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Meet the Feebles

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Heidi Hippo's rampage in Meet the Feebles

Meet the Feebles is an adult, initially unrated 1989 all-puppet film directed by Peter Jackson. The film, whose title is loosely taken from a line in The Muppet Show theme song, focuses on the backstage activities of a motley animal theater troupe preparing a variety show, much like The Muppet Show. Unlike the Muppet Show, the performers' eccentricities extend to pornography, sexual perversions, drug use, and gang warfare, and acts include a knife thrower with Vietnam flashbacks and a musical salute to sodomy.

The plot follows the troupe as they prepare their first television pilot in the hopes of landing a lucrative syndicated series (a reference to The Muppet Show's success following Lew Grade's backing). The troupe's star, the obese but sensual Heidi Hippo, is a manic-depressive parody of Miss Piggy, and like Piggy, is in love with the producer. Producer Bletch, unlike Kermit, is a lewd walrus who is operating a drug ring and having an affair with a Siamese cat. Various subplots culminate in the jilted Heidi going on a bloody machine gun rampage and slaughtering the majority of the cast. While Jim Henson was not averse to extreme Muppet violence (see Wilkins and Wontkins), Jackson takes it to further in a tour de force of puppet bloodletting.

When interviewed by SFX magazine in 1993, Jackson was asked whether Meet the Feebles was a parody of The Muppet Show. According to Jackson, "No, actually not. I'd like to view it as a satire of human behaviour. Imagine a scenario where the Muppets just finished a TV-show. What would happen if they went backstage and behaved like normal people, smoking, drinking and having sex?" However, one scene does depict the rabbit character Harry praying to a religious icon which bares a striking resemblance to Kermit the Frog.

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