Kieran Moore – I don’t know about you, but when I think back to the heady, innocent days of 2009, the first thing that comes to mind is the ever-so-exciting announcement of The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made! The second is probably the furore over Kanye West and Taylor Swift falling out at the MTV VMA’s. Coming in a very distant third is the creation of this very website – it was quite possibly the most exciting thing to happen to the internet since the creation of the ROFLcopter.
Of course I jest, this website truly is amazing and for Muppet fans it has certainly had a more lasting impact than the announcement of a movie that never happened or a spat between a rapper and a pop singer.
For 10 years now The Muppet Mindset has given fans a place to call home, be creative, be accepted, learn new things, get silly, get serious and generally feel as muppetational as possible. It’s an incredible feat. During that time the site has published some amazing content and featured incredible article series’ that have enlightened and entertained.
So today my task is to look back at some of the best and highlight the absolute creme de la creme. As mentioned earlier this week, there have been over 3,000 posts made so it’s not been easy to whittle all that down to just 10. I have therefore taken a few liberties, but considering the immensity of the task and the quality of the content I hope you’ll allow me a few cheats just this once.
So, Movin’ Right Along, Fozzie…
10 – The Top 10 Songs of… Jim Henson
Professional courtesy dictates that I have to put myself in tenth place, but of course for me personally this is possibly the most important entry on today’s list. Who would have thought when I wrote to Ryan Dosier all those years ago with an idea for a list of Jim Henson songs that it would lead to over 200 posts counting down Muppet music from just about every Henson production ever? I’ve loved every moment of my association with the Muppet Mindset and it’s been nothing but a positive experience. I can honestly say, if you have an idea for some Muppety content please don’t keep it in – share it with the world. Jim Henson nurtured creativity and thanks to places like this, generation after generation of Muppet fans can continue his legacy.
9 – Muppetology 101: Crossovers in the Muppet World
Way, way back in the annals of time, Ryan Dosier created and (mostly) wrote one of the bedrock article series’ of The Muppet Mindset – Muppetology 101. This fun and informative strand set out to teach its readers about some of the more intricate parts of Muppet history along with a kind of Muppet FAQs, offering something for casual fans as well as us die-hards. I’ve picked out this Muppet Crossovers page as my favorite as, quite frankly, who doesn’t love a Muppet crossover? From Big Bird appearing in The Muppet Movie and a Doozer showing up in Muppet Race Mania to the full on Muppet extravaganzas of Muppet Family Christmas or The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, seeing our favorite felt friends interact in fun and unusual ways is always a joy to behold. Ryan’s article gives the reader an easy-to-use Muppet spotter’s guide. Also worth checking out are the Muppets and Macy’s Analysis piece and Muppet Automobile Mechanics page – both can be found here.
8 – Weekly Muppet Wednesday: Miss Piggy
Do you remember Weekly Muppet Wednesdays? I sure do! They were always one of the highlights of my week. (I led a very sheltered life.) These pieces were always well researched and written in an interesting way, but one of the best things about the series for me was how much it embraced the obscure as much as the obvious – in fact it seemed to revel in reminding us about one-shot wonders or random background characters. The fact that Camilla the Chicken and Angus McGonagall got pages before Kermit and Piggy tells you everything you need to know. I have chosen Miss Piggy’s entry here as my highlight for several reasons. First, Miss Piggy threatened to ruin me in the small claims court if I didn’t; second, it’s well-written and interesting with awesome photos and third, it was the 1000th Muppet Mindset post! I can heartily recommend this series of articles for fans both new and old (or like Fozzie’s jokes both “old and rare”! Check them out here and say goodbye to the next few hours!
7 – The Great Non-Muppet Fan Quiz
As the song goes “If you love someone, set them free”. And so it was that Ryan Dosier moved on to the (almost) loftier heights of working for the Muppets themselves. A fandom mourned. And then a fandom rejoiced because none other than Jarrod Fairclough took over, bringing with him his own indomitable style of humor and wit. One of the most fun things Jarrod ever submitted was his Great Non-Muppet Fan Quiz. Made all the more amazing because first Jarrod had to find someone who wasn’t a mega Muppet fan, he interviewed “Magic” and asked him all kinds of fun Henson-related trivia questions. What I really love about this is that “Magic’s” answers are just right enough to show he has some Muppet knowledge, while being wrong enough to be funny for us. A sequel followed which was just as funny. I think we need to bring this back. If every one of us asked these questions to a “civilian” friend we’d have a series in not time!
(Note from the editor: There are plans to bring The Great Non-Muppet Fan Quiz back soon!)
6 – The Great Muppet Survey – Joe Hennes
As I’ve already mentioned, The Muppet Mindset is a brilliant place because it gives a voice to Muppet fans who might not get that chance elsewhere. So you might ask why I’ve selected Joe Hennes’ (of Toughpigs.com fame) Great Muppet Survey as one of my top picks. It’s a very good question. I knew I’d get nothing past you… Sure, Joe has ample opportunity to let us know his thoughts on the Muppets, but rather like the Muppets themselves, this website prides itself on inclusivity and being part of the brotherhood of man. This is embodied nowhere more than in the Great Muppet Survey article series and perhaps including Joe Hennes as one of the contributors is the peak of that sentiment. Also, Joe has some pretty interesting answers and chooses the amazing song “Jim Is” as the greatest Muppet moment of all time. You can find all the surveys here https://muppetmindset.wordpress.com/other-article-series/the-great-muppet-survey/ Many of them are written by past and present contributors to the site and all are full of neat little Muppet tidbits. (There’s another hour gone!)
5 – Welcome to the Muppet Mindset
The one that started it all. Ryan’s very first post on The Muppet Mindset had to feature on this list somewhere – if only for historical significance! The whole thing is just two paragraphs and a movie quote, but from little acorns chickens think the sky is falling (?). I may have got that wrong. Ryan introduced himself with style, panache and aplomb (which isn’t easy from a seated position). He also set out the mission statement for the website and the template by which everything else followed. If you ask 100 animation fans what the best Disney movie is very few would likely say Snow White, however if you ask them what the most important one is that movie would likely springboard up the list. That’s kind of the same thing here.
4 – Muppet Fan Week
Without doubt my favorite holiday is Muppet Fan Week. I love seeing all of the incredible things us Muppet fans do to honor Jim Henson and his creations. From artwork to videos to music to photography, every creative form has been represented over the years. The quality is truly phenomenal. From a purely personal point of view I’ve always enjoyed producing and writing my fan week top 10 charts. Listening to Muppet music is never a chore and finding unexpected covers, particularly when they’re done in a clever or unusual way is like striking gold. Of all the things I’ve written they are top of my recommendations list. It was tough to pick just one article to represent all of them, but I went with this fantastic art roundup as it is full of top talent. You can see more from the first ever fan week here.
3 – Muppet Show/Sesame Street Anniversary Moments
This is kind of my first cheat. In order to fit everything in and not miss anything out, the last 3 entries into this chart are types of articles rather than one in particular. For the 45th and 40th anniversaries of Sesame Street and The Muppet Show Respectively, a call was put out asking for submissions to mega lists of top moments from both shows. The results include all the classic scenes and songs you’d expect, plus a few you wouldn’t and features selections from Muppet performers and creatives as well as fans and site contributors. I remember emailing my selection for the Sesame Street list to Ryan and getting an almost instant reply of “Sorry, that’s taken.” That went on for another 3 or 4 times before I finally managed to get “I Don’t Want to Live on The Moon” before anyone else. These lists are some of the most ambitious things this site has done in terms of scope and sheer hard work. Treat yourself to another lost hour and go through them again. I promise you’ll love it! Start here.
2 – Performer & People Interviews
The Muppet Mindset has been lucky enough over the years to form some pretty close friendships with Muppet and Henson people. I won’t list them all here for fear of missing someone out, but you can pretty much tell who they are by looking through the extensive selection of interviews the site has carried out. There are some amazing names. People who to Muppet fans are pretty much sacred. This proves three things, first that The Muppet Mindset has become synonymous with good writing and content and building a strong relationship with fans; second, that Muppet people are awesome individuals who want to connect with their fans; and third, the theory of relativity. (I may have made that last one up, but comedy works in threes.) You can find many of the best interviews here but if you look around you’ll also find really cool interviews with people like Frank Oz (as linked above) and Matt Danner & Tom Warburton from the new Muppet Babies.
1 – Muppet Interviews
I’ve gone ahead and picked two moments for this entry straight off the bat because it just can’t pick which of these two is best. One has two of Sesame Street’s most beloved characters (and Jarrod Fairclough) and the other has the number one Muppet fan of all-time Walter. I love the Walter one in particular because he references all the things us fans would expect him to. I must admit I was very happy to learn that I have more of those 1970’s mugs than Walter does! Again all of this is proof that Muppet people are awesome. That a fansite can get interviews with Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Walter, Constantine and even Kermit the Frog is truly awe-inspiring. A famous frog once sang “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending,” and while I hope we haven’t gotten to the end yet, that quote says it all in terms of what you can set out to do if you just dream big enough. The Muppet Mindset was one man’s dream and he proved that when you share that dream you sort of become like a family.
When I first put together the content for this list I was instantly struck by how much of it is content produced either by fans or showcasing fans or including them in some other way. You’ll hopefully have noticed how often the “f” word comes up in the piece I’ve written (33 to be precise). We are truly blessed to live in a time when people within fandoms can be so connected and involved with each other. So I have to finish with my usual thanks and today that’s not just to Ryan Dosier for creating The Muppet Mindset and Jarrod Fairclough for continuing his legacy, or even to the sites other contributors, but also to the lovers, the dreamers and you – the fans who make it all worth it. Thank You.