The Muppets are kind of like that old, favorite sweater of yours — you love it dearly and have some fond memories but you have no idea where it went or what happened to it. So, when comedy “it” boy Jason Segel offered up his Judd Apatow-honed services to reboot the Muppets, Disney execs jumped at the chance. For a while, it was good; fanboys and the 25+ set all geeked out when the first trailer was released. However, one group that is most displeased is the original muppeteers themselves.
The Jim Henson O.G. is having some difficulty accepting where Segel has taken the franchise. Frank Oz, best known as Miss Piggy (not to mention Yoda), publicly slammed the film: “I wasn’t happy with the script. I don’t think they respect the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”
Too late, Frank. Another unnamed Muppet vet is upset with the potty humor that Segel has injected. Regarding Fozzie Bear’s “fart shoes,” the original puppeteer says “[w]e wouldn’t do that; it’s too cheap. It may not seem like much in this world of Apatow humor, but the character don’t go to that place.”
The complaints go beyond the style and tone and hit the actual character arc of the film. In Segel’s script, the Muppets have broken up and much of the group is jealous of Kermit’s wealth. This “creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie,” says another Muppet vet.
Segel and his reps have no comment on the Muppet related vitriol, but we imagine a healthy box office take will assuage all concerns. Or perhaps the Muppet old guard is still reeling from the 2004 sale of the Muppet properties from Henson to Disney. Either way, we bet Waldorf and Statler will hate it.