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Talk:Flat Eric

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Is he not a Muppet? He was made by the Muppet Workshop. -- Scott Scarecroe 00:52, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, unlike Kermit, Oscar, Wilkins and Wontkins, or Bad Andy, Flat Eric was not created nor was he designed by the Henson workshop – he was just physically fabricated by them. He was not in any Henson productions (or Henson commissioned commercials). He was just built by Henson for Mr. Oizo and his Levi's ad deal. I would not call him a Muppet character – he was a character well before Henson was ever involved. -- BradFraggle 01:02, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Thing is, the same could be said about The Cat in the Hat. Sure, in that case Dr. Seuss was long dead, and in this case Mr. Oizo was a more direct consultant on the character. Of course, the fact that Henson only constructed the character, whereas they actually produced The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss may make a difference. But it's a key point. What about the Wizard of Id characters? Jim Henson produced a one minute pilot, unseen until recently, featuring the Wizard, the King of Id, and a recycled Muppet monster. Henson adapted and built the characters, but did not originally create or design them. There's not enough info yet to make a page for them, but when that time comes, would they be Muppets, or not? Do we need a seperate Puppets category for outside characters fabricated by the Muppet Workshop? --Andrew, Aleal 05:19, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
But in the case of Dr. Seuss, Wiard of Id, and the other characters - Henson adapted them into Puppet form, and they were used in Henson productions. Here they took an exisiting Puppet and just physically rebuilt one version for someone else's commercial with another company. Before Henson there was a Flat Eric puppet, and after Henson there was a Flat Eric. If on the set of The Muppet Movie they crew helped do some work on the Charlie McCarthy dummy would that make him a Muppet? The Seuss and ID characters are Muppets - Henson turned Seuss' designs into puppets the same way they turned Mike Frith's. But here they were just the labor for an outside puppeteer and producer. Taking his puppet and copying it for him with their tools. This is one of the weird exceptions in the what is a Muppet rule. I know that Flat Eric fans on the web hate it when people call him a Muppet (just like the ALF fans). However if we just want to call him a Muppet, I have no problem with it - but his relationship to Henson is very very diffrent than most other characters of his style that they have built and worked with. -- BradFraggle 05:44, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I've never even seen Flat Eric, so I'm not exactly insistant that he be called a Muppet. I do, however, think it's worthwhile to discuss the boundaries. Maybe I misread the article, but I don't really follow the Charlie McCarthy comparison. Yes the design and character were pre-existing, but from what I gathered (and I haven't researched this, so feel free to correct me), the Muppet Workshop folks actually built a new puppet, albeit with the creator's supervision and critique. If someone had touched up Charlie McCarthy for The Muppet Movie, that wouldn't make him a Muppet. If someone had created an all new Charlie replica, with foam or other substances, then while he still might not be a Muppet, it would be more questionable. Then there's Picklepuss and Pop. Caroll Spinney created them, built them, I'd definitely say they're his characters. However, they were rebuilt by Muppet Workshop folks for the "Now You're an Artist" video. Would that qualify Picklepuss as a Muppet, or not? I'm somehow resistant to saying yes, yet I'm also reluctant to say no. If created, would it be better to put him in "Celebrities" along with Charlie McCarthy? (Though Scott might disagree, if we decide he's not a Muppet, and that does seem to be the leaning, I'd say put Flat Eric in Celebrities, as he has a following and all). ALF isn't especially relevant at all since, outside of appearing in animated form in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, he never had any interaction with Muppets and was never fabricated by Henson. So basically, what I'm trying to say isn't a demand that Flat Eric be called a Muppet. Rather, akin to the Muppets vs Creatures debate, this seems like a good time to really think about how great Henson or Muppet Workshop's involvement in a character has to be to qualify him as a Muppet. (I'd say create a general Puppets category and not have to worry about it, but I'd worry that then we'd get the Barney fans or someone wanting to create detailed pages for every Puzzle Place character). --Andrew, Aleal 06:02, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
If the puppet already existed, then why did Henson make another version? Was the Henson puppet substantially different from the existing one? If it was a case of taking a simple sock-puppet type thing and making a real foam Muppet out of it, then it might be more like a Caricature Muppet, like the Tim Curry Muppet. -- Danny Toughpigs 09:16, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


I've been thinking about this. When we had the debate over Creature or Muppet we really drew the line between animatronic puppetry and classical puppety. If it was a symbolic cartoony character made by Henson it was a Muppet. If it was a life-like character made by Henson is was a creature. End of debate. But I think there is more to each side. We've assumed so far if Henson made it and it was of classical puppetry technique than it was a Muppet. And all Henson Made animatronics are Creature. But I think Henson has made some classical puppets that aren't Muppets. The term Muppet has always just been used to define a puppet made by Henson. But what is a Muppet? Is it just a Henson made puppet? Is it a puppet from a Henson production? Is it felt and googly eyes? Is it based on the production credits? Or is it really just all Henson made puppets (that are not animatronics)? However drawing that line would be a lot harder, say if we had "Henson Puppets" and "Muppets" (Kermit, Gobo, and Big Bird are clearly Muppets; but is Mother Goose? She's not a creature, but does that automatically make her a Muppet, or just a Henson puppet?) Even with creatures, you have "Henson Creatures" (Hoggle, Jen, Baby Sinclair, characters from The StoryTeller and other animatronics from Henson productions) and then just "Henson made animatronics" (characters from the Flintstones, Hitchhikers Guide, Babe and others outside productions). Does it matter who used them or who made them? Or is it just "Muppet", "Creature", and "non-Henson"; or is there more?
Now back to the issue of Flat Eric here: after more searching I would now say he's a Muppet. He may not be a Henson original or a Henson owned character, but I just found this on the official Creature Shop website (click on "commercial" and then "Levi Stauss"). They claim him as a Creature Shop made character "with traditional Muppet-appoach". Henson calls him a Muppet, and that's good enough for me. Also with Picklepuss, Henson redesigned and created a Muppetized version of the character when they re-created him; they rebuilt him to fit into the Muppet world and style. Carroll even refers to the Muppet Picklepuss and the original Picklepuss as different versions of the same character - one a Muppet, and one his. -- BradFraggle 04:02, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

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