Fromthebalcony

Statler & Waldorf: From the Balcony was an online series starring Statler and Waldorf which ran biweekly on Movies.com from June 2005 until September 2006. The series consisted of 35 episodes and featured many Muppet characters, old and new. The two elderly curmudgeons would discuss upcoming films, watch the latest movie trailers, and share the week's "balconism" from their theater box. For a time, the series was also available on iTunes as a subscribed podcast.

Many of the "webisodes" featured segments spotlighting other Muppet characters - for example Pepe the King Prawn often reviewed the recent DVD releases or gave remote reports, and fictional movie trailers or commercials featuring other Muppets were common. Other established Muppets who appeared included Pepe, Rowlf the Dog, Johnny Fiama, the Swedish Chef, Bobo the Bear, Dr. Teeth, Animal, Sam the Eagle, and Sweetums. In addition to one-shot supporting Whatnots, a few new recurring characters were also introduced, such as Larry and Oliver, Lester Possum, Ted Thomas, Stan and Louie, the Hollywood Pitchmen, The Blimp, Loni Dunne and a pair of musical performers.

Production

Statlerandwaldorf

Statler and Waldorf in the balcony.

FTB-BTS

Massey and Yerrid perform characters in "Poseidon: The Musical".

From the Balcony was produced by Movies.com in association with The Muppet Studios and Hirsch Productions.

A test pilot was briefly available online in February 2005. The pilot featured Statler and Waldorf in a movie theater watching, rating and commenting on the latest trailers for The Pacifier and Constantine; additionally, Pepe the Prawn appeared to give a rundown on the latest DVD releases. The pilot did not feature the classic balcony set seen in later episodes, a "Balconism" and other regular features the series would later include. The puppeteers on the pilot were Victor Yerrid (Waldorf) and Drew Massey (Statler and Pepe). The pilot was removed from Movies.com in the spring of 2005 and has not been officially released or reposted since.

In early June 2005, Movies.com announced that From the Balcony would soon become a regular feature of the site. Biweekly episodes started appearing on Movies.com beginning on June 26. The first eight episodes featured regular Muppet performers Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire and Bill Barretta performing the cast of Muppets in each episode. However starting with episode 9, and continuing until the end of the series, Victor Yerrid and Drew Massey returned to take over the main puppeteering duties on the project.

Victor Yerrid commented on his and Drew Massey's role in the series in a 2007 interview:

We did about ninety-five percent of the puppeteering so we worked on just about every scene together. We were also involved in the creative meetings and got to pitch characters and segment ideas.[1]

The opening of each episode started with a quick first-person perspective traveling through the El Capitan Theatre. The song "Hey a Movie!" from The Great Muppet Caper was used as the theme song in early run of the series before being replaced (starting with episode 5). The show originally was produced in the traditional 4:3 (1.33:1) aspect ratio, but starting with episode 15, and continuing for the rest of the series' run, the picture switched to a 16:9 (1.78:1) widescreen format.

Aside from the biweekly episodes, the series produced sets of promotional Halloween and Oscar clips that were released to television news syndicates to promote the web series. Statler and Waldorf also appeared from the set of From the Balcony in a promotional tie-in to introduce the films for ESPN Classic's Reel Classics Extra and promote the webshow. The characters and set were also used in a public service announcement for the Will Rogers Institute in late 2005.

In October 2006, after the 34th episode of the webshow debuted online, Movies.com sent the following message via the "Balcony Bulletin" mailing list (an e-mail mailing list that would alert subscribers when a new episode was posted):

Dear Statler & Waldorf Fans:

As you know, your favorite cranky critics, Statler and Waldorf, are getting up there in years. While they're not ready for retirement, they've decided to take some time away from the balcony for some well-earned rest and relaxation (read: finding new things to complain about).

Don't despair, though -- during the hiatus you can still enjoy classic From the Balcony. Every show is available for viewing in the archives! There's also a rumor going around that everyone's favorite curmudgeons may be popping in for special appearances on new parts of Movies.com. Stick around to find out where!

Episodes

Picture Description
FTB-pilot
Test Pilot — February 25, 2005

Statler and Waldorf take a look at The Pacifier and Constantine; however, the pair is unable to get a consistent rating scale to rank the films. Pepe the King Prawn pops in to give a run down on the latest DVD releases - Saw, I Heart Huckabees, Donnie Darko and Taxi.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Pepe the King Prawn

FTB episode1
Episode 1 — June 26, 2005

Statler and Waldorf take a look at the trailers for War of the Worlds and Bewitched. The pair rank each film on their "Snooze-O-Meter" noting how far into the film they will fall asleep. Plus the two toss it over to Pepe the King Prawn to talk about the newest titles on DVD: Miss Congeniality 2, Coach Carter and Hostage.

Balconism — Dej-HAH-vous: When all of the funny parts of a movie have already been shown in the trailer.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Pepe the King Prawn

FTB episode2
Episode 2 — July 6, 2005

Statler and Waldorf preview Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Fantastic Four. The two rank the films on the "old man driving scale," noting how fast they would drive to (or from) the film. Rowlf the Dog stops by the set of The Wedding Crashers to give tips on how to be a wedding crasher.

Balconism — KILL-dren: The uncute kids in horror movies.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Rowlf the Dog

FTB episode3
Episode 3 — July 18, 2005

Statler and Waldorf preview Stealth and The Island, ranking them on the "old guy scale" ("not-so-bad" being the best, "yuck" being the worst). Plus Johnny Fiama interviews Keanu Reeves (through edited footage).

Balconism — Expenda-BILL: The nameless character who always goes on secret missions and is always the first to die.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Johnny Fiama

FTB episode3bonus
Episode 3: Bonus Clip — July 19, 2005

Upset that Johnny Fiama took his place in episode 3, Pepe releases a "top-secret" video giving his take on the week's new DVD releases.

Balconism — none

Cast: Pepe the King Prawn

FTB episode4
Episode 4 — August 3, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review The Dukes of Hazzard and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, ranking them on the "pain-killer scale" ("over the counter" being the best, "massive sedative" being the worst). Plus the Swedish Chef makes a pair of Daisy Duke jeans.

Balconism — COUGH-in: When a main character coughs in the first few minutes of a movie, and you know they'll be dead by the end.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and the Swedish Chef

FTB episode5
Episode 5 — August 18, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Red Eye, ranking them on the "Bobby Brown scale" ("New Edition years" being the best, "in jail/reality show years" being the worst). Plus Pepe is on the street to talk about Sin City, Beauty Shop and A Lot Like Love on DVD.

Balconism — Doggie-DAR: The innate ability of the family dog to sense an evil man in their company even when the humans are completely oblivious.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Pepe the King Prawn

FTB episode6
Episode 6 — September 1, 2005

Statler and Waldorf host "The Balc-y Awards" covering the best (or in their case, worst) in summer movies.

Balconism — TRAVOLTED: When one key film role rescues an actor's career after years of struggle and puts them back on the map.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Pepe the King Prawn

FTB episode7
Episode 7 — September 14, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review Just Like Heaven and The Corpse Bride, ranking them on the "old guy activity scale" ("a heated game of pinochle" being the best, "a colonoscopy" being the worst). The two also share a rare Revenge of the Sith audition tape from Bobo the Bear.

Balconism — Lucky BLAST-ard: The main character of an action movie who can run, jump, swim or drive just one step faster than the fireball of a huge explosion.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Bobo the Bear

FTB episode8
Episode 8 — September 29, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review Into the Blue and Two for the Money, ranking them on the "car accident scale" ("fender-bender" being the best, "completely totaled" being the worst). Plus Pepe is on the red carpet of Flightplan where he interviews such celebrities as Brent Sexton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Irby, Constance Marie, Isaiah Washington, Jodie Foster, Erika Christensen and several other guests.

Balconism — Prev-EULOGY: When movie studios cram the whole movie into the preview and kill any chance of people going to see it.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Pepe the King Prawn

FTB episode9
Episode 9 — October, 12, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review Doom and Elizabethtown, ranking them on the "talk show host scale" ("Johnny Carson" being the best, "Chevy Chase" being the worst). Plus Dr. Teeth and Animal talk about Shop Girl's love triangle.

Balconism — CON-mercial: When the studio puts out a misleading trailer, that cons viewers into the theater.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Dr. Teeth and Animal

FTB episode10
Episode 10 — October 27, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review Jarhead and The Legend of Zorro, ranking them on the "early-bird special scale" ("chicken pot pie" being the best, "salmon casserole" being the worst). The Weather Guy checks in with the report for the movie The Weather Man.

Balconism — Coinci-DANCE: When the music starts playing, everyone breaks out in a perfectly choreographed dance that they all know.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and the Weather Guy

FTB episodeHalloween
Halloween Press Clips — October 28, 2005

In a series of videos not released on the official website, Statler (dressed as a mummy) and Waldorf (dressed as a vampire) give a "Halloween Film Countdown". These clips were released to news syndicates to air as promotion for the web series.

Balconism — RUN-derwear: When a female in a scary movie runs away from the killer and for some reason is always in her underwear.

Cast: Statler and Waldorf

FTB episode11
Episode 11 — November 11, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review Get Rich or Die Tryin'' and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, ranking them on the "old guy hairdo scale" ("distinguished gray" being the best, "blatant hairplugs" being the worst). Plus Sam Eagle gives an editorial on the Johnny Cash movie Walk the Line.

Balconism — BLONDE-tourage: When the cool girl in a teen movie is surrounded by several dumb sidekicks who will do anything she says.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Sam the Eagle

FTB episode12
Episode 12 — November 26, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review Rent and In the Mix, ranking them on the "Thanksgiving dinner scale" ("a slice of pumpkin pie" being the best, "dry turkey" being the worst). Plus the theater rats give their take from "Below the Balcony".

Balconism — WEAK-quel: A sequel that comes so long after the first movie that nobody really cares.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Stan and Louie

FTB episode13
Episode 13 — December 10, 2005

Statler and Waldorf review The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and King Kong. Plus Ivan the Villager and Sweetums beg for Hollywood's mercy and Clive Focus gets shots of the stars of March of the Penguins.

Balconism — HACK-tors: Cut-rate actors who replace big stars in cheap sequels to their hit movies.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Ivan the Villager, Sweetums, Clive Focus and penguins

FTB episode14
Episode 14 — December 24, 2005

Statler and Waldorf give their Christmas film countdown from a decked out balcony. Plus Larry and Oliver act out every Christmas movie ever made.

Balconism — YULE LOG-jam: The glut of big movies that comes out right around Christmas.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Larry and Oliver

FTB episode15

FTB episode15b
Episode 15 — January 7, 2006

Statler and Waldorf showcase some of the international rip-offs of their webshow, while Indiana complains about being a fly-over state (with a disclaimer from Sam the American eagle).

Balconism — Fluctu-WEIGHT: When an actor gains or loses a large amount of weight to suit an upcoming role.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, whatnots, Billy, goat, aliens, penguins, The State of Indiana and Sam the Eagle

FTB episode16
Episode 16 — January 20, 2006

Statler and Waldorf review Big Momma's House 2 and Underworld Evolution. Alvy Mellish weighs in on Match Point and Lester Possum takes to the streets to find out what the average moviegoer is thinking.

Balconism — WIN-jury: When the star of a sports movie receives an injury that hurts his ability to play, but overcomes it and finds a way to win in the end.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Alvy Mellish and Lester Possum

FTB episode17
Episode 17 — February 4, 2006

Statler and Waldorf review Firewall and The Pink Panther. Meanwhile, Ted Thomas and Loni Dunne discuss the Oscar nominations, and Mr. Movie gives Billy a lecture on how movies are made.

Balconism — Romantic KARMA-dy: Where the main character unexpectedly finds love while helping others with their relationships.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Deliveryman, Loni Dunne, Ted Thomas, Mr. Movie, Billy

FTB episode18
Episode 18 — February 18, 2006

Statler and Waldorf host their big Oscar prediction episode. A detective interrogates an Oscar envelope and Lester Possum goes to the street to hear people's views on who will win the Oscars.

Balconism — It's OVER-ture: The music they play at the awards show when they want the acceptee to shut up and get off the stage.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Oscar Envelope, Detective, Sam the Eagle and Lester Possum

FTB Oscars
Oscar Press Clips — March 2, 2006

In a series of videos not released on the official website, Statler and Waldorf are interviewed about their Oscar predictions. These clips were released to news syndicates to air as promotion for the web series.

Balconism — none

Cast: Statler and Waldorf

FTB episode19
Episode 19 — March 4, 2006

Statler and Waldorf are off to the beach to review Failure to Launch, Ultraviolet, and 16 Blocks. Ted Thomas interviews Hugo, the star of The Shaggy Dog. Plus a commercial for "Muppets Gone Wildlife".

Balconism — PROM-blematic: When most of the problems in a teenage comedy come back to the characters at the prom.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Ted Thomas, Hugo, Assorted Muppet Animals, Spamela Hamderson

FTB episode20
Episode 20 — March 18, 2006

Statler and Waldorf review She's the Man, Inside Man and V for Vendetta. The Muppet penguins stars in a promo for March Madness of the Penguins and Larry and Oliver are back to reenact every sports movie ever made in another installment of "Film Crew Theater".

Balconism — ACT-lete: An athlete who attempts to act in movies but really should just stick to their sport.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, penguins, Larry and Oliver

YoungSTWA
Episode 21 — April 1, 2006

A pair of anxious Hollywood pitchmen try to sell new ideas for movie sequels and Statler and Waldorf show an old episode of From the Balcony (a black and white silent movie).

Balconism — Hide and SEQUEL: When actors makes sure they won't be found in the sequels to their previous movies.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, the Hollywood Pitchmen, Young Statler and Young Waldorf

FTB episode22
Episode 22 — April 15, 2006

Statler and Waldorf show their American Idol audition and Stan and Louie are back for another view from "Below the Balcony".

Balconism — PET-amorphosis: When a movie character suddenly finds himself turned into the family pet.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Stan and Louie

FTB episode23
Episode 23 — April 29, 2006

Statler and Waldorf show sneak-peeks of the trailers for Mission: Impossible 4: Ridiculously Impossible and Mission: Impossible 5: Impossibly Impossible ; plus Loni Dunne interviews an excited Tom Cruise.

Balconism — THESPIAN-age: When an award winning actor is cast as a villain in a spy thriller.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Tom Cruise, Cruise's assistant, and Loni Dunne

FTB episode24
Episode 24 — April 29, 2006

Statler and Waldorf showcase some rejected mutants' auditions for X-Men, including the Blimp, The Procrastinator, The Defroster, Beaverine, The Invisible Twins, and Scorn. The duo also take a look at a trailer for Poseidon: The Musical.

Balconism — LAUGHTER-math: when the aftermath of a disaster movie is so laughable, it practically ruins the whole film.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, The Blimp, The Procrastinator, The Defroster, Beaverine, The Invisible Twins, Scorn and "Poseidon: The Musical" singers

FTB episode25

FTB episode25b
Episode 25 — May 27, 2006

Inspired by The Break-Up, Statler and Waldorf go their separate ways. While Waldorf is at home alone, Statler brings in a new co-host to review The Omen.

Balconism — Opening FREAK-end: When a horror movie's release date coincides with its subject matter.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf and Waldorf's Replacement

FTB episode26
Episode 26 — June 10, 2006

Statler and Waldorf, with the help of Manny Folds, talk about all the summer car films. The duo gets the balcony pimped out, and the Swedish Chef makes "Nacho Libres".

Balconism — STARING wheel: When someone driving a car in a movie ends up staring at the passenger instead of watching the road.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Manny Folds and the Swedish Chef

FTB episode27
Episode 27 — June 24, 2006

Statler and Waldorf review An Inconvenient Truth. Ted Thomas interviews Superman's cousin Craig. Plus, Superman returns... a video.

Balconism — Armed FARCES: When the army is rendered useless in a Sci-Fi or action movie, and the true hero turns out to be an average Joe.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Ted Thomas, Craig Kent, Video Rental Clerk and Superman

FTB episode28
Episode 28 — July 7, 2006

Statler and Waldorf look for buried treasure in the balcony after talking about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. "Inside the Actors Studio" gets up close with a starring pirate's parrot. Plus Long Joel Silver advertises the "Movies for the Marooned Box Set".

Balconism — Yo HO HUM: How Hollywood felt about pirate movies before the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise became such a big hit.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, James Lipton, Polly Wanna Cracker and Long Joel Silver

FTB episode29
Episode 29 — July 22, 2006

David Hasselhoff and Tom Cruise star as Statler and Waldorf in the big screen adaptation of From the Balcony.

Balconism — MAD-aptation: when a TV show is adapted into a movie, but it stinks so much that it angers the loyal fans.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Tom Cruise and David Hasselhoff

FTB episode30
Episode 30 — August 4, 2006

Statler and Waldorf have some problems with the camera as they showcase many Snakes on a Plane knockoffs - such as Bunnies on a Balloon and Sheep on a Submarine.

Balconism — HELL-titude: a horror film that takes place at a high altitude (e.g. mountain, plane,)

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, bunnies, sheep, Milton the Blue-Footed Booby and Molly the Albatross

FTB episode31
Episode 31 — August 18, 2006

Statler and Waldorf are on vacation, so the producers treat viewers to From the Balcony's last good episode - an episode from 1977. Ted Thomas Sr. interviews rising director George Lucas, and a younger Statler and Waldorf look at what Close Encounters of the Third Kind would have been like if Woody Allen directed.

Balconism — In-FAD-uation: When Hollywood tries to make money by doing movies about the latest cultural trends.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Ted Thomas Sr., George Lucas, Woody Allen and Close Encounters Alien

FTB episode32
Episode 32 — September 2, 2006

Statler and Waldorf's "Back to School Special". Larry and Oliver return to re-enact every high school movie ever made in another installment of "Film Crew Theater". Plus Flopsy prepares to play in the big football game.

Balconism — FLICK-tion: A modern day high school flick that's lossely based on a classical work of fiction.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Coach Gruesome, Flopsy, Larry and Oliver

FTB episode33
Episode 33 — September 16, 2006

Statler and Waldorf showcase a film noir parody starring Statler as Dashiell Chandler. The two critics also show off a clip from another upcoming musical about going to the movies.

Balconism — POP-coronary: a medical condition that develops when you see how expensive things are at the concession stand.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Dashiell Chander, Whatnot dame, Caspar Von Blimpman, The Maltese Falcon, movie customer, concession stand workers, Popcorn, Candy, The Licorice Whips

FTB episode34
Episode 34 — September 20, 2006

Statler's new intern Jimmy quickly outgrows his coffee fetching job and rises to the heights of fame. The Hollywood pitchmen return to pitch wild prequels to Jimmy. Soon, Jimmy's 15-minutes of fame are up. In a twist ending, Jimmy, in hope of a come-back, buys the balcony and takes over the show.

Balconism — OS-carred: when a person is unable to get any more work after winning an Oscar.

Cast: Statler, Waldorf, Jimmy Pureisle and The Hollywood Pitchmen

Awards and Recognition

In August 2006 TIME Magazine named the series among "the 25 Sites We Can't Live Without" (sharing the ranks with eBay and Amazon.com, Google and Wikipedia).[2]

From the Balcony won a Silver Telly at the 2006 Telly Awards, for best use of comedy. Movies.com was awarded the highest-level Silver Telly Award for Best use of Humor in a Non-Broadcast Video for From the Balcony's creative spoof of the film Dukes of Hazzard.[3]

In April 2007, the series won a Webby Award. Hailed as the "Oscars of the Internet" by the New York Times, the Webby Awards are the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. The series' nomination, in the "Comedy: Long Form or Series" category, was Movies.com's first nomination for a Webby. Public voting ran on the Webby Awards website throughout April 2007 to decide the winners of the award. On May 1, 2007 it was announced that From the Balcony was the winner of the People's Voice 2007 Webby for Best Comedy Long Form or Series due to the show gaining the most votes of the five the nominees in the category.[4]

Cast

Statler
Waldorf
Pepe the King Prawn, Rowlf, Johnny Fiama, The Swedish Chef, Bobo the Bear
Statler, Pepe the King Prawn, Animal, The Weather Guy, Sam the Eagle, Stan, Ivan the Villager, Clive Focus, Oliver, Mr. Movie, Ted Thomas, Oscar Envelope, Hollywood Pitchman, Tom Cruise, "Poseidon: The Musical" singer, Manny Folds, James Lipton, Long Joel Silver, Ted Thomas Sr., Woody Allen, Coach Gruesome, and others.
Waldorf, Dr. Teeth, Louie, Sweetums, Larry, The State of Indiana, Lester Possum, Billy, Loni Dunne, The Blimp, Detective, Hollywood Pitchman, Hugo, "Poseidon: The Musical" singer, Waldorf's Replacement, Craig Kent, Polly Wanna Cracker, David Hasselhoff, George Lucas, Flopsy, Close Encounters Alien, Jimmy Pureisle, and others.
Deliveryman
Whatnot dame, customer, popcorn
Fromthebalcony2

Crew

  • Executive Producer: Ian Hirsch
  • Cinematograper: Byron Werner
  • Editor: David Tarleton
  • Writers: Joe Nussbaum, Mike Pellettieri, David Young
  • Director: Ian Hirsch

See also

Sources

  1. Yerrid, Victor. An Interview with Victor Yerrid. The Muppet Newsflash. August 2007.
  2. Buechnet, Maryanne Murray.25 Sites We Can't Live Without. TIME. August 03, 2006.
  3. Movies.com Wins Multiple Prestigious Awards Rogonizing Achievements in Entertainment, News and Creative Content. Movies.com. May 30, 2006.
  4. Webby Awards website