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Now that we've got a category for The Muppets family of characters, we're saying that Muppet Show Characters is strictly for characters who appeared in the 120 episodes of The Muppet Show, right? I just want to be sure that's clear as we move forward. —Scott (talk) 23:14, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
The category description says "More than 400 Muppet Show characters, from the original show and related spin-offs." There are many characters in here who never actually appeared in an episodes of The Muppet Show television series - such as The Zimmer Twins, The Bouncing Bananas, and LaVerne. They are here because they appeared in a "related spin-off" - namely The Muppet Show Comic Book, Bo Saves the Show, and The Case of the Missing Mother. So, to be clear, what qualifies something as a related spin-off? Is it mearly the presence of the Muppet Theatre and the Muppets' fictional vaudevillian stage-show therein?
Would things such as The Muppets Go to the Movies, Muppet Classic Theater, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and Weezer's Keep Fishin' be considered releated spin-offs? Should characters that appeared in those productions (such as Pepe, Andy & Randy, Johnny Fiama, Bobo, and Eugene), also be categorized as Muppet Show characters? And if The Muppet Show Comic Book is considered a spin-off, should characters such as Pepe and Clifford be added to this category (as they've appeared in the comic too).
Or should we take this even broader than just featuring the theater and count productions such as The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, Muppets Tonight, Muppet Robin Hood and Letters to Santa as "related spinoffs". It's simple when we limit things to only characters from the 120 episodes of the 1976-1980 television series; but with "spin-offs" what is the definition and were's the line? I just want to be clear. -- Brad D. (talk) 10:50, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- This is a really good point -- I just responded on the Current events discussion about the character portals. I actually wrote that bit about "related spinoffs" without realizing that it wasn't quite true! Sorry, that was my mistake. I was assuming that we were treating this category the same way that we do Sesame Street Characters, and I'd forgotten that we weren't.
- My feeling is that this should be a larger "universe" category, the same way that Sesame Street Characters is. Now that I look at it, the current system is pretty inconsistent. We include illustrated characters like Commander Melville (from Muppets at Sea) and the Ubiquitous Quilp (from The Muppet Show Comic Book). We're not sticking to the 120 episodes, the same way that we're not sticking to the 96 episodes of Fraggle Rock.
- But we don't include Pepe, Bean Bunny, Johnny Fiama or Sal, who were all seen backstage at the Muppet Theater in Christmas Movie. I don't think that's right. -- Danny (talk) 20:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- Should we go ahead and repost/merge the current events discussion and continue it here, or just discuss it at current events right now, to avoid having to go back and forth? (And then whatever consensus is reached could be posted here). The main inconsistency in the current system though is just illustrated characters, because it's a bugbear to create a subcat for every book or comic or newspaper strip and so on (that logic was part of what led to Miss Finch and so on being added to Sesame Street Characters as well as their respective movies, because we already had a flood of illustrated characters, some of whom even had distinct continuing careers in the books but never appeared on the show, but I didn't think much of it at the time). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 21:02, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
That's a good idea, so I'm gonna do a yucky cut-and-paste from Current events...
- I like this idea, but I think Pepe the King Prawn should be taken out of The Muppet Show characters category, sinc ehe was never on that series. Maybe replace him with Beake,r Lew Zealand, or Crazy Harry. And I think something like this should also be done with songs, and maybe also Jim Henson Hour and Muppets Tonihgt characters. --Minor muppetz 16:34, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- I hadn't thought of that, with Pepe... I'd like to still keep him in the TMS portal, just because a lot of people are looking for Pepe. The portal links to "Muppet Show Characters" and not to "Extended Muppet Show Family Characters"... but people who are clicking on it won't know the difference, and might be expecting to find Pepe. Does that make sense?
- I don't really like having Pepe there either (and had meant to bring it up), unless we were to recategorize him as a Muppet Show character (Brad brought this issue up a bit at Category talk:Muppet Show Characters), but I agree that casual visitors may not think to look for him under Muppets Tonight either. How about just adding him to the Category:Muppet Characters portal in place of someone else? I think people are really more apt to look for Pepe there than under The Muppet Show anyway, and it works as a of cross-section of major characters from the various universes leaving the more expansive columns to the individual show/universe categories. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:13, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- I'd like people to be able to click from the main page to a portal that has Pepe on it. His page is #23 on the most-viewed characters list, ahead of Sweetums, Rowlf, Bunsen and Scooter.
- If the "Muppet Show" thing is a problem, then I'd suggest making the "Muppet Show" category more expansive, to include characters in the larger Muppet Show universe, the way that we do with Sesame Street Characters.
- In every case, we've chosen to include the larger "universe" characters in the main character category -- whether they appear in movies, storybooks or comic books. The only characters that are treated differently are Pepe, Bean Bunny, Clifford and Johnny Fiama -- characters that I think have just as much right to be in Muppet Show Characters as Commander Melville or the Four Little Hop-Toads. What do you guys think? -- Danny (talk) 20:35, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- I was opposed to thusly categorizing Miss Finch and Grizzy myself at the time (or Commander Melville and others) and still think it's useful to maintain a distinction of what shows/movies they originated in, especially since we get into things like Nicky Holiday and such; there aren't enough human characters in the two Sesame movies or the odd special to make that an issue, but there's a ton with the Muppets. However, those pages now include both, plus the standard Muppet Characters. So if we could find a better label for the category but still not incorrectly imply that characters originated on the show (which I admit seems more of an issue with puppets, where false assumptions can be made, than with those clearly labeled as picturebook characters, plus we knew that a "Muppets Go to Sea Characters" category would be pretty useless), I'd be fine with that. Otherwise, we'll have to discuss again which characters would fit in or not. Just those who appeared in subsequent movies/shows/specials ala Pepe, Bean, or Clifford, or would we add in Leon and Digit and Kermit's Swamp Years characters and so on? It really is a lot easier to deal with Sesame Street (which is used as a kind of universe label in a way that "Muppet Show" isn't) than with Muppet stuff in a "universe" fashion (my own preference at this point probably would be a "Muppet Illustrated Characters" category to handle Melville and any new comics characters and so on), but it could work as long as we lay out exactly how far we'd go with it or, outside of the one-off illustrated characters, just add in those who later became part of the "Muppet family," so to speak. I'd be more comfortable with the latter (though it still seems misleading to have them in The Muppet Show as well as Muppets Tonight category; I really think Muppet Characters, in addition to listing all Muppets, should be our more expansive portal). So that would more clearly be Pepe, Johnny Fiama, Sal, Bean, Bobo, Clifford, Dr. Phil Van Neuter maybe and so on but not bothering with wholesale recategorization of every Muppets Tonight and Jim Henson Hour character, or Gil and Bill and Doc Hopper and Ghost of Christmas Past. That sounds workable to me. I hope we can get Scott to weigh in on this (he tends to have a handle on the universe stuff). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:53, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- The problem is that there isn't a good word for the group that includes Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo but doesn't include Big Bird or Gobo Fraggle.
- Basically, the two options are "Muppet Show characters" and "Muppet characters". Outside of TMS, they're referred to as "the Muppets" (on screen, in print and in the press). So the logical place to put those characters is in a category called Muppet Characters.
- Unfortunately, that also happens to be the generic name for all of these puppets, so our Muppet Characters category also includes Big Bird and the Fraggles.
- So it's easy to say "Sesame Street Characters", and have that include Big Bird, Elmo and the Cereal Girl, and that group makes sense to us.
- I think it also makes sense to have a category that includes Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Pepe, Bean Bunny and Clifford. All of those characters are part of "the Muppets", as distinct from the Sesame or Fraggle characters. If Miss Piggy smacks Bean Bunny with a door, then it flies in the face of common sense to say that they aren't part of the same character family.
- Similarly, if French Bread is in that category, then I don't think it makes sense to exclude the Sandwich, or Disagreeable Sandwich for that matter. Muppet bread is Muppet bread. We don't make a distinction in any of our categories between major and minor characters, or between recurring and one-shot characters. (We do with sketches, but not characters.)
- We do make a distinction with Muppet bread that appeared on Sesame Street, though, even if they're not all that different, and between Muppet balls that appeared on The Muppet Show, Sesame, or Mopatop's Shop, and on and on. I think merging in every single character would just confuse things, and as I said, there's the issue with human characters and so on. And there's no question that The Ghost of Christmas Present isn't part of the same family; we can write those off from the adaptation specials as being different, but I feel the same way about that sandwich. However, Bean, Pepe et. al are indeed part of the family, as I said, so I think it makes more sense to define those that fit that definition through more than one appearance and include them and clarify the category definition ("characters that are part of The Muppet Show family or from related print appearances") than cram in every JHH, Muppets Tonight, and From the Balcony character, as I said. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 21:27, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- Yeah, I feel like this is a conversation we had years ago, and it hinged on that problem that we don't have a good name for Muppet Show universe characters, since Muppet Characters is taken. Danny's right that, if we let LaVerne be a Muppet Show character, then Bean Bunny should be, too. After all, he was in Muppet-Vision and VMX, both of which are set in The Muppet Theatre. But then what about Clifford? He's arguably had a bigger role within the Muppet universe family than Bean in recent years, but I don't recall him ever being tied to the Muppet Theater. And if he does show up in The Muppet Show Comic Book, do we really want to stretch our categories that thin by including him on a technicality like that? I mean, we don't include Rowlf in the Sesame Street Characters category.
- I guess what this boils down to is we could either:
- 1) Include only Muppet characters who appeared on the 120 episodes of The Muppet Show and create a separate category for Muppet Show Illustrated characters.
- 2) Include characters who did not appear on The Muppet Show but who did appear in related media in which the Muppet Show or Theater was mentioned (various Muppet books and comics, MuppetVision, VMX, Keep Fishin' music video, etc.), since it can be argued that continuity suggests the Muppets have done more than just the 120 "Muppet Shows" that were televised. This would make it more like the Sesame Street characters category. Of course, we may end up with Howard Tubman in the category but not Clifford.
- 3) Include Muppet characters who have reached a level of prominence within the Muppet Show universe by some other rule (i.e. create a minimum # of major appearances within the Muppet Show universe). The problem I see with this is figuring out exactly where to draw the line.
- 4) Wing it. The problem I see with this one is that we may end up having fights over whether some character (say, Dr. Phil van Neuter or Digit) really belongs in the broader Muppet Show universe.
- 5) Eliminate the Muppets Tonight and Jim Henson Hour categories and merge everything into Muppet Show characters.
I think that's a good summary of the different options. I'm leaning towards #5, for the sake of simplicity. I think anything that involves drawing particular distinctions like number of appearances or the setting is going to end up being arbitrary.
When you get down to it, what's the real difference between the Muppet Theater and KMUP? The theater that we see in Christmas Movie isn't necessarily the exact same theater that we see in TMS. We don't see where the Muppets perform in Letters From Santa or The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. If the Muppets in Letters From Santa are off-duty from performing at (a) Muppet Theater, does that make Pepe a TMS character?
Etcetera. I think it's simpler and makes more sense to say -- characters that appear with Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo are part of the same character family, not counting obvious crossover characters from other shows. ("Obvious crossover" = somebody saying "Look, it's the Muppets from Sesame Street!", as they do in the Marty Feldman episode.) This includes Muppet characters from movies, TV shows, specials and what have you.
I think the question of human characters is easily dealt with. We don't say that Peter Sellers is a Muppet Show Character, because he's a guest star. Ditto Luke Skywalker and Emily Litella. We can say the same for Doc Hopper and Rachel Bitterman. In the Muppet universe, humans are guest stars. -- Danny (talk) 22:20, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- I like the idea of a broader category - but I'm not sure I like calling characters that never appeared on The Muppet Show a "Muppet Show Character". I consider the Cosmic Fish, Mad Monty, Ghost of Christmas Present, Digit, and Dr. Phil van Neuter to be in the same family/universe as Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo but I don't consider them Muppet Show characters as that title refers to the specific show (not the overall brand the way Fraggle and Sesame do).
- I think creating a grouping for that family of characters (Kermit/Fozzie/Gonzo/Piggy) would be do-able. I think with the sale of The Muppets to Disney the distinction becomes a little easier (Muppets Tonight: Yes -- Emmet Otter: No) we really want to capture the Muppets Studio Characters - mainly its the ones owned by Disney now.
- There are a few grey areas (early pilots, Tales from Muppetland, The Jim Henson Hour, Muppet Meeting Films, Muppet Workshop, some of the real minor background characters, etc.)... but I think overall it could be worked out.
- I do like having the individual show categories for The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, From the Balcony, Muppet Treasure Island, and Play-Along Video Characters (the same way we have the all-reaching Sesame Street uniserse category - plus a categories for characters from Elmo's World, Sesame specials, direct-to-videos, each film, stage show, etc.) I'd hate to loose our individual groupings of The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight characters due to a merge of the whole Muppets Studio universe and think a new all-encompassing category for the characters from Muppets Studio's The Muppets™ franchise would be better.-- Brad D. (talk) 23:41, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- Also I understand not making Peter Sellers or Steve Martin Muppet Show Characters (Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder aren't Sesame Street Characters); but Bob and Gordon are Sesame Street Characters, why not Doc Hopper and Nicky Holiday as characters from the Muppet universe?-- Brad D. (talk) 23:41, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
- I think we should have TMS characters, MT characters, JHH characters etc. separate. Like Brad I would hate to lose that distinction and only have one big category, and I think it's nice to have a place that is just the characters from the 120 original episodes. In which case having an illustrated characters and a specials characters category would keep everything neat and tidy.
- However I also think adding a broader catchall/toplevel category for the "family" makes sense and I see no real reason why we couldn't have that also. Then make the individual show categories subcats so people who want the specific info can find it, and put the general portal with Pepe and Clifford into the catchall area.
- What I can't figure out is what to call the catchall category, but I think that's a problem even if we do lose all the subcats; if we merge everything it shouldn't be called "The Muppet Show Characters" because that's not what it is. -- Wendy (talk) 00:15, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
- Hey, why not make a "Muppet Studios Characters" category? --Minor muppetz 01:32, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
- Going back to an option earlier, and since "Muppets Studio" sounds awkward, I actually think a Category:The Muppets could work for that, with a clear definition and link to the category in which we merge all puppets who fit that definition, as opposed to Creatures and post-sale thingammies and so on.
- We merged our older "The Muppets" pages, and in these contexts, it doesn't just mean characters who are Muppets, but specifically the main group, since the others have their own terminology (Sesame Street Muppets, Fraggles) or just nothing at all, existing more clearly within their own universes outside of a very rare guest appearance (Bear in the Big Blue House, say, all the stuff like Hoobs and so on) whereas one of the constants of the main Muppet family (one which only rarely applies to others, Big Bird and Elmo and the like being the most notable exceptions) is their awareness of themselves as performers, their status as real life celebrities, they write memoirs, they serve as activists, they have bios which treat them as real living beings, which doesn't really apply to the rest. So maybe something like that would work.
- It would be a massive recollection, mind, adding that tag to the others, but so would adding "The Muppet Show." And this would actually be accurate.
- The illustrated characters we let slide and nobody with an ounce of sense or attention span will see an illustration and a note that they were in some book and think "Which Muppet Show episode were they in?" But that could very easily happen, and probably has, with Pepe or Bean, and conversely, some folks forget Rizzo the Rat or others actually did debut on the Muppet Show even if they became more prominent later, so erasing that distinction strikes me as a problem.
- I don't care for "Muppets Studio" as a label but I'd go with it if others think "The Muppets" is too generic or misldeading. And actually, a merge, while a ton of work and sporadic, could also help as far as things like, say, assorted one-shot talk show or Ed Sullivan appearances or some of the mixed appearance characters (a random commercial here, a special there, but never Muppet Show) and so on which otherwise don't have or need a parent category but more clearly belong as supporting or bit players to that larger Muppet family than anywhere else (Grump, for example, or Taminella Grinderfall). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 03:07, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
- "The Muppets" sounds great to me. I agree about "Muppets Studio" -- it's a very late-2000s phrase that doesn't really work for Taminella Grinderfall.
- Which then gets confusing with Category:Muppet Characters. If anything I'd say to rename this category to Category:Muppets. Although I can't quite fathom the amount of work involved to change it, and it might still be pretty confusing to someone visiting the site... -- Wendy (talk) 05:19, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
- I agree that Muppet Studios Characters sounds awkward, and that it's important to have some categorical distinction between characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, JHH, the movies, etc. But I could get behind either Andrew or Wendy's solution, though I prefer creating the universe category "The Muppets Characters" and changing the"Muppet Characters" category to just plain "Muppets". -- Peter (talk) 23:01, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I tell you what. I think it's silly that we don't have a category that includes Miss Piggy, Hilda, Bean Bunny and the Cosmic Fish, but I don't feel so strongly about it that I want to go to all the trouble of renaming our biggest category. If people want to maintain the distinction between The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight, that's fine; I don't really see it myself, but that's the way we've been doing it, and it doesn't hurt anything.
The thing I care about -- and the place where this conversation started -- is that I want new readers to be able to come to the main page, click on a Muppets portal, and find a picture of Pepe. He may still be a newbie, but he's one of the most popular current Muppet characters, and people expect to find him with the rest of the Muppets.
The other thing that I care about is that when people type "Muppet characters" into Google, which they do, then they end up on our Muppet Characters category, where they find a character portal that helps them find the character they're looking for.
So, how about this:
- I'll copy the portal that's currently on Muppet Show Characters, and move it over to replace the one at Muppet Characters. (i.e., take out the Sesame Street folks.)
- I'll change the main page portal to go to "Muppet Characters" instead of "Muppet Show Characters". Readers won't know the difference; it's all the same to them.
- For the Muppet Show Characters portal, I'll replace Pepe with Lew Zealand or Hilda or the French Bread or something.
- Then we forget all about it, and don't bother swapping categories around and causing ourselves headaches.
- The problem is that at this point I like the idea of getting the categories to all make sense. Which right now, the Muppet Show one doesn't. It's fine to swap out portals and links to create the landing area, but I actually think this uncovered a problem that we should make the effort to fix. -- Wendy (talk) 01:16, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- Portal issues aside, that doesn't answer the question of categorizing spin-off characters. The Zimmer Twins are in here because they were in The Muppet Show Comic Book, and LaVerne is in here because she appeared in The Case of the Missing Mother. So should Pepe also be in here because he appeared in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Keep Fishin' and The Muppet Show Comic Book, and should Andy and Randy be in here becuase they were in Muppet Classic Theater, and should we add Clifford because he was on a cover of The Muppet Show Comic Book? What is a "spin-off" character and what is not? -- Brad D. (talk) 02:44, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if it might be worth introducing a term from Star Wars here -- "expanded universe". From what I understand of Star Wars fandom, "Star Wars" denotes the movies themselves, and "Star Wars Expanded Universe" denotes the novel series and other apocrypha. If we did that here, then "Sesame Street Characters" would be those who appeared on the show, period. "Sesame Street Expanded Universe Characters" would be those who only appeared in direct-to-video specials, or storybooks, or record albums, or Follow that Bird, or what have you. "Muppet Show Characters" would be characters who appeared on the Muppet Show. "Muppet Show Expanded Universe Characters" would be characters who were only on Muppets Tonight or MuppeTelevision or the Muppet movies or the comic books or what have you. Muppets Tonight may not be a "spin-off", but it's definitely in the Muppet Show Expanded Universe. --GrantHarding 02:50, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
- Since the conversation has mostly stalled, I'd like to go ahead and create Category:The Muppets Characters and start to fill it in with everyone, including all the spinoffs, muppets tonight, and whathaveyous, while redoing "Category:Muppet Show Characters" to be characters only from the one show. I've decided having two similarly named categories is no more confusing than a Muppet Show characters category that is about things besides the Muppet Show.
- I'm not a fan of redoing everything with "expanded universe" but I can do that; I'd just like to straighten some of this out before it gets lost altogether. -- Wendy (talk) 17:02, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
- Yeah, I think that works. I think "The Muppets Characters" is the best suggestion. "Expanded Universe" works well for Star Wars and comic book fans where that phrase is commonplace, but for Muppet folks, it's a little foreign.
- My instinct is that anybody that's in a Category:Muppet Specials counts, ditto the movies, videos, books and other media, but not a "guest appearance" by a Fraggle or Big Bird. So yes to the three you listed. If you'd rather make it that Kermit had to be there we can go that way, except then we're obviously making an exception for SS, so I'm not sure it's really the best choice. I'm sure that no matter how we define it there's going to be characters that are unclear. -- Wendy (talk) 00:16, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
- I would say no to Emmet Otter, The Christmas Toy and Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree - while Kermit did appear in a hosting role, they really are separate universes, like Sesame Street (and the more recent releases even cut Kermit out). Kermit was more of a guest host/narrator (not a part of the universe). And if we include The Christmas Toy, would we also include the "Secret Life of Toys"? "The Animal Show", "Dog City", and "Mopatop's Shop" had lots of minor cross-overs. I think the idea is to capture the characters of that Kermit/Rowlf/Gonzo/Fozzie/Piggy/Pepe/Clifford universe... not any character we can connect to possibly meeting Kermit. Just as we shouldn't include all the characters from the big cross-over specials (Muppet Family Christmas, Celebration of 30 Years, and Celebrate Jim Henson). -- Brad D. (talk) 05:57, 6 June 2009 (UTC)