Karaoke with Kermit

This is a contest to benefit the WE Schools charity, which is a worthy cause. Apparently, Disney is not going to see a cent of the money, so I can support this and spread the word with a clear conscience. However, I have mixed feelings about the prize and the promotions.

You guys…I would be soooooooooo excited about this if Steve were still performing Kermit. Winning a contest like this would have been a dream come true (I don’t know what verb tense to use there). Believe it or not, I actually have made some strides in the last few weeks toward being able to accept Vogel!Kermit as just Kermit (I have an unfinished post I’m working on talking about it in more detail), but I’m not there yet, and unless/until I can suspend disbelief again, singing with a Kermit that’s not really Kermit…well, I suppose it wouldn’t really be a nightmare, but it wouldn’t be my preference.

Which is not to say that I wouldn’t be excited to meet and sing with Matt. Quite the contrary, actually; I’ve always thought that Matt is an excellent puppeteer and a really nice guy, but I like him more since joining Twitter and observing who he follows. There are lots of things I would like to talk to him about if I ever had the opportunity, not all of them Muppet related. He is also a really good singer, so I would LOVE to sing karaoke with him; I would just prefer that it was a character other than Kermit (like Uncle Deadly or Constantine) because my feelings regarding Kermit are still so mixed up and painful. But I don’t feel like I can say any of this on Twitter because there’s the ever-present possibility that Matt might see it, and the short format might lead to misunderstandings and inadvertently hurt feelings. 

I’m also frustrated by the way the contest is being promoted. You click that link to go to the Omaze page, and the first thing you see is a stock photo of Kermit in which he is obviously being puppeteered by Steve. You can just tell by the expression; I can’t explain it. Not only does that just twist the knife, it also feels like false advertising (albeit probably unintentional). On the other hand, when you watch that video, Matt is clearly performing Uncle Deadly at the beginning, so someone else is doubling for Kermit. And again, it’s REALLY obvious and really frustrating because it’s such an unnecessary and easy-to-solve problem, and yet it won’t be solved due to corporate stubbornness and stupidity.

Although on the upside, it does help to illustrate how much Matt has physically improved at performing Kermit in the past year…so that’s something.


5 thoughts on “Karaoke with Kermit

  1. You know, it’s pretty hard to explain, even to myself, how I feel about it. To start with, the idea of singing with Constantine makes me ecstatically happy straight away. The real Muppet ‘wow!’ stuff. Singing with a new Kermit feels… sad… and somehow… off.

    Mind you, Matt is doing his best. All muppeteers are doing their best to keep Muppets going, and it is totally right thing to do. It’s just that even looking past the shock of unjust and untimely recast decision (a year-old wrong is still wrong, you know), the character personality changes with every recast. The group dynamics changes. Sometimes it clicks, sometimes not so much. Especially with complex and well established characters. It is something that works on subconscious level. Frank once referred to it as “knowing the soul”.

    Hmm. I just noticed that i’d feel a similar difference in reaction between the chance of singing with Frank’s Miss Piggy character and her more recent high-kick diva personality, though I fully appreciate Eric’s fine work.

    So, it is not exactly a shrug and a sigh, but…


    • You make a lot of good points, Andrew. As I said, I’m working on a post that addresses some of these issues, so I don’t want to delve too deep into it now, but there is one sentence of yours that really gets to the heart of what I’m struggling with now: “a year-old wrong is still wrong.”

      When Matt started performing Kermit last year, I didn’t know if I could ever get to the point where I could accept his Kermit as the “real” Kermit. After watching some clips from the O2 show, I believe that I could, eventually, come to accept it. I’m not there yet, and it will probably take years, but I think I see a way that I could get there. What I’m struggling with now is how to support Matt and the other Muppet performers without sanctioning Disney’s questionable business practices.

      To put it another way, I’m struggling with the issue of forgiving versus excusing. What Disney did to Steve crossed a line, and there’s no coming back from that. Maybe the Muppets can continue on for many years and have continued success, but there’s no mending what was broken when Steve was forced to exit. Maybe, with time, I could forgive Disney for what it’s done–I’d be willing to try, for Jim’s sake if for no other reason–but I can never, ever forget or excuse it. I can never place the merest shred of trust in the company, or spend money on Disney merchandise, etc., with a clear conscience ever again.

      There’s no beating Disney at this game. They hold all the cards. The only way to win is not to play. But by disengaging, am I sending a message to the Muppet performers that I don’t support them, that I don’t appreciate them for carrying on in the aftermath of their fellowship being broken? I don’t want to do that either.

      I just don’t see how I can continue to support and enjoy the Muppets, as I have in the past, without sending a message to Disney that I sanction what they’ve done, that the injustice of it is no longer relevant, and that they should not be held to account.


      • I wouldn’t call it ‘Disney’ though. We face a harmful decision here indeed, and can only hope that organizational climate for Muppets could change for the better in time, but I don’t want to mix it with a lot of other projects Disney also stands for. (It also makes things a lot easier knowing that the actual performers we love had nothing to do with the whole shebang.)

        As for the Muppets, speaking of the Bowl and O2 events, i still can’t shake off the feeling that Kermit I see there is merely a stand-in, holding the place for the real one to return… Either that or that the whole thing is becoming a tribute to the original Muppets, not unlike the laser shows they used to sell tickets to in the 90s as a “tribute to Pink Floyd music’. I’m ready to admit though, that watching low-q clips on youtube could be totally different from being there in person.

        IMHO, the most Muppety thing on the web these days is the original Jim Henson people talking about Jim and the good old times. Generations change. Maybe the fear that the whole epoch is about to slip quietly away into oblivion prompted Frank to finally release MGT? Either way I am happy he did. I also have my hopes for whatever Steve is going to come up with next, and my suspicions about the new Muppet series recently announced.

        As for my own choices, I simply decided not to force or reason myself into liking or disliking what i see, but just go with the gut feeling instead. It either works for me or not. So I’ll just wait and see if I want to congratulate the guys with finally having it done right, or flip the remote and re-watch the original Muppets instead.

        Oh btw, one other thing I am really happy about is preordering “Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series” Box Set from Amazon!


  2. Maybe years ago,I’d do this, when Jim Henson or Steve Whitmire was with Kermit, and also I was then performing as a singer / dancer, and so on. Not now though,especially with the distance away the event is.


    • Yeah, I’m conflicted about entering since I’d have mixed feelings about winning; maybe I should get out of the way of someone who would get unmixed enjoyment out of it. On the other hand, it is benefiting a good cause. I don’t know. I have until September to decide, so I’ll think about it some more.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s