Tuesday, January 12, 2010

French music video tribute to The Muppet Show

This is the second French CG animation homage to Jim Henson's Muppets I've seen so far.  Many elements of the Muppet Show are here -- the red curtain, musician Muppets, audience Muppets, a human performer singing a classic song.   No heckling Statler and Waldorf-like characters though, sadly.  Since these are all key-framed CG characters, these puppets do things no ordinary foam hand-and-rod puppet can do!  Dance with legs showing!  Throw things! 

Unfortunately, the animators focused so much on exaggerating the "puppety-ness" that puppetry basics like lip-synch and eye-focus are less than stellar.  Still, it's great to see a large-scale Muppet Musical Number again. 

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posted by Brian at 10:47 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The OM NOM NOM NOM Phenomenom nom nom

If you work in an office, there's a 97% chance you've been sent email about something odd, something interesting, gross, or funny spread from coworker to coworker, from friend to friend, from blog to friend, from some random person in the world with too much time on his hands to you (who ought to be working now, but hey...) It could be a political cartoon, a woman playing a ukelele cover of Britney Spears, or yet another photo of a cat with odd captions. The best of these memes inspire others to respond with their own versions.

Usually yours truly is a bit behind, riding the meme after it's already gone viral and spread everywhere like some media plague. At work, it's LOLCats and World of Warcraft-anything that have caught on, causing cascades of laughter down the cubicles. But yesterday, my coworker exposed me to a lovely, relatively nascent and contained meme, known by its trademark onomonopoetic label, OM NOM NOM NOM.

What is it exactly, you ask? Take a photo of something that looks like a mouth, preferably with some person or object near it as inevitable victim, draw teeth and menacing eyes, add the label "Om nom nom nom" to it and voilá! Now share it with others through email or posting to a website. (The semi-official Om Nom Nom Nom website though, is not user-friendly about letting you upload your own photos -- and may be inadvertantly keeping the meme from spreading as it should! *baps head*)

Mind you, the visual aspect of Om Nom Nom Nom, the cartoony monsterization of objects, dates at least back to the 1960s & 70s, notably with Jim Henson's Muppets and probably earlier artists before him. (Here's a Muppet example from the late 1970s):

I'm no Art Historian though. Can anyone find earlier examples of adding monster eyes and teeth to inanimate objects?

One of my favorite (and often blogged about) modern examples of this visual motif would be Amy Winfrey's Web (and soon Nickelodeon TV) cartoon, Making Fiends.

The most famous spoken use of "Om nom nom nom" I can find of course is from Cookie Monster, but I suspect earlier, less famous Muppet creatures also emitted that sound during their final feeding frenzies.

So far, I've found only one blog reporting about Om Nom Nom Nom as an Internet phenomenon, written last Fall, though "om nom nom nom" as a word (not a sound effect) seems to have been used on Internet forums and IRC chat channels as early 2003-05*.

So help me, fellow om nom nom-nivores, spread this meme across the globe!

* Apparently, some folks are using it as a slang word for oral sex.

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posted by Brian at 3:58 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sesame Street Clips Online!

Whohoo! Finally! Sesame Workshop (formerly known as Children's Television Workshop) has begun offering classic and newer Sesame Street clips online after seeing so many of them posted by fans on YouTube. It's in Beta and lacks the ability to link to favorites right now, but here are some keywords to type in for my favorite clips so far:
  • "painter"
  • "monsterpiece theatre" ("upstairs downstairs")
  • "news: angry reporter"
  • "can remember"
  • "kermit calls a plumber"
  • "song: subway train"
  • "news mother hubbard"
  • "question song"
  • "disco"
  • "daddy dear"
  • "lonely n song"
I just love the energy, spontaneity, weirdness, and subversive humor in these sketches. Some of it I'm just getting now, clearly meant for the parent watching with his or her kids.

There are some untagged clips in there, some really rare ones, and all in pristine quality. Enjoy! Let me know if you discover any great ones.

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posted by Brian at 9:49 AM 3 comments links to this post

Monday, October 29, 2007

"I Want a Monster" - Banned Sesame Street sketch

I've known this song since I was maybe 5 or 6 when I got the Sesame Street LP "Monsters!" This album has been reissued by Sony on CD in 1996 but WITHOUT this song. The R & B group EnVogue did a cover of this song but with lyrics changed.


If I make friends with a friendly monster
I'd let him bounce me on his knee
I'd let him do whatever he wants to
'specially if he's bigger than me.


If I make friends with a friendly monster,
I'd be the best that a friend could be.
I'd let him do whatever he wants to
And he'd always belong to me.
It was taken off rotation on Sesame Street in 1984 after a mom complained. Other classic SS sketches have been removed too due to a complaint, like the Don Music sketches where he bangs his head against his piano when frustrated.

(Interestingly, the person who uploaded this onto Youtube had to combine a Dutch-dubbed version with the original album version. At home I found that I have a Spanish-dubbed version and was considering doing the same thing.)

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posted by Brian at 5:43 PM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Classic Sesame Street - "Fat Cat Sat"

I love this sketch from the early 70s. Simple "limbo" set. The humor is in the wacky lyrics, timing, choreography, dynamics of the music, and the contrasts and reactions between the characters. Lovely little rhythm guitar going on in the background (making the tempo feel faster than it really is). Great use of the screen space -- Jim Henson came up with the idea of using wide-angle lenses in video puppetry to give great depth of field, so the main singer puppet isn't moving back all that far, but it looks like he is.

Or for a hoot, try this faster version.

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posted by Brian at 2:14 PM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jim Henson and the gang, circa 1965

There has been some amazing old footage of Jim Henson and the Muppets (pre-Sesame Street, pre-Muppet Show) showing up on YouTube lately. This example demonstrates the back-breaking work it took to produce a Muppet commercial for Wilson's Meats.

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posted by Brian at 2:57 AM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sesame Street Martian costumes, Uh-huh Uh-huh Yip Yip Yip Yip

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posted by Brian at 11:10 AM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Fraggle Rock on DVD!

Hooray! You can finally get three episodes of the beloved 1980's Muppet series, Fraggle Rock.

Unfortunately, it's only available at Wal-Mart for now.

I received my copy as a gift from none other than Red Fraggle herself, Karen Prell.

(Thank you, Karen!)

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posted by Brian at 4:19 PM 0 comments links to this post