On August 26th 2009, Ryan Dosier published his very first article on the brand new Muppet fansite, The Muppet Mindset. Though he left in 2015 to work for The Muppets at Disney, Ryan has returned today to say a few words.
Ryan Dosier – I don’t know what’s more shocking to my core – that The Muppet Mindset is somehow 10 years old or that it’s been over four years since the last time I contributed to the site I created on a whim a decade ago. Obviously, the correct answer is that 10 YEARS is the most shocking, because how on earth is that possible?
Let’s just run through those numbers real quick. In 10 years of The Muppet Mindset, there have been over 3000 articles, over 100 contributors, countless art showcases, Weekly Muppet Wednesdays, Top 10 lists, spotlights, and so much more. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I thought this little site would still be up and running a decade later, there’s no way I could have foreseen this.
Nor could I have foreseen the friendships, insane experiences, and life-changing moments along the way. I could go on and on about what I owe to Bill Barretta, Peter Linz, Matt Vogel, Dave Goelz, and truly everyone who works or has worked for The Muppets or Sesame Street or Henson that I’ve come into contact over the years (and why wouldn’t I – they’re all awesome), but I think that’s been done.
Instead, I want to spotlight Jarrod Fairclough. I owe an unending debt to Jarrod, who graciously took on The Muppet Mindset four years ago and not only made it his own, but also kept things just as fun, upbeat, and important as it ever was when I ran it – if not more so. He did this because he is a true fan. Yes, he’s a lifelong fan of The Muppets, of Sesame Street, of all things Jim Henson, but he’s also a fan of Muppet fans and that’s what sets him apart. His excitement for getting to work with The Muppet Mindset’s incredible collection of contributors is what struck me most and made him the obvious choice, and to see how much he’s done with the site has not only reaffirmed my decision, but also has made it so I truly haven’t worried about anything in the four years I’ve left.
So I thank Jarrod for everything he’s done, for continuing The Muppet Mindset’s legacy and carving out his own in the process. All for no compensation, not a ton of recognition, and with a whole lot of hard work and dedication. (Don’t feel too bad for him though – he’s personal friends with Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster now.)
Every time I see a new tweet or Instagram post or article from The Muppet Mindset, I smile. It’s a reminder to me that this is something lasting. It’s somewhere for Muppet fans to find Jim Henson’s positive messages alive and well. Somewhere that the lessons and wisdom that come from 50 years of Sesame Street are imbued in everything. Somewhere that fans can dance, read, and comment their cares away.
Above all, it’s somewhere that just keeps going. I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of, looking back on 10 years… that we’re not just looking back, we’re looking forward with heads held high and a goofy joke in our back pocket. I want to thank everyone who has been a fan, a contributor, an interview subject, and everything in between for The Muppet Mindset over this decade. Truly, there is no Muppet Mindset without you.
I’m going to end this in the corniest way I can think of, the same way I did in the very first post 10 years ago. Little did I know it would become the perfect mantra for The Muppet Mindset so many years on. But then again, maybe I always knew…
Movin’ right along, Fozzie.
Jarrod Fairclough – The Muppet Mindset has changed my life. I know people always say that, and usually they can’t really back it up. But it really has changed my life, in ways I could never have imagined.
I think back to when I was 16-17, in high school, not so much ‘ashamed’ of my love for The Muppets, but certainly not advertising the fact that I would still put Sesame Street on in the mornings as I got ready for school, just to giggle at an Ernie and Bert sketch. No-one would have ever made fun of me for it, but spending my Saturday afternoons watching The Muppets Take Manhattan on DVD wasn’t something a lot of people would have considered cool, and certainly not productive.
Then The Muppet Mindset came along, and at 20, I was ready to dip my toe in a little. I was ready to stop worrying what anyone thought of me, and instead spend some time writing silly articles about The Count being better than Edward Cullen, or wondering why Pepe said okay all the time. And I found my people – a whole collection of fans who bonded over their shared love of a puppet frog! Suddenly I was home. And then I got to take over, and become a figurehead in this community, and I was given the chance to make friends out of my heroes.
It hasn’t always been easy. A lot of people have a lot of opinions, and having to be the ringleader in a lot of the more controversial stuff has, at times, been a nightmarish hellscape. But it’s been worth it for the oppurtunities and the fun it has brought to my life.
Since taking over in 2015, the site has changed. We no longer post daily, a lot of Ryan’s frequent contributors left when he did, the design was updated, and we got a little snarkier. But I’ve always maintained that the sole focus of this site should be celebrating The Muppets, and the fans that adore them. And it’s those fans that have been the best part of this entire endevour. I won’t go on too much, but I want to point out a few of them, and thank them for their amazing support and friendship;
Clayton Roederer, JD Hansel, Steve Swanson, Dave Hulteen, Mitchell Stein, Rachel Herrick, Michael Lanzer, Chris Ragg, Sean Bryan, Ryan Roe, James Caroll, Marni Hill, Abigail Maughan, Jayden Libran, Lucas Ervin, Tamara Jenkins and the wonderful Kieran Moore.
I want to thank those puppeteers and employees in the Muppet world for being so nice to me over years;
Frank Oz, Eric Jacobson, Bill Barretta, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Louise Gold, Joe Bailey, Matt Danner, Andrew James Spooner, Warrick Brownlow-Pike, Kirk Thatcher, Mike Quinn, Rick Lyon, Alice Dinnean, Victor Yerrid, Alicia Durand, Debbie McClellan, Yannina Diaz, Nicole Goldman and many more.
A big thanks to David Rudman, Ryan Dillon and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph who were all extremely sweet, and more importantly hilarious, in the three interviews I’ve done with their various characters. I’ll go to my grave saying the Cookie/Abby interview is the best thing I’ve ever done creatively. And a big thanks to Peter Linz and Matt Vogel, who have done nothing but nice things for me, answered all my emails, and helped me out in all sorts of ways.
Finally, I want to thank two specific people, who have done so much for me that I can’t begin to fully explain the impact they’ve had.
Ryan Dosier changed my life by handing me this site, as evident by every word in this paragraph. He gave me his baby, and in turn it has given me the chance of a lifetime, and has put me in positions that I would never have dreamt of 10 years ago.
Joe Hennes is without a doubt one of my favorite people on the planet. He’s a rock to grab ahold of in the storm of Muppet fandom, he’s a sounding board, he’s willing to put himself out there to help me in any way I need. Taking over this site was a big call, and Joe immediately came to my aid. He too has given me opportunities to live my dreams, and I’m elated anytime I get to team up with him on anything.
So the site turns 10, and we continue to look forward. The Muppets have a series of unscripted shorts coming to Disney+ next year. Sesame Street is still in the midst of celebrating its 50th anniversary. Who knows what’s next? All I know is that I’m going to be right here, tapping away on my computer, making weird images in Photoshop, and trying to find a way to put a spin on the latest news. And I’m thrilled that you’re all coming with me.
Now, Movin’ Right Along, Fozzie.
Wait, Ryan ended his that way, too? God dammit.