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Muppets?

Well, finally, the first page exists for one of the "Elmo's World" digital props. The question is, does the Computer, or the drawer and so on, count as a Muppet? Though using animated renderings, the characters are controlled through digital puppetry, so they're certainly puppets of a sort. But given the fact that they have their own aesthetic, and that they don't exist outside of their own segments, I'd be inclined to consider them Elmo's World/Sesame characters, and/or animated characters, but not Muppets. Thoughts? --Andrew, Aleal 02:59, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Isn't Waldo C. Graphic considered a Muppet? Are these any different? --Pantalones 03:18, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I'd say so. The question isn't one of methodology, but aesthetics, as came up in the Muppets/Creatures debate. Waldo is a cartoonish character with Muppet like eyes and so forth. Horace D' Fly is even more Muppety, while fully CG. These creatures are silent, pantomime living furniture. They're characters rather than props, as they interact and respond to Elmo, but they're all done in a scribbled crayon way. There's no Muppet anthropomorphism in the same sense as Book or other definite Muppets who visit in those sketches, and they're basically designed to match the crayon digital backgrounds. For that matter, would Hero Guy be considered a Muppet, if we knew for sure that he was animated via digital puppetry? (He probably is, the look is very similar). --Andrew, Aleal 03:23, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't consider Computer, or Shade or Drawer, to be a Muppet, because of the aesthetic thing. They don't look anything like Muppets, and they don't have the same level of personality as Waldo and Horace. -Ryan PrawnRR 04:26, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I think they're definitely Muppets. They're performed as puppets -- and I think they might be performed on set by a physical puppet, and then the CG is overlaid on that. They don't speak, but they definitely have personalities. They can be playful, helpful, naughty, cheerful or sulky. Sometimes they do impressions. Sometimes they have bad moods. I think they're very appealing characters, more so than some other Muppets I could name.
They're also Muppets according to the aesthetics argument that we made with Muppets vs Creatures. The distinction that we made was that Muppets are symbolic, and Creatures are representational. Computer, Shade and Drawer are clearly symbolic; they don't look or act like a real computer or a real drawer. I think they fit every part of our definition of a Muppet. -- Danny Toughpigs 11:31, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Like I said, it was never the puppetry I questioned (and from all I've read on Rick Lyon's page and so forth, there is no physical puppet that resembles the characters, just a device rather like the waldo, which doesn't make them any less puppets as they're still performed and mainipulated in real-time, but it's a different approach). See here for a pretty nifty explanation of the technical sides.
I wouldn't have called these guys Creatures either, but they seemed different and more apart of their own seperate species in ways that Horace and Waldo C. do not. Plus, in Sesame Workshops presskits, they refer to Muppet charactrers performed by puppeteers as Muppets, but always use "digital characters" to describe the Elmo's World crowd. That said, I think you may have swayed me. It's the crayon aesthetic, and the fact that it's identical for characters and backdrop (which you have to admit is fairly uncommon for Muppets), so that characters seem to be part of the background until the drawer moves over on its wobbly leggs, or Shade does a dance, or whatever. But then, with The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss characters, while the cloth and foam aspects are still Muppetish, the design aesthetic is otherwise different from Muppets in other shows. So yeah, I guess I can capitulate. While discussing categories for Elmo's World, should characters be under Elmo's World, Sesame Street, or both? I started putting them in both, but it occurred to me that, with exceptions like Dorothy who have crossed over, they're really segregated from the street, so a "See Also" on the Sesame Cat might be more appropriate. --Andrew, Aleal 13:19, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Of course, you do realize that this now pretty much means we'll have to consider Hero Guy a Muppet. --Andrew, Aleal 13:20, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Hey, you let the chips fall where they may. Is Hero Guy performed like a puppet? I thought he was just animation. -- Danny Toughpigs 13:35, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I'll check on that before adding it in one way or another, but given they both use the crayon-scribble look, movements seemed similar, and have the overlaid-"flat" look which is clearly created but not a regular superimposition of animated characters, I think it's very likely that Hero Guy is the same. He certainly always looked to me like a logical development from Drawer, though I admit I haven't seen many of his segments, and none of them seem to be on DVD for study. --Andrew, Aleal 13:41, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Maybe he's changed since I last saw him. I don't remember the crayon scribble, but I haven't seen him for a few years.
My feeling is that Elmo's World characters should be categorized as both Elmo's World and Sesame Street characters. They're not on the street, but neither are most of the insert characters. Computer and Dorothy appear on the show every day, unlike, say, the Cereal Girl or Harold Happy. -- Danny Toughpigs 13:35, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I saw him for the first time last year or so, so maybe they have. I know Book is now a really creepy CG (cheap Shrek-esque CG, not the crayon look) thing (still Marty Robinson, but he looked like he lost most of his personality, with this humanoid mask slapped on, as opposed to the pedantic lowered eyelids and ornate decoration). And what about the Elmo variants? The Three Elmos already have a page, as they're given a distinct name and a clear spoof, as opposed to "Look, Dorothy is imagining Elmo as a dental hygienist!", but do we dare create individual pages for all of them (I'm game if you are; the Lantern Fish Elmo puppet is especially intriguing for me). --Andrew, Aleal 13:49, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I'd love to have pages on those. They're fantastic, and they deserve some love here. I think we need a different way to categorize them, though. They're not really characters... they're more like the "Alter Egos" that we were talking about before. There's so many of them -- isn't it, like, two or three per episode? -- so they'd swamp any category we put them in. I think they should be in their own category. -- Danny Toughpigs 13:55, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
That makes sense, but I don't think we've settled the "Alter Egos" issue yet (and Peter might justifiably argue that as Dorothy imagines most of them rather than Elmo imagining himself, they shouldn't be called alter egos). How about using Elmo Variants? (I like to think of them as "Anything Elmos" myself, but that phrasing is misleading, as its my own designation, so). --Andrew, Aleal 14:04, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

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