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Uh-oh — looks like the upcoming The Muppets, despite releasing a series of charming trailers and being written by self-admitted Muppets super-fan Jason Segel, is getting some flak from people who were involved in the much-beloved original films. The main concern seems to be that Segel doesn't have a firm grasp of the characters, and also that there are fart jokes:
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."
Also an issue: the Muppet gang have "broken up" at the start of the film, apparently because of bitterness over Kermit's new-found wealth. (It is hard to imagine the frog who so sweetly sang "Rainbow Connection" in a swamp living in a mansion, it's true.)
And these are not the only rumblings coming from people associated with the old-school Muppets. Frank Oz, the man who was the voice of Miss Piggy and also directed a Muppet movie himself, declined to participate in the new film after reading the script. Before saying he doesn't want to be a crank when it comes to the movie, he admitted that, "I don’t think they respected the characters." Purely out of my desire to see another good Muppet movie, I hope these people are wrong about Segel's project. But if you go to the multiplex and find that Kermit et al. have been Shrek-ified, don't say no one warned you.