Enjoy this blog because what you read is of legendary status.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanks To The Muppets

Without them I could not have reached 100 posts in November! Yayy! That leaves 8 months to reach 100 in. I've done it in October (twice), September, July, and now November. The Muppets really helped. At least 1/3 of the post were Muppetational. Hurrah! Back to back 100s!

Community Won't Go Down Without A Fight

Pop Pop! Six Seasons and A Movie! Troy and Abed on the Cover! Cool Cool Cool Cool. This is the good timeline. Don't ever Chang! NBC Britta'd it. Starburns too. Congrats to Community, who I voted for, on being the TV Guide Fan Favorite. They deserve it. Also check out the greatest t-shirt to ever exist: GREATEST SHIRT EVER!

Congrats To All NaNoWriMos

November has drawn to a close. So has NaNoWriMo. I've already finished. So have my dad and sister! Congrats to all who have!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Urban Liar

Urban Meyer retired from Florida as the coach of the Gators less than a year ago. He said he would never coach again and he wanted to focus on health and family. Now he's joined up with Ohio State. You jumped ship when things got bad, Urban. No respect. May you never win another bowl game.

Trade Rondo?

The Celtics are supposedly 'open' to trading Rondo for a good price. Danny Ainge said that he wants to take the scoring load off of Paul Pierce and would be open to trading Rajon Rondo to do that. Don't trade Rondo! If you trade Rondo, I go back to the Magic!

Busy Day In Sports

Let's begin in Boston. The Red Sox have supposedly hired Bobby Valentine to be their new manager. He will succeed Terry Francona. I'm not thrilled about this, but it will have to do, I guess.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Week's Sports By David

Christmas Lego

No, not Legos for Christmas. A Christmas tree made out of Legos! It's in a mall. Notice the Olympic logo. Fascinating.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Did It

I have written all 50,000 words and then some. My story, Elkhorn, is completed. I won NaNoWriMo with 54,345 words! How about that? It's been 27 days since I started and now it's done! I'm so proud. I have a certificate and a video of people clapping! Hoorah! Very cool. Pride!

Muppet Radio

On Sirius XM Radio, channel 145, there will be a Muppet Radio until Wednesday! You can hear classic songs, interviews with characters, and scenes from movies. It's fascinating and good fun! The best interviews are with the Muppets who cannot talk normally such as Beaker and The Swedish Chef.

Muppet Whatnot Workshop!

On FAO Schwarz's website, you can create your own Muppet and then buy it! How fascinating is that? Here's my whatnot Muppet:

Here They Come Again

Muppets! On Facebook, there is a Mahna Mahna Phenomenon. If your computer has a webcam, you simply record and say "Mahna Mahna." The Snowths will do the rest! Just help The Muppets get to a bazillion by liking them.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It Doesn't Deserve A Picture

The Human Torch is returning to The Fantastic Four in less than a year. So much for that new change to become 'Three.' The whole 3 story line is nothing now. You don't deserve a picture for this post, Stan Lee. Although, I am glad he's coming back.

John Krasinski Goes On A Cruise. He Goes On A Carribean Cruise.

Katie Holmes! No! But he's married to her! Dawson's Creek! It has to be a real person. Pass. It rhymes with Parnold Shporzenegger. No rhyming! Not really a rhyme... More clues! He's the governor of California, the Terminator. TOM CRUISE! No! Time! Ah, god.

Sorry I got carried away. John Krasinski, Jim Halpert from The Office, is on a boat. Carnival Cruises! Enjoy and picture Jim talking!

Friday, November 25, 2011

That's All (For Now)

This is my 26th Muppet post since Wednesday, but all good things must come to an end, right Brett Favre? That's all for Muppets, for now. Just wait until more news comes out. Bork!

Kermit's Eleven

Sure there were a few exemptions such as, Pepe the King Prawn, Rizzo Rat, Waldorf, and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, but it's just fine without me cramming Muppets into it. I think it came out nice and simple. Kermit's Eleven.

Kermit the Frog Is The Run-Away Winner

My Favorite Muppet poll has come to a close and the winner was far and away, Kermit the Frog! Yay! Flail arms! His closest competitor was Gonzo with 7 votes which was still 6 shy of Kermit's 13. Animal had 6. Beaker, Rowlf, and Miss Piggy had 5. The Swedish Chef had 4. Fozzie Bear, Sam Eagle, and Statler and Waldorf had 3. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Sweetums, Scooter, and Camilla had 2. Rizzo and Pepe had 1. Betcha can't wait until December's poll. Check it out in 5 days! For now, you can still review the Muppet poll.

The Dream Muppet Cast of Cameos (For Me. Throw In Patrick Warburton Too. Why Not?)

I'm trying to squeeze in as many Muppet posts as possible. We're going on three straight days of nothing but Meeps, Wokkas, Mois and Borks. Now, let me set the scene. Jason Segal has been given the green light for a Muppet sequel. He tries to manage his time better this time around. He wants around 30 cameos, excluding role reprisals of Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, and Rashida Jones. Now who does he go after? Here's my take:

Returning Cameo Actors:

Jim Parsons
Jack Black
Neil Patrick Harris
John Krasinski
Zach Galifinakis

New Cameo Actors:

Joel McHale
Ty Burrell
Zachary Levi
Johnny Depp
Ryan Reynolds
Anne Hathaway
Jennifer Aniston
George Clooney
Tom Hanks
Morgan Freeman
Adam Sandler
Ashton Kutcher
Kevin James
Emma Watson
Natalie Portman
Kristen Wiig
Melissa McCarthy
Katy Perry
Chris Evans
Nathan Fillion
Eva Longoria
Zooey Deschanel
Alec Baldwin
Jane Lynch
Kaley Cuoco
Tim Allen
Michael Emerson
Kim Kardashian
Conan O'Brian
Ellen DeGeneres

Wouldn't that be a star-studded cast? They can all fit in different ways! Maybe include Jason Ritter to do a scene with Zachary Levi and Gonzo. Adam Richman with The Swedish Chef? That's why they came up with the word 'hope.'

Haha. It's Funny How You Thought You Were Out Of The Muppet Woods

Because you're not. In the 12 years that The Muppets have been away from the big screen, what have they been doing? That's what she Wokka'd? By the way, Gonzo won that Muppet tournament.

Muppet Cameo Cuts

Some people have been complaining about the lack of cameos in the new Muppet movie. Personally I thought there was plenty, but still decided to look into it. Here's what I came up with:

According to Jason Segal, all of the scenes they shot totaled over three hours. So they had to cut some cameo scenes. Also according to Segal, the scenes they cut will be on the Deleted Scenes section of the DVD. That's 78 minutes of bonusness! How amazing is that! Here are the cameos that were cut:

  • Anne Hathaway
  • Ben Stiller
  • Charles Grodin
  • Christian Bale
  • Wanda Sykes
  • Danny Trejo
  • Ed Helms
  • Eric Stonestreet
  • Elmo
  • Frank Oz
  • George Clooney
  • Brad Pitt
  • Jean-Claude van Damme
  • Jon Favreau
  • Mel Brooks
  • Lady GaGa
  • Michael Cera
  • Mila Kunis
  • Paul Rudd
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Steve Carell

2,000 Posts

I have reached an astonishing milestone. 2000 posts. 2000 posts of sports covers, Muppets, movie trailers, funny commercials, and the latest news. 2000 posts of Tim Tebow, tournaments, and comic strips. Now I have finally reached 2000. I can't believe it. Three years and 2000 posts. It's certainly been fun. You'll see another milestone post at 2500! Yay!!!!

Everyone's gettin' in on the fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Week's Entertainment By Davids

Happy Thanksgiving!

Adam Richman and The Swedish Chef rejoice! It's Thanksgiving! Watch the parade. Play football. Eat food. Whatever you feel like doing on Thanksgiving, I'm sure it's the right decision. Oh and listen to Muppet Radio on Sirius XM 145. Go see the Muppets too! Gobble Gobble.

The Beginnings

Back in 2007, a Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody video was released on Youtube. It immediately went viral. This was the beginning of a very long wait for The Muppets. I can't stress enough how awesome it was.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You Knew It Was Coming


It lived up to the hype. I've posted reviews from Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, Yahoo, and The Disney Blog. What about a review from moi?

The last movie review I did was from Tower Heist. Now it's time for my predicted movie of the year, The Muppets.

I thought this was movie was an extremely fun romp! It begins with the greeting of the lovable Walter and his very kind brother Gary.

After a rousing rendition of 'Life's A Happy Song,' the two along with Mary are on their way to L.A. In a tour of the Muppet Theater, Walter overhears Tex Richman's plan to destroy the studio. Let the fun begin!

The trio and Kermit round up the whole gang with tons of laughs and memories.

My core five of the memorable moments that made the movie Muppety are as follows:

  • The slew of cameos including Mickey Rooney, John Krasinski, Neil Patrick Harris, and one pleasant surprise that you'll have to see to believe!
  • The nostalgia factor. You get to see the moments before Kermit pops out of the O in Show. Classic songs like Rainbow Connection, Mahna Mahna, and The Muppet Theme are delivered in perfect fashion. Old memorabilia such as Kermit's tux, old pictures, and the Electric Mayhem bus are featured. They even threw in some Jim Henson pictures. One of the greatest features.
  • The references that they are in fact, in a movie. Such as the suggestions that they put together a montage, travel by map, and Segal referencing that he just sang multiple times.
  • The classic comedy. Zingers from Statler and Waldorf. The Swedish Chef's gibberish. Fozzie Bear's what-the-wokka jokes. The Moopets. Many moments are strung together to provide many laughs.
  • The lovable songs. I've mentioned Rainbow Connection, Mahna Mahna, and The Muppet Theme Show. The original songs such as 'Me Party,' 'Pictures in My Head,' and 'Life's A Happy Song' are delightful.
I loved the Muppets. You should see it. Wokka Wokka!


Classic Muppet Songs

You deserve Kermit and Jason:

Mahna Mahna:

John Krasinski tried.

It's The Muppet Show!:

Jason Segal Deserves Interviews Too

People Magazine can supply it:

"My house is packed with puppets. Like, everywhere. Thank God I have a slightly bigger house now, so I have one room that's sort of dedicated to puppets. But for a long time I lived in a one-bedroom apartment that was just crammed with puppets. It's why I'm still single."

The Muppets writer and star Jason Segel, 31, jokes with New York about looking for a lady

What About Entertainment Weekly.

Sure The Muppets got a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest of the year. EW has their opinion:

"During the recent nerve-racking hours following the devastating news that Eddie Murphy would no longer be the host of the next Academy Awards, an Internet-
led movement arose to draft Kermit the Frog and friends for the job. Alas, the banjo-playing personality with the perpetually youthful green complexion lost out to Billy Crystal. But the fan interest is proof of the durable popularity of the felt frog, now starring inThe Muppets, the first big-screen reunion of the international-superstar puppet characters since their underwhelming 1999 outing, Muppets in Space.

As a theatrical troupe, the Muppets haven't exactly been AWOL these past dozen years; the gang rocked YouTube in 2009 with their kick-ass rendition of Queen's ''Bohemian Rhapsody.'' But they've certainly been lying low while our twitchy, tweet-y times have favored snarkier, more air-quote-driven entertainment, even from puppets. And in a way, that showbiz hiatus has worked in favor of The Muppets. For adults, the movie's gentle, clever, unironic humor feels freshly, trendily retro now, enhanced by laughs provided in cameos from a very up-to-date roster of stars, including Rashida Jones, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Selena Gomez, and Emily Blunt. And for kids, blessedly unironic by nature until wised up by nurture, the movie is just shiny, funny, and filled with songs, including a curse-free chicken rendition of Cee-Lo's ''F- - - You.''

Big, goofily sincere Muppet fan Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother), who co-wrote the script directed byDa Ali G Show's James Bobin, stars as a nice guy named Gary, whose happy life in Smalltown, USA, revolves around his longtime girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams in her professionally adorable Enchantedcomedian-sweetheart mode), and Gary's pint-size brother, Walter. Walter's obsession with all things Muppet — no surprise to everyone who looks at the felty guy and recognizes him as One of Them — brings the trio to Los Angeles, where they become involved in a desperate fund-raising plan to save the decrepit old Muppet Theater from the dastardly tear-down plans of an evil oilman (Chris Cooper, a great meanie). In fact, the story, with its ''Let's put on a show!'' vibe, is a little wispy. (That's the climax, folks: The Muppets resurrect The Muppet Show as a one-night telethon.) But the stuff surrounding the story is its own diversion. I like the look of the outdated, run-down Muppet Studios when Walter takes a tour and, indeed, the run-down state of the Muppets themselves as Kermit begins pulling them out of retirement for an onstage reunion. I love the bits with a hint of Pee-wee Herman to them, such as when Gary, Mary, and Walter travel in their car to France ''by map'': We watch a line arc across an atlas, and the vehicle rises out of the water in Cannes. And I'm delighted that The Devil Wears Prada's Emily Blunt shows up as a haughty British Vogue staffer attending to the whims of a very demanding editor: Miss Piggy. That's testament not to the power of Vogue — but to the power of Muppets. B+"

New York Times Won't Remain Quiet

They have something to say about the Muppets too. Here's Walter's story by Stephen Holden:

"DISNEY didn’t become the world’s largest entertainment company by guessing what people want. Sure, it trusts its creative instincts. But the Magic Kingdom also employs squadrons of black-ops researchers to poke, prod and pry. What psychological hooks should be built into a children’s television show? What colors are most likely to move princess dolls off store shelves?

So imagine how Disney reacted when the time came to create a new Muppet as part of a big-screen, last-ditch effort to resuscitate the 1970s-era TV franchise. One of the producers of its new film “The Muppets,” David Hoberman, who is also a past president of Walt Disney Studios, could easily envision the company delivering an 18-wheeler full of market research with conclusions like: must be cute and fuzzy (to interest moms), spunky and skateboard toting (to hook boys) and square shaped (for easy stacking in toy store displays).

It didn’t happen. Disney — Mr. Hoberman and other members of the movie’s senior creative team said, speaking in separate interviews — was remarkably hands off about Walter, the Muppet at the center of that new film. The studio’s instructions: “Just make a good movie,” Mr. Hoberman said. “It’s pretty amazing that teams of people from consumer products didn’t descend. If they had, God knows where we would have landed.”

Nicholas Stoller, who helped write the screenplay for “The Muppets,” backed him up. “There was shockingly little interference,” Mr. Stoller said. “It turned out to be a pretty strange movie in a totally awesome way.”

Audiences will have to decide awesome for themselves, but strange is true enough. In an obsessive re-creation of the oddball antics that made “The Muppet Show” beloved to a generation of TV viewers, the new movie features dancing chickens, a rapping villain (played by Chris Cooper) and a barbershop quartet that harmonizes Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Disney thinks “The Muppets,” which opens on Wednesday and cost under $50 million to make, has blockbuster potential. But it’s anyone’s guess whether puppets can resonate in the Pixar era. (To quote one of Kermit’s catchphrases, “Don’t count your tadpoles until they’ve hatched.”)

What is certain: “The Muppets” — as underscored by how Walter came to life — is a rare example of the corporate committee getting out of its own way and letting the creative folks take the lead. (Previous efforts to revive the Muppets were built more around consumer products than compelling content.)

There were moments, of course, when Disney tried attaching synergistic baggage to “The Muppets,” said Jason Segel, who also wrote and stars in the film. “Somebody asked in one meeting, in all seriousness, what part of the script would make the best theme-park ride,” he said. But Disney executives, perhaps partly because they were distracted by a painful studio restructuring at the time, did not manhandle the film, allowing it to be weird, witty — “Muppety” in Mr. Segal’s words — and even a bit risqué (as evidenced by a close encounter between Miss Piggy’s pelvis and Jack Black’s face).

“The Muppets” also does not tiptoe around the elephant in the room, which is the dilapidated state of the entire franchise. It’s a sore point for Disney, which has struggled to figure out what to do with the family of felt misfits created by Jim Henson. Once international superstars, Henson’s Muppets have not had a major box-office hit in 32 years. The last five Muppets pictures garnered less in total domestic ticket sales than “Toy Story 3” collected in its first five days. As Kermit, contemplating a comeback in his lonely“Sunset Boulevard”-style mansion, sings in the new movie, “Would anybody watch or even care, or did something break we can’t repair?”

The film, directed by James Bobin, a movie first-timer whose TV credits include the HBO series “Flight of the Conchords,” follows a small-town couple (Amy Adams and Mr. Segel) as they bring young Walter, who doesn’t realize he’s a Muppet himself, to Los Angeles to visit Kermit’s old studio. After discovering that an evil oil tycoon is going to tear it down, Walter helps find Kermit and crew — Fozzie is cracking bad jokes in Reno, Nev.; the bespectacled Scooter works at Google — for a variety-show fund-raiser.

The film trots out Henson’s most famous creations, including Gonzo, the Swedish Chef, Animal, Beaker and those balcony blowhards, Statler and Waldorf. But Walter is very much the star. He’s a shy, squeaky-voiced little guy whose lack of self-confidence manifests itself in crumpled shoulders and long stares at the floor. But bring Walter within 500 feet of a Muppet and he lights up and starts vibrating with excitement, if he doesn’t faint first.

"“We wanted a simple character who was pure innocence and pure enthusiasm as an entry point for kids who aren’t necessarily as familiar with the Muppets as their parents,” Mr. Stoller said. For his part Mr. Segel — known for his full-frontal moment in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and for his lovesick goofball in the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” — explained Walter like this: “He’s a stand-in for me, a hard-core Muppet superfan who wants to know what the hell happened to them.”

So if Disney didn’t present any focus-group-tested blueprints for creating a new Muppet, just how did the creative team go about it?

In the script Walter was described as the adopted younger brother of Mr. Segel’s character. Walter isn’t a little kid — he’s about 30 — but looks like one. “We wanted him to be out of place in the human world, so we knew he needed to be small,” Mr. Stoller said. The writers did not elaborate on his looks beyond saying Walter had the feel of “an old dishrag” and wore a blue suit, said Paul Andrejco, president of the Puppet Heap Workshop, the Hoboken, N.J., fabrication studio that made Walter.

Mr. Andrejco said he started sketching various Walters — skinny, plump, more human, more animal — ultimately presenting 14 different iterations to producers. Once the team decided on a basic image, there were discussions about texture and color. “We looked at 25 different possibilities, ranging from pink and scruffy to orange-y speckly to flat gray,” Mr. Andrejco said. Would he have ears? What about a nose? Bushy eyebrows or narrow?

“Walter couldn’t be a joke,” said Todd Lieberman, a producer. “At the end of the movie you want to shed a tear for him when he finds his place.”

The finished Walter, Mr. Andrejco said, is remarkably similar to Kermit, at least in functionality. His face, an orange color reminiscent of Ernie from “Sesame Street, was designed to be extra flexible to express a range of emotions. Walter didn’t end up with a nose but he did get brown, unbrushed hair. A prototype took about a week for Puppet Heap to make, and then construction on the actual Walter (and some stunt doubles) took about a month.

The next step was casting. Auditions for a puppeteer were conducted much the way they might be for an actor: asking a variety of people to come in and read on camera. Six puppeteers were seriously considered, and in the end the role went to Peter Linz, a soft-spoken, 44-year-old father of three from Katonah, N.Y., with extensive “Sesame Street” experience.

But producers put Mr. Linz through the mill first. He came to their attention during a read-through of the script. Mr. Linz was there to assist Eric Jacobson, a Muppets veteran who performs multiple characters, including Miss Piggy and Sam the Eagle. At the end of that day Mr. Linz was downcast. “I didn’t think I was in consideration,” he said, adding that his plan was to fly himself to Los Angeles and sleep on a friend’s sofa with the hope of getting extra work. “Maybe I could do Fozzie’s right hand or a background penguin or something,” he said.

Then he got a call to audition for Walter. “I did fine, but it was something of a nightmare from a puppeteer’s standpoint,” Mr. Linz said. “The guy who auditioned before me was a profuse sweater — I mean, just profuse — and so Walter was soaking wet and cold when I got him.”

Producers still weren’t convinced that Mr. Linz was their man. “They called and said nobody had given them exactly what they wanted, but that they wanted me to fly to Los Angeles to try again,” Mr. Linz said. “They told me to think about Michael Cera — that if he was a puppeteer he would already have the job.” (Mr. Cera, for the uninitiated, is the quiet and awkward actor from “Juno” and “Superbad.”)

At a Los Angeles hotel Mr. Linz spent 20 minutes improvising with Mr. Segel and then performed five scenes from the movie. Because “The Muppets” is a musical, Mr. Linz and Mr. Segel were asked to sing some cheesy karaoke duets together.

“They had us do ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ by the Captain & Tennille,” Mr. Linz said. “I mean, how awesome is that?”

Where's The Love For The Muppeteers?

All thanks to NPR. Read the whole story by clicking on NPR.

"Sound Stage 28 at Universal Studios in Burbank, Calif., looks like any other Hollywood set — littered with wires, crew members everywhere. We pick our way through cables and cameras and stuff that would make Oscar the Grouch's trash can look tidy.

But then we head up — up a flight of wooden stairs that leads to the old set of the 1925 Lon Chaney silent film The Phantom of the Opera. It's draped with dusty red-velvet swags, and it looks like it might still harbor a ghost or two.

This is where, for the first Muppet movie since 1999's Muppets in Space, a Hollywood crew has re-created the old Muppet Theatre — which, in the new film, is being threatened with demolition by a tycoon who wants to drill for oil.

We've come on a day when director James Bobin, co-creator of the HBO musical comedy Flight of the Conchords, is shooting a scene in a cramped balcony box overlooking the Muppet Theatre stage.

Below, a few puppets hang limply from various stands as their puppeteers ready themselves for action. Muppet captain Bill Barretta is in charge — checking sightlines, positioning monitors, tweaking costumes.

Barretta also performs: He's the man behind several characters previously enacted by the late Jim Henson, including the Swedish Chef, Rowlf the Dog and Dr. Teeth. He performs some newer characters, too — not least Pepe, the little Spanish-speaking shrimp.

"Not a shrimp, please — he's a king prawn, OK," Barrett objects, in Pepe's voice. "Big difference. Size is what matters, alright."

Barretta says his wife's Spanish aunt was the inspiration for Pepe.

"[She] had this great way of talking to people — she only spoke in statements," he explains. " 'Iz a black shirt, OK. Come on, Beulah, we go to the mall, OK.' That's what she said all the time: 'OK,' at the end of everything."

It happened that during a brainstorming session for a 1996 Muppets TV show, Barretta found himself describing his aunt-in-law.

"She was a little bit selfish in a way, and I said, you know, 'She's very fun but a little shellfish,' by mistake. And one of the writer-directors said, 'Wait a minute, OK, maybe it's a lobster or it's a crab or a shrimp — no wait, it's a king prawn, 'cause maybe he has a problem with size.' "

Sometimes, it takes a village to make a Muppet.

But then, collaboration is a Muppet tradition, according to Barretta.

"That was something Jim created," he says, "and I'm just glad to be part of that process."

Barretta's aunt-in-law, by the way, loved the character. "She said, 'Iz OK, OK.' "

Life's A Happy Song

Life's a filet of fish! Yes it is. A song in the movie was sung by Bret McKenzie and Kermit. Enjoy:

Segel Stops By SNL

Jason Segel was on SNL last Saturday. The Muppets were there too. Do not be mistaken though, they were not hosting (like the Oscars). Just Segel.

The Second Muppets Trailer

Yes, I know you remember the original trailer:

But just before the movie was released, they released a second official trailer, to cap the greatest advertising campaign in recent history:

There's no movie like a Muppet movie.

K Is For Kermit

A is for Animal and C is for Chef. Look at the whole alphabet, here!

More From Yahoo

Yahoo's other article features an interview with Kermit the Frog! *Arms flailing* Yayyy!

" It's not easy being green — or staging a comeback.

That's exactly what Kermit the Frog and his pals are attempting with "The Muppets," their first big-screen foray since "Muppets in Space" orbited theaters in 1999. In their newest adventure, set for release Nov. 23, Kermit's felt-covered entourage reunite with the help of humans Gary and Mary (Jason Segel and Amy Adams), as well as a new muppet named Walter.

During a break from shooting last January on the same Universal Studios soundstage where the original "Phantom of the Opera" was filmed in 1924, Kermit (with some assistance from veteran puppeteer Steve Whitmire) discussed returning to Hollywood from the swamp, dating Miss Piggy and crushing on "Parks and Recreation" actress Rashida Jones.


AP: What's it been like working with the gang on this film? It feels like it's been a long time since we've seen you.

Kermit: It's been like 10 or 12 years. It's a good reason for the gang to get back together. Fozzie was actually hibernating, and we had to pull him out because it's winter time. There were lots of logistics like that we had to deal with before filming, like getting all kinds of permits for farm animals, you know, because that's what a lot of us are.

AP: Where does this film find Kermit the Frog in life?

Kermit: It finds me in a rather unusual place. I'm like Hugh Hefner in frog skin. In real life, I'm a very simple frog. When I'm not working, I just go back to the swamp. In this movie, I'm still playing Kermit the Frog, oddly, but it's like another version of me. I wanted to stretch myself dramatically. It's about time I got taken seriously in Hollywood.

AP: This stage was first used in "Phantom of the Opera" and is reportedly haunted. Any spookiness during filming?

Kermit: Yeah, this isn't actually the real Muppet Theater. It looked enough like where we did the real "Muppet Show" that we thought it would make a good set. Things do happen. One day, I got locked in my dressing room for hours. I don't think that was a ghost though. I think that had something to do with Miss Piggy not wanting me to come out at that moment.

AP: What is the relationship status with you and Miss Piggy these days?

Kermit: Piggy and I keep in touch. We do have a relationship of sorts. It's just not that whole married thing. We never actually got married. There's been confusion about that. Maybe you can clear that up when you write this story. I'm a bachelor. I'm still playing the field. It's always great getting back with Piggy. She can be a little dramatic at times.

AP: You have several celebrities providing cameos in the film. Who has been your favorite?

Kermit: Well, we had Mickey Rooney of all people. He did a small piece, and so did Alan Arkin. These are guys that we would've worked with in the early days of "The Muppet Show," but I must say there's a special place in my little froggy heart for Rashida Jones. If you get a good look at her, you'll understand why. Don't tell Miss Piggy I said that though."

Yahoo's Reviews

It's not all critics. Yahoo has some recaps though. As we all know, Yahoo rarely fails. Google's still better though.

"The Muppets" — Jason Segel, Amy Adams and friends deliver a very welcome return for Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of Jim Henson's creations after a 12-year big-screen absence. From start to finish, the movie is a healthy, dizzy dose of childlike bliss, the songs campy but catchy, the humor corny but clever. Co-writer Segel and Adams play small-town tourists embarking on a quest to reunite the Muppets and save their old Hollywood studio, which is targeted for demolition by an evil oil man (Chris Cooper). Director James Bobin maintains a nimble pace throughout, the story gleefully dashing from song-and-dance numbers to hilarious montages to the sort of precious asides that are a staple of the Muppets, among them plenty of self-aware winks at Hollywood convention. Celebrity cameos, also a Muppet strength, are plentiful but a bit disappointing; after such a long time in mothballs, the Muppets deserve a better turnout of top stars to welcome them back. But overall, the movie's refreshing on every level, a piece of nostalgia so old it's new again, and a breather from Hollywood's 3-D digital onslaught in favor of fur and fuzz. PG for some mild rude humor. 110 minutes, including an amusing "Toy Story" short that precedes the movie. Three stars out of four.

• David Germain, AP Movie Writer

"Jason Segel is balancing a bowling pin atop his noggin.

The jolly actor-screenwriter is perched on the stage of a makeshift Muppet Theater that's been erected inside a mammoth Universal Studios soundstage. He's nervously grimacing while the furry blue daredevil Gonzo the Great winds his arm up in preparation to launch a bowling ball toward Segel for a stunt the pair are filming for "The Muppets."

Segel, who co-wrote the movie with "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" director Nicholas Stoller, is balancing more than just a bowling pin on his head these days: The Walt Disney Co., which acquired The Muppets franchise from The Jim Henson Co. in 2004, has entrusted him with the first big-screen adventure starring the felt-covered performance troupe in 12 years.

"I think at some point, The Muppets changed a little bit," said Segel during a break from filming earlier this year. "Our goal with this movie is to reintroduce The Muppets to kids in a way that's reminiscent of the movies from the late `70s and early `80s. The great thing about those movies and what Pixar does now is they don't pander or condescend to children."

Segel, a hardcore Muppet fan best known for his R-rated roles in such movies as "Knocked Up" and "I Love You, Man," petitioned Disney brass to resurrect The Muppets with Stoller in a way that would appeal to both nostalgic adults who grew up watching "The Muppet Show" and children more familiar with computer-generated 3-D animation than big-eyed puppets.

In the film, out Wednesday, Segel and Amy Adams play a small-town couple named Gary and Mary who — along with Gary's puppet brother Walter (portrayed by Peter Linz) — work to reunite The Muppets. It seems the felt ones have found themselves irrelevant in an entertainment landscape dominated by such over-the-top fictional game shows as "Punch Teacher."

The musical's story line mirrors The Muppets' own reality. They haven't starred in a film together since the 2005 made-for-TV movie "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" and have been absent from theaters since 1999's "The Muppets in Space."

"It's funny that the success of the movie might undo the story itself," said director James Bobin. "That's what actually drew me to the story. I was struck by how honest it was and with real artistic license portrayed how people perceive The Muppets at this time. One of the great emotional drives in any story is getting the band back together."

The new movie finds The Muppets off doing their own thing: Fozzie Bear is languishing in a tribute band called The Moopets, Miss Piggy is sashaying around Paris as a fashion editor, Animal is treating his anger management issues at rehab, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem are performing in the New York subway and Scooter is working at Google.

The filmmakers, most of whom have never worked with puppets, let alone The Muppets, closely collaborated with the puppeteers who have been portraying these characters for years. One particular meeting with them led Segel and Stoller to axe any self-referential jokes and puns about The Muppets being puppets. "I wonder how that felt," for example, was a goner.

"We're all partners on this movie," said producer Todd Lieberman. "We grew up on The Muppets, but these guys have been living it for 20 years. They know these characters better than any of us possibly could because they've been doing it for 20 years. They know the characters, and they know the style. They know what to do and what not to do for the brand."

Adams, who ran the award show gauntlet earlier this year for her role in "The Fighter," found it more difficult to switch between flashy gowns at night and Mary's conservative ensembles by day during production than working with puppets. She said acting opposite puppets like Walter wasn't any more difficult than working opposite actors like Mark Wahlberg.

"Once you accept that the puppet that you're working with is an actual character, it really is no different from working with another human actor," said Adams. "The puppeteers are geniuses at disappearing. I don't know how they do it, but they do it. I see Peter and Walter as two completely separate beings. Peter is Peter, and Walter is Walter."

The immersive set design helped, too. For the new Muppet Theater that's supposed to look like it's abandoned until The Muppets give it a makeover, production designer Steve Saklad and his team incorporated the towering theater set built in 1924 for "Phantom of the Opera," which is still standing inside a soundstage on the Universal Studios backlot.

"We were originally going to shoot the parts of the Muppet Theater scenes that face the audience in a historic downtown Los Angeles theater, but it would've been limiting for the director to split everything up," said Saklad. "I think it worked out for the best because now we've got this huge, luscious theater covered in a thousand coats of paint."

Saklad said the new Muppet Theater set was put in storage after production on "The Muppets," just in case it's required for a sequel, and he's hoping that no one paints over the "Phantom of the Opera" walls. However, the prospect of The Muppets as a rejuvenated franchise featuring Segel is one the actor-screenwriter can't seem to fathom.

"That would certainly be amazing," said Segel sheepishly. "It's not something I'm even thinking about right now. I'm still focused on this movie. My big goal was just to re-establish The Muppets where they belonged. From there, everything else is gravy. I just wanted to see The Muppets again the way I remembered them."

"As someone who grew up on "Sesame Street," I often imagined that one day, I'd be able to go through the TV screen and live in a brownstone next to Ernie and Bert and Oscar and Big Bird. So when I saw Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), the new Muppet character from "The Muppets," have that same dream about following Kermit and Fozzie and Miss Piggy to the other side of the glass, I knew that the Muppets' return to the big screen was in loving and capable hands.

Sure, the plot borrows heavily from "The Muppet Movie" (this time, Kermit has to reunite everyone rather than get the band together) and the TV movie, "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie," wherein an evil financier wants to steal the Muppets' theater. This time Chris Cooper's oil billionaire steps in for Joan Cusack's banker.

But "The Muppets" has the same brilliant absurdity, anarchic humor, subtle uplift and ensemble comedy that fans have come to expect over the years.

Jim Henson may be gone, but a new generation of writers and performers are doing right by his creations.

The aforementioned Walter has grown up loving the Muppets, as has his brother and best friend Gary (Jason Segel, who also co-wrote the film). Gary takes his longtime girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to L.A. to celebrate their tenth anniversary, and Walter tags along to see the sights -- not that there are many of those to behold at the decrepit Muppet Studios, a moth-eaten shadow of its former self.

Walter sneaks into Kermit's old office and hears the ruthless Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) detail his plans to buy the studio and the theater under the guise of building a Muppet museum, even though his real agenda is to tear it all down and dig for oil underneath.

Horrified, the small-town trio track down Kermit (voiced by Steve Whitmire), who's puttering around a moldering Bel-Air mansion, nostalgic for the past. Walter inspires Kermit to reassemble the Muppets to hold a benefit telethon to save the theater, sending them off to collect Fozzie Bear (voiced by Eric Jacobson), who's performing with a tribute act called "The Moopets" in Reno; Gonzo (voiced by Dave Goelz), now a successful plumbing-fixtures magnate, and all the rest.

In true Muppet fashion, there's a montage of tracking down beloved characters -- and people in the movie mention the fact that they're in a montage.

But there are challenges, of course: can Kermit convince his estranged girlfriend Miss Piggy (Jacobson) to leave her gig as plus-size editor at French Vogue to return to the fold? Will the Muppets find a celebrity in Kermit's 1970s Rolodex to host the telethon? And will Walter figure out what talents he might have in time for the show?

The plot, as you may well imagine, is secondary to the barrage of jokes, songs, fourth-wall violations and occasional celebrity cameos that are part and parcel of the big-screen Muppet experience. And "The Muppets" gets all of this just right. Several of the new tunes are from "Flight of the Conchords" songwriter Bret McKenzie. "Conchords" vet James Bobin directs the new movie.

While Segel -- who memorably worked singing puppets into "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" -- and Adams are perfectly charming, and totally get into the spirit of things, can we take a moment to acknowledge what a great performer Kermit the Frog is? He's got one of the most expressive skulls in show business (albeit also one of the softest ones), and he can convey a panoply of emotions just by indenting his temples or folding in his top lip. All of the Muppets, of course, have that gift of smiling by opening their mouths as widely as possible.

There are one or two draggy moments in "The Muppets," but nothing that will render young audiences any more fidgety than, say, the "Never Before and Never Again" number in the original "The Muppet Movie." And for Muppet fans who, like "Star Wars" nerds, speak breathlessly of "the original trilogy" -- namely, "The Muppet Movie," "The Great Muppet Caper," and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" -- this reboot stands proudly, wackily, and adorably with its storied predecessors.

Even if Statler (Whitmire) and Waldorf (Goelz) are still heckling them."

Not all there is to read from Yahoo, though.

The Good. With No Bad and No Ugly

With every movie, there will be good reviews and bad reviews. The bad reviews don't make much sense though. So let's focus on the good from premier critics.

"The Muppet franchise is revitalized with The Muppets, a funny, wickedly self-aware musical that opens by acknowledging they've outlived their shelf life." - Roger Ebert(Chicago Sun-Times)

"It's time to see the Muppet, it's time to see this show." -Richard Roeper (RichardRoeper.com)

"For kids, blessedly unironic by nature until wised up by nurture, the movie is just shiny, funny, and filled with songs…" - Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly)

"The challenge Disney has with The Muppets is to show a new generation what the fuss was all about. Slam-dunk. The movie slaps a smile on your face you won't want to wipe off." - Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

All positive things.