Trivia / The Muppets

2011 film:

  • Accent Depundent: The Mary marry pun at the end of the film is entirely dependent on the Mary/marry/merry merger common to many but not all American Accents.
  • Acting for Two: In Muppet tradition. Lampshaded in an interview where Piggy does pitch-perfect "impersonations" of Fozzie and Animalnote , but does an an absolutely pathetic Kermit impressionnote .
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: When Chris Cooper was asked why he agreed to perform a rap song, his response was "Are you kidding? This is a Muppet movie! I'm in a movie with the Muppets! I'd have tapdanced in my underwear if they'd asked me to."
  • California Doubling: It looks like the car is coming out of the water in actual Cannes, France, but according to the DVD Commentary that was filmed at "a lake in Northern California" on the final day of shooting. The casting call was for "men with body hair", whom they put in Speedos, then obviously changed the background with CGI.
  • Casting Gag: Emily Blunt plays a beleaguered receptionist, just like she did in another movie. And Piggy is the Plus Size editor for a major fashion magazine.
    • Ken Jeong plays the host of Punch Teacher. His two best known roles are Community and The Hangover. Also in the film is a fellow costar from each franchise (Donald Glover and Zach Galifianakis, respectively)
    • Walter's human form is played by Jim Parsons. Therefore, Walter and Gary are both stars on hugely successful CBS sitcoms. And let's not forget the irony of Neil Patrick Harris making a cameo in a Jason Segel movie.
  • Creator Backlash: Sort of. Frank Oz – the original performer for Miss Piggy and Fozzie (among others) and probably the best-known Muppeteer who isn't Jim Henson – was offered a role in the film but declined, due in part to his own script treatment being passed over in favor of Segel's and a belief that the latter fails to "respect the characters" (although he still maintains it was flawed, he notably softened up). Some other, unnamed Muppet veterans have also expressed misgivings over certain elements of the film (e.g. Fozzie's fart shoes).
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: While this is pretty obvious for Miss Piggy in the original English version and the Japanese dub, this is the first film when Piggy is voiced by males in all foreign dubs, by Disney's mandate.
  • Defictionalization: A restroom area near Muppet*Vision 3D in Disney Hollywood Studios became rechristened after Gonzo's Royal Flush in Fall 2016.
  • Deleted Scene: Good lord, do we need a Director's Cut! The movie was originally over two hours long! Several parts of the clips and previews shown before the release of the movie were not in the final cut, such as the Muppet farmer who performs at the start and end of Camilla's number, Gonzo knocking the bowling pin off Gary’s head, and various celebrities singing "Manha Manha" in various takes. Kermit doesn't introduce Camilla with the random, "... and now, dancing chickens!"
    • A scene which had the Muppets thrown in jail and featured Wanda Sykes and Danny Trejo was cut from the film. Judd Hirsch is only seen in the audience for a second and doesn't even say a thing!
    • Mary doesn't suggest going to lunch during Walter's drawn-out scream.
    • Cameos by Mila Kunis, Billy Crystal, Kathy Griffin and Ricky Gervais were also cut. Billy Crystal appeared confronting the Muppets hosting an illegal Awards-type show to promote their telethon and had them arrested.
      • Ricky Gervais later went on to co-star with the Muppets in their next feature film.
    • Walter's Dream Sequence was originally longer, and it shows, what with the rapid pace of that scene in the final cut! Since this was to be the first time the original Muppet characters would appear in the film, and wouldn't for the next 10-15 minutes following it, the writers probably wanted them to be silly around Walter's home longer.
    • Walter, Gary, and Mary encountering a guy (Rob Corddry) in a very cheap Superman costume when they first arrive in LA. The costume was so cheap, it didn't even have an S-shield, and "Superman's" gut hung over his belt. Even so, Mary was the only one who was aware that he wasn't really Superman. It becomes Hilarious in Hindsight seeing that few years later, Mary's actress, Amy Adams, would go on to play Lois Lane.
    • A scene cut from the film but included in the b-roll footage released online had Kermit explaining to Gary, Mary and Walter that he doesn't actually live at the penthouse but instead just simply stops by once a week to check the mail and clean the pool filters. This also explains why Kermit is seen with a tool chest the first time we see him in the final film.
  • DVD Commentary Features James Bobin (Director), Jason Segel (Gary, and co writer), and Nick Stoller (co-writer). Some nifty tidbits:
    • Jason Segel (Gary) was surprised that one of the choreographers was referring to Mickey Rooney as "Dad" as he told him where to move. Jason thought this was disrespectful of the older actor until he learned the choreographer, Michael Rooney, was in fact Mickey Rooney's son.
    • He also says he found it very hard to keep his eyes open when he looks up into the rain during "Man or a Muppet".
    • AND, the set at Kermit's house where he and Walter sit on the same couch: Jason sat down on the side of the couch where Walter's puppeteer would usually stand underneath, i.e.- a hole (where Walter is "sitting" in the scene in the movie). Jason fell into it. He was unhurt, and it took Amy Adams a long time to stop laughing.
    • The actress who played Walter’s prom date in the photo at the beginning of the film also appears as an extra during the Muppet Telethon and outside the Muppet Theater. Bobin joked that he likes to think that she’s still obsessed with Walter and followed him to Hollywood.
    • Sweetums’ scene at Mad Man Mooney and Sons was filmed at the same location as the car lot in The Muppet Movie.
    • James Bobin made a cameo (only seen from behind) as the director in the booth cuing the beginning of the telethon.
  • Looping Lines: Along with the musical numbers, there's Fozzie's voice. He often changes mid-sentence from a softer tone to a more traditional "Fozzie-ish" tone, making it obvious that there was some ADR work involved.
  • The Other Darrin: This is the third Muppet film not to feature Frank Oz in any role note , after It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, and the first in theaters. His characters are voiced and performed mostly by Eric Jacobson instead.
    • It's also the first not to feature Jerry Nelson at all. note 
    • While a full list of replacements for each character would be too involved, a general guide to the Other Darrins is Eric Jacobson for Frank Oz, Matt Vogel for Jerry Nelson, and Dave Goelz remains, as ever, Dave Goelz. Jim Henson's characters are mostly divided between Steve Whitmire and Bill Baretta, and Richard Hunt's characters are divided between Steve Whitmire and David Rudman.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Many, Many examples.
    • Nicholas Stoller
    • Jason Segel; writer, executive producer, and human lead character. He also puppeteered Dr. Teeth and Beaker for the crowded car scenes and Fozzie for another scene.
    • The portrait of Miss Piggy in Kermit's mansion was painted by Big Name Fan Peter Savieri.
  • Prop Recycling: That set, the one they used for the theater? It was built way the hell back in 1925 for, and this is true, the famous Lon Chaney film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Recycled Script: This is the second Muppet movie involving the Muppets putting on a show to raise the money needed to save the theater from a businessman trying to tear it down (the first being It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie). However, despite the reused basic premise, they are totally different movies.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: An interesting variation occurs with Jim Parsons, who, unlike the other celebrities who make cameos, is "Sir Whose Name Does Not Appear In Any Promotional Material Whatsoever."
  • What Could Have Been: Segel mentioned in an interview that during the montage involving Kermit finding a celebrity guest, one of the people they wanted to do was Elmo, who would be shot down by lawyers saying he couldn't join. Then that exactly happened.
    • There have been conflicting reports though as to why Elmo wasn't allowed a cameo. The most common given reason is because Disney doesn't own any of the Sesame Street characters, and didn't want to pay royalties, or the producers of Sesame Street themselves didn't want to loan out Elmo. Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, said once that the real reason Elmo didn't appear in the movie was simply because he didn't like the script (for the same reasons Frank Oz didn't), and refused to reprise the role.
    • Gary was originally written as a ventriloquist with Walter as his animate puppet, but the Muppeteers and Disney didn't want the Muppets to be portrayed as puppets rather than living creatures.
    • Speaking of Walter, an early idea was to have him as a baby being delivered via stork while still retaining his same size and appearance.
    • They forbade the fact that Kermit was a millionaire in the early script and the mansion was waaaayyy bigger. It was rewritten to have the place built by Piggy when they were still together, but they broke up, and Kermit's been taking care of it ever since, so it's shabby and a bit ill-kempt in some places.
    • In early versions of the script Miss Piggy was to become a Lady Gaga-type diva after the Muppets disbanded instead of a Vogue editor.
    • The ending changed at least twice:
      • Originally everything would be orchestrated by Kermit himself for putting the band together again by revealing that Tex would be Kermit in a human suit as part of a massive long-term scheme! But Disney said that ending would be too complicated for kids and the writers decided that was out-of-character for Kermit. Additionally, rumor has it that Kermit's former puppeteer Steve Whitmire would've taken his name off the film if this ending had been left in.
      • Another way the movie would've ended was with Kermit saying "And because this all went so well, we're going to bring back The Muppet Show this fall on ABC!" This ending got a note back from Disney saying "Nice try".
    • Molly Ringwald was written to appear, but ultimately couldn't. She does make it in in a way - she was crossed off a Rolodex card as one of the 80's celebrities Kermit calls to try to get a telethon guest.
    • During a sequence set in a prison, that ultimately ended up getting cut, Charles Grodin would've made a cameo reprising his role as Nicky Holiday. Sadly, he turned it down.
    • Other cameos written for the film that never came to be included Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Mel Brooks, Matt Damon, Anne Hathaway, Rachel Ray, Bob Saget, Lisa Lampenelli and Jeff Ross.
    • There was a scene in an early revision of the script in which one of the villains shot a gun, and everyone pretended to move in slow motion as a guy carried a Muppet bullet on a stick while making whooshing noises. Eventually Fozzie would burst in wondering what was going on, and would then start to move in slow motion too.
    • Walter's "human self" was initially envisioned as Michael Cera.
  • Working Title: The movie was originally gonna be called The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time!!! And boy, did it deliver.
  • Written by Cast Member: Jason Segel, who also served as one of the executive producers.

The 2015 ABC series:

  • Acting for Two: Again, many of the performers. But taking it even further, Big Mean Carl and his sister Carla must be twins...
  • Creator Backlash: Steve Whitmire was vocally outspoken on-set regarding the direction the show took the characters, and believes that this was ultimately what got the show cancelled.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Bill Barretta directs the episode "Little Green Lie".
  • Drawing Board Hiatus: Their mid-season hiatus in December 2015 became this when a retool was ordered. It resulted in Piggy becoming less antagonistic, Pizza being dropped out, Camilla getting brought back and Rowlf returning for a Veterinarian's Hospital sketch. It still wasn't enough to avoid cancellation.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": As of December 2015 the show hasn't aired yet in Australia and their national non-commercial channel (also named ABC) already posted an article about Dave Grohl and Animal's drum duel at the end of "Going, Going, Gonzo" almost as soon as that episode aired in the States.
  • The Other Marty: In the presentation pilot, Fozzie's human girlfriend Becky was played by Margo Harshman. For the series, she was replaced by Riki Lindhome.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Allegedly, the behind-the-scenes tumult of the series played a role in Kermit the Frog's longtime performer, Steve Whitmire (who inherited the role after Jim Henson died), losing his job after working for The Muppets since 1978. Whitmire reportedly hated the changes Disney made to the characters and passed around notes to his colleagues against Disney's wishes. He also had trouble performing a scene from the series in which Kermit lies to his nephew, Robin, about breaking up with Miss Piggy, which he felt was an insult to Henson's vision of Kermit. Disney, however, claims it was his years of outrageous behavior behind-the-scenes, and that the issues regarding the show were the tipping point. He was actually fired five months after ABC announced the show's cancellation, but the news wasn't disclosed until nine months later.
  • Screwed by the Network:
    • During the first season's mid-season hiatus, ABC sought to address several issues that caused dissonance among viewers. Bob Kushnell, co-creator of the series, was fired and replaced by Kristen Newman, who ordered a quick Re Tool in order to address some of the problems the series was plagued with. Aside from the character Denise being dropped and increased focus on the characters working in Miss Piggy's show than in their personal lives, not a whole lot was changed. The reception to these episodes was much more positive, but ABC seemed not to care, as they stopped actively promoting new episodes later on, hurting its ratings. Two months after the season ended, ABC confirmed the series would be axed, putting the Muppets out of television once again. On the bright side, a lot of rumors of Muppet attractions at Walt Disney World have spread around lately, so it looks like their future may not be so bleak after all.

      Some dispute whether or not ratings were actually a factor, however. During production of the series, ABC got a new head honcho, who decided to revamp the network's slate and keep more established fare on air, making The Muppets one of many series that got thrown in the reject bin. Additionally, Disney, the parent company of ABC and owner of the Muppets characters, suffered a setback in its television and consumer products business (with the Muppets being part of the latter) during the financial quarter of the show's airingnote , thus causing Disney to have to cut back on both units in order to recoup losses.
    • In an example of Screwed by the Affiliate, ABC's Boston affiliate WCVB delayed the episode "Tail of Two Piggies", along with the entire Tuesday night lineup, to the early morning hours due to running ad nauseum coverage of the New Hampshire primary election. A few other affiliates did this as well, and in some cases (again using WCVB as an example) many DVR's that were set to record the episode instead recorded half of The Muppets and half of Fresh Off the Boat.
  • Short Run in Peru: Canadian channel City TV is set to air the show a day earlier than ABC will.
  • Star-Derailing Role: Steve Whitmire's career as Kermit's actor ended after the failure of The Muppets.
  • Troubled Production: Details are vague, but there was some kind of behind the scenes drama while the show was getting off the ground, which resulted in one of the producers leaving halfway through the first season and a major reboot occurring after the winter hiatus. The first episode made after this incident, the midseason premiere "Swine Song", lampshades and addresses these changes.

The franchise in general:

  • Development Hell:
    • The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made is the most infamous and has been in it since 1985. They finally announced it in 2009, but it was set aside once again to make way for The Muppets.
    • There was also The Muppets' Haunted House, first mentioned in 1996, mentioned again in 2001, and mentioned yet again in 2007, but ultimately was shelved in favor of The Muppets' Letters to Santa.
    • In 2006, Disney had announced that it had completed the pilot for a 10-episode TV series that was an X Meets Y of The Muppets meets The Office (US), which would have been a mockumentary series of how the Muppets work together to put on their shows. Like the above mentioned Haunted House special, it too was shelved shortly thereafter due to the writers' strike. However, elements of this show would later be incorporated into the 2015 series.
    • In fact, any new project that was in development between Disney's purchase of the franchise in 2004 to the release of The Muppets in 2011 (sans The Muppets' Wizard of Oz and Letters to Santa) ultimately ended up in Development Hell.
  • Fan Community Nickname: Muppet Freaks. Trivia status because although older and longtime Muppet fans have been using the term for a number of years, newer and younger fans, who are just getting into the franchise, may not be aware of this, and may be offended to be referred to as a "Muppet Freak".
  • Schedule Slip: Following Steve Whitmire's termination from the Muppets and Matt Vogel taking over as Kermit, it was said that his first public performance as the character would be in a Muppet Thought of the Week video said to be released sometime during the week of July 17th, 2017. However, the video ended up being delayed until August 28th for reasons unknown (though the various news articles released the week of July 17th providing more details regarding why Steve was fired from the Muppets might've had something to do with it).
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