Film / Meet the Feebles

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This is a family show, for Christ-sake!
Bletch

Meet the Feebles, a 1989 movie directed by Peter Jackson, is basically The Muppets on crack and lots of hard liquor. It's a movie set in a world where everyone (with one exception, the contortionist Abi) is some sort of animal, anthropomorphized to varying degrees, and of different sizes, from the size of a small fish to a giant sea creature. The smaller characters are portrayed by puppets, but the larger characters are portrayed by people in costumes.

The story revolves around a show within a show, the Fabulous Feebles Variety Hour. The movie starts 12 hours before the show is planned to go live, but the actors in the show all have problems of their own. For example, Heidi wonders if Bletch is cheating on her, Bletch needs to get a drug deal through, Harry thinks he has "The Big One" (Initially seems like AIDS, later stated to be myxomatosis, though whatever disease it is, it leaves him with an estimated 10 hours to live), Robert needs to get the girl of his dreams, Lucille, Sid needs to train a new batch of creatures after his old batch is run over by a barrel and deal with a paternity suit, Wynyard needs to get his Heroin fix, which he got addicted to in Vietnam, Trevor needs to find new people for the porn movie he's been filming, and Abi literally needs to get his head out of his ass.

And the only problem Kermit had was with being green...

It eventually ends in a surprise ending, but in the trailer, it said "Please, don't tell your friends how it all comes out in the end", despite the fact that the preview already shows the surprise ending, and all the viewer needs to do is connect the dots. (Plus, the cover hints at the surprise ending and the cover of the soundtrack album is an actual screencap of the ending.)
WARNING: Once you have met the Feebles, you will never be able to watch The Muppet Show the same way again.

(Now with Character, Nightmare Fuel, and Funny pages in the works)

This movie provides examples of:

  • All Part of the Show: When a drugged-up Wynyard accidentally kills himself with a knife during his knife-throwing stunt, the audience thinks it's just part of the show. Still, they run out screaming when Heidi bursts through the curtains on a swing with a machine gun.
  • Anyone Can Die: Pretty much 95% of the cast dies by the time the movie ends.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: The Borax that Mr. Big sent Mr. Bletch as an attempt to kill him off. It even melted the dealer who ingested a load of it.
  • Asshole Victim: The Fly in the Sky and Samantha the Cat by Mr. Bletch and Heidi Hippo respectively.
  • Ass Shove: Abi the indian contortionist accidentally gets his own head shoved up his rectum during rehearsal. When he finally gets it out, it's crushed by a bed of nails.
  • Big Eater: Heidi is a compulsive eater, which leads to her botching her rehearsal performance of "Garden of Love".
  • Bond One-Liner: Mr. Bletch and Trevor swap Bond One-Liners as Bletch tortures and kills F.W. Fly. First, after Bletch rips off his right wing, Trevor snarks "Well, what do you know, Boss? A left-wing reporter!" Bletch then adds that they "can't have a biased press" and rips off F.W.'s other wing. Finally, after flushing what's left of the fly down the toilet, Bletch remarks "Now that's what I call an impartial journalist!"
    • Heidi's Bond One-Liner to Samantha, "Eat lead, you man-stealing slut!!!"
  • Broken Hippo: Heidi, thanks to Bletch's mistreatment of her.
  • The Cameo: If you look closely, you'll notice a few aliens from Bad Taste in the audience.
  • Camp Gay: Sebastian, and the doctor's voice and mannerisms (a Paul Lynde impression) suggest he is one as well.
  • Cats Are Mean: Samantha, Bletch's mistress, is pretty much every negative cat stereotype incarnate.
  • Contortionist Abi, who is a send up to the Rubber Men.
  • Cool Old Guy: Arthur the Worm is up there in years, and one of the few genuinely decent and kind characters in the film.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Sebastian doesn't do anything actually evil, but he's a Jerk Ass towards the cast (though this is probably just because he's a director) and he must have known full well that a family variety show wasn't an appropriate place for that particular song.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Pretty much everyone in the show's cast has some serious vices and very not-kid-friendly problems offstage, be it Harry the MC's addiction to sex, Wynyard's smack addiction and Vietnam PTSD, or Sidney's paternity suit. On top of that, the manager is a full-blown criminal who deals with drug pushers, has a cabinet full of heavy weaponry, and cheats on his girlfriend, and the show's director has his heart set on singing a big show-stopper number about the joys of sodomy.
  • Dirty Coward: Sebastian. The only non-nice guy to survive, only does so because he ducks into a giant carrot during Heidi's rampage. He still ends up losing an eye though. And wrote a best-selling autobiography that painted him as a hero.
    • Wynyard, because of how he abandoned the commander frog, who previously rescued Wynyard from enemy soldiers.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-Universe: Sebatian clamors this loudly throughout. This apparently includes declaring the whole show a bust on more or less flimsy pretenses without bothering to check audience reactions and hijacking the ostensibly family-friendly affair to sing a song about sodomy.
  • Driven to Suicide: Heidi, right after Mr. Bletch tossed her aside for Samantha. But then Heidi changes her mind after Samantha walks in and taunts her during a suicide attempt.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: As seen in the ending montage, the few remaining characters get happy endings, and they had to put up with bullying and narrowly avoiding death in Heidi's massacre to get there.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Robert enunciates his "R"s as "W"s, which leads to Trevor mocking him by calling him "Wobert".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being a crookish manager, even Bletch thinks that Sebastian's infamous song is not the right place for a kid's show (Like it is stated in the quote above).
  • Everybody Owns a Morris Minor: Which had been out of production for almost 20 years when the film was made.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Bletch's goons versus Cedric's gang.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Heidi temporarily turns into a killing monster after suffering a Heroic B.S.O.D.. She attempts to kill everybody in the movie, whether they deserved to die or not. While she kills several cast members who arguably did deserve death, she also murders several characters who are as far as we know, innocent. She eventually comes to her senses during the end of her killing spree.
  • Fan Disservice: The sex scenes would still be thrashy and unappealing even if they weren't shot with puppets.
  • Fat Bastard: Bletch; pretty much a given since he's a crooked walrus. Sid the elephant subverts it by running to the rescue of his infant child at the cost of his kneecaps.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Bletch tests the "cocaine" Mr. Big sold him this way, after Dennis already snorted a line and his nose melted off. Then declared it to be Borax.
  • Flashback One to when Heidi and Mr. Bletch met, and one to Wynyard's experience in the Vietnam War.
  • Furry Reminder: One of the film's many ways to shock the audience is by having its Funny Animal characters do things that their real animal counterparts do - such as Mr. Bletch (a walrus) eating a fish character, F.W. Fly (a fly) eating crap out of a toilet (on top of that, Harry tries to kill him with bug spray), Trevor the Rat gobbling up the corpses of Sidney the Elephant's dead pets, Harry thinking he's coming down with AIDS after sex with several other rabbits ( Actually myxomatosis), and Robert (a hedgehog) curling up in a ball when he's feeling shy.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Cedric's mooks are large anthropomorphic crabs.
  • Giant Spider: One appears during the showdown between Bletch and Cedric's gangs, killing one of Bletch's goons.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Heidi, who takes the heavy machine gun she was going to kill herself with and goes on a bloody massacre.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Heidi, after Mr. Bletch cruelly fires her from the Feebles in favor of his mistress, Samantha. Heidi even tries killing herself, first with a noose and then with one of Bletch's heavy machine guns... but then Samantha comes in and mocks her while she's in possession of a loaded machine gun...
  • Hope Spot: Twice. Once, when Harry learns the doctor made a mistake, he is happy to be alive, only to get gunned down by Heidi moments later. Second, it looks like Heidi might stop massacring people when she sees Seymour being dragged away by Sandy, only to shoot Sandy's head off and leave Seymour splattered with his mother's blood.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Initially, Trevor is seen shooting a BDSM porn flick starring two actors known as the Masked Masochist and Madam Bovine. After Robert walks in and ruins the shot, Madam Bovine sits on the Masochist, killing him. The Masochist was a cockroach.
  • Infant Immortality: Of all the lines this film happily crosses, killing off baby Seymour is not one of them.
  • Karma Houdini: Sebastian, (especially since a lot of much less Jerkassy characters get slaughtered in the finale). However Sebastian is seen in an eyepatch which implies he lost an eye while trying to escape the rampage.
    • Ironically after Sebastian performed "that song", Bletch orders Trevor to "eliminate the fudgepacker" but Heidi's rampage managed to prevent this. Also Sebastian "enjoys the act of sodomy" but claims God doesn't like the very act yet manages to survive the rampage.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Bletch and Trevor murder the Fly in the Sky in a brutal, sadistic manner, ripping his wings off one after the other before flushing him down the toilet. If the Fly hadn't been such a pesky, invasive Jerk Ass, the audience might have felt sorry for him.
  • Kill 'em All: The climax, courtesy of Heidi. There are some survivors, though.
  • Knife Nut: Wynyard has a knife-throwing act, but has a terrible case of the shakes. The result is just as bad as you think.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Abi over his bed of nails when Sebastian starts yelling at him to get on stage. He falls and hurts himself a bit kind of foreshadowing his later death on the nails when threatened with firing.
  • Large and in Charge: Mr. Bletch manages the Feebles acting troupe, and is one of the biggest characters in the film. Furthermore, there's the aptly-named crime boss Mr. Big, who is some kind of whale.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Harry, whose obsession with sex is what leads to his disease.
  • Love at First Sight: Robert is smitten with Lucille as soon as he first lays eyes on her.
  • Messy Pig: Cedric. He's a Violent Glaswegian drug-trafficking punk boar, so any business you have with him is bound to be messy.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Robert, predicting Walter by a whopping 22 years.
  • National Stereotypes: The only German in the movie sells cakes and pastries, and Abi, an Indian, is into mysticism and contortion. Let's not get into the Vietnamese... things in Wynard's flashback.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Trevor's voice is an obvious Peter Lorre parody. And a good one, at that!
    • It's also worth noting that, intentional or otherwise, Trevor is much closer to the menacing villains Lorre often played than most Peter Lorre parodies.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: While he still has some cartoony features (on top of being a Funny Animal), Trevor is much more realistic looking than most of the other puppets, which makes him even creepier. And then there's F.W. Fly, whose mouth is the only cartoonish thing about him - he looks just like a real fly, only larger and somehow even more disgusting.
  • Off with His Head!: Barry gets his head bitten off by the giant spider. During Heidi's rampage at the end, both Sandy and Harry get their heads blown off.
  • Only One Name: No one has a last name, except for maybe F.W. Fly.
  • Paparazzi: The reporter fly that is constantly harassing Harry because of his disease.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Although there are porn titles mentioned, none of them spoof actual movie titles. There is a genuine example, although not with a movie title: Bletch hopes to win the "Hooker Prize", a takeoff on the Booker Prize.
  • Patchwork Kids: Sidney and Sandy's baby, Seymour, has an elephant's head and a chicken's body. When Arthur sees Seymour for the first time, he comments to Sidney that "it's got [Sidney's] eyes".
  • Pet the Dog: While Mr. Bletch mistreats Heidi, he treats Arthur with a fair amount of respect and even offers him a seat next to him and a cigar during the premiere of the show.
  • Prima Donna Director: Sebastian, who is very demanding and difficult to please, especially with the stress of all of the goings-on combined with the fact that they'll be going on-air that night piling up on him.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Subverted to hell and back. Aside from Robert, Lucille, Arthur and — arguably — Seymour, nearly all the animals in this movie are or eventually become ugly, disease ridden, rotten or just generally unpleasant.
  • R-Rated Opening: The opening number contains nothing that would be objectable to any parents who mistakenly rented this for their kids, other than the line "Samantha the pussy will show you some action" (Samantha's a cat, but the audience doesn't know this yet), which is easily missed anyway. But as soon as it's over, Trevor (who is smoking a cigarette, at that) tells Heidi "Alright, you fat slag, move yer ass!" And if that wasn't enough to scare parents away, we're then treated to the sight of Mr. Bletch and Samantha having sex.
  • Russian Roulette: What reference to The Deer Hunter would be complete without it? Wynyard and his commander were forced to play it in 'Nam when they were captured by the VC beavers.
  • Serenade Your Lover: At Arthur's suggestion, Robert confesses his feelings for Lucille by singing her a song with her name in the lyrics. It's one of the sweetest and least disturbing moments in the film.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Wynyard really didn't deal well with his experiences in 'Nam.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Jesus on a crucifix in this movie looks like Kermit the Frog. Since the whole thing is a Muppets parody, it might as well have been intentional.
    • Wynyard's Vietnam flashback begins with a scene spoofing Full Metal Jacket's urban combat and then has a scene where they are forced to play Russian Roulette, as a reference for The Deer Hunter.
    • When F.W. Fly is being tortured by Mr. Bletch, he cries out "Heeeelp meeeee!".
  • Skewed Priorities: After all the deaths and injuries during the rehearsal, Sebastian's only concern is that the show is now low on actors so he now has a chance to reinstate his own musical number.
  • Show Within a Show: Much of the film is dedicated to what goes on behind the scenes of The Fabulous Feebles Variety Hour, and we see quite a bit of the show itself.
  • Significant Monogram: The fly reporter's name is F.W. Fly. What do his initials stand for? Well, consider that he's a literal fly on the wall.
  • Smug Snake: F.W. Fly, on top of being pesky and invasive, is also very smug and snide. When he finds out that Harry has caught "The Big One", he's beyond excited at the chance of getting a great scoop and is positively giddy and completely unsympathetic as he prods Harry for info, even mocking his impending death. F.W. does end up getting his big story to the presses, but when Mr. Bletch and Trevor find out, it winds up costing him his life.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Sebastian's hilarious "Sodomy" number plays as we see Heidi gun nearly the entire cast and crew of the show. And the film ends with Heidi performing "Garden of Love" on stage one last time, with the set in shambles and Bletch's and Trevor's mutilated corpses surrounding her.
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: The Sodomy Song.
  • Stunned Silence: The audience's reaction to the above. Sebastian takes a bow anyway.
  • Talking Animal: Most animals are anthro, but several, such as the fish, are basically talking animals.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Both the disease Harry thinks he has (AIDS) and what he actually has (myxomatosis). They're referred to as "The Big One" (not to be confused with the Sentai hero) and "Bunny Pox", respectively.
  • Token Human: Abi, the only human character in a cast of animals. He's still a puppet, though.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Samantha the Cat. When she walks in on a desperate, emotionally broken Heidi about to blow her brains out with Bletch's light machinegun, she taunts her and tells her she should take the safety off first. Heidi follows her advice... Then promptly turns Samantha into swiss cheese before going on a rampage.
  • Variety Show: The Fabulous Feebles Variety Hour is this, with knife-throwing, opera, musical numbers, skits, and more.
  • The Vietnam War: A pretty lengthy flashback is dedicated to Wynyard's experience in Vietnam, with him and his fellow "frogs of war" fighting Viet Cong beavers. Unsurprisingly, Full Metal Jacket and The Deer Hunter are heavily spoofed.
  • Villain Protagonist: Mr. Bletch and Trevor are the film's main antagonists, and a lot of screen time is dedicated to their drug deal and later conflict with a rival gang, making them protagonists too in their own way.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Cedric has this kind of accent, and is a thuggish drug dealer.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Harry puking over the stage when he tries to perform regardless of his illness.
  • You Dirty Rat: Trevor, who directs pornos in the basement, deals drugs, and murders, on top of being a literal dirty-looking rat, is pretty much a textbook example. He even gets called such by Robert.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: At one point Robert interrupts Trevor's aforementioned BDSM porn shoot, which proves disastrous when the cow accidentally sits on the cockroach and kills him. Trevor figures that at least he still might be able to sell it as a snuff movie.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Right before the end credits, we see a montage of what became of the remaining cast members.
  • Wily Walrus: Bletch the Walrus is a slippery drug dealer and an abusive boyfriend.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: With all the bullying she receives from Trevor and even her "lover" Mr. Bletch, it's hard not to feel sorry for Heidi, even if her massacre at the end is wrong and ends up killing some characters who didn't deserve it so much.
  • Your Head Asplode: Just when Harry finds out that he's not going to die after all and is celebrating, Heidi shows up and riddles him with bullets, blowing the top half of his head off.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/MeetTheFeebles