Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ode to Joy as Performed by Beaker

This film was originally posted by Paul Klein. I agree with his assessment that this clip represented classic Muppets at their best. The short features the traditional Muppet ending of an explosion. It features one of the principles of comedy; faster is funnier. The song speeds up as the short progresses. Also, I appreciated that Beaker was center stage. Too often in sketches he was in the background, while Bunson Honeydew was center stage, receiving most of the attention.

One of the questions raised by the original post was, are Muppets animation. This is an issue I struggled with. The fundamental issue is whether puppets can be considered animation. The main similarity is that no motion will occur without human action, however I came to the conclusion that puppets are a separate category from animation.

Muppets and claymation are both forms of puppetry. In both an object exists in the physical world, and there are physical restrictions on what the puppet can and cannot do. In animation, be it computer or hand-drawn, there are no physical limitations on what a character is capable of. Also, puppets exist in the physical world, whereas animated characters do not. A human can touch a claymation character or a Muppet, but no one can actually touch an animated Bugs Bunny or Wall-E.

Another interesting point raised by the original post was online distribution via YouTube. Disney posting Muppet clips on YouTube is a way to interest new audiences in the Muppets, as well reconnect with older fans. People in college may remember the Muppets, but only as a childhood memory in the back of the mind. Rediscovering a clip on YouTube may remind a viewer of how much he or she enjoyed the Muppets at an earlier age, and may encourage a rekindled interest in the Muppets, eventually leading to the desire to purchase a CD, DVD, or other Muppet product.


Anonymous said...

Beaker is a classic character and delivers this scene poetically. Starting with the metronome, you don't know what to expect. I like how the screen splits into 6 segments one at a time as each new chorus arises. How in the end the metronome increases in speed allows for the comically classic beaker to once again fail at a "science" experiment. What I thought was additionally humorous is how when things go wrong in the end, objects from one beaker scene fly into the opposite facing screen, obviously an impossible feat, only made possible by the technology of today.

Anonymous said...

I love beaker!!. This is so funny. He is one of my favorite characters from the muppets. Even though he never really says a word throughout this short film, he always makes me smile.

della said...

Really nice work.

Anonymous said...

Ode to Joy was an excellent choice for this character, but he's a bit egocentric, all he ever talks about is me, me, me =o)