We Interviewed Muppet Babies’ Matt Danner & Tom Warburton!

3 Muppet Babies

The new iteration of Muppet Babies has been on the air for well over 12 months now, and has been full of extremely fun, funny and sweet moments.  The show has just been picked up for a third season, and Season 2 begins airing today, August 9th.

To celebrate the occasion, last week we had a chance to chat with Matt Danner and Tom Warburton.  Tom is the show’s Executive Producer, with some incredible credits to his name.  Matt is not only the shows Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer, but is the voice of Baby Kermit, Waldorf, Baby Rowlf and Baby Beaker.


Jarrod Fairclough: So, I’m gonna start by complimenting you guys on what is genuinely some of the freshest, funniest Muppet content we’ve had in a long time.  USA Today have just published a very silly article claiming no-one cares about The Muppets, I know Matt, you’ve been constantly tweeting a refute since Muppet Babies got a third season.

Matt Danner: Yeah.

Jarrod: I mean, considering you guys got a third season, it’s obvious people care about these characters.  But also, the care that you guys are putting in to this show prove that people care about these characters.  I’m wondering what the genesis was in bringing Muppet Babies back from the 80’s?

Matt: I think it was about bringing The Muppets back in general with a younger audience.  Anybody who was born before, you know, 1990, grew up with Kermit the Frog on pre-school television on Sesame Street.  And then, as a kid watching The Muppet Show, and the Muppet movies and all that stuff.  But then from the 90’s on, Kermit didn’t have a presence in pre-school, and so from our perspective, we felt that we needed to, sort of, introduce a new generation to these characters.  So that’s there the initial idea came from.  But on top of that, we just loved the Muppets, and wanted to do cool things with them! (Laughs)

Dannimal

Supervising Director and voice of Baby Kermit, Matt Danner with an unknown friend.

Tom Warburton: A lot of people over the years have been pitching a new Muppet Babies series.  Different people have come in and gone ‘Hey, we should bring Muppet Babies back!’ and the network and Muppets Studio would look at them and say ‘Well, this seems exactly like the old one and there’s nothing new’, or ‘This is a horrible direction to take’.  It really wasn’t until Matt and the team at Disney Interactive kind of nuzzled up to The Muppet Studio which was in the office next to them, and said ‘Hey, we’ve got this idea to reboot Muppet Babies, but what if we actually treat the characters like the actual puppets?’  We’ve got the CG technology now to get that texture on Kermit, that little tennis ball fuzz, to get Fozzie’s fur on Fozzie’.  And they said ‘Yeah, sure!  Give it a shot!’ And they did this little two minute test episode that really got Disney Junior fired up for it, and they said ‘Let’s do this!’.  They were excited for it, the people at Disney Interactive were excited for it, so everyone came together, and really quickly we started to come up with the series.  It came from a place of love, everyone just really diving in, and respecting the characters, and trying to make it what we remember from when we were kids.  That’s the magic that the Muppets had.  And we found that pre-schoolers didn’t know who these characters were.  When we went in to test stories on them, maybe they knew who Kermit was from an old DVD?  But most of them had no idea.  So, what’s exciting is us getting to introduce Kermit and Piggy and Fozzie and everyone to a new audience, along with a brand new Muppet we created, which is the coolest thing ever.

Jarrod: Well, on that, I’ve got two nieces, one is 8, the other turns 5 today, actually, and I have spent a lot of my time trying to get them into The Muppets, and I just wasn’t succeeding.  And it wasn’t until I showed them your Muppet Babies, that my 5 yea old niece got so into it, that literally once I finish this interview, I’m going to be making her birthday cake, which is Muppet Babies themed.  I finally got one of them into it, and it’s thanks to you two, so thank you very much!  You say you went to The Muppet Studio with this, what’s your relationship been like with them over the past 2-3 years making this series?

Tom: They’ve been very supportive!  Even from the get-go, when they were focused on other things; they were focused on The Muppet Thought of the Week videos, the ABC series, the Hollywood Bowl show.  They actually really dug that they could sort of, let us run with it.  They were always very hands off.  They’ve been involved everytime we create a new Muppet, or reboot an old Muppet, you know?  When we brought Bunsen and Beaker in, we worked with Muppet Studio to get the voices right, and to make sure the characters felt right.  Every character design goes through them, we work with the Puppet Heap team in New York, they gave us all the fabrics and textures – high res photos, if not a swatch that we could scan.  This entire time, they’ve been extremely supportive and kind to us.  Including with these live action shorts that we just did.  We actually made puppets out of these characters, which is one of the coolest things ever to see designs we did turn in to real Muppets.  Especially Summer, she’s a real Muppet now.  I don’t know if they ever made a real Muppet of Skeeter?

Jarrod: No, they didn’t.

Tom: So that in itself is pretty amazing.  And what’s been great about working with The Muppet Studio – or what’s been the honor, rather – is they look at things and then they sort of let us go and say ‘You guys got this’.  They know we really care.  It’s not a cash grab, it’s not ‘We wanna change The Muppets’, we wanna do this right, and they recognize that.

BABY KERMIT, BABY SUMMER, TOM WARBURTON (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), BABY GONZO, BABY FOZZIE, BABY ANIMAL, BABY PIGGY

Executive Producer Tom Warburton with the characters of Muppet Babies: Play Date.

Matt: Yeah.  We’ve worked with a few of the Muppet performers already, with Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, Bill Barretta was actually on the show!  And Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson along with others did all the puppeteering for our Muppet Babies Play Date shorts.  The common theme is that everyone is very appreciative and thankful, and they generally like it.  I spent a lot of time on set with Eric Jacobson, who does Fozzie and Animal and Piggy, and he was just over the moon.  He was like ‘I love the fact that my kids are in to it, and I can talk to them about it, and it’s not just what Dad does anymore’.  He was very, very genuine in his appreciation for it.  So, it makes you feel good, it makes you feel like we’re in the gang.

Jarrod: That’s wonderful.  Well, talking about the Muppet Babies live action shorts, what was the process?  How did those come together?

Tom: We had talked about wanting to, almost from day one, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to make puppets out of these characters at some point?’.  We talked about doing some shorts with them, and in this day and age, you kind of need to show people what you want to do.  You can tell them about it, but really, you need to show them what you want.  So, Matt and I talked about it for a bit, and we went and ordered from Old Navy a little baby sized white polo, like Baby Kermit wears.  Matt had an old Kermit puppet, so we put the polo on it and got the 5 year old niece of one of one of the production people here, and we went down and shot a little skit at the park.  With Mikayla standing there on the playground, and Kermit walks in to frame – we shot it all on a iPhone – and Kermit says ‘Hey, Mikayla.  I saw you on the slide.  It looks fun, but I’m kind of scared!  Could you show me how?’  And Mikayla goes ‘Yeah!  I’ll show you!’  So she goes down the slide, and then says ‘You try now, Kermit!’.  And then we literally cut to the top of the slide, and just throw the puppet down the slide, down into the dirt!  (Laughs)  No-one will ever see this!

Matt: And we dubbed it over like (in Baby Kermit’s voice) ‘Wheeeeeeeeee!’ (Laughs)

Tom: His body was like, flopping around and stuff!  It was really sweet and short, Mikayla was adorable, Matt’s puppeteering was great, and I took it to the head of Disney Junior and said ‘We wanna do these shorts, have these Muppets with real kids, let them come to the Muppet Babies playground’.  And they were like ‘This is great, we gotta do this!’, and before we knew it, we were building puppets.  Again, Muppet Studio dove in head first, we supervised seeing these puppets getting made.  Then we’re on the set with Matt Vogel and everyone watching them come to life.  When Alice Dinnean had the Summer puppet the first day on the set, I walked up to her and she just started talking to me with it, and I just started crying!  I was like, oh my god, she’s real!

Jarrod: So, you had Matt Vogel there, you’ve got Eric Jacobson there.  Obviously for you, Matt, it’s your voice coming out but it’s Matt Vogel performing.  So how were those actually recorded?

Matt: We chatted about it, and we worked on it together.  I worked with both Vogel and Jacobson on what we’re doing with the characters.  Because even though we’re doing Muppet Babies, we’re not doing baby talk, you know?  And what I kind of said was, we treat them like the adult characters, we just sort of squeeze them a little bit, you know what I mean?  So Kermit, if he’s normal Kermit he’s (in an adult Kermit voice) just sort of down in this area and (in Baby Kermit’s voice) I just sort of pitch him up a little bit, and that’s it.  (Back to normal voice) We try to keep them as close to the original as possible, and I was on set working with them, and over the course of the time, we kind of dialled in the performances, and then after we edited them, we went back in and dubbed them over with the voice actors.muppet babies play dateJarrod: So were they written?  Or was it just loosely scripted and Matt or Eric would improvise?

 

Matt: Tom and I wrote the stories and outlined them as far as beats go, and then there was some improv on set with the kids.

Tom: We purposely built them (the story outlines), because we were gonna be working with kids, we purposely built them to set the kids up for improv.  So we knew we’d get funnier stuff if we let the kids just play, and that gave way for the performers to just play, too.  So our scripts were just basic outlines, we knew where we wanted to go, we knew how to get it back on track if it got a little too crazy.  But we wanted as much fun stuff to happen as could happen.

Matt: But there was a lot of stuff that definitely was not scripted.  There was the ‘Animal Fetch’ short where this kid’s name was Esai, and he was just comedy wrapped up in a kid’s body.  He just knew, he had all these one liners and stuff, and Eric played against him, and they had this back and forth that we just didn’t want to change, like let’s just keep this.  So we found a lot in the edit room, too.

Jarrod: They’re wonderful, and it’s amazing how much your characters come through, even though it’s the actual performers playing them.  Which I think it’s a real testiment to how close you guys got to the adult counterparts when making this series.  Kermit feels like Kermit, Piggy feels like Piggy.  So, going back to the development of it then, why did you condense it down to those six characters?  You lose Rowlf, though he came back in an episode, you lost Scooter and Skeeter.  Why choose just these six?

Matt: Originally, it was because of the complexity of – we call them ‘puppets’ on the show because our CG rigs are probably the most complex CG rigs on television.  So because of the amount of time and effort and processing that had to go in to these, we kind of had to boil it down to what we needed.  We knew we wanted another girl character to play off of Piggy, which it’s no secret that in The Muppets there’s not many of.  We felt that if we brought just Skeeter in without Scooter, it didn’t make any sense, because they kind of come as a package.  At one point we were talking about maybe bringing Janice in, but she comes with Electric Mayhem, you know what I mean?  Like, Animal has already sort of defined himself on his own.  So we really needed to bring in someone who could be on their own.  And then once we got the show going and we started learning things, we were able to start building more off of that.  Then it just came out of necessity, like we knew we needed Bunsen and Beaker, because the amount of stories that we get out of those two characters is still endless.  I mean, we go to Muppet Labs a lot, it’s a lot of fun, but we can’t have Muppet Labs without Bunsen and Beaker.  And Tom, correct me if I’m wrong, but the way that we’re rolling out the characters is organic to the stories that we need to tell.

Muppet_Babies_2018_06

Tom: It’s also pre-school storytelling.  If you look at your average pre-school show, there aren’t really huge ensemble casts.  We have six lead characters, which is massive, and to tell stories to pre-schoolers you have to be a little bit simpler.  We’re a bit more complex than most shows, so we want to be able to focus on one characters story, and how we get the other five in there, which is already complicated.  If we had as many characters as the original show, we’d really be dodging a lot of story points.  So we started out with these six, which we thought was managable, and as the series goes on we open up to more characters and that gives us more stories to tell.

Matt: One thing to keep in mind too is that those six characters aren’t just a lot of a regular pre-school show, they’re a lot of the processors.  We’ve destroyed them rendering scenes that have too many characters in them.  We have to be very careful about how many Muppets are on screen at a single time.

Jarrod: Well, you’re bringing in these characters, and you’ve brought in Rizzo, who I don’t think ever once appeared in the original Muppet Babies.  And he’s become almost like the seventh cast member.  Why him?

Tom: He kind of serves as, in a show where we don’t have an antagonist, he kind of serves as a soft antagonist.

Matt: Like a foil.

muppet babies rizzo

Tom: Yeah, so we don’t want our kids to get in to big arguments with each other because they’re such good friends.  We don’t like when our six characters are fighting with each other, so we kind of sometimes need an outside source to stir things up.  And he’s got that little attitude that’s perfect for it.  So he came in to more and more episodes where we didn’t need a real bad guy, but he’s kind of like a bad guy.

Matt: And I would say his character traits lead him to make decisions that would get everyone else in to trouble too.  So it’s a lot easier to get everyone in to the adventure if he accidentally steps on the trap, you know what I mean?

Jarrod: So then, you’ve got Rizzo, you’ve just announced Sweetums and Swedish Chef are appearing.  How do you go about choosing which characters from the ensemble will appear?  You’ve got 40-45 years worth of characters to choose from.  How do you go about cherry picking who you want?

Matt: Again, it comes from what the stories we want to tell are.  And there are a lot of Muppets, but there are also some favorites, you know?  Once you have the main, we’ll say Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, then you look out and say ‘Who else is there?’.  With someone like Sweetums, we had a story that he was perfect for, and so we just did it.

Tom: Yeah, and also because we couldn’t have everyone right off the bat.  Some people were like ‘They didn’t put Rowlf in there, that’s an outrage!’ and it’s like – no, no, we’re putting Rowlf in, just when we can.

muppet babies rowlf

Matt: And you’ll see a lot more of him this season as well.  The other thing is we needed to wait til season 2 for Sweetums because he costs the same as two Muppets.

Jarrod: Oh, really!?

Matt: I’m not joking, he is a big puppet.  He is a very big, complex character.  I think people are gonna be really happy with the way he turned out.

Jarrod: Is there anyone you’ve wanted to put in that you haven’t been able to for whatever reason?  Either you haven’t been able to figure out a story for them, or again, they’re too complex to make in a computer?

Tom: Uh, no?  Not really.  Some characters we’ve tried to story, we’re very particular about our storytelling.  And sometimes there’s a character we want to introduce, but we just can’t break a story that works with them.  Eventually we get there.  But as far as complexity, we find a way to do what we want, one way or another.  But there are sometimes, like, we wanted to get a character, uh, one I can’t tell you about, in for a really long time, and we couldn’t find a perfect story.  But we did, and now they’re in a bunch of stories.

Jarrod: You can tell me!

Tom: I can’t!  We’ve told you enough already!

Jarrod: Yeah you can, and then I’ll hang it over your heads for a while until I get what I want!

Tom: (Laughs) We’ve got to save some surprises so you want to talk to us later!

Jarrod: Uh, true!

Matt: One thing to keep in mind again, is these puppets are so complex, that we can’t just build one for a one-off gag.  We have to make sure that we can carry a story around them, and then find ways to plug them in to other stories, even if they’re not the main character.  So it’s really about making sure that when we choose to build this Muppet, that it’s going to serve the show as a whole.  So over the course of time, we’ve found ways, so the cast is growing this season, and is going to continue growing.  There are a lot of Muppets coming!

Jarrod: Well, you talk of one-off gags, there’s one episode in particular I’m thinking of, it’s the episode where Kermit throws Fozzie’s hat over the fence in to Statler and Waldorf’s yard.  They go in to the backyard, and there a bunch of topiaries and statues of obscure Muppet characters, Frackles, and those sorts of things.  Is that in the script?  Is that the story people putting in ideas?  Is that the storyboarding team putting in ideas?

Tom: It comes from everyone.  Sometimes it’s in the script, sometimes the designer puts it in, sometimes the storyboard artist or it’s in the animatic.  Very often it’s Matt!  (Laughs) He finds clever ways to put in Muppet trivia in there.  And they’re all over the place.

Matt: Yeah, there’s a lot.

muppet babies yard.png

Tom: Some people will notice, some people won’t.  Like on the stage outside in the yard, on the back curtain, the patches on there are the actual pattern from The Muppet Show.  So 99.99% of people aren’t going to notice, but we love to throw them in.

Matt: There’s a lot, like The Muppet Show curtain.  And then one of the two patches is the wallpaper design from the scene in The Muppets Take Manhattan, the Muppet Babies scene.  We actually recreated the wallpaper texture because we needed to redesign the playroom to make it a little more modern.  But we wanted to sneak that wallpaper in there because it was so cute.

Jarrod: That goes back to what I was saying earlier, which is the care you guys put in to this show is so evident.  Coming from someone who’s – I’ve got a Kermit the Frog tattoo.

Tom: Money well spent!

Jarrod: It’s nice that these characters are in hands, no pun intended, of people who have a desire to leave a mark on this legacy.  So then what is it like for you guys to be a part of this legacy?

Matt: It’s a dream come true to be able to do this, to introduce these characters to a new audience, and to see how many kids and their parents are into it.  One of my favorite things in the world is seeing on social media tweets from adults saying ‘My kid went to bed an hour ago, why am I still watching Muppet Babies?’.  Or, even better, ‘My kid’s going to bed and I’m watching Muppet Babies!’  It’s cool, and that was the intent.  That’s what happened with The Muppet Show; it was a, in quotes “kids show”, but then families watched it all together and got the same thing out of it – a love for these characters.

Jarrod: You used the actual Dr. Teeth in an episode, the actual puppet being played by Bill Barretta.  Is there anything else like that coming up?  Or is it something you have a desire to do more of?

Tom: We’d like to do more of it.  It requires a lot of pre-planning, and it can get expensive.  But we’re always trying to outdo ourselves, to find out what’s the next really cool thing we can do.  The Muppet Babies Play Date shorts are an example of that.  Whenever I have a meeting with the head of Disney Junior he asks me ‘Alright, what do you wanna do now?’ (Laughs).  We’re always coming up with these fun ideas, and they’re always receptive to them.  It’s exciting.  We have plans to hopefully do as much as we can with The Muppets.

Jarrod: So going back to creating this new iteration of the show.  A lot of the characters look like slightly updated versions of their 80’s cartoon selves.  But someone like Animal has had a radical change from a baby in a bonnet and diaper to a toddler running around in a hoody.

Matt: He had a growth spurt! (Laughs)

Jarrod: So what went in to that redesign work?

muppet babies baby animal

Matt: Well I can tell you now, there were two things.  One; our initial goal was to make the baby versions of the characters tie in to the adult counterparts.  So that to kids, adult Kermit and Baby Kermit were the same person.  So that’s why we worked closely with Muppet Studios to make sure that the puppets – and I mean puppets in both ways – look legit.  But actually, we did our research, and there were a string of Muppet Babies childrens books where they actually built dolls, they built the poseable standee versions of the characters for like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and stuff like that.  And we looked at Baby Animal in those, and he wasn’t wearing the bonnet.  He was just a little pink fuzzball.  And so that’s when we looked at the show and said we didn’t want him wearing diapers now.  They’re out of diapers now.  They’re still the Muppet Babies, but they’re a little older so that we’re not completely doing the old show.  They’re out of the nursery, they’re playing outside, so we’re ageing them up a little bit.  But more than anything it was trying to make it look like the Muppet versions of these characters grew out of these designs.

Jarrod: And also Muppet Toddlers doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Matt: Yeah, neither does Muppet Kids.

Jarrod: The casting for this show is impeccible.  Matt, your Kermit is incredible.

Matt: Aw, thank you.

Tom: I second that notion!

Matt: I really appreciate that.

Jarrod: Also, Eric Bauza’s Fozzie is so close, that at one point when I very first saw the show, I thought they had lifted audio of Eric Jacobsob’s Fozzie and put it in!

Matt: (Laughs) You know what’s funny, is both the performers playing Kermit are named Matt, and both the performers playing Fozzie are named Eric.

Jarrod: Writing articles before, I have had to specify which Matt and which Eric I am talking about.

Matt: (Laughs) Yeah!

muppet babies real2

Voice actors Jessica DiCicco and Eric Bauza, with Summer and Fozzie.

Jarrod: So tell me a bit about that casting process?  Eric is an extremely prolific voice actor, especially in the last 12 months since he’s taken over Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes, and of course there’s Dee Bradley Baker as well.

Tom: Well, Disney Casting has a pretty amazing talent pool of agencies to look at.  This is different to other shows because we’re trying to match certain sounds, certain inflections.  A lot of agencies turned in a recordings of actors trying out for the roles.  And they widdled it down to about 20 per character for us to listen to.  We gave suggestions.  I got Ben Diskin (Baby Gonzo) because we had worked together on my show on Cartoon Network, Codename: Kids Next Door.  I thought ‘Oh wow, he’d make a great Gonzo!’.

Matt: And I seconded it.

Tom: And Matt said ‘Hey, I’ve worked with him, too!  He’s great!’

Matt: Yeah, he did voices on, I did three Hot Wheels movies for Mattel, and he was one of our main characters.  We hit it off right away, he’s just so talented.

Tom: So certain people we brought in, others were kind of on the short list for Disney, and as we went through them, we thought Kermit would be easy.  Matt had done the scratch voices for the short Disney Interactive had done.  It was super cute, Kermit had the most lines, and what Matt had done was so great.  So when the casting process started, Matt came to us and said ‘Hey, I know it’s a tall order, but I’d really like to throw my hat in the ring’.  And we said ‘Great, we liked what you did in the little shorts.  You’re up against every voice actor in L.A, but yeah, let’s go for it!”.  And every actor that came in, either we were like ‘Eh, that’s not quite it’ or ‘Eh, that’s an interesting take’.  But we kept comparing them to what Matt had done.  So finally we were just like, ‘Let’s get Matt!  That’s what we want, let’s do it!’

Matt: It took a few calls back, we went through the process, man.

Tom: Yeah, Matt certainly wasn’t a shoo-in, we had to fight for it.  And to his credit, he went for it, and he got it.  The cool thing about that was, like, to go back in time and tell 10 year old Matt Danner ‘You’re going to be Kermit the Frog!’ he would have said (in a Matt impression) ‘No way, dude!’  But here he is.  We had a lot of people chiming in on these characters, The Muppet Studio were there to give their blessings.  So, for certain characters it was hard, but for other characters it was like, that was it.  We knew we liked that.  Sold!  Then as the other characters came in, because with The Muppets it was only a few people doing the voices – Frank Oz did these voices, Jim Henson did these.  And Matt, from what The Muppet Studios have told him, he has the same pipes as Jim, or at least very similar.  So he does all the same voices Jim did.  He’s done Waldorf, he’s done Rowlf.  And more characters coming up, he just falls right in to it.  So it makes our casting easier.  You don’t have to reach out to a bunch of people because we go ‘Oh, Matt can do that!’.

Matt: Yeah, but even with those, when the Statler and Waldorf episode happened, we sat there and we knew ‘Okay, let’s give this a shot’.  And (Waldorf voice) I had to practise and I had to make sure I could do the voice just like he did, (Normal voice) you know what I mean?  It was an audition on the spot, before we even got the thumbs up to record the episode.

Tom: What’s cool is that everyone really does their homework.  They go on YouTube and they watch old Muppet Show clips.  And sometimes the voices change, there are different ups and downs.  The Kermit of one period is different to the Kermit of another period.  And we have to choose which way we wanna go.

Matt: I keep trying to get Hipster Kermit in there, the one who’s like (in a laid back hipster Kermit impression) ‘Hey man, you gotta just, like, open your mind’ (Normal voice) from the Sam and Friends days (Laughs).  I haven’t been able to get that story through yet!

muppet babies statler waldorf

Jarrod: (Laughs) Damn!  Well with Statler and Waldorf, they’re quite prolific in this new series as well.  Now obviously you can’t make them horrendous to Fozzie like they are in the actual Muppet counterparts.

Matt: They have their moments, though! (Laughs)

Jarrod: I watched an episode with the niece the other day, where they go to Grandpa Boot Camp, and it’s about them bonding with Fozzie.  So what’s the process of taking characters who act one way in The Muppets, and changing them in a way that fits your show, without totally changing what makes them themselves?

Matt: I actually wrote that episode, believe it or not.  Here’s how I looked at it, and Tom and I talked about this early on too.  Statler and Waldorf, when they make fun of the older Muppets, it’s not because they don’t like them.  It’s because that’s their style, they’re like roasters, you know what I mean?  They’re hecklers and they’re roasters, but they keep showing up.  If they really didn’t like them, they wouldn’t go to the show.  They sing (Waldorf voice) ‘Why do we always come here?’ (Normal voice) but we know why they’re there.  They’re a part of the gang.  So our theory was, you know, they’re still gonna give these kids a hard time, but they’re kids, so they can’t be too mean.  They can still be who they are, without being as mean as they were on The Muppet Show, because they’re kids.  But when they get older, (Waldorf voice) ‘Alright, you’re old enough now, kids!’. (Laughs).

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Tom: (Laughs) And of course, we are a Disney Junior show.  We have to keep it a certain way for our audience.  But we kind our ways to have the, you know, gentle dig.  But the show really is about everyone generally liking each other, just like they did on The Muppets.

Jarrod: So, finally, if I can ask this.  The Muppet Mindset is predominantly a Muppet news website.  Anything you want to tell me?  Any exclusives I can reveal?

Matt: Can we say…?  Look, I can say this.  I’m still gonna be vague, so we’re not breaking anything, it’s just to generate excitement.  Not only will you be seeing new Muppets in the new season, but you’ll also be seeing some nods to specific runner sketches from The Muppet Show.

Jarrod: Alright, that’s a nice little teaser I can sprinkle in.

Matt: I can’t say what they are, but you’ll know them when you see them.

Jarrod: (Laughs) Wonderful.  Well, thank you both for sitting down with me, this has been a lovely way to spent 45 minutes.

Matt: Of course.

Tom: Absolutely.  I’m always happy to talk about The Muppets.

Jarrod: Again, genuinely I want to thank you for such a great show.  People like to say The Muppets aren’t doing a lot lately, but the fact that you guys are making this, and making it so well, makes up for the fact that they aren’t doing a lot.

Tom: Well, thank you for your support too, that means a lot to us as well.  We want to do this right, and when you, who is obviously such a big Muppets fan, when we hear you guys think we’re doing a good job, that really makes our hearts swell.  So thank you for loving what we do.  It means a lot, it really does.

Matt: No, thank you.  You’ve been a very, very loud supporter of ours, especially on Twitter – I know we talk sometimes.  You’re great, thank you for that.

Jarrod: Aw, you’re welcome, and yes, I will take a job, thanks very much.

Matt and Tom: (Both laugh)

Jarrod: Damn it, it was worth a shot!


A big thank you to Matt Danner and Tom Warburton for sitting down with us, and thank you to Erica McCearley and Alex Liakos from Disney Junior for assisting in setting this up.

muppet babies group