Puppet Stuff: New Henson Projects
There’s a butt load of news kicking around at the moment, all related to comic to movie (or television) stuff. Mostly because of the huge comic convention, creatively titled Comic-Con, which took place over the last four days in San Diego. A lot of the news, for a nerd like myself, is really ‘rock your socks off stuff’, however, not being there I don’t really feel too qualified to talk about too much of it here on EOL.
Having said that, there are one or two tidbits that have come out regarding the stuff that the Jim Henson Company (TJHC) are working on. Now, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a huge fan of TJHC’s productions and while I was originally pretty devastated by the fact that they’d sold ‘The Muppets’ to Disney, especially after the superb ‘Muppets from Space’ seemed to indicate that TJHC were heading for a more adult style of humor. It seems now that the whole reason that TJHC sold the Muppets to Disney IS so that they could take a new direction with future efforts and not be tied to an expectation of what people wanted from the Muppet characters.
Of course, that’s just speculation on my part, but it’s based on the fact that two up coming productions from TJHC are clearly aimed at an adult audience.
I’ve written about ‘Late Night with Augie and Del’ before, at the time though, the full title of the show hadn’t been revealed and very little was known about the show itself. However, Comic-Con attendee’s were treated to a snippet of the show which ComingSoon.net summarized thusly:
Two middle aged guy puppets on a late night show with guests, skits, a band, sketches, and more. One of the characters seemed to be a combination of John Madden and Rodney Dangerfield. They jokingly promised to talk about “stuff that really matters”
As if the Late Night project wasn’t enough to have me putting socks on my hands in anticipation, they revealed yet another show in the works, and this sound like it could be an absolute riot especially if you’re a fan of ad-lib comedy. The show, titled “Jim Henson’s Puppet Improv” is described as ‘Who’s Line is It Anyway’ with puppets:
The clip shown displayed the comedy improvisational skills of the Henson puppeteers while catering to the adult crowd as far as content and language. The clip had folks laughing to the point of tears. In one sketch, the director asked the audience for a country – Angola. They then set up a scene where one Columbo-like interrogator was questioning a koala about a crime through an interpreter. When asked for a crime, someone yelled out “robbed a bank”. The director said, “More specific?” Someone yelled out, “Sperm bank!” And thus the scene played out.
I can’t wait for this show to begin airing (and I don’t care where) as it sounds like a brilliant idea for a show. If you have any doubts about how well the Henson puppeteers can ad-lib (in character) I recommend that you take a look at some of the ‘Muppets Tonight’ out takes (although I don’t know for sure, I’d bet you can get the series on DVD by now): Scenes where a character flubs his or her lines go completely off the rails while all the other muppets, not only stay in character but make use of props and heckle each other until the scene is completely abandoned.
Oh, and if you’re into this sort of thing, they’re talking about a Dark Crystal sequel too. [source]