I feel like Miss Piggy and I are becoming really great friends. I think I have three different photos with her personally. Yep I’m a very lucky girl. She even let me tour her set but alas, she didn’t show up so I didn’t get to add to my photos. (so maybe we’re not as close as I thought we were) But I did really enjoy checking out her set.
I saw where Animal plays the drums. Animal is my favorite character because he reminds me of my son.
Is it just me?
Anyway, here is a picture of his drums.
Then I also got a picture of where Fozzy works. Oh doesn’t he just crack you up every night?
Then I got to sit in the audience and watch an episode. It was the episode that came on last week where the lights when out. After watching an episode I got to sit down with “The Muppets” executive producers Randall Einhorn (and director) & Bill Barretta (and performer). These guys are super talented if you ask me. They not only produce but they perform. Performing as a Muppet is a lot of work, so directing and producing an episode is even more work. The entire set of The Muppets is built up so that the floor can be removed. Some of the Muppets are maneuvered from below while others actually walk around. So here is a little bit about how a Muppet works……
Bill Barretta: Kermit for example, is a puppet that you can almost see if you really look. You can almost see the knuckles of Steve Whitmire’s hand and they create those facial manipulations. He’s a very malleable Puppet. And he also has arm rods that go into his wrists so he’s what we call a Rod Puppet. A character like Fozzie, is usually operated by two people. It’s one person that’s doing the head and the behavior and the body of the character.
Then they showed us how it’s done.
Bill Barretta: Aside from Peter, most of the Characters are performed by 6 people. There’s also kind of peripheral Characters that are becoming more involved but the ones who do the core kind of Muppets, there’s 6 guys and so if for example, I’m doing this scene where, uh, Pet Bey and uh, a Swedish Chef are in the same scene, I’ll need to have one like Peter Lintz who’s very familiar with the Characters and understands the rhythms and the timing of these Characters. They’ll perform the Character, one that maybe isn’t driving the scene so much. And then I’ll go in and I’ll do the ADR or the — the dialogue later, uh, with the voice of the Character.
Randall Einhorn: Or we often have to just turn it around and do the other half
Bill Barretta: Which is a time consuming, which is again something that Randall takes into consideration, when we need to stop and you know, we, let’s say Miss Piggy and Fozzie are in the same scene. Well both of those Characters are formed by the same Puppeteer. So to really get great performances from both that feel authentic and true to those Characters, Randall needs to take into consideration the time and how to shoot this so that Eric can start with Miss Piggy while we have somebody standing in for Foz. And then we come around like you said, and we shoot the other side and have Eric get out of Miss Piggy and go into Fozzie.
So to give you an idea of how much work goes into an episode these guys work 12 hour days. The Muppets airs 8/7c Tuesday nights.