I wanted to post this video a few weeks (or possibly months) ago, but I couldn’t find it on YouTube. I tried searching for it by the name of the song, which was difficult because I didn’t know how to spell it. I’ve known this song for most of my life, but I’d never seen the title or the lyrics written out.
A few weeks ago I got a Google alert on a brief interview that Steve Whitmire gave to a local news station in Knoxville, TN regarding the Fanboy Expo that was going on there. I hoped that would not be all that we heard out of Knoxville and happily, it is not.
This morning, YouTube helpfully and accurately suggested that I might like this 25-minute Q&A that Steve gave at the Fanboy Expo. This panel was recorded and posted by Joseph Scarbrough, a name I recognize from the Muppet Pundit forum, even though I don’t think I ever interacted with him there, but a big “thank you” to him on the off-chance that he’s reading this.
This panel is a little different than some of the other panels we’ve seen. It’s shorter by approximately 20 minutes, and instead of the moderator sitting up front with Steve and asking him questions that we’ve already heard a gazillion times, he stood in the audience and helped with their questions. The whole thing pretty much consists of audience questions, so in that sense, it’s a true Q&A
For whatever reason, Sesame Workshop chose to mark the occasion of the Fourth of July this year with a parody of NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye”:
Okay, so let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat: This video is not good. The reference is dated, it’s not close enough to the original to be readily recognizable, Ernie sounds like Walter in spots, and what the heck is up with the gratuitous autotune?
With that said, I’m glad that they did something that steered clear of frank patriotism because, as I have observed before, it is difficult to take pride in a country where children are being put in cages, and given Sesame’s mission and ethos, it would be disingenuous of them to do so.
I also enjoy Oscar’s contributions to the video because he’s basically saying out loud what I’m just thinking. And bless Matt Vogel’s heart, he’s in fine voice as the Count and really giving it his all. His level of commitment is admirable regardless of the overall end result.
So first of all, I have to take a moment to praise Frank Oz: As Ernie is putting the scarf on Bert, it accidentally gets in his mouth, and Frank reacts the way a person would react if someone accidentally stuffed a scarf in one’s mouth. It’s that combination of skill, commitment, and instinct that give the Muppets life.
Last night I wrote about why I didn’t like Twitter. Specifically, I don’t like being notified that other people like it when somebody is mean to me. I said it was like being kicked repeatedly in the shins by total strangers and not being able to defend myself.
Well, that was yesterday. Today I like Twitter.
On April 7, 1989, I suffered an abraded cornea.
(“Abraded” is a fancy medical term for “scratched” that I didn’t learn until much later.)
I was 8 years old and in second grade. It was a Friday, and unusually windy even by South Dakota standards. The wind was out of the east and blowing so hard that it was almost horizontal. After school, I had to walk directly into the wind to get to my carpool that would take me to my weekly Girl Scout meeting, and the wind blew some dirt or debris of some kind into my left eye.
All my life, people had told me not to rub my eyes, but no one had ever tried to explain why. And I didn’t know any other way to dislodge foreign objects from my eye, so I just kept rubbing it, and it just kept hurting, and so on in a vicious cycle.
So on the off-chance that there are any little kids reading this, let me pause for this public service announcement: Don’t rub your eyes, kids, because you could accidentally scratch your eyeball, and that really, really hurts.
Hello, all! I haven’t posted anything of real substance for a while, and I wanted to take a minute to catch up. I wanted to let you know that it is not my feelings and convictions that have changed; all that has changed is my schedule.
The good news is that I recently landed a new, open-ended, freelance writing gig (thank you, FlexJobs.com), and while it doesn’t pay much, I think that the experience I gain is going to be invaluable to me as I embark on this new career path. The bad news is that, while I have given two weeks’ notice at my other part-time job, at the moment I am working three jobs, and while this is a temporary situation (until the end of the month) I’m sure you can imagine that my life is quite crazy and hectic at the moment, and free time for blogging is at a minimum as I try to manage my schedule and meet all my various commitments and deadlines.
I did, however, purchase and watch Frank Oz’s documentary Muppet Guys Talking yesterday, and it was probably the nicest brunch I’ve ever had (perhaps second only to this). I could only afford to purchase the film, not all the extra stuff, but the film itself was well worth the 10 bucks or so. I can heartily recommend it, and I’ve been informed today that it’s not going to be available forever, so I’d advise you to carpe diem and carpe documentary while you can.
When I have a free moment, I’ll come back and tell you my thoughts and feelings about it, but don’t expect it before April.
This may well be my favorite Bert-and-Ernie song.
Have I mentioned that I love this song? I love this song.
I wrote about this song almost five years ago and observed that, even when Steve is performing characters originated by someone else, “there is an ineffable Steve-quality to his voice because, as this song echoes around my cranium, I can imagine Wembley Fraggle singing it too. Like, as a duet with Ernie. And now I really wish that could be a thing.”
Now I really, REALLY wish that could be a thing that existed outside my own head. Add it to the list of Muppet duets that I’d like to hear but are either impossible or extremely unlikely to occur.
I know I’ve been subtle about it (har, har) but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that I’m a big fan of Hamilton, both the musical and the man whose life inspired it. January 11th was Alexander Hamilton’s birthday (or it might be more accurate to call it the anniversary of his birth), while January 16th was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s birthday (he being the one who wrote the play and originated the role of Hamilton).
So, if I had been really organized, I would have done a whole week-long thing of Hamilton-related posts pertaining to the musical. But I’m not really organized, unfortunately; plus, I still have two jobs. Maybe I’ll do that later, or maybe I’ll do that next year.
In any case, I can’t help but notice that a lot of (past) Hamilton cast members also have connections to Sesame Street, so I thought I’d explore that today.
As my first real attempt at video creation/editing, I made a video tribute to Steve Whitmire:
Special thanks and apologies to my fellow Muppet Pundit commenters Matt L., Richard X., and Rocky D., whose photos/artwork were among those that I co-opted for use in this video.
Generally speaking, I try to be an open-minded, nonjudgmental kind of person. Nevertheless, I do have my pet peeves, and one of them is nonhuman depictions of the Nativity.
So by all rights, I should be really, REALLY offended by this sketch…and yet, I am not. Why not? Am I a hypocrite in addition to being a heretic?
Well…possibly. But in this case, I think it’s the metafictional aspect that makes all the difference. This is a story about a bunch of characters putting on a Nativity pageant. Bert may be playing the role of Joseph, but the point of the sketch is not to persuade me to willingly suspend disbelief and convince myself that he is Joseph and not Bert. The humor in the sketch stems from the fact that he is still unmistakably, undeniably Bert even while trying to play the role of Joseph while valiantly fighting off an attack of hayfever.
Merry Christmas, all! I have tears in my eyes as I share this classic Sesame sketch. I was going to talk about it, but what can I say that hasn’t already been said? There’s no improving on perfection.
“Here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.”
–O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi”
This is my 100th post on this blog, and I wanted it to be something special. So I want to go a little more in depth about my thoughts and feelings on “Muppet Family Christmas.”
Let me take you back to a time in December 1987, when I was a tender and callow seven-year-old. I had seen The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan, (and possibly The Great Muppet Caper, although I think that actually happened later) so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the Muppet Show troupe, but we didn’t own any of those movies on home video yet, so while this wasn’t my introduction to the Muppet Show gang, it was the means by which I got to know them. This was also one of the two times in my young life that I ever got to see the Fraggles on television, so that was really exciting for me.