January 23, 2012

The Muppets: What We Didn’t See

Filed under: Commentary,Feature — Tags: , — Joe Hennes @ 12:09 pm

After the initial excitement of having seen the Muppets back on the big screen died down, most fans asked a similar question: “Where was that thing I was led to believe would be included in my cinematic viewing experience???”  Okay, so it’s doubtful that the wording was the same, but the sentiment was nearly universal.

Cut scenes, missing celebrities, crazy rumors, and story beats in the novelization all suggest that there was a lot of material left on the cutting room floor.  With the announcement of deleted scenes on the Blu-Ray (in stores March 20th), we’re ready for a taste of what we missed.  But first, let’s take stock of what we know is out there, and what we’re most hoping to see.

The Muppets Get Arrested: In one of the many parody trailers, we saw the Muppets in jail, hosted by the reliably hilarious Wanda Sykes and tag-teamed by honorary Muppet Danny Trejo.  Sadly, the scene wasn’t in the final cut of the film, and neither actor received their on-screen credit.  Even worse, a potential entertaining subplot about the Muppets paying for their crimes (which, according to the novelization, was celebrity kidnapping) and the heroism of Walter the Prison Liberator was lost to the ether.

Head Bowling: In the film, Gonzo’s bowling ball act went quite awry, but a glimpse at one of the trailers told us that he actually had some skills by successfully knocking a pin off Gary’s head.  It didn’t seem like it was necessary to the plot, since we can all imagine what head bowling might look like, but considering Gonzo’s lack of screentime in The Muppets, maybe it would’ve been nice to have included.

Giant Thog: From what we heard, Thog was accidentally built much larger than the original puppet.  So in an inspired bout of inspiration, a joke was written into the movie in which Thog couldn’t quite make it through the Muppet Show arches.  But we also heard that there was an additional joke that explained Thog’s hugeness.  Did he eat his feelings after the Muppets disbanded? Did he have a growth spurt? Did he actually claim to have been built too large??  We may never know.

John Krasinski Breaks the Fourth Wall: In another filmed-but-not-shown joke, The Office’s resident prankster John Krasinski and Sam the Eagle shared a scene in which they trade glances at the camera.  Simple, but potentially hilarious.

Kermit the Hermit: In some of the making-of clips, Kermit has a line of dialog in which he explains that he’s not really a recluse, he only comes to the mansion once a week to check the mail and water the plants and whatnot (which explains why he’s holding a tool box when we first see him).  A lot of fans were upset at this edit, since they didn’t like to think of Kermit as the type to live in a fancy mansion, let alone lock himself in.  Personally, I was cool with this personality change, since Kermit gets the opportunity to rise up from his lonely lifestyle and head back toward the personality we all know and love.  But whatever, that’s just me.

Maniacal Laugh: The Opera: Possibly the biggest complaint about The Muppets was that we didn’t get the full story behind Tex Richman’s devious behavior.  Those complaints rose even further when we heard the soundtrack and the missing operatic verse in his song, explaining his lack of laughter, why he hates the Muppets, and the key to his eventual downfall.  Lucky for us, this is one of the few deleted scenes we know will be on the Blu-Ray, so we’ll finally get the full story! Maniacal laugh!!!

Wherefore Art Thou, Muppets Studio?: It seems that we’re finally getting used to seeing “Disney’s The Muppets”, which is fine with me as long as Disney keeps bankrolling quality Muppet productions.  But strangely missing is Muppets Studios’ own logo, not seen in the intro or in the credits of the film.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Muppets Studio had something to do with The Muppets.

Muppet Labs: CERN Edition: Did it seem odd to anyone else that Bunsen and Beaker were the only ones in the “montage” that weren’t carried away by oversized vaudeville stage hooks?  It even seems like Bunsen, who is clearly working at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, is busy delivering an inaudible line when we first see them.  Call me crazy, but I bet that was part of a much longer scene in which Kermit finds some explanation for why The Muppet Telethon needs a scientist.

Redhead on the Red Carpet: After some photos leaked all over Twitter, we learned that there would be a scene with Kathy Griffin, Billy Crystal, and Ricky Gervais on the red carpet of some big awards show (Crystal’s appearance suggests the Oscars, Gervais the Golden Globes).  My best guess: It was to be included in a scene of the Muppets trying (and failing) at getting a celebrity host for their show.  Really, they should’ve kept it if only so we could’ve gotten more of Scooter in a tuxedo.

More celebrities? Don’t mind if I do!: Even more celebrities confirmed that they filmed scenes for the movie, including Liza Minnelli, French Stewart, Mila Kunis, and Sterling Knight.  I can’t even fathom what that odd quartet could’ve done, so I’m gonna hazard a far-out guess and say they were going to play a team of slapstick acrobats auditioning for the Telethon, only to be booed off stage by Link Hogthrob and surprise guest star Barack Obama.

Pig of the ’80s: What exactly were Kermit and Piggy fighting about?  In one of the tags at the end of the film, Piggy decides to share her newfound happiness with the paparazzi, much to the dismay of a certain frog.  But Piggy’s familiar attire hinted at something else, that maybe this scene was supposed to take place in 1984.  According to the novelization, Miss Piggy dragged Kermit to a door full of flashing cameras and newspapermen after their wedding in Muppets Take Manhattan.  Kermit, understandably upset about being tricked into getting married, responded by firing Piggy and forcing the two to go their separate ways.  And then, y’know, the movie.

This list doesn’t even count all of the hard-to-confirm rumors, including more scenes with ’80s Robot, the Moopets, and Gary and Walter’s mother.  We might’ve heard of Swedish Chef Pigs in Space sketches during the telethon.  The novelization mentions a bit where Statler offers the final dollar needed at the end (though it’s whisked away by the wind, and the broken money counter made it all moot anyway).  And probably dozens more that may or may not exist in some format.

So there’s a lot to hope for with The Muppets Blu-Ray, and deleted scenes are just the tip of the iceberg.  Here’s hoping we get to see everything we want and more!

Thanks to the members of the ToughPigs forum for their additional help!  Click here to squeeze through the arches of the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com



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