Quinn Rollins – Last year, LEGO started a new experiment: a platform that would let people crowdsource proposals for new LEGO sets. The platform is called LEGO CUUSOO, and it’s a way for fans to tell LEGO what they’d like to see made. As a lifelong fan of the Muppets, it didn’t take me long to figure out what I’d want my proposal to be. The idea behind the Muppet LEGO Proposal is to show LEGO that there’s interest in a Muppet line of LEGO sets with characters, playsets, and vehicles that could be built, modified, collected, played with, and displayed.
The actual proposal is available on the LEGO CUUSOO website, and that’s where you can go to vote for the proposal, showing LEGO that there are Muppet fans out there who would buy these toys. More on that later.
So far, there have been three stages to what’s being shown on the Muppet LEGO Proposal site: the first stage was hand-drawn sketches of things we might see, and a lot of those are on the site. I’m a doodler, and that’s where most of my ideas start. Some of the sketches were drawn without a Muppet reference or an idea of LEGO scale, but it got the ideas on paper.
The next stage was building custom-made minifigures. This is the trickiest part because Muppets aren’t just one standard size, like LEGO people usually are. I decided to try making the customized minifigures. Some of them turned out well, others still need work. Keep in mind that voting for the proposal doesn’t mean that the finished project would look like handmade. They’d be designed by professionals, and their product would look a lot better than mine. The goal here is to illustrate how awesome it would be to have so many different Muppets in LEGO form.
The third stage for my development of the Muppet LEGO Proposal has been the most challenging–learning to use the LEGO Digital Designer software. This is a program that lets you design virtual LEGO models. I didn’t have experience in that area, so learning to design a Muppet Theater and Swedish Chef’s Kitchen and Muppet Labs and other playsets and vehicles has been at times difficult, but ultimately rewarding.
Proposal for the Muppet Theater Playset, with the backstage area, stage, and Statler and Waldorf’s box.
Swedish Chef’s Kitchen, currently being invaded by Lobster Banditos.
Muppet Labs, where Dr. Honeydew’s cloning machine has a frog in its throat.
Here on The Muppet Mindset, I’m debuting the next part of the Muppet LEGO Proposal, and that’s the first pictures of the Veterinarian’s Hospital team, an LDD model of what the Veterinarian’s Hospital Ambulance could look like, and some of the weirder performers from The Muppet Show.
Veterinarian’s Hospital was always one of my favorite sketches from The Muppet Show, and whether it was seeing Rowlf, Miss Piggy and Janice in a different context than their usual one, or the horribly fantastic puns in the operating room, I loved it. My idea for LEGO is a Veterinarian’s Hospital Ambulance, which we never saw on the show, but I believe would make for a better LEGO set than the operating room set from the show.
The ambulance itself would be pretty straightforward; a modern vehicle or an old-timey one, either would work. A stretcher and unfortunate victim/patient would need to fit in the back of it. Removable equipment would help our heroes operate on the guy (in this case, he looks like Crazy Harry) with tools like a big hammer, chainsaw, dynamite (Crazy Harry obviously needs something removed), etc.
Some other new characters I made in this same batch:
Crazy Harry, Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphones, and Lew Zealand. I was always both scared and excited to see all three of these performers on The Muppet Show, because they were unpredictable and a little unhinged. Crazy Harry and Marvin Suggs didn’t need any resculpting, and thankfully LEGO just released a Shakespearean Actor minifigure that had a ruff collar that Lew Zealand really needed. The Muppaphones are repainted pom-poms from some LEGO Cheerleaders, who are now less cheery than before.
The Muppet Newsman is one of those characters who no one is ever really clamoring to see, but who always made me laugh. So he’s there with a small flock of Muppet Penguins. Because Muppets need Penguins.
The Electric Mayhem is always a favorite of mine, and thanks to the taunting of fellow Muppet fan David Beukema, I finally decided to make Lips. Plus, LEGO has a nice trumpet piece already made for him. Which is more than I can say for Zoot’s unfortunate saxophone there.
Then, because it’s That Time of Year, and A Muppet Family Christmas is by far my favorite Muppet Christmas special, I figured I’d make two characters that show up there–the Muppet Snowman and Ma Bear. I wanted to keep the Snowman as LEGO-y as possible, so he’s more built than sculpted, with details painted on him. Ma Bear… well, let’s say that sculpting Fozzie and his family are always a challenge for my untrained skills at making a half-inch tall bear head. She looks like a fusion of Bea Arthur and W.C. Fields… which kind of makes sense, now that I think about it.
So. Here’s what it comes down to you. If you think you’d like to see LEGO make Muppet toys, this is how you make it happen. It’s a simple three step process, with two extra steps for those of you that are extra-crazy/weird/enthusiastic/really REALLY want to get Muppet LEGO made.
STEP 1: Go to the Muppet LEGO Proposal. If you’re in the mood, you can look at the other pictures there, and read everything I wrote there. The smallest set would just have Kermit and his banjo in the swamp, and they’d get bigger and more expensive until you get to something like The Muppet Theater.
STEP 2: Click on “Support” and register as a new member of CUUSOO. You can do that with your Facebook, Twitter, or your email. Several people have asked me if they’d get spammed from LEGO CUUSOO if they registered, and as a longtime member, and someone with a proposal on the site, I’ve never received an email from them. They don’t seem to be in the spamming business, so you should be safe.
STEP 3: Vote for the Muppets! As of now, there are 1,433 supporters. Which isn’t bad. There are many projects with less than a hundred supporters, most have less than a thousand. The magic number is 10,000. The Muppets need your vote. When you vote, there’s a question asking “How much would you spend on this product.” This just gives LEGO an idea of what you might spend. If you think you’d just buy the little Kermit the Frog set, put $8. If you think you’d buy every Muppet thing that LEGO puts out, say $200. Or whatever you think you’d spend. It’s not like a school fundraiser where they’ll rough you up if you don’t pay for that candy bar you bought from the marching band. Those band geeks are vicious!
STEP 4: Tell other people about it! I’m reminded of the song “Just One Person”… and what it means for the Muppets. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell people who you don’t think are likely Muppet or LEGO fans–because there are a lot of people out there who like either one or the other. Post it on your Facebook wall, Tweet it, get it tattooed on… well, that’s up to you–just encourage people to VOTE.
STEP 5: Keep visiting the LEGO CUUSOO proposal, and comment there. If you have ideas that you think would be good, or characters you’d like to see as LEGO minifigures, tell me there. The LEGO CUUSOO team keeps track of the proposals with active comment sections, and if you like what’s happening, or would rather see something else, talk about it there.
Then what? Then… we wait until it reaches the magic number. How likely is it that Muppets LEGO will get made? Well, a lot of the obstacles are already out of the way. The Muppets are owned by Disney, and LEGO has the Disney license. The Muppets have a hit under their belt, and another movie soon to be in production. The Muppets are considered an “evergreen” property that have an appeal to kids, teens, and adults–which is something that LEGO considers. The chances… aren’t terrible.
LEGO reviews the CUUSOO proposals at key points–the Muppets proposal passed its first review, with encouragement to keep on plugging away. So I am. We are. I’ve also heard from some people behind the scenes at LEGO that the designers really like the idea, and would love to see it get made. So vote! There will be more updates coming over the coming weeks and months–keep checking in to see what’s happening. The point of this is to have fun, and share the love of the Muppets and of LEGO with the world. It’s a world I love, and I’m having a lot of fun in it.
The updated Muppet LEGO Family… and knowing me, there are more on the way. Because I can’t stop at just one. Or you know, fifty.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org