In June 2017, The Muppet Mindset published questions for the “ALL NEW Great Muppet Survey,” an updated version of their previous “Great Muppet Survey,” which I had filled out in 2013 and revisited in 2018. They published two sets of responses to the “ALL NEW Great Muppet Survey” but have never mentioned it since, as far as I can tell. This was approximately a month before they, along with ToughPigs, broke the news of the Schism, but whether they abandoned the project as a direct result of the world turning upside down and sideways, I do not know.
I recently discovered the “ALL NEW” survey questions and thought, “I have access to these questions and I have a blog; why don’t I just answer the questions on my blog instead of submitting them and waiting to see when and if somebody else decides to publish them?” So that’s what I’m doing. Thanks to Jarrod Fairclough for the questions, and I hope you don’t mind me taking matters into my own hands.
(Note: I’m going to abide by the Mindset’s rules against giving non-answers like “I can’t decide,” not because I have to but because I think it will make for a more interesting read.)
- What is your favorite Sesame Street sketch, and why?
My favorite recurring sketch is Monsterpiece Theater, but if I had to pick a specific segment, probably “Chariots of Fur.” It’s the one that I remember most clearly from my childhood, and also, there’s lots to love about it:
- Herry makes everything better.
- I love Muppets in white shirts.
- Herry and Grover use British slang, calling each other “old chap” and “old bean,” but don’t bother with the accents.
- We get to see their feet.
- There’s a spot-on parody of the movie’s theme music that nevertheless manages to be epic in its own right.
2. What is your favorite Muppet Show sketch, and why?
The “Galley-oh-hoop-hoop.” The way Jim Henson intentionally subverts Freudian imagery, (giving the female Koozebanian creature a long, phallic nose, etc.), is inspired.
3. Who is your favorite character (from any franchise) and why?
Right now, at this very moment, it is probably Beaker. I’ve recently been revisiting his viral videos for 60 for 60 and realized that (a) they are all brilliant and (b) the quality of the Muppets’ online content has sharply declined since Steve’s involuntary departure.
4. Who is your least favorite character (from any franchise) and why?
Right now, at this very moment, it is Miss Piggy, although that’s the subject of a whole other article I’m planning to write in the near future.
(Flip the genders and see if it’s still funny for a male character to lure a female character into a room, tell her “Sweetie, just trust me,” and start beating the daylights out of her while someone else stands by giggling and makes no move to help. Nope, I didn’t think so.)
5. What is your least favorite production (from any franchise) and why?
Oh, that’s easy: The Muppets (2015). When Kermit used the term “cross-promoting” as a euphemism for sex, the Muppets officially jumped the shark. It took them 60 years, though, which is quite an achievement; most franchises can’t even go a quarter of that without undergoing such a marine excursion.
And yes, if anyone’s wondering, I did watch the entire season/series. Despite my dismay, I had a lot more patience with it initially because I trusted that the Muppet performers would always stick up for the integrity of the characters and prevent them from going too far. Little did I know that doing so was not only not an inherent part of their job description, as I had always assumed, but could in fact be grounds for dismissal.
6. What’s your favorite song from any Muppet movie, and why?
Honestly, the answer is “Rainbow Connection,” but I don’t primarily associate that song with the Muppets but with my older siblings who used to sing it all the time when I was little. So instead, I’m going to go with “Can You Picture That?” because The Muppet Movie was my first exposure to it.
7. Who is your favorite Muppet performer, and why?
I’m sure this will come as a HUGE shock to everyone, but it’s Steve Whitmire. Always. He’s so nice, you guys!
8. What is your favorite post-1990 Muppet production, and why?
Muppet Treasure Island, which is on par with The Muppet Movie as my favorite of them all, for two reasons:
- I’m a sucker for any time the Muppets do an adaptation or parody of an existing property, especially a work of literature.
- For the first time after Jim Henson’s death, Muppet Treasure Island reassured me that the Muppets would still be funny and Kermit was going to be okay. And that remained true for 21 years, so again, a pretty good run by any standard.
9. What is your favorite bit of Muppet merchandise (you don’t necessarily have to own it)?
As of this morning, everything in this photograph would qualify for second place, except maybe the weird, stretched-out Jen.
10. You get to spend a day on Sesame Street. What do you do?
Brunch at Hooper’s Store, then spend the rest of the day hanging out with Bert and Ernie. Hug everybody I see.
11. Which is better – The Muppets (2011) or Muppets Most Wanted (2014) and why?
Not only is Muppets Most Wanted better than The Muppets (2011), it’s an even greater Muppet caper than The Great Muppet Caper, which I regard as the Mediocre Muppet Caper. It also has lessons to teach us about the Schism if anyone cares to pay attention.
I do like The Muppets (2011), but Muppets Most Wanted is unquestionably better.
12. Pitch a Muppet movie in no more than 140 characters.
Muppets Meet the Classics: Phantom of the Opera adapted for the screen.
13. What’s the name of that song?
“My Way.” Take it, Wembley:
14. Be honest: How many times have you had to tell your friends he isn’t the Veggie Monster now?
I only remember one instance during which it came up in conversation, and somebody else beat me to the punch.
15. If you got to interview one Muppet/Sesame Street character, who would you pick, and what would you ask?
I’ve been wanting to ask Bert about his paperclip care-and-cleaning regimen for years.