As I mentioned previously, I still have feelings I need to work through in regard to the Schism, starting with how I first found out about it. It was through this disturbing introductory bit on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
It wasn’t just that the bit was tacky and unfunny; it was that they didn’t provide any explanation afterward. I sat through the entire subsequent monologue on the edge of my seat, screaming at the TV, “What’s going on with Steve Whitmire and Kermit?!? You can’t just turn my world 90 degrees on its axis without further comment or followup!”
Nevertheless, I count myself fortunate that I happened to catch this bit. I watch Stephen Colbert every night, but due to the odd time at which it begins (10:35 p.m.), I don’t always catch the introduction. Because there was no further mention of the Schism after this blurpee, and because I wasn’t very involved in the online Muppet fandom at the time, I wouldn’t have found out about it otherwise until the following week (after the bowdlerized $#!t had hit the proverbial fan).
I also count myself fortunate that I didn’t find out until after Steve had made his first Muppet Pundit post. When they said that Steve was “moving on from the Muppets,” I knew that something was terribly wrong, and I’m glad that I didn’t have to agonize for the day over what sort of hideous health issue or pressing family matter might have caused Steve to voluntarily, albeit unwillingly, retire.
What strikes me as ironic, although it may not actually have been, is that I had been watching Muppet Treasure Island (i.e., the movie that ultimately reassured me that everything would be okay with the Muppets after Jim Henson’s death) that very evening. I took a break in the middle to go do something else, planning to finish it later that night. It was several weeks before I was able to go back and finish it.
My Muppet “appetite” fluctuated a lot during those first few weeks and months. At first, I couldn’t bear to watch anything Muppet related, then I could only watch Fraggle Rock, then I started spending hours watching all the previous Kermit things I could find, particularly those in which Steve appeared on-screen with Kermit.
Maybe I was trying to fix Steve as Kermit in my mind forever. No offense to either Matt OR Jim.
One thought on “The World Turned Upside Down”
I just kept pinching myself and sought solace in friendship with puppeteers who have known and worked with Jim, Steve and Matt. This helped a great deal. Only recently have some of them been able to speak of Steve, as in good memories of working with him and so on. Before this, it was kind of mum, and beating around the bush so to speak. I remember when all this was happening and the blog going full force, how Steve became so very human to us, when he had to deal with his Septic system, and then too the S#!t seemed to hit the fan literally. Still processing everything, and coming to the realization that Steve may have a new character to present in the future or a new project to share beyond making guest appearances on the conventions.
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