Seriously, Please Don't Let The Muppets Host The Oscars

By Katey Rich 2011-11-10 06:08:38discussion comments
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I know the Internet is just a big bundle of Electric Mayhem energy right now, conducting an experiment worthy of Bunsen and Beaker with a campaign to get The Muppets to host next year's Oscars. You may have read that our own Eric Eisenberg is fully on board with the idea, along with what's currently 7,790 followers for the Twitter feed @MuppetOscars. And most remarkably this outpouring of support has happened in the less than 24 hours, as I write this, since Eddie Murphy officially resigned at the host of next year's Oscar ceremony.

So while we're all in Muppet mode, allow me to don my Statler & Waldorf suit jacket, clamber up to the balcony, and tell you all this is a terrible idea. Seriously-- the Muppets really, really do not need to host the Oscars. Yes, we all love them, and yes, the Oscars are pretty much the closest thing we have these days to a variety program, which was the format of the classic and beloved Muppet Show. But there's a key difference between that kind of variety show and the Oscars that completely eliminates the Muppets from contention here: live television.

I'm not saying that the Muppet writers and puppeteers wouldn't be quick enough to improv or work their way out of an awkward situation. I'm saying that when you've got live TV, a bunch of very famous people who are very nervous, and the potential for one winner to derail the whole thing with an overlong speech or weird political remark, you need everything else to move as smoothly as possible. And that means human hosts, who don't require puppeteers to hide behind a wall, or demand that everyone on that stage be capable of interacting with Kermit and Miss Piggy. Yes, many celebrities proved themselves more than capable of mugging with Muppets on The Muppet Show, but again, that wasn't with an Oscar hanging in the balance all the while.

And forgive me if this sounds snobby, but the Oscars are the Oscars, a separate, still somewhat prestigious thing that simply can't be folded into The Muppet Show as if handing out awards is what you do between skits and a commercial break. A Muppet presenting an award and throwing in their excellent humor would be great; the Muppets hosting the whole thing would completely steal focus from the actual process of rewarding the year's films. The best Oscar hosts are the ones we remember for their good monologues-- and there's no way the Muppets would fail on that-- but then they get the hell out of the way for the rest of the show. If you tuned into next year's Oscars for the Muppets, you'd spend the entire show anticipating the return of Kermit. The hosts need to be a bonus for the viewers, not the reason to tune in, and it's hard to imagine the Muppets, in their brightly colored puppet glory, could avoid stealing that spotlight.

I'd be as thrilled as anyone to see The Muppet Show return to TV. And I'm crossing my fingers the Academy won't fall on their faces picking a replacement host for Eddie Murphy. But you can't just combine the two and hope for the best, and for as much as it makes a cute Twitter campaign and lets you use picture of Kermit and Miss Piggy in evening wear, the Muppets are not a good fit for the Oscars. Now leave me alone in my balcony while I find more ways to rain on peoples' joy.
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