Thursday, May 3, 2018

New Fake Olympic Events

My latest list of #FakeOlympicEvents, compiled from my tweets during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
  1. Floor Hockey
  2. Curling Karaoke (https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/967337582953746432)
  3. Winter Pentathlon - Skiing, Snowboarding, Figure Skating, Cross Country, and Speed Skating (https://twitter.com/Olympics/status/967335951948177408)
  4. Olympic Ring Toss
  5. Polar Bear Wrestling
  6. co-ed naked Bobsled
  7. Figure 8 Speed Skating
  8. Figure 8 Short Track Speed Skating
  9. Ski flying (https://twitter.com/Olympics/status/966506422618882048)
  10. Synchronized Skiing
  11. Synchronized Snowboarding: Big Air
  12. Sled Dog Racing
  13. Zamboni Races
  14. Go Kart Racing
  15. Synchronized Speed Skating
  16. hockey shootout with curling sweepers
  17. Downhill walkie talkie chasing (https://www.nbcolympics.com/video/race-officials-chase-walkie-talkie-down-mountain)
  18. Luge Cat (https://www.facebook.com/nbcolympics/videos/10157419992180329/)
  19. knock hockey
  20. football field-sized hockey
  21. Snow volleyball
  22. Ski Jumping Pairs (competing skiers need to jump together)
  23. Glacier Climbing
  24. Sledding
  25. Pond Hockey
  26. Ski Lift Jumping
  27. Ice Road Trucking
  28. EA Sports NHL '94
  29. Speed Skating Hurdles
  30. Ice World Javelin
  31. Shut up Pierre #NHLonNBC
  32. Miniature curling (curling with windmills and obstacles)
  33. Tag team skiing
  34. tag team luge (it's real, called "relay")
  35. Cross Country Speed Skating
  36. Street Luge
  37. Full Contact Biathlon

Sunday, August 21, 2016

More FakeOlympicEvents

From the 2016 Summer Olympics

#FakeOlympicEvents
  1. Flaming Bow Archery (tie in - lighting the Olympic flame with a lighted bow & arrow)
  2. Competitive eating
  3. Foosball
  4. Water Rugby
  5. Fucking (They do it in the Olympic village anyway)
  6. some sort of parade-based event for the Opening Ceremony & ceremonious 1st medal
  7. Olympic Torch races (Opening Ceremony) - first one to ignite the flame/stadium wins Gold
  8. Skydiving
  9. Stair climbing
  10. mountain climbing
  11. indoor mountain climbing
  12. battle of the network stars
  13. Figure 8 Track
  14. Frisbee Toss
  15. Ultimate Frisbee
  16. WWE
  17. Pool Vault
  18. Bowling
  19. Candlepin Bowling
  20. Raquetball
  21. Squash
  22. Paddle boat racing
  23. oil wrestling
  24. duck hunting
  25. Olympic binge watching
  26. Equestrian Pole Vault
  27. Roundball Rock (the old NBA on NBC theme, since NBC used it this year)
  28. Swimming Hurdles
  29. Algae Swimming
  30. Window Climbing
  31. Jungle Gym
  32. Gymnastics - Perpendicular Bars
  33. Simon Says
  34. Slip-n-Slide
  35. full contact kayak
  36. shot put softball
  37. laser tag
  38. backwards running
  39. sledding (kids on a snow day)
  40. corn maze
  41. limbo
  42. running with scissors
  43. unsynchronized swimming (actually came from @Olympics https://twitter.com/Olympics/status/766380203320958976)
  44. nude barbed wire vaulting (a Johnny Carson joke)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What's Next For The Muppets

So The Muppets was cancelled by ABC today (basically not picked up for next season). Unless another network or streaming service (I heard Netflix might be interested) comes through, they're one-and-done. The question rolling around in my head for the past few hours, and then posed on twitter, was what's next for them?

I don't think it's as easy to answer that question as it was the last two times they had TV shows cancelled. The end of the original Muppet Show run coincided with more Muppet movies (followed by some quiet time while Jim Henson and team worked on other projects). When Muppets Tonight was cancelled 20 years ago, they did return for another film, keeping on some of the new characters. Then they had another fairly quiet period as ownership of the franchise changed hands a few times.

This time, it's different. This TV show came on the success of 2 movies and a good number of viral videos. The TV show came out of nowhere just over a year ago at a time when we were thinking what could be next (about a year after their last movie came out). It seemed like a perfect opportunity to get back on TV. But the TV show made mistakes and wasn't given enough time to have it all fixed.

So is the brand now damaged? If they do come back into TV or film or videos or whatever, is everything from the TV show just gone, like it was a dream? Or is that the new Muppets reality and they have to work from that starting point? On social media, they were working in the reality of the TV series and the show-within-the-show (Up Late With Miss Piggy) and the alternate character arcs created for the series (Kermit and Piggy broken up, a really annoying Scooter character, Gonzo and Camilla broken up and now back together, Piggy being the villain for a period of time, Uncle Deadly's new role, and just other Muppet characters basically working in the office).

These were things I never liked about that TV show, and though some weren't as bad as others, I thought they led to the downfall of a show with established characters basically playing in the paradigm of a stale format (mockumentary) putting them in a new place (they're known for a show, so they made another one).

Anyway, what's next? The show could get picked up by Netflix, we could binge watch it (it could be a year from now to get that deal done, produce the episodes, and let it simmer and promote over there). ABC Family picked up Muppets Tonight from ABC. ABC Family is now Freeform (still owned by ABC), and maybe The Muppets moves there. ABC owns the franchise, so the other TV networks are out. I don't see them landing at ESPN SportsCenter. I'm not sure there's another film idea out there (though if you follow the arc, a musical like Muppets Take Manhattan should be the next in line). I think they can remake a film like they did with The Wizard of Oz. But I don't think these things were on the horizon before the TV show happened, and I don't think they're out there now. An actual musical. Interesting, but very tough to produce, given how these characters operate. Sporadic TV specials like Muppet Show Live? I'm just throwing out ideas of things I'd watch.

And are the events of this TV show (and social media presence) forgotten in whatever's next for them, or is this now where they are in life? While the TV show was airing, there were a few viral videos released. Those were better than anything they did on TV in the past year. They also didn't live in the reality of the TV show (for instance, they were fun and we saw characters and relationships missing from TV). But they might have been done before the TV show.

I'd like to see this whole TV show treated like a bad dream. I even suggested it as a way to help fix the show. I certainly would like to see that now that they're gone. Since they've had the sting of being cancelled, I think the franchise as a whole needs to work their way back up. Go back to the internet and make more music videos and short Muppet-show-like sketches. And maybe make that into a 13 week TV show in a couple years. Stay away from new films for the time being and keep a low profile.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's Time to Fix The Muppets

I posted this in response to Alan Sepinwall's review of the revamped "The Muppets." TV series.

I think they need to scrap what they have and go back to what works. Their brand has some cachet with the network and viewers, which is why they got on the schedule so fast after the pitch reel and why they haven't been cancelled. But this format isn't working. It's like taking the cast/characters from Friends and sticking them in other roles on another show. It looks odd and out of place. Not saying the Muppets characters are typecast in their roles, but they don't work playing something else. They've proven that on a weekly basis since September.

The ideal show would have been the old Muppet Show, but with this new twist of being more adult and showing more behind the scenes.

They might still be able to get there, but time is running out (and how many more times will The Muppets get a new TV show). I say, scrap the current format, and transition to a new show by pulling the same trick that Bob Newhart's second show did in its final scene - hit Kermit in the head with a golf ball (or in true Muppet style, Lew Zeland's boomerang fish or Gonzo juggling bowling pins or something like that) so he gets knocked out, and he wakes up in his backstage spot in the old Muppet Show theater with Miss Piggy and nephew Robin the Frog by his side telling about this awful dream while Scooter is coming out and saying "15 seconds to curtain, Kermit". The camera pans out to show Walter, Gonzo & Camilla, Fozzie, Rowlf, Piggy & Robin, Pepe & Rizzo and the old gang standing over looking concerned.


It's time to fix the Muppets.
It's time to get things right.
It's time to bring them back to the Muppet Show tonight!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fixing The Muppets

I've been thinking about what's been wrong or missing with ABC's "The Muppets.".

Miss Piggy - I know her persona has taken on a life of its own over the past 40 years, but I really don't remember a setting in which Miss Piggy lived on another stratosphere from the other characters, like what's been built up for here in this series. Knowing the characters, it almost makes it unbelievable. In the first episode, Fozzie calls her, and she asks "Is this the guy in the hat?". And it was a big part of the episode where she got invited to join the gang after work.

Kermit and Piggy - I don't think it was necessary to break them up. There was enough tension between them for all these years to continue through this series. There was a lot of internet buzz, but it didn't seem to help the series, and I wonder if it actually hurt the series. It makes another element that's just not believable. And how many episodes was it even a factor? Two? And so much was made of Kermit's new girlfriend and she only appeared in episode 1. This whole plot line could have been lost without damaging the franchise. While I'm here, what happened to Gonzo and Camilla?

Celebrities - It's overdone. At least that's my opinion. If you rely on celebrity guests, unless you are an actual talk show, it just shows that what you have isn't strong enough on its own to sustain what it needs to be. I get that on a talk show-within-a-show, it's bound to happen, but they really need to lose the ones that don't stem from that setting (Laurence Fishburne; Ed Helms; who else?).

The show within the show - Taking these characters, who we've basically known to be performers (when they're not telling another story in movies such as "Muppet Treasure Island") and now performing every day jobs around the office. It also seems unnatural. There's been a place for almost everyone (where's Walter?), some very natural and some not. But I think this could have been handled a different way.

Look at the 2 recent movies. They put on a Muppet Show telethon and then a world tour of the Muppet Show. Fans probably wanted this to be just a new season of the old "Muppet Show". THAT should have been the show within the show. Take the old show, but instead of showing backstage hi-jinks with "real" performances, turn it into behind the scenes of the old show. Kermit as Executive Producer and host and everyone contributing as a writer and performer, and maybe a celebrity guest host. Then you can explore their lives outside of that show.

Having gone with this wouldn't be as much of a shock to the system, and I think would have helped this show in critical reviews and ratings.