Marni Hill – I think it goes without saying that I adore the Muppets and the geniuses behind them with all my heart. Everything they do, everything they say and everything they stand for is what I cherish and keeps me believing in the brighter side of the world. In my three years of die-hard fandom, I’ve done everything I can to support them, whether it’s buying their DVDs or CDs or books or anything else I can think of purchasing.
Since America and the UK have such a deep history with the Muppets, it’s kind of hard not to be Kermit-green with envy about the shallow connections Australia has with these wonderful characters. I do realise that there are many other countries missing out as well, but I still can’t help but feel stumped as to why Australia of all places has not had a single major Muppet event happen here in the 60 years they have been around. Sure, Kermit managed to hang around in Sydney for a week in December 2011 for promotional reasons, but who remembers that other than me? As far as I can recall, even Jim Henson himself only visited us once on a Dark Crystal promotion tour.
So why the shun? Actually, maybe ‘shun’ isn’t the right term to use here. There’s probably no shunning happening at all. Perhaps there’s been no Muppet activity here because Australia simply hasn’t properly shown Disney what we have to offer. If that’s the case, I’m quite happy to elaborate.
Without further ado, here are my Top Three reasons why The Muppets should take a chance Down Under:
1. Aussies are a funny sort of people- The right type of audience.
As much as I hate to admit it, the stereotypical Aussie you usually see in the media is not too far off from the real deal (although the accent could do with a turning down), but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Our slap-happy, laid-back personalities could be perfect for dealing with Muppet generated chaos, maybe even enhancing it. There’s no doubt in my mind that if Fozzie were to do stand-up here, the laughs would be genuine rather than out of pity. We have no trouble with making a joke out of ourselves and laughing it off. We deliberately go out of our way to be slightly mad, but we have also become tolerant and accepting of those different to us. Face it. Australia is a nation of amateur Muppets in need of tutoring from the masters of mayhem.
2. Fresh talent means fresh laughter.
As far as Muppet ‘guest stars’ go, there is so much promising Australian talent, I don’t know where to begin. Other than Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth or Rebel Wilson, I could name plenty of funny faces. However, there is one comedian who definitely stands out above the rest. Adam Hills (who I mentioned in ‘The Great Muppet Survey’) is a prime candidate who would do anything from hosting a comedy gala with Kermit to doing a YouTube skit with the Swedish Chef. Why? Because he is well and truly one of us! Adam even coined the phrase ‘Touch the Frog’ to be a motto for really embracing life. It only takes one viewing of Adam’s Swedish Chef skit on YouTube to realise that this man would be worth the trip to Aus alone!
3. Just because it would be fun, wonderful and everything in between!
I mean, why not? I can’t see how anything could possibly go wrong! How amazing would it be for the next feature film to take place in Sydney or for the Muppets to take over the Melbourne International Comedy Festival? There are many fans that are dying to catch a glimpse of their favourite Muppet in the felt (or foam rubber and/or flocking if the case may be). The possibilities are endless. We could have Fozzie meeting a koala, Kermit visiting distant relatives in a swampy billabong, Miss Piggy meeting Dame Edna (the Aussie answer to the porcine diva) and even Pepe flirting with Miss Australia! We have been waiting patiently for 60 years and we’ll continue to sit on the edge of our seats in the hopes of one day having our heroes reach our far off shore.
There is actually one last and very personal reason why I want the Muppets to come to Australia. Simply and purely because I want to chance to meet the Muppeteers. Even if I had to fly from Melbourne to Darwin to catch the tiniest glimpse of my idols, I would happily empty my life savings. I often hear and read about other fan’s face to face experiences and I can only hope that in the future I will become one of the lucky ones.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org