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Muppet Wiki:Current Events Archive 02 (Jan 2006)

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Archiving discussions from Current events.

Related, but not Muppet Shows

How much information are we allowed to add about shows that aren't muppet shows, but have a related connection. For example, if the mood struck me to add detailed information about Book of Pooh or It's a Big Big World, could I, or is it preferred to only have basic information about those sorts of shows? -- George Agent0042

Personally, I'd prefer just to have one page per show on Non-Muppet Productions. One page is enough to talk about the show, and the connections between the Muppets and that show. You could do a full cast and credits list, and an episode listing. But I'd rather not have, say, an episode guide for Between the Lions here, or a merchandise section. But I'm interested in what other people have to say about it... -- Danny Toughpigs 03:42, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I'd tend to agree, but it relates to something else I've been curious about, in terms of non-Muppet things. What price non-Muppet characters who have interacted with the Muppets, or those who have been direct influences on the Muppets or in some ways crossed paths with the Muppets? Since there's already a non-Muppet puppeteers category, would a page on Bil Baird or Burr Tillstrom (who both served as training grounds for Henson folks) or Stan Freberg (whose records were used on Sam and Friends, and who puppeteered in his own right on "Time for Beany" by appropriate? Should characters like Lambchop, Charlie McCarthy, or Mortimer Snerd (as well as Carroll Spinney's Picklepuss), all of whom have appeared in Muppet productions, have their own pages? --Andrew, Aleal 04:03, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, Danny. I figured that was probably the case, but I thought I'd check in on it. As for the interactions thing, I'm afraid I really don't have enough frame-of-reference to comment on that myself. Agent0042 05:02, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, all those folks can go in the Celebrities category. Even the puppet characters -- Mickey Mouse has a Celebrity page, so Lambchop and Mortimer Snerd can have theirs too. -- Danny Toughpigs 05:06, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Hooray! I figured it would be okay, but always nice to have a go ahead. Besides, apart from being a fan of old Charlie McCarthy, it bugged me that Edgar Bergen contained a link to a redirect to itself. --Andrew, Aleal 05:37, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we need Between the Lions or Book of Pooh episode guides. This is a great, comprehensive reference of information about Muppet stuff, but that stuff would be better placed in a general puppetry wiki. PrawnRR 20:27, 29 January 2006 (UTC)


Vote: Are Dinosaurs Muppets or Creatures?

Coming out of the discussion here and on the Muppets vs Creatures page, I set up a voting page where we can decide whether to classify the Dinosaurs characters as Muppets or Creatures.

Vote: Are Dinosaurs Muppets or Creatures is the place to vote! -- Danny Toughpigs 06:03, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

I closed the vote, because the result seems pretty decisive. By a vote of 14-3, Dinosaurs characters are Creatures!
This was our first time experimenting with this voting process, and I thought it worked out great. If other people agree, then I'd recommend using it as a model for settling questions like that. Discuss it on the Current events page, and then an open vote. I'd also suggest that anybody can feel free to initiate that process, if there's a question that needs to be answered. Does anybody have a comment or a suggestion on that? -- Danny Toughpigs 01:57, 26 January 2006 (UTC)


Today on Muppet Wiki nominations

Okay, it's finally happened -- the wiki was so busy tonight that I can't possibly keep up with all the cool stuff that everybody's adding! So please help me out, and add to the Today on Muppet Wiki nominations page. If you'd like to give some exposure to an article or a category, post the name on the nominations page, and sign/datestamp it. It could be an article that you've worked on and that you're proud of. It could also be an article that caught your eye, or taught you something, or made you chuckle.

We're building this extraordinary thing -- but for new readers who aren't checking the Recent Changes page, all that growth is kind of invisible. Today on Muppet Wiki is a way to show casual readers that we're adding cool new stuff every day, and it invites them to come in and see what's cooking. So come over and nominate stuff that you think we should show off! -- Danny Toughpigs 06:14, 25 January 2006 (UTC)


Top 25 posters

The Wikicities stats pages are working again! I posted a Muppet Wiki: Top 25 list, and there's a link on that page to the actual statistics page. -- Danny Toughpigs 02:32, 23 January 2006 (UTC)


What's a Muppet?

A question came up today in Category talk:Creature Shop TV Shows in trying to decide how to categorize certain shows. It brings to light a pretty important apsect of what we're doing with the wiki: defining. Specifically, just exactly how we define what a Muppet is.

Is Sir Didymus a Muppet? Why not? What makes Sweetums a Muppet, but not Earl Sinclair? How about Gorgs or Gelflings?

During the short time the Henson Company was self-run between the buy-back from EM.TV and the sale of the Muppets to Disney, some merchandise was being released with a definition of a Muppet (I speculate that this was done in answer to the term being used as slang in the U.K.). W emight use that as a guidline to start.

I was thinking we could work on it and discuss in the article The Muppets. Thoughts? -- Scarecroe 19:51, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

To me, the differences lie mainly in two areas: style sense, and marketing. The Gorgs, with their multicolored, broadly cartooned bodies, have more in common with Cookie Monster and the ilk, while Jen and so forth are more like the characters in "The Storyteller." More importantly, the Fraggle Rock characters are identified in the credits and production materials as Muppets. Fughetta Faffner and Mother Goose are more difficult cases, as in design sense and personality and tone of their productions, there's no real difference. What about the more realisticly designed Stinky and Jake, though, whose show yet features the likes of Jacques Roach (as Yves St. Roach) and I believe, once even Sam the Eagle, if vague memory serves. It's a tough issue, but the biggest difference is whether they were aligned with the Muppets in press, credits, or perhaps even in reception. The Ninja Turtles and the Sinclairs for the most part aren't. - Andrew Aleal 23:54, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I think one of the keys to this issue will be how the characters are defined in the credits. The characters are from Labyrinth are clearly stated in the credits as being from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Hence they're "Creatures" rather than Muppets. And if the show has "Muppet" in the name anywhere, of course, that helps. -- TomH 01:03, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
When asked by Judy Harris "What is the difference between what you consider Muppets and what the Dark Crystal is?", Jim Henson said: "Well, to me the Muppets are sort of fuzzy, bright colored, cute, lovable caricatures that we know from The Muppet Show. Fraggle Rock also drops under the term Muppets." Brian Henson said last year on a SLC radio interview that Muppets are much more cartoony - if you cut them you' don't expect them to bleed. Muppets' designs are more symbolic - they don't try to look like real beings. Kermit is not trying to pass for a real frog. But Jen is trying to pass for a real Gelfling. I would say the characters from Dinosaurs, Ghost of Faffner Hall, and Mother Goose Stories seems to be in the grey area. -- BradFraggle 04:54, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm enjoying this conversation thus far. I thought I'd throw this in: Are Waldo and Horace D' Fly Muppets? I think yes. -- Scarecroe 17:11, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Jim spoke with Judy Harris in 1982 for Cinefantastique magazine about the difference between "Muppets" and "creatures" -- Scarecroe 17:37, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
HARRIS: When I talk with people at Henson Associates now, they practically blanch if you use the term Muppets in connect with The Dark Crystal. What is the difference between what you consider Muppets and what The Dark Crystal is, and have you coined a term for what the creatures in The Dark Crystal are?
HENSON: No, we haven't, and a number of people say "you really should have a term for that" but at the moment we're saying creatures.
HARRIS: Well, what is it that they're not Muppets?
HENSON: Well, to me the Muppets are sort of fuzzy, bright colored, cute, lovable caricatures that we know from The Muppet Show. Fraggle Rock also drops under the term Muppets.
HARRIS: Is it - I remember in the interview that you did with Fred Clarke over Labor Day, he sort of labored the point that The Dark Crystal wasn't heavily into humor. Is that why you don't want it to be called a Muppet movie - because it's more dramatic and adventure-oriented than...
HENSON: Well, no, it's no so much the humor, but I have a feeling that the characters are just not Muppets at all. We hesitate to call them puppets even. I think of puppetry as being something more -- see, I love puppetry and what puppetry is, which is related to ... stylization, simplicity, boiling down to - it's a wonderful form and I really love it. But with The Dark Crystal, instead of puppetry we're trying to go toward a sense of realism - toward a reality of creatures that are actually alive and we're mixing up puppetry and all kinds of other techniques. It's into the same bag as E.T. and Yoda, wherein you're trying to create something that people will actually believe, but it's not so much a symbol of the thing, but you're trying to do the thing itself.
Oh, that's awesome. We should make a page about Muppets vs Creatures, just to post those quotes.
I actually agree about the stylistic difference between Muppets and Creatures, that Muppets are more symbolic and Creatures are more representational. That makes more sense as a distinction than which workshop happened to build the puppets. So if we decided that was the distinction, then Mother Goose and Faffner Hall would be Muppet shows... I still don't know about Dinosaurs, though. Oh, this is very complicated. Gosh, I love the wiki. -- Danny Toughpigs 19:19, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Here is another quote on the subject: "It is tough to tell what is [a creature] and what's not. If a puppet is trying to look like it really truly is alive – and if you were to cut it they would bleed – then that's [a creature]. But a Muppet is different - they really are proper puppetry. You know it's felt and ping-pong balls, and that's why you're enjoying it. [Creatures] are much more life like and real…[Creatures] are trying to achieve a very perfect illusion ...[The Muppets] are not asking the audience to believe that this is really happening, instead you're saying this is a show, these characters are to entertain you."
-Brian Henson on animatronics creatures and Muppets (WKRB West Radio Interview, Salt Lake City, 2005)
I think the only one we haven't really pinned down is Dinosaurs. Which although they are cartoony and whatnot, are still very technological and a life-like world. They were also made by the Creature Shop, and have (to the best of my knowledge) been lumped in with Creatures (not muppets) by the Henson Co. (not that that really matters).-- BradFraggle 19:55, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Based on Danny's suggestion I created a page to help facilitate, organize, and somewhat help solidify what we have discussed ,and are discussing, here on this page. Once we decide what our "definition" for Muppet and Creature we should have it somewhere for others to reference and understand the categorizing. So feel free to look at and add too the Muppet vs Creature page - a place to post quotes, and put the Wiki's definition of the terms. -- BradFraggle 20:15, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Scott: I think yes on Waldo and Horace, if for no other reason than they appeared in clearly Muppet programs. If they had appeared on, say, Farscape instead, my answer would probably change. And my vote is for Dinosaurs to be a Creature show, since it was built by the Workshop, and the Dinosaurs were never meant to be particularly cuddly. -- TomH 04:27, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Brad, thanks for creating the Muppet vs Creature page! That's awesome; it'll be really helpful once we've hashed it all out. I did a little revision on the page -- I hope I made it clearer and not worse. I also moved Aliens in the Family to the "Gray Area" -- I think stylistically they're very similar to the Dinosaurs characters. How do we want to decide on whether those are Muppets or Creatures? Should we set up a page to vote, or should we just keep discussing it until we come to some consensus? -- Danny Toughpigs 19:19, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
I would say Aliens in the Family are creatures, although a bit cartoony in style, they are presenting them selves as real aliens in a real human world. The audience should be viewing them as real alien actors on a sit-com, not as a symbolic representation of an alien character – such as a Kozzbanian on the Muppet Show. Although comedic, they are presented, treated, and worked in the same way Farscape or Labyrinth presented their characters. Dinosaurs, I would say, are creatures too. Not just because they aren't made of fuzzy felt and ping-pong balls, but because of the complex detailed realism the characters had. The wanted you to think they had to breath and that they we real. I know they weren't trying to be realistic dinosaurs (they were a stylized creature design) but they were trying to be real living creatures – not a symbol of one. Just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't look like real turtles, but they were creatures, becuase they were ment to be real creatures. Just my 2 cents. -- BradFraggle 20:12, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the Aliens in the Family characters are definitely creatures, as are the dinosaurs. I would say the major difference between a Muppet and a creature is that attempt at realism and detail. The dinosaurs appear to have real, scaly skin, while Kermit is a fuzzy frog, which isn't real at all. It's a pretty tricky issue, though. Obviously, anything built by the Muppet Workshop is a Muppet, not a creature... but we've seen in this discussion that some of the puppets built by the Creature Shop seem to qualify as Muppets. The "vote" method might be the best solution, though I'm not sure exactly what we'd be voting on. I'm not sure how to define a Muppet, but to quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it." PrawnRR 03:45, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Performer/voice listing protocol?

Wasn't sure where else to ask this, but I wanted to just double-check on how we're supposed to be listing performers, using the template. Originally, I'd gathered we were only to list the voice actor, to avoid debates over, for example, who actually operated Miss Piggy in Muppets from Space. However, I've noticed that's been changing, especially as we've been adding more Creature Shop characters and the like, where the physical performer and the voice were distinct and clearly credited as such. So, just because I'm paranoid and like to be sure before I go back and alter and as I'm adding new pages, is that the general format now? And if it is, what about things like Dinosaurs where all the full-bodied characters typically had *three* performers, one to operate the facial and mouth movements by radio control, one for the body, one for the voice? Do we use the performer template for human characters, as has been done on the page for John Crichton, or for cartoon animated characters, or do we save it for puppets? Any discussion or flat-out ruling would be appreciated, and (theoretically) cut down on backtracking later. --Andrew, Aleal 16:44, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

That's a good question; I guess we're still figuring that out. My take is: For the most part, the performer is the voice of the character. We don't list right hands in the performer box, or fill-in puppeteers -- like who played Rowlf in a scene where Henson is playing Kermit. There's just too much of that to keep track of; it's insane.
I think it's relevant for a two-person puppet to list both performers, when it was a consistent set of performers, like Junior Gorg. I think the same would be true of voice-over characters like Robbie Sinclair, Luna and Ma Otter, if the performers are always consistent.
I don't know whether we want to use them for human performers or animated characters. I put in John Crichton without really thinking much about it. I'm open either way on that.
Anyway, that's just my opinion. I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts... -- Danny Toughpigs 16:56, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the thing about performer consistency is a good point. I don't want to know who performed the Chef's hands in a scene that also happened to feature Piggy. On the other hand, the people playing Pa Gorg and Robbie Sinclair were on the set in the costume every single day. ... Lastly: Are you saying John Crichton isn't a Muppet? -- TomH 04:30, 22 January 2006 (UTC)


Performers templates

Right now there are several character articles that use HTML to create the Performer box you see in the upper right hand corner. It's a great code, but messy and not very wiki friendly. So we've created some templates to help out. If you click 'edit' to look at the code on the Miss Piggy and Annie Sue pages you can see the two different templates in action. Use the template performer when you only have one main performer for that character. performer2 works for when there are two main performers. This is what you would input:

{{performer|Louise Gold}}

or

{{performer2|Frank Oz|1976 - 2002|Eric Jacobson|2001 - Present}}

Any non-main performer credits still go at the bottom of the page in the full Performer History list. -- Scarecroe 21:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)


Things you can do

I created a new page called Things you can do, with suggestions for projects that people can work on. There's lots of people who want to help out, but they don't know where to start. You can help out with any of the projects listed on that page, or feel free to suggest one! -- Danny Toughpigs 02:37, 18 January 2006 (UTC)


Plagiarism policy

Please take a look at the new Plagiarism policy. There have been some instances of people copying text from other websites into the wiki, without realizing that that's not a good idea. Check out the policy; it explains why paraphrasing is important. -- Danny Toughpigs 02:55, 17 Jan 2006 (UTC)


Links

At some point we (or maybe it was just Danny and I) had discussed making just the first occurence of a linkable word or phrase in an article the one that should actually be linked. In cleaning up several pages, I've come to the conclusion that we should stick to this, but exclude that rule when the linkable text appears in a list, even if it's been linked earlier in the article. Sometimes people skim over the text of an article just to get to the informational list at the bottom, so having all the important stuff linked all together in one spot is really helpful. -- Scarecroe 03:58, 14 Jan 2006 (UTC)

I agree... -- Danny Toughpigs 03:33, 16 Jan 2006 (UTC)
What about two instances of the same link in the same list? -- Ozzel 07:04, 17 Jan 2006 (UTC)
I say go for it. -- Scarecroe 14:55, 17 Jan 2006 (UTC)


"What links here"

There's a cool feature that I've been using recently, and when I mentioned it to Peter, he didn't know about it. So I thought I'd mention it here, if folks haven't seen it yet.

It's "What links here", on the left navigation bar just under the search boxes. If you click on that, it gives you a list of all the pages that link to the page you're looking at. It's really helpful when you're writing an article or putting together a list. -- Danny Toughpigs 14:40, 13 Jan 2006 (UTC)


Info boxes for TV show, movie and book pages

I created some "info boxes" for the basic information on TV show, movie and book pages. The code might look a little intimidating, but you can just copy and paste from other pages, and fill in the information. Here's an example of each.

First aired 1976
Last aired 1981
Network Syndication
Seasons 5
No. of episodes 120
Released June 22, 1979
Running time 95 minutes
Director James Frawley
Written by Jack Burns and Jerry Juhl
Original music by Paul Williams
Studio  ???
MPAA Rating G
Written by David Korr
Illustrator Joe Mathieu
Published 1977
Publisher Golden Press
Series A Little Golden Book

TV box (as seen on The Muppet Show page)

{{tv|first = 1976|last = 1981|network = Syndication|seasons = 5|episodes = 120}}

Movie box (as seen on the Muppet Movie page)

{{movie|date=June 22, [[1979]]|runtime=95 minutes|director=[[James Frawley]]|writer=[[Jack Burns]] and [[Jerry Juhl]]|composer=[[Paul Williams]]|studio=???|rating=G}}

Book box (as seen on the Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree page)

{{book|writer=[[David Korr]]|illustrator=[[Joe Mathieu]]|date=[[1977]]|publisher=[[Western Publishing|Golden Press]]|series=[[:Category:Little Golden Books|A Little Golden Book]]|isbn=}}

If you're working on a page that doesn't have one of these yet, please add one!

Also, please let me know if there's something that should be changed; I can change the templates and add more fields, if people want that. And let me know if you have any questions about it! -- Danny Toughpigs 19:42, 11 Jan 2006 (UTC)


Talk pages

A note for regular contributors... we've been using talk pages so far in a way that makes converstaions hard to read: basically replying to one another on each other's talk pages. Which is helpful in notifying someone that you're contacting them because it creates that orangey bar at the top of every page until you read it. But I think it makes more sense -- and other wikis agree -- to just continue the discussion on the page where it started. Any time you post to a talk page, you should also watch it. It will go into your watchlist, but the page will also show up in bold in the Recent Changes page so you can see when it's been updated.

Also, bullets were a good idea for order at first, but looking at other wikis, they seem to know a better way of doing it. Especially in regards to posting multiple paragraphs in an entry -- the margins don't line up and it looks messy. So I propose dropping the bullets and post replies with an indent. A colon for the first, and one extra for each reply after that. It creates a threading format that's easy to read.

Finally, just a reminder that four tildes inserts your username as link and the time and date you posted.

Thanks all!

-- Scarecroe 14:58, 6 Jan 2006 (UTC)

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