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The Muppets New Trailer, Seven Things Joel Stein Learned on Set, Muppets Last by "Not Being Cynical"

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 20, 2011 at 5:32AM

Time humorist Joel Stein recently reported on his visit to the set of Disney's The Muppets, which arrives just days before Turkey time on November 23 (check out the new trailer below). James Bobin directs from a script (by Jason Segel and his Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller) based on Jim Henson's beloved characters. Segel also stars alongside Amy Adams and cohorts Zach Galifianakis, Emily Blunt, Ed Helms, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Rashida Jones and more. Here are some highlights from Stein's visit:
1
Thompson on Hollywood


Time humorist Joel Stein recently reported on his visit to the set of Disney's The Muppets, which arrives just days before Turkey time on November 23 (check out the new trailer below). James Bobin directs from a script (by Jason Segel and his Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller) based on Jim Henson's beloved characters. Segel also stars alongside Amy Adams and cohorts Zach Galifianakis, Emily Blunt, Ed Helms, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Rashida Jones and more. Here are some highlights from Stein's visit:

1. "Between takes, Segel out-Muppets the actual Muppets, his grin still Kermit-wide long after the real Kermit the Frog closes his mouth and collapses around puppeteer Steve Whitmire's hand."
2. Of the plot, Stoller tells Stein: "They're all pretty lonely and miss their friends,..If this were real life, it wouldn't work. It would be weird Facebook friend requests from people you went to junior high with."

3. "There are moments when you get the feeling someone is going to walk in and tell everyone the Muppets aren't real and a lot of people are going to cry."

4. Stoller tells Stein that back in the 70s and 80s, "the Muppets were the gateway drug to comedy..You'd try it, and you'd want more of it, so you'd try Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. Then you'd fall down the rabbit hole. They're so self-aware, and there are jokes flying everywhere. They're like The Simpsons without cynicism."

5. Bobin tells Stein, referencing the Muppet Show's UK roots and Monty-Python-like absurdity: "There has to be a time when stupid jokes and warmth and puns come back..It's a change of direction."

6. Segel admits to Stein: "I relate to the Muppets on a very deep level,..They care about being nice to people. I don't really care about much besides being nice."

7. Segel says, of how the Muppets have stuck around: "There was a Christopher Guest mocking comedy wave, a Farrelly brothers gross-out comedy wave, a cringe-factor wave..The Muppets stuck around by not being cynical."

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Studios, Video, Stuck In Love, Media, Production , Fall, Remake, comedy, Animation, Disney , Trailers, Screenwriters


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.