Justin H. Piatt – There has been a lot of buzz around the internet about the newest Muppet movie, The Muppets. A lot of positive, wonderful buzz, but it hasn’t gone without its negative press either. While I would love to sit here and refute all of the negative comments that have been going around about the upcoming movie, I realize that I can’t. I don’t know that these people are wrong, just like they don’t know that they’re right. There is, however, one issue that can easily be proven false, and it is that topic which will be discussed in the following.
You may have heard several people complaining about Fozzie’s “fart shoes” gag, as seen in the trailers for the new movie. Those people claim that the Muppets are above fart jokes or toilet humor. It is to this statement that I say… Really?
Join me, won’t you, as we examine…
…I came up with a lot of titles.
I’ll preface this article by saying that no examples will be submitted from the last twenty years of Muppet productions. That would be too easy with obvious examples such as Miss Piggy’s “I’ve gotta pee” line in Muppets From Space. Or half the lines in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. No, the fart jokes contained in the following article will have come from BEFORE 1990!
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “MY GOD! Jim Henson would NEVER talk about potties!” or “The Muppets never did that!” or maybe even “Jim Henson farted?” Well, guess what. He did. …Maybe.
The Great Muppet Caper
The first feature film directed by Jim Henson is a classic, a gem, and perhaps my favorite movie of all time. It’s funny, it’s sweet, and… there’s a scene that takes place in a bathroom. Not only does the scene take place in the bathroom, but the Muppets are actually waiting (impatiently) to use said bathroom. And apparently they really, really, really have to go. They even break the door down!
Now, this scene is clever. It’s funny. And it’s about… bodily functions? Weird. But, there you have it. The Muppets are not above toilet humor. Do you really need more proof? Yes, you do.
The Muppets Take Manhattan
Ah, the Frank Oz directed film so dear to every Muppet fan’s heart. Can you believe it? Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are finally getting married. Not only that, but they’re getting married on Broadway! It’s like a dream come true! This is the Muppets. It’s sweet, it’s funny, and there’s a real, live priest in it! There’s a fart joke!
That’s right. There’s a fart joke in it. Oh, well. Movie’s ruined forever, right? Thanks for destroying the Muppets, Frank Oz, Jim Henson, and company! But, seriously, the moment when all the Muppets turn to see if Rowlf has let one rip is actually really, really funny, isn’t it? You didn’t mind it at all, did you? Nope, not until I pointed it out to you.
Everyone loved Dog City. The Jim Henson Hour may have failed, but Dog City remains one of the best pieces from Jim’s later career. It also has a lot of innuendo in it, and at least two toilet jokes. Who can forget the following exchanges?
Colleen: “Quick! Where’s the nearest hydrant?”
Ace Yu: “No time for that now. Can’t you see we’ve got a fire to fight?”
Or how about when Ace and Colleen nearly drove into the river?
Colleen: “Oh, my. We almost got wet!”
Ace Yu: “What do you mean, ‘almost’?”
There. See? More of this filth!
Okay. This isn’t a Muppet movie. But isn’t it a beloved favorite of the 1980s? The Jim Henson directed film from a Jim Henson story is fondly remembered by many. But, oh, yeah, there are no less than 70 fart jokes in this movie. That’s right… 70. Jim Henson made a movie with more than 70 fart jokes in it. (Or, more accurately, a movie with one joke of 70 farts.) Crazy, right? But I bet you still love the movie.
See? The Muppets are not above fart jokes, and there are numerous other examples that we could cite (A Muppet Family Christmas, anyone?). Thing is, when the Muppets do do them (tee hee), they’re usually fairly clever. Based on the context of the “fart shoes” gag, I’m fairly certain this is still the case. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with fart jokes or toilet humor if they’re done well (most are not–see Shrek). And, seriously, ONE joke in this movie is going to turn you off to the whole thing?
The Muppets have always been about low brow humor mixed with high brow humor mixed with a lot of heart. That’s what I expect from the Muppets, and that’s what I expect from The Muppets, and that’s why the Muppets are not above fart jokes.
To conclude this article, I will borrow a word from Jason Segel : Lawyered.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org