Making the Grades
Twelve years following their last theatrical appearance, The Muppets are being resurrected by Disney who acquired the characters in 2004. Fortunately, this film brings back much of the charm and oddball humor generated under the direction of the puppets’ creators Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
In the movie, the Muppets disbanded at the end of their television heyday and went on to find new careers. Fozzie Bear (voice by Eric Jacobson) does stand up comedy in a seedy Reno nightclub. Gonzo (voice by Dave Goelz) owns a toilet and plumbing emporium. And Miss Piggy (voice by Eric Jacobson) heads up a French fashion magazine while Kermit (voice by Steve Whitmire) leads a solitary life inside a gated complex.
Unbeknownst to the performers, tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to raze their old studio and set up an oilrig in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. When the Muppets number one fan Walter (voice by Peter Linz) discovers the underhanded intention, he and his brother Gary (Jason Segel) launch a mission to reunite the puppets and help them save their dilapidated building by staging a telethon. Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) agrees to come along. But she is really hoping Gary will acknowledge their ten-year dating anniversary with a marriage proposal.
Offering a gentler, more family-friendly viewing option than current reality shows to TV producer Veronica (Rashida Jones), Kermit finally scores a spot on a national network. The resulting program shares a familiar feel with the television series that ran from 1976 to 1981. The vaudeville-style variety program, hosted by Kermit, includes song, dance and comedy routines. Many of the movie numbers even hearken back to the original TV skits. The one exception may be a poultry performance of singer Cee Lo Green’s edgy song titled as “Forget You” in the movie’s soundtrack.Luckily the profanity-laden lyrics are replaced with clucking sounds from Camilla (voice of Matt Vogel) and her backup singers, the Chickens.
Clearly aiming to endear themselves to a new generation of moviegoers, these puppets provide plenty of laughs, silly asides from Statler and Waldorf (voices of Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz), big production musical numbers and a host of famous faces to entertain audiences of all ages.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Muppets.
With the home video release of The Muppets, here are some fun family activity sheets you can enjoy:
Muppet Activity Page
Fozzie Bear’s Ten Things Every Comic Needs To Know
Miss Piggy’s Fashion Forward Tips
Recipe for Pepe’s Pollo Burrito
Recipe for Swedish Chef’s Turkey Meatballs
Muppet’s “Spot The Differences” Game
What kinds of entertainment do the Muppets offer during their telethon? How does their style compare with many of the reality shows on air? Why does Tex think the world has become too hard and cynical for these performers? Do you agree or not?
Although Gary and Walter share a strong sibling relationship, what do they learn about pursuing their own interests and taking on adult lives?
How does this movie contrast trends from the 1970s and 80s with current fads and stars?
Celebrity guest stars on the TV show included Alan Arkin and Liza Minelli who both make appearances in this movie. Check out the complete list of famous faces that appeared with the Muppets.