Friday, July 25, 2008

Muppets 2.0?

The Muppets haven't had a TV series since 1998, and their last TV movie was 2005, but a series of viral videos featuring Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Animal, Gonzo, and Statler and Waldorf were posted to YouTube between June 27 and July 16 and they are taking off. Ever since Disney bought the rights to the Muppets in 2003, it seemed like they were just living off of royalties and lending out the characters to appear in Pizza Hut commercials rather than creating new shows. The fact that Beaker's video already has over a million hits makes it evident that these guys were sorely missed by a generation of 25 to 40 year olds.

Ode To Joy

Jason Segal, 28-year old star and writer of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is a huge Muppets fan and will be penning the next Muppet movie. These YouTube vids seem like a good way to build up the Muppet brand again in anticipation of that, since I have a feeling most Millenials know only Sesame Street, not the characters from The Muppet Show. In fact, in another bid to raise the profile of the Muppets, Kermit, Miss Piggy and pals will appear alongside Disney teen idols this Sunday in a special called Studio DC: Almost Live.

Why Disney was just sitting on such a cash cow (and frog and pig) so long is unclear, but it's good they are back and it was genius to do this on YouTube. The short format and random humor of the Muppets is perfectly suited to this medium, plus, as with all economical web clips, all you really need are two or three people to produce each video. The snarky pair Statler and Waldorf, who go by the handle heckleu247, seem particularly at home on the internet despite their age. And Sam the Eagle was Stephen Colbert before there was a Stephen Colbert.

Here are more clips


Classical Chicken

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