Where on the Shelf Is...Muppet Babies?
Up this week is...MUPPET BABIES
What Is It?:
Jim Henson's Muppets have been a marketable and profitable brand since 1976, when THE MUPPET SHOW first aired. Kermit and the gang have drawn such a humungous fanbase since that they've headlined seven movies (with an eighth planned for 2014) and appeared in 40+ TV shows.
One of those was THE MUPPET BABIES (1984 - 1991), an Emmy-winning cartoon that demonstrated what happens when a faceless, stocking-clad nanny leaves a frog, a pig, a bear, a dog, a scientist, an uneducated drummer, and whatever the hell Gonzo is to their own devices.
Where Is It?:
Before last year, it could have been safely assumed that the biggest holdup with getting MUPPET BABIES to DVD was the rights issues. But now that RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS (two movies used and parodied in the memorable imagination sequences) are, like the Muppets, owned by Disney, that is a completely moot point.
The significant factor, instead, seems to be Disney's complete disregard for MUPPET BABIES.
Picture Kermit. Is he singing "The Rainbow Connection" in a swamp, or is he wearing a sailor suit in some stranger's den? What about Gonzo? Is he being shot out of a canon, or is he wearing overalls and cradling a stuffed chicken? What about Animal? Is he raising hell and screaming incoherencies, or is he, um, raising hell and screaming incoherencies?
Disney is currently in the middle of a major revamping of Jim Henson's most famous creations, and the Muppetsóas far as the Mouse House is concernedówill only be seen and heard as live-action puppets and not diaper-wearing cartoons. For them, there's no way they can expose new fans to mini-Muppets (and Skeeter) and not risk reputation and, in turn, profit.
When Will We See It?:
With THE MUPPETS...AGAIN scheduled for a 2014 release and a limitless number of sequels and tie-ins from then on, it's not likely that Disney will ever see a need to put MUPPET BABIES on shelves anytime soon. As of this column, the odds of fans getting MUPPET BABIES on DVD in this decade are roughly the same as Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem passing a drug test.
Where Can We See It?:
There are a number of MUPPET BABIES VHS releases (with titles like EXPLORE WITH US and TIME TO PLAY) readily available to purchase. As for full episodes of the show itself, you'll have to resort to YouTube, where a majority of the 100+ episodes are available to stream.
While you're there, enjoy this clip of Scooter trying to escape the dance stylings of Lionel Ritchie: