Sid the Science Who?
Brad has created a bunch of pages for Sid the Science Kid Episodes and Sid the Science Kid Songs. As of press time, we have 35+ pages on Sid the Science Kid, which I think may be excessive, given the tenuous connection with the Muppets.
I'd like us to figure out how much coverage the Digital Studio Productions are going to get on the wiki. Between Sid, Unstable Fables aend Frances, there's the potential for more pages about computer animated TV shows that are essentially unrecognizable as a Muppet-related project. (Check out the number of red links on 3 Pigs and a Baby to see where this could go.)
Personally, I think our coverage of these shows should be very limited. The Henson Company sold the Muppets in 2004, and they seem to be transitioning into a pretty average computer-animation studio. I think Sid the Science Kid has about as much to do with the Muppets as a Sesame Workshop show like Pinky Dinky Doo. Maybe even less -- at least Sesame Workshop still makes TV shows that have Muppets in them.
Shows like Between the Lions and The Book of Pooh have stronger Muppet connections than Sid the Science Kid does, but we don't have character and episode pages for those. I'm not sure that we have to exhaustively document a cartoon show just because it has the "Henson" name on it.
- I think that's a good question, but it depends. Also, Sid, Frances, and Unstable Fables are not all comparable. Sid characters actually look faux-Muppety, unlike Frances. *However*, Sid, Frances, and The Skrumps are all not just computer animated series. They all use the Henson Digital Performance System, puppeteered pretty much the way most full-body creatures like Earl Sinclair or Muppets like Pa Gorg are: one doing the body movements, and one doing the face and/or voice. The difference is they're manipulating a real time digital puppet, not a physical one. So from that sense, I don't think that makes much difference as far as the general stuff is, and I don't see a reason *not* to have character and episode pages. For that matter, we have one page for a Sam Plenty character, Marion Weadle, and that has no Muppet or puppet connection at all (just Henson produced and with some puppeteers as live actors) and then there's MirrorMask. And we have a page for Greg Evigan just because he starred in the Brian Henson executive produced, Henson Company released sitcom Family Rules. So that inches into a larger question of what Henson Company stuff we cover (or if it's just "stuff we don't like as much.") If the latter, we do still have redlinks for characters on the Good Boy! page. :)
- In my opinion, as digital puppets made by Henson (though not Muppets, because they're not physical and Disney owns the name), Sid and Frances character pages definitely belong in a way that Book of Pooh stuff doesn't. *But* I'd say there's no real reason for dozens of song pages (right now, in fact, all the say is which episode they were in, a sentence summary, and a date), kind of like the way we decided we didn't need a bunch of soundtrack pages for Creature Shop-effects movies. They're not Muppet songs, they're not Creature Shop songs, and there's no reason the info can't be included on the episode pages.
- Now, Unstables Fables stuff is actually completely different. Pre-production is done by Henson, kind of, in that they hire the screenwriters and greenlight the stuff and the pre-production designs and the voice recording. All the animation is outsourced to India, though. Right now, we have pages for a few Unstable voices (Steve Zahn, Nolan North, Jesse McCartney, etc.). While I personally think an argument could be made that Unstable Fables voices are as relevant as some of the recently deleted international stuff, those pages are usually interesting (or can be made interesting). But the characters, less so; the only page we have right now is Big Bad Wolf (3 Pigs and a Baby), which I created with much difficulty, and I'd personally be fine with vetoing character, song, etc. pages for that kind of thing.
- Then there's The Blue Elephant, a two-year old feature which had already been theatrically released in Thailand and was just dubbed (and I'm not even sure how much involvement Henson had with that aspect, without checking the credits) and put out under "The Jim Henson Company: Discoveries" label. I hadn't meant for a page to be created yet, but Brad put some of the info there, including a red-link to dubbing actress Miranda Cosgrove (so the connection for any of the voices is that they dubbed a movie which has nothing to do with the Muppets and is only related to the Henson company as a "Discovery," which is definitely slimmer than the German voice for Judge Wapner on Muppets Tonight.)
- So I guess in general, it's time to re-define what our purpose, to create a Wiki for "everything related to Jim Henson and the Muppets" now means. Or specifically, how much it covers stuff done by the Jim Henson Company that has nothing to do with the Muppets (before and after they sold the name). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:57, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
- I'm kind of thinking out loud, but I think that just as Disney Wiki doesn't stop after Walt Disney died, I think we should document projects that The Jim Henson Company is involved in, even if they don't involve traditional puppetry. I understand making a distinction between putting their name on something that they didn't actually create, but Sid sounds like a major project that the Henson company intends to get back in the PBS/Sesame Street demographic, as opposed to the adult shows, and the tween specials. But I understand if people want to keep this "Muppet Wiki", instead of "Henson Wiki".
- Another question which kind of relates, since the Muppet name is now owned by Disney, but allowed to show up on Sesame merchandise, who are Eric Jacobson and Steve Whitmire actually working for when they bounce back and forth between Disney specials and Sesame Street? Are they Henson company employees who have an agreement to perform characters in those 2 universes that are no longer owned by the Henson company? I just bring this up because the Muppet universe has been carved up into so many pieces, that are owned by so many different companies, that it gets difficult to decide if we only want to cover the characters created by Jim Henson, or if we want to cover the things that the company he founded did and does in the future. -- Ken (talk) 06:31, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
- It's a good question Danny, and I have actually been thinking about this after you brought up the questions about entries in the international voice actors. Personally I would think that the coverage of the future Henson digital projects should not be excluded from the wiki entirely, after all the company behind it are historical for the Muppets and the "Muppet technology" lead to the digital performersystem. However I don't think that there should be as much details, maybe just a page about the production and thats it.
- I really think there should be a policy about this, because while I was writing this it struck me, that in theory people could start adding Disney productions on here as well, with the reasoning that we add non-Muppet stuff on the wiki from the company that have owned the Muppets, so why should the current owner not have it's productions listed. Henrik (talk) 07:02, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
- While it's a legitimate issue, I don't think people adding Disney pages is an issue, since it's not just "some company that owned the muppets" but the company founded by Jim Henson and which still bears (and trades on) his name. By the same token, Disney Wiki is a mess and not a good model, but that's because Disney is a global empire which extends into so many areas and productions, whereas even if we fully documented Sam Plenty, Good Boy, etc., it would still be a drop in the bucket compared to the overall Muppet coverage. Apart from examining what "all things related to Jim Henson" means re the company, there's our other measuring stick: is this something of general interest to our readers on the whole? That's why we have Category:Frank Oz Films, Category:Connections, and pages like Sesame Street Cast in Other Roles, based on legitimate interest in knowing what other stuff Frank Oz and other folks have worked on (and in general, managing to tie those back to the Muppet world). I think that could be done with Sid, iffy with Frances, no on Sam Plenty, etc. We haven't taken a vote in ages, but depending how this develops (and since lately only a few users have really been active in current events discussions), that may or may not prove useful. Part of the issue, though, and also I think why Danny's concerned, is the fact that in general Muppet news has been scarce, so sites like Muppet Newsflash and some of the fan boards cling to any news from Henson (announcements of optioned properties, live action web shows, DVD re-issues of Gulliver's Travels, etc.) for lack of anything really Muppety to sink their teeth into. So it may be partially an issue of how much of that we want to encourage/discourage. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:17, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
- Yup. I see this stuff as the new Frackles -- something that only interests a select number of people on a particular fansite.
- I think the criterion of "it's made by the company that Jim Henson founded" means that these projects always have some relevance to the wiki. I wouldn't ever say that we should stop covering the Henson Company's output. The question is just in the level of detail that we want to put in, which for me really means the number of individual pages.
- It usually helps at this point in the discussion for me to start making lists :) -- so let me try to make a list of what "coverage" means for us. Here's a list of how many subcategories we currently have for various projects, as a measure of how much coverage that project gets on the wiki right now:
- 26 subcats: Sesame Street
- 11 : The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock
- 9 : Sesamstraat
- 8 : Bear in the Big Blue House, The Dark Crystal, The StoryTeller
- 7 : Dinosaurs, Dog City, Labyrinth, Muppet Babies, Muppets Tonight, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
- 6 : Farscape, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss
- 5 : The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, Elmo's World, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, The Muppet Movie, Muppets From Space, Sesamstrasse
- 4 : The Animal Show, Big Bag, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, Follow That Bird, The Great Muppet Caper, The Jim Henson Hour, Kermit's Swamp Years, Mother Goose Stories, The Muppets Take Manhattan
- 3 : Animal Jam, The Hoobs, Mopatop's Shop, Puppet Up!, Sesame Beginnings, Tinseltown
- 2 : The Ghost of Faffner Hall, The Land of Gorch, Late Night Buffet, Muppet*Vision 3D, Sam and Friends, The Secret Life of Toys, The Tale of the Bunny Picnic
- 1 : Dr. Dolittle, Five Children and It, From the Balcony, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Muppet Monsters, Panwapa, Play With Me Sesame, Unstable Fables, The Witches
- No category: Buddy, Donna's Day, Frances, Good Boy, Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola
- On the whole, I think that matches up pretty well with how much we care about a particular project.
- Everything from 4 subcats and up is pretty much core Muppet Wiki material -- the various puppet shows and movies, plus a few special Creature Shop productions (Dark Crystal, StoryTeller, Dinosaurs, Labyrinth, Farscape). The top three are obvious -- Sesame, Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. Below that, it depends on how much effort someone is willing to put in to build the pages. Wubbulous World doesn't really deserve more coverage than The Jim Henson Hour, but we have a contributor who's psyched about building those pages.
- We give 2 to 3 subcats for more marginal puppet projects -- shows that nobody really cares about or where there isn't a lot to say.
- Creature Shop movies and miniseries get one category each for Characters. Actors just go in a general "Creature Shop Movies Actors" type category.
- Stuff that we really don't like doesn't get any categories at all, even if it has puppets in it (like Tomie dePaola).
- I think we should give the digital productions the same level of coverage that we do for From the Balcony and the Creature Shop TV shows. -- a Characters category, and that's it. Episodes and songs can go on the main page about the production, like we do with From the Balcony.
- Thankfully the first episode of Sid the Science Kid is all about teaching kids how to make lists. They don't know it, but they're creating a generation of wiki people. Anyway, I agree with that rundown. No need to have separate pages for Sid and Frumps episodes and songs. —Scott (talk) 23:46, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
- That sounds fair (since in general the Muppety relevance lies in the characters and who's performing them more than anything else), and for the most part won't affect much except merging info. There might be more to say about Frances episodes than Sid at some point, but I think that's a Wubbulous situation. That is to say, as with some other things, if/when we ever get a hardcore Frances fan willing and able to make really good, generally interesting pages about the stuff and argue for it, I think that would be a different issue. But right now, with all the Sid stuff, it seems less because of actual passion for a show which barely aired today then "Finally, something new to fill up pages with." How about Unstable Fables, though? (Which as said, aren't digital puppet shows at all, just outsourced animation). Voices and no characters? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 00:05, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
- Well, so far we have pages for the four "star names" and Nolan North and Tom Kenny (who are semifamous, at least to soap opera and Spongebob fans respectively), so probably just unlink everyone else unless they have another connection. That sound about right? And yeah, if we're going to discourage more character pages, we may as well nuke the one there. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 03:23, 2 September 2008 (UTC)