Film & Water #158 – The Muppet Movie Audio Commentary


Episode 158 - THE MUPPET MOVIE

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Rob and mega-Muppet fan Luke Daab do a full-length audio commentary on The Muppet Movie!

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21 responses to “Film & Water #158 – The Muppet Movie Audio Commentary

  1. That was wonderful guys. I love the Muppets, and in particular this movie. Of course I grew up with the Muppets on their show and Sesame Street. I had a lot of the plush puppets, for instance. But I still have a very faint memory of hearing “The Rainbow Connection” on the radio in the kitchen while my Mom was doing dishes. I asked if we could go, and she said we WERE going. She was a fan too. She remembered Rowlf from the Jimmy Dean Show even! So she took my sister and I to see it, and I loved it. We went and saw the two follow-up movies together as well.

    My Mom managed a Hallmark store, and back then Hallmark was all-in with Muppets merchandise. I still have a Kermit ornament from around this time, and every year I put it on the tree I get a little choked up. “The Rainbow Connection” does that to me too, every time I hear it, since I still associate it with my Mom. I know it’s sappy, but it’s a testament to these amazing performers that felt and plastic can touch you so deeply.

    I don’t know if either of you have experienced the Muppet Vision 3D attraction at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, but the Swedish Chef gets a lot to do, and Sweet-Ums even shows up live and in person at the end, always behind the rest of the group!

    Thanks again for a great commentary. It made my day.


    1. Chris, I defy you to find someone between 55 and 35 who doesn’t choke up a little at Rainbow Connection.

      Incidentally, how many songs are there that are specifically about rainbows and what’s on the other side of them?

    2. Thanks Chris! Yes this one was a pure pleasure to do, partly because of the content, partly because of the company. Glad to hear the Swedish Chef and Sweet-Ums are still active parts of the Muppet-verse!

  2. Aww, you guys got me right in the heart.

    Great work.

    Rob, I know these take forever to record, but please, more like this.

  3. It has been forever (if ever) that I’ve seen this film but currently watching and listening to the episode now. I noticed something with the Electric Mayhem though… was Jim Henson a southpaw? I noticed that all the guitars are left-handed, is that a thing for the franchise?

  4. Saw this movie in the theater. Haven’t seen it in a while but could picture in my head as the movie was going. Yes, it is a wonderfully sweet and charming movie.

    While my humor definitely is like Fozzie’s (I laugh at all his jokes), Gonzo is my favorite because I have always felt a little weird in the world. But even my delivery of my puns is akin to Fozzie’s.

    I really loved this episode as it brought me back to my youth for a short period of time. Thanks so much!

  5. Thanks for making me feel like an 8 year old again, guys! Wonderful commentary on an amazing movie! Now do the Great Muppet Caper, so we can reminisce about the cool Burger King glasses that were made for the movie.

  6. Thanks for the episode. I saw this in the theatre when back in 1979. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was upset when Gonzo seemed to fly off at the end. I was relieved to find him in the group shot that closed the movie.

    Going from Cinderella 77 to the Muppet Movie? You’re really covering the entire gamut of the 70s film experience.

  7. I really enjoyed listening to this commentary! You definitely should try to see if you can get an interview with Austin Pendleton. Not only has he acted in movies with a ton of stars, he was an acting teacher for a long time and trained many a contemporary star as well .

  8. Thanks for doing this! I will have to pull out my Blu-Ray copy and watch it again with your commentary.
    I first saw this film in the theater when I was 8. I loved it then and love it now.
    I remember watching it with friends in college. I think we had to rewind the tape quite a few times because we were laughing so hard, we would miss a minute or two. One of my favorite bits is when they are coming to the fork in the road. Not the fork itself, but the dialogue. Fozzie askes which way and Kermit tells hims “bear left.” To which Fozzie waits a beat, gives him a look, and replies “right, frog.” That delivery still makes me laugh every time.
    Towards the end, you guys were talking about Kermit being a good leader and Luke mentions something to the effect that Kermit was the sensible one and the rest all had their unique madness. I would like to point out that Rowlf is also a sane character in this world of idiosyncrasies. Kermit still works well as the leader and focal point because he sees the madness and reacts to it. Rowlf always seems to be laid back and unaffected by the crazy antics going on around him. My children may think I am more Fozzie like because of my ‘dad’ jokes, but I have always felt I am more like Rowlf (wishful thinking?).
    Anyway, thanks again. It’s time to wrap this up, so I guess I’ll be movin’ right along.

  9. Thank you for another great episode. I’ve never not known a time without the Muppets so it was great to hear a commentary on one of my favourite movies. It makes me laugh every time, and, listening to this (at work, not even watching the movie), it still makes me laugh.
    Rob, I agree with you that the Muppets are never NOT cool. To me, they always had a great sense of humour pulling from Vaudeville which felt timeless. I always felt that Sesame Street was a kid’s show while the Muppets was an all-ages show. To me, that is a very large distinction and it’s much harder to make an all-ages show, which makes me appreciate the Muppets even more!
    To see all those cameos boggles my mind. Like you guys had mentioned, it wasn’t just from one era of Hollywood but cameos from the golden age to the present. I can’t even think of a film now that would be able to get so many stars to cameo.
    Anyways, thank you again for great commentary. Keep up the great work!

  10. I’m sure Sesame Street contributed mightily to my development, as I have nearly zero recollection of my mother ever reading to me and plenty of letters and numbers being presented on that show (and I was an early reader.) I loved The Muppet Movie and The Muppet Show growing up, and still have respect and affection for them to this day, but my official jumping off point was seeing The Muppets Take Manhattan theatrically in 1984. I dug the flick and felt it improved on The Great Muppet Caper (which I also had as a disappointing Book & Record,) but was simply disinterested from The Muppet Christmas Carol onward. I never felt like the Muppets recovered from the death of Jim Henson (I still have a newspaper clipping in box somewhere.) I feel like the Muppet Babies cartoon was kind of its own thing, and to be honest, in retrospect I remember and enjoyed it more than the live action puppets.

    I don’t recall if I saw The Muppet Movie theatrically, but it was a TV staple in the early ’80s (the last time I saw it.) Had to fight the urge to rewatch it, which I don’t have time for and doubt I could sell my girlfriend on. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a Muppets phase, and have never met someone who disliked them, though I could safely argue a preference for a Muppets era.

    As a child, I had an Ernie doll that was torn in half during a tug of war with another kid. My grandmother often liked to remind me of how I cried and begged for her to crudely sew my partially deflated Ernie, who still had a few years of love left in him. Clearly, I grew up to be more of a Bert or Oscar, but based on my merchandising I preferred Kermit, Ernie, Gonzo, Cookie Monster, and Grover. I had a copy of “The Monster at the End of This Book,” and at least one of the Gonzo books I couldn’t positively identify (though I lean toward “Gonzo the Great.”) I can still do a charitably servicable Kermit impression while singing a few bars of “Rainbow Connection” (thought my very modest forte is “If I Only Had A Brain” as performed by Goofy.)

    I misspoke on Twitter about the articulation on Kermit. Fisher Price made some Star Wars-style Muppets action figures in 1978, but I only had the “Stick Puppet” ones that could only fold their legs.

  11. I was 3 when this came out and it was my very first cinema experience. I just remember being terrified of how humongous Kermit was on screen as opposed to normal size on my television for Sesame Street. Had a bit of a melt down, but not enough for my entire family to leave. But I quickly calmed down and loved it. It was what I spoke about the whole ride home. I had the opportunity to see it on the big screen for the 40th anniversary to bring it full circle. So happy for this commentary. Can never find one online.

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