Tag Archives: Muppets

My Thoughts on: Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)

I understand that this is several months late, but to be fair, the last few months of 2021 were a particularly insane time for me, so much so that I’m just now starting to get back on track (that’s why I posted next to nothing the last few months of the year). Part of getting back on track includes posting about some of the things I saw last year that I really liked before I dive into what’s coming in 2022. And one of the things I enjoyed way more than I thought I would was Muppets Haunted Mansion, a special that aired on Disney+ this past October.

Unbelievably, this was the first Halloween special the Muppets have ever done, which is mind boggling to me. How is it the Muppets haven’t covered Halloween before? I suppose better late than never. I set the bar for this special extremely low because I’ve not been the biggest fan of what Disney has done with the Muppets (remember their Disney+ series? Yea, me neither), but to my delight Muppets Haunted Mansion was pretty entertaining.

The setup for the special is relatively simple: instead of celebrating Halloween with the other Muppets, Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn are going to a special “VIP party” at a famous mansion, which turns out to be none other than the Haunted Mansion. The challenge is for the pair to spend the entire night in the mansion. If they survive they’ll be allowed to leave, but it not…they’ll become permanent residents of the Mansion.

The overriding theme of the special, once the stakes are laid out, is confronting one’s fears and the fact that Gonzo claims to have none, despite being confronted by a number of scary horrors throughout the Mansion. This leads to a legitimately terrifying scene where Gonzo finally confronts his fears in the mysterious Room 999. In a million years I never would’ve thought a Muppets special could create nightmare fuel, but oh my good lord, the moment Gonzo realizes what his particular fear is….that was the stuff of nightmares. I had no idea a Muppets show could be that intense and I never want to see the Muppets go that intense ever again because it was TERRIFYING, even if it did make a good point about spending time with your friends while you can.

The Mansion itself was a lot of fun once Gonzo and Pepe got inside. I loved all of the musical numbers, particularly the “Tie the Knot Tango.” I’d actually forgotten about Constance Hatchaway, the bride who kills all of her husbands, so once I realized who this was, she immediately became my favorite ghost in the mansion, just because Pepe was so oblivious to the danger he was in. I also didn’t mind the big number that ghost-Kermit did to introduce Gonzo to the Mansion. I know a lot of people criticized Matt Vogel’s performance as Kermit the Frog, but honestly I had no trouble accepting his voice as belonging to the character.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the Muppets do more Halloween specials if they’re all going to be this good. Bravo to Muppets Haunted Mansion for brightening up my Halloween.

Let me know what you thought of Muppets Haunted Mansion in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Reviews

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My Thoughts on: The Muppet Movie (1979)

I’ve been a fan of the Muppets since before I can remember (for that matter, even before I knew what a Muppet was). Be it Sesame Street or The Muppet Show, if it had Muppets in it, I watched it. That’s why I was so excited to get the opportunity to watch the original Muppet movie,  The Muppet Movie, in theaters, the way everyone got to see it forty years ago when it originally came out.

The movie presents itself as something of an origin story for how Kermit and the other Muppets first met and ended up becoming rich and famous in Hollywood. What starts off as Kermit the Frog’s journey to audition for a movie studio, quickly balloons into a tale of  close-knit friends following their collective dream to become famous entertainers. Along the way, Kermit picks up Fozzie Bear, Gonzo (and his chicken), Miss Piggy (who instantly falls in love with Kermit), Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Dr. Honeydew and Beeker, and Rowlf the Dog. Along the way, this growing cast of characters have to elude the obsessed Doc Hopper (Charles Durning), who’s determined to make Kermit his spokesman for a chain of frog legs-serving restaurants (Hopper fails to see why a frog wouldn’t be keen on promoting restaurants that serve frog legs).

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Along with the story, which is charming, fun, and never gets old, one of my favorite things about The Muppet Movie is the never-ending stream of celebrity cameos. Seriously, they’re everywhere, and you never know who is going to show up next. I can’t list them all, there are just too many, but some of my favorites include:

  • Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy: The world-famous ventriloquist shot his cameo not long before his death. Ignore the fact that you can see his lips moving, that scene is perfect just the way it is.
  • Steve Martin: He’s hysterical in that scene he appears in.
  • Mel Brooks: Probably my favorite cameo of the bunch. Mel Brooks, as you might expect, owns the scene from the moment he appears. I have no idea how anyone kept a straight face while Brooks was in character.
  • Orson Welles: Yes, I said Orson Welles, the same Welles who starred in Citizen Kane and a whole bunch of other things. He only has the one line, but it’s a great line (I genuinely believed for a number of years that “the standard rich and famous contract” was an actual thing.)

And then there’s the many great songs throughout the film, including “The Rainbow Connection”, “Movin’ Right Along”, and my personal favorite “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along”, just to name a few. To this day, I love singing along with each and every one of those songs.

Seeing The Muppet Movie in theaters brought back a lot of happy memories, and I’m glad I was able to go see it again. Let me know what you think about The Muppet Movie in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

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