Thursday, February 16, 2006


"Television has done so much for psychiatry
By spreading information about it,
As well as contributing to the need for it."
Alfred Hitchcock
'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'

With Ford's entry in the lineup of Super Bowl Blipverts, I thought it was as good a time as any to re-examine the plight of Toobworld's most discriminated minority....


The Ford Escape Hybrid could be linked to 'Muppets Tonite!', 'The Muppet Show', and 'Sesame Street' thanks to its very special guest star Kermit The Frog. With this ad, Kermit adds another credit to his TV crossover Hall of Fame resume. In fact, he is one of the Hall's founding fathers, considered part of the "proto-hall" - those characters whose tributes in the old TwD website first gave me the idea that certain crossover characters should be honored in some way.

Unlike many cartoon characters, puppets are not shunted off to their own alternate dimension like the Tooniverse. They co-exist with humans on Earth Prime-Time as sentient beings. Although technically never televised, their roots begin on the Isle of the Blessed, which was first described by Lucian of Samosata in the 2nd Centuray AD.

According to his "True History", the puppet people are invisible beings who gave themselves form by wearing spiderwebs dyed purple. Centuries later, once humans discoved the Isle of the Blessed, (also known as Yazoo, Gortch, or just The Living Island), ambassadors with legendary names of Henson, Tillstrom, and Baird created new shells for these spirits to give them visible bodies.

And the spirits took on the qualities that would be associated with the form of the puppet shell. So Kermit would display the attributes of a frog; Oliver J. Dragon would be a dragon in his own mind; Globey would function within 'Peewee's Playhouse' as a globe; and Skred of 'Saturday Night Live'.... Well, whatever he was, he was damned good at it!

With these new bodies, puppets eventually joined the immigration to the New World, although they are for the most part kept segregated from human society. Puppet people are fine as entertainers, sure. But even though Ed Sullivan had no problem with giving Topo Gigio a goo'night kees, that didn't mean the variety show host would have wanted the Italian puppet mouse accepted by his co-op's board as a new resident.

So they are ghettoized to specific sections of major cities, like on 'Sesame Street' and 'Pinwheel', or in their own communities like 'Eureek's Castle'. At least there are some humans who don't mind living among puppets, like on 'The Hap Richards Show', a local program from Connecticut while I was growing up. (And in fact, I still have my certificate of citizenship in Joyville, Ct.!)

But the prejudice against the puppet people keeps them in the background, out of sight. Don't bother looking for the puppets on Wisteria Lane ('Desperate Housewives') or on board the 'Battlestar Galactica'. I don't think the 'CSI: NY' team would even bother to show up if Big Bird ever got pumped full of bird-shot down on 'Sesame Street'; not even if Dick Cheney pulled the trigger.

So I didn't need to see a human hiking along with Kermit, or even as the driver of the Escape Hybrid, to know that the Muppet frog co-existed with our TV counterparts.

It's just that he probably wouldn't be getting a lift back into town from the driver!

Now, when it comes to the Honda blipvert in which the Ridgeline mudflap silhouette of a woman came to life.... Definitely a denizen of the Tooniverse. The special guest appearance by fellow mudflap star Yosemite Sam clinched that. They were both in the some interface between the dimensions, where pen-and-ink toons can interact with flesh-and-blood humans, since the Honda truck was 3-D live action.

They were probably parked around the corner in Metropolis where Jerry Seinfeld hangs out with the animated Superman.....

Stay tuned.......


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