The Muppets Rejoin Pop Culture

This piece from Drew Grant at Salon, entitled “Are the Muppets turning into hipsters or were they just early adopters?”, made my week.  If you’re a YouTube savant, you may be aware of all the videos featuring Muppets remaking popular songs.  For example, the very recent rendition of LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean”.

The video is one of many created by the public.  However, over the last year or two Muppets Studios has been releasing hit after official hit through their You Tube channel.  See two of my favorites below:

But, as Grant mentions, it wasn’t just videos, the Muppets have been inserting themselves into pop culture on an ongoing basis.  Who could forget the Ce-Loo, Gwyneth, Muppets performance of “F**k You” at the Grammy’s?

So, what’s all this for?  There hasn’t been a Muppets movie since “Muppets In Space” debuted in 1999.   But, Disney knows better.  As they see it, it’s all part of the same occurrence: digital natives who grew up with both the internet and The Muppets, inherently nostalgic (and proud) about their pop cultural upbringing and in love with supplanting it into the present day.

Besides simply being a part of the cultural dialogue, Disney does have a new movie on the way.  Jason Segal’s, “The Muppets”, is set to debut in November.  If it’s done right, it will be a barrage of music, celebs, memes and references from the last 10 years layered on to a heartfelt story about something much bigger (like preserving the past perhaps…).  It’s the kind of movies that only Disney and Pixar can make, ones that capitalize on indirect language, leaving the kids hearing one thing and the adults, courtesy of a wink from Kermit, something entirely different.

Either way you look at it, the Muppets are back, proving the transient, flexible and boundless nature of American pop culture today.  What was nostalgic on Friday, is prime to serve as a source of entertaining commentary on Monday.

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