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Don’t forget, A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa comes out on DVD this Tuesday, September 29th! Be sure to pick up your copy wherever DVDs or sold, or order here from Amazon.com! (Also, yesterday while at Target, I saw this advertisement for Letters to Santa. Looks like Disney [or at least Target] cares after all!)
Today, The Muppet Mindset once again visits the realm of Muppet Central Forum fan-fiction! In this installment, Kelly Masters introduces us to some new faces…
Old Friends, New Friends
Kelly Masters (RedPiggy on Muppet Central Forum) – Where would fan-fics be without original characters? In this third installment of my fan-fic review series, we’ll first take a look at Muppet Central Forum’s favorite original fan-fic characters, those that aren’t present in any canon of official Muppet media.
The first up is Maggie, created by TogetherAgain. She can be found in Swamp Call. She shows up in the first chapter, adequately described (how hard is it to describe a frog?), and we already know she has a relationship to Kermit, complete with pet names for each other (She calls him “Mit”, he calls her “Mags”). While it’s hard to describe frogs as attractive (sorry, Kermit), we get a sense that she must be a looker because of how a multitude of male Muppets act around her. Maggie is a little spitfire who makes it a point to prove herself a part of the crowd, despite her over-protective brother Kermit. Her favorite activity seems to be tweaking Miss Piggy just for the halibut (sorry, that was cheap, even for me). Come to think of it, particularly when the drama in this story starts up, if Kermit were Gobo Fraggle, Maggie is most definitely Red.
The second character is Wanda the Cat, created by redBoobergurl. She can found in a series called “Rowlf’s stories”. This review will focus on the first of those, Where Your Heart Leads You. We don’t meet her until chapter three, where she’s a singer at a restaurant. After a tentative meeting, she and Rowlf go their separate ways so that Rowlf can learn about his past. Naturally, the lines of destiny force them to meet once again. Wanda is hesitant to bring up the past (like Simba – what is it with cats and bad pasts?). However, she is really a touching character and a welcome addition to the insanity.
Finally in this original character review is Aunt Marge, created by theprawncracker. She can be found in his Muppet trilogy, but again I shall go with the first of the stories, Men Are Pigs. Apparently, adding to Kermit’s long line of relatives seems to be a very popular choice. Even before we meet Marge, it’s clear the others think she’s a hassle. In retrospect, and I realize I might lose a lot of readers with this comparison, but she reminds me of Endora from Bewtiched. She’s comfortable with her life and expects her family to live that as well. She despises everyone outside her realm.
Now, I’d like to switch gears and discuss the types of fan-fics that might bring in more readers. While I like to write more obscure properties (sorry, I just simply couldn’t help plugging the fact I write fics … I made it to three articles before I broke down, though, right?), the downside is that it’s so hard finding readers for them. So, out of sheer curiosity, I asked the people over at Muppet Central Forums this question: If you had a choice (and, really, you do, right?), which property would you read about the most? Muppets (including the Muppet Show, Jim Henson Hour, Muppets Tonight), Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Storyteller, Dinosaurs, Farscape, Sid the Science Kid, Bear in the Big Blue House — and whatever properties I may have missed.
Not surprisingly, the Muppets (from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, or the movies) won hands down. It’s a shame how the Hensons and Disney treated the Muppets for so long, as they are clearly the most loved of all the characters ever stuck under Jim Henson’s big umbrella.
However, some actually noted crossovers (stories that cover multiple franchises at once) as a good read. The only problem with crossovers is that it’s rather difficult to convince fans of one property to bother with the characters from another. If done well, however, all the featured properties can be enriched that much more. I hereby beg your forgiveness, but the voices in my head won’t let me continue typing unless I mention my own story, The Comeback King Saga. That covers just about every franchise listed in my question for this topic, except for the last two, as I never saw them at all. I worked very hard to make it internally consistent and extrapolated from all relevant canons. Sigh. Okay, now that I got that out of my system, we can continue.
Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street got brief mentions. You’d think the latter would be more popular, since it existed before The Muppet Show. Oh well. The first one, I can say from experience in writing and reading fics about them, is hard because the show was so well contained that it’s hard to break into their universe without totally dragging something out that never was brought up to begin with (Fraggle parenting comes to mind). The latter, relying on a lot of self-contained skits, not to mention the overt educational “YOU WILL LEARN THIS NOW” tone of some episodes (if not many), I would think make it even harder to write well. You pretty much have a choice between a straight-forward narrative and an educational skit, the former being difficult if only because I’ve read a lot of people try to write in the educational pushes and it can seem forced. Thankfully, it’s usually played for laughs.
Next time, I’ll go deeper into fics regarding the above-mentioned properties. I hope you’ll join me as we visit franchises you may have little experience with.