Thursday, July 27, 2006


At the annual press tour to kick off the new shows for the networks, producer Dick Wolf announced a new spinoff for 'Law & Order'.

Kind of.

'Sesame Street' returns for its new season on August 1st, and will feature a new segment called "Law & Order: Special Letters Unit". This send-up of the 'L&O' franchise will have Muppet cops, voiced by actors from the various 'L&O' series, searching for each of the letters in the alphabet.

One of the Muppet cops even looks sort of like Richard Belzer, who plays Munch on 'Special Victims Unit', albeit green in skin color.

"I feel like a tobacco company executive," said Dick Wolf, "Because hopefully we will hook 4-and-5-and-6-year-olds on the brand now."

If this proves successful, will other TV series lobby to get the same treatment? 'Rescue Me' done with the voices of Denis Leary and the other actors, but instead of fighting fires they add and subtract?

"How I Met Your Muppet"?

Within the realm of Toobworld, how does this figure in? Is it a Zonk?

I don't think so. Puppets are living beings in the main Toobworld. And even though these Muppets will be spoofing the original shows, I don't see them as violating the integrity of those shows. I think they can co-exist within the same dimension.

I use as the precedent for this two other puppet series - 'Spitting Image' and 'D.C. Follies'. They also had puppets which were passing themselves off as real people. (Even though the Muppets of "Special Letters Unit" are based on the 'L&O' characters and not the actors per se, those characters are still "real people" within the framework of Toobworld.)

Puppets are spirit beings who use the puppet shells to give them visible bodily forms. And whatever the shape of that puppet shell, that's the attitude that they assume. For all intents and purposes, they become the object they resemble. So Kermit the Frog is a frog, Globey (of 'PeeWee's Playhouse') is a globe, and the Whoopi puppets of 'Spitting Image' and 'D.C. Follies' are both Whoopi Goldberg as far as they are concerned.

This is why those puppets especially are confined to "puppet reservations", like Sesame Street, Rimba's Island, Eureeka's Castle, and the Living Island. And for the most part, humans avoid contact with these beings; practically ignore their very existence.

It may be prejudice, but at least it provides a good splainin as to why we never saw Andy Sipowicz get a puppet partner on 'NYPD Blue'.

Although come to think of it, Dennis Franz does resemble one of those standard blue, bald-headed Muppets.......


[Thanks to Nora Lee and Diane Werts for the original news item!]


WordsSayNothing said...

How do you explain the fact that the Muppets on Sesame Street break the fourth wall all the time? And no, you cannot splain it away using Angel's "Smile TIme". ;)

Toby said...

Just like with certain human characters, there are puppet people who are "serlinguists", who can speak to those of us viewing at home in the Real World.