It’s been a little while since we last talked. Two and a half weeks, to be exact.
Let me tell you what happened.
On Monday, October 24, I posted my comic about Halloween and social media-themed horror costumes. The very next day, my family and I went on a little vacation. Where’d we go? Walt Disney World! It was Henry’s first trip out of state and – as you can imagine – it was a pretty big deal.
We had a great time going on all the rides and doing all the touristy stuff. Coming back to reality, however, proved a little more difficult.
We came back on Sunday, October 30 – which also happens to be our town’s night for trick or treating. I know, I know. Halloween is on the 31st. But around here, they do trick or treating the day before. It’s a regional tradition that started in the 1930s by women’s magazines as an anti-vandalism campaign and it just kind of stuck.
The point is, that morning, we were up at 4:00 AM EST to make our flight, we got off the plane at 2:00 PM CST and we basically had very little time before we suited up in our Halloween costumes to canvas the neighborhood for free candy that evening.
Naturally, everyone was exhausted and we were in bed by 8:00 PM that evening. That explains why there was no new comic on Monday, October 31.
NOW… should I have anticipated this and created a comic in advance for the 31st? Yes, I should have.
Could I have tried to play catch up that week and produce a comic for Wednesday or Thursday. Yes, I could have.
Neither of those things happened.
You know how it is with vacations – especially if you work a full time job. You go away for a while to decompress and you come back more stressed out than ever trying to play catch up with the life you put on hold.
That’s what happened to me, so I decided to take a mulligan on last week’s comic.
Fast forward to this week… why no comic on Monday? Well, the story is a little less dramatic but basically it involved some personal matters that needed to be attended to over the weekend. I was planning to finish the comic Monday night and post it Tuesday morning, but instead I got a call from a friend who was in town and I hadn’t seen in 10 years. He wanted to grab a drink and catch up. I mean, the dude was in my wedding. I couldn’t really say “no.” So Monday night kind of got thrown out the window.
Anyway, that brings us to the present. I worked on the comic last night and here it is.
Shamefully, I can’t take full credit. My good buddy Zach Miller from Joe and Monkey gave me the idea to dress Tom up like a woman for this comic. But the suspicion surrounding Tom’s choice was all mine.
Looking at the trailer for Jack and Jill, I think Adam Sandler is pretty much daring us to hate him completely now. Either that, or he’s so insulated by money that he doesn’t care. It basically looks like the kind of low-rent movie Sandler’s cynical Hollywood comedian character from Funny People would star in. In fact, the first time I saw this trailer, I thought it was a striaght up parody.
I’m a Sandler fan, to some degree. I’ve probably seen more of his movies than I care to admit. But it’s clear from the outset that Jack and Jill is a one-joke premise and, frankly, there’s not very much that’s charming about a 45 year-old man running around in drag.
To me, Jack and Jill looks about as desperate as Eddie Murphy in Norbit or Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House 2.
Actually, when I think about it, Jack and Jill is worse.
With Murphy and Lawrence, you could at least argue that they’re trying to create distinctive characters. With Jack and Jill, it’s pretty much Sandler running around in a wig, delivering lines in a pinched-off voice. No one is really going to look at Sandler and give him credit for his character work. He’s basically been playing the same characters since his days at SNL. Keep in mind, this is the man who created “About To Sneeze Man” as a cheap Halloween costume idea on Weekend Update.
I wanted my comic to be more of a take-down piece of Jack and Jill, but I realized that disparaging the movie was not unlike beating a dead horse with a barrel of fish recently shot at.
Man, I seriously can’t wait until The Muppets comes out and rescues us from this nightmare.
Anyway, that’s all I have for you on the comic/movie front. But I did want to share one last thing with you as a kind of reward for being so patient the last two and half weeks.
You remember that I said that the family and I went to Walt Disney World, right? Well, they have this event at the Magic Kingdom on select nights called Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party. They have a specially themed parade and fireworks and you get to run around the park trick-or-treating and collecting candy at all the attractions.
They encourage you to dress us, so we did.
I enjoy dressing up with my kids for Halloween only because I like to think that it makes things a little more special for them. I want to demonstrate to them that it’s okay to have fun and be silly. That said, I was a little nervous about walking around Magic Kingdom dressed up like Thor. It didn’t occur to me until we were on the bus on our way to the park, “What if I’m the only adult in costume?”
I’m pleased to report that’s not the case. There were several adults in costumes and I received many compliments and high-fives.
Incidentally, I take my cues from Henry when it comes to costume choices. Last year, he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear. So I dressed up as Woody. This year, he wanted to be Captain America. So it was only natural that I go as Thor. They’re best buddies! “Avengers Assemble!” and whatnot.
Plus, now I have my very on Mjölnir. That’s something you can enjoy year-round.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photo. Sorry again about the delay. Incidentally, when I’m off-schedule like this, it might be beneficial for you to subscribe to Theater Hopper by e-mail.
WAAAAAYYYY back at the top of the page, there’s a form field where you can input your e-mail address. When the site updates, you’ll receive automatic notification. It’s very handy when I flake out. But I promise to better next week.
Since I haven’t updated for a while, I’d sincerely appreciate it if you used the ShareThis application below to let people know that there is a new Theater Hopper comic up on the site. Facebook it, Google+ is, Twitter that bad boy… whatever your comfortable with. You guys have been doing a great job spreading the word and it really helps. C’mon… It only takes a second, right?
Thanks again and have a great week!
The Muppets comes out two weeks from now and – as I declared on Twitter – that means you get two weeks of Muppets-related Theater Hopper comics.
I’ll be frank and admit that I don’t entirely know what to expect from The Muppets. I’ve been in lockdown mode on this one for a while. It has been extraordinarily hard to do this because it seems like Disney is practically littering the internet with clips from the film. I’m even doing my best to avoid the commercials.
I hope I haven’t gotten my hopes up too far. There’s been inklings of dissaproval swirling around the movie from people in the know – most notably, Frank Oz. The creator of Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear and original Muppeteer has been quoted as saying that the new movie sacrifices the integrity of the characters for the sake of making cheap jokes, and rewrites their personas and relationships in a way that “creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie.” There’s even been talk of some of the Muppeteer’s who performed in the movie wanting to take their name off of it.
The main complaint seems to be that writer/actor Jason Segel had the right intentions with the movie, but that basically… it’s not what Jim Henson would have wanted.
Personally, I see both sides of the story. Yes, it’s important to maintain the integrity of The Muppets. There is something unquantifiable about these characters that people have fallen in love with and we don’t want to see the sullied.
But to disparage the film because it’s not what Jim Henson would have done is simple short-sighted. Where would Disney be if they stopped producing cartoons after Walt Disney died? At some point, you have to prepare for the reality that the characters you may have had a hand in creating really don’t belong to you anymore. They belong to the people who believe in them. If you want your work to live on, it might not hurt to be a little magnanimous about it and hand them down to the next generation.
Oz’s comments in the Hollywood Report article strike me as a little possessive in a “get off my lawn” kind of way. If the new Muppets movie gets it wrong in some way, let them go back and try again. Were the Muppets fully formed characters out of the box when they were introduced 50 years ago? No, the evolved over time. There’s got to be a learning curve to this.
But to lock the characters in amber because you don’t want their integrity sullied? Well, that’s just selfish.
What are your thoughts about The Muppets? Are you looking forward to it? Specifically, I’m kind of interested in what Gen Y’s reaction to The Muppets will be. Do they feel left out of the loop since The Muppets were essentially a lost property during the 90s? Do they have the same affinity for the characters that older audiences do? Will the elixir of nostalgia be as potent among that audience?
Leave your comments below! I’d love to hear them! And, as always, if you could use the ShareThis tool at the bottom of the blog post to share the Muppet-y goodness, I’d appreciate it!
Have a great week!
As if you needed another reason to check out The Muppets when it lands in theaters next week – but it will be prefaced by a NEW Toy Story short called “Small Fry.” From the synopsis…
Buzz Lightyear is left behind at a fast food restaurant when a kids’ meal toy version of Buzz takes his place. While Bonnie’s toys are stuck with the annoying three-inch-tall Buzz impersonator, the real Buzz is trapped in therestaurant at a support group for discarded toys. As Woody and the gang devise a way to rescue their friend, Buzz tries to escape the toy psychotherapy meeting.
Check out a clip here:
It’s probably not fair to call Pixar’s new movie Brave “Scottish Mulan,” but I the comparison leaps immediately to mind.
Okay, okay. So Mulan wasn’t a princess, or whatever. But you know where I’m coming from.
Would you feel better if I said it looked like it was mining the same territory as >How To Train Your Dragon? Or, in the very least, possessing some visual symmetry?
I feel like I’m being disproportionally harsh on Brave and without just cause. Maybe it’s some kind of tic I’ve developed from being a Pixar fanboy for the last 15 years. I’m pretty much 100% positive that Brave will be awesome, so perhaps this is just an exercise in expressing my contrarian underpinnings.
Either way, you should probably watch the trailer – because it’s pretty awesome and I can’t wait to see it and omiGAWD!…
I don’t know what it is about The Muppets that has generated so much excitement in me. But I knew as soon as the first of November turned the corner that I had more than I couple of ideas comic-wise to approach the movie with. He’s the follow-up to last week’s strip with likely more Muppet goodness to come.
Did you guys happen to catch Saturday Night Live this weekend? Jason Segel was hosting and The Muppets were right there with him. In fact, I thought the opening monologue was pretty funny in that it cleverly anticipated the audience’s expectations to see The Muppets and (more than a little likely) their desire to see The Muppets host instead of Segel.
I mean, Segel’s a great guy. I like him a lot, don’t get me wrong. But nostalgia is going to win out every time, buddy. It’s just the nature of things.
I read a couple complaints that The Muppets were a little too bitter and cynical on Saturday Night Live. But to me, that was just them playing to the audience. I mean, The Muppets have always had a sarcastic edge to them. As much as we all love “The Rainbow Connection,” there’s a bitter, anti-authority streak in there.
Incidentally, I have been so-moved by this Muppet mayhem, that over the weekend, I decided to sit down at the ol’ drawin’ table and crank out a portrait of Kermit the Frog. I even made YouTube video out of it for your enjoyment!
Did you like it? Do you like the drawing? Guess what? YOU CAN OWN IT!
I’m auctioning off my drawing of Kermit on eBay and you can place a bid on it right here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160686601767#ht_500wt_1132
The drawing is in ink on an 11 x 14″ sheet of Bristol board. It will be mailed flat to prevent bending and has been signed and dated by yours truly.
Bidding starts at $25 and ends in 3 days. I also left a “Buy it Now” price out there for $75. If it sells for that much, I’ll be thrilled.
At any rate, feel free to bid away and good luck to the winner!
One last piece of news, I will be exhibiting at the Market Day Black Friday event this Friday from 9:00 – 2:00 PM at the Kirkwood building in downtown Des Moines. So, if you’re a local and are looking to find some really cool, creative and hand-made items, this is the show you need to come to. Why fight the crowds for a Blu-ray when you can buy some original art for way, way less! Your family will love you for it.
That’s all for now. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week, have a safe and happy holiday!
Last week Cami and I took Wednesday off. Largely to prepare for Thanksgiving and all the cooking we had offered to do for family. But we made sure to take a little time for ourselves to check out an afternoon matinee of The Muppets.
I’ve been wrestling with what to say about The Muppets in my review because (if Twitter is any indication) everyone already seems to be on the same page.
The movie is magical and left me smiling from ear to ear. It sounds trite, like a pull quote from a movie reviewer on some obscure CBS-affiliate. But its true. I don’t think this is spoiling anything for you, because they’re using the song on the TV ads, but by they time they break out “The Rainbow Connection” in the third act, The Muppets had me in a nostalgia headlock and it wasn’t going to let go anytime soon.
But there’s an intrinsic problem with nostalgia – it has a somewhat limited audience. I read a few reviews this weekend that said adults in the audience seemed to enjoy the film more than children. They wondered aloud if that would be a problem. The weekend box office seems to suggest as much.
The Muppets came in second place this weekend with $42 million. Breaking Dawn added over $62 million to its $221 million dollar take in its second week.
I think positive word of mouth with help buoy The Muppets over the holidays. But I can’t deny that I really wanted to see Kermit and Piggy bash Edward and Bella’s heads in at the box office.
What can you do? Breaking Dawn is for teenagers with lots of disposable cash and time to kill. The Muppets is a fantastic family film, but it’s really more for the 30-somethings out there that barely have time to step away from their responsibilities.
Or maybe I’m projecting.
For what it’s worth The Muppets isn’t a perfect movie and I’d say the blame falls mostly on the shoulders of the human actors. Amy Adams was stunningly wasted as the token girlfriend/prop. She has a few good lines and sings her heart out, but I would have love to seen more.
Chris Cooper was cast as the heartless villain – an area where he typically excels. But for some reason, his performance left me a little cold. It was a little too much wink-wink, nudge-nudge for my liking. His rap song in the middle of the film was cringe-worthy. Also, was anyone else entirely confused by the subtitles they threw in there?
Jason Segal was more than capable as the film’s leading man. Although there were contrivances in the plot that moved him away from the action in the last third of the movie to create false tension.
These are minor complaints, though. No one really goes to a Muppet movie to watch the humans. I’m just pointing out the things that distracted me a little bit.
As for the Muppets themselves, they were fantastic. I was continuously amazed at the lengths the movie went to present the Muppets as being free from any puppeteer manipulation. I was also very surprised how quickly I warmed up to the newest Muppet – Walter.
Segal made a smart decision in making Walter the proxy for the audience. Through his eyes, we were reminded of the enthusiasm we feel for the Muppets and what makes them special. Segal’s script is keenly aware of the reality that the Muppets have essentially been lost to a generation. And while the film is primarily a nostalgia trip for the majority of the audience, it also has to serve as a reintroduction to the characters.
Look, all I know is that I’ve been singing “The Rainbow Connection” in my head over and over again for the last 5 days. It might be eroding my sanity, but I’m totally not complaining. The Muppets was fantastic from top to bottom and if you didn’t enjoy it, you might be soul-dead. Just a head’s up. Seriously. No smiles? You might want to get that checked out.
Did you see The Muppets this weekend? If so, what did you think? Leave your comments below!