The Muppets involves a new character, Walter, who is on vacation in Los Angeles with his friends from Smalltown, U.S.A. (Segel and Adams). After they discover a Texas oilman’s plot to raze the Muppet Theater, they reunite the Muppets, who have broken up. Fozzie is playing with a tribute band in Nevada, Miss Piggy has been working at Vogue Paris, and Gonzo is a plumbing magnate.
The concern among Muppets insiders is that Segel and director James Bobin (a writer on Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords) didn’t have a complete understanding of the Muppets characters or were willing to sacrifice the characters’ integrity to land a joke. “They’re looking at the script on a joke-by-joke basis, rather than as a construction of character and story,” says one.
A small example is in one of the many trailers Disney has released, when Fozzie makes a fart joke. “We wouldn’t do that; it’s too cheap,” says another Muppets veteran. “It may not seem like much in this world of [Judd] Apatow humor, but the characters don’t go to that place.”
There is a list of similar concerns: Kermit would never live in a mansion, as he does in this movie. The Muppets, depicted in the script as jealous of Kermit’s wealth, would not have broken up in bitterness. The script “creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie,” says an old Muppets hand. …
Frank Oz, the most famous living Muppets performer — known best as Miss Piggy — spoke more harshly in a recent interview with the British paper Metro. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” he said bluntly. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”
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