grateful to Mr Whitmire for. This time it feels more like Conan O’Brien to Jay Leno change, instead.
you can feel it’s not the same personality as Jim’s and Steve’s Kermit we know. And it’s not really because of vocal timbre, sorry folks.
Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Or, as Cantus might say, the voice is “part of it, but not all of it.” I think the voice is just what we’re most aware of on a conscious level, so that’s what we tend to fixate on, because it’s more concrete and observable than “personality” or “soul.”
IMHO, it’s kinda like having Tom Haverford and Ron Swanson swap places. Both sure can deliver a joke with perfect timing, but the feel of personality would be certainly different.
That is both an excellent point and a truly mind-boggling prospect.