Monday, December 29, 2008

What is The Muppetrix?

Current Reading: The Sculptress, by Minette Walters

Inspirational Quote: "It's a myth! A myth!"... "Yeth?" -- Kermit, The Muppet Movie.

I sat down and watched the new Muppets Christmas Special ("Letters to Santa") with my daughter a few weeks ago. It was unremarkable. On the one hand, that's a shame. On the other hand, at least Kermit, Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo and the rest made an appearance for the first time since Muppet Wizard of Oz. If you've seen MWO, then you have my sympathies. With the death of Jim Henson, the Muppets seemed to lose a lot of their heart and zing. Their purchase by the Walt Disney company seemed to suck the last of the vitality out of the franchise, and I despaired that I would ever see them again in circumstances that did not cause me shame. Letters to Santa restored a bit of my faith. It wasn't good, but it wasn't terrible, either.

A while back, I sat down after watching the Matrix and worked out what would have happened if Kermit and company had been in charge. I never completed it, but I'm sure the result would have been a better movie, and may have gone something like this...

The Muppetrix
An Unauthorized Muppet Parody
Part 1

[black screen. Close up of a slot machine tumbling.]
Miss Piggy: {makes munching noises}
Lew Zealand: You stopped by the vending machine again, didn't you.
Piggy: Hands off, Zealand. {More munching}.
Sam the Eagle: {coughs}
Piggy: Are you sure this line is secure?
[The slot machine stops spinning. The dials show two bags of chips and a chocolate bar]
Sam: Of course it is.

[Exterior Spy Hotel. Scooter in police uniform. Sam enters, followed by Statler and Waldorf]
Scooter: I just sent a squad up. They're bringing her down.
Piggy {in distance}: Hai-yah!
[Muppet falls past from somewhere overhead]
Sam {examines muppet}: He's unconscious. He's going to miss the whole movie.
Statler: Then he's luckier than the audience!
Statler and Waldorf: Ho ho ho!

[Interior hotel room, blurred. Muppets lie in heaps, groaning. Piggy on cell phone].
Piggy: They found me.
Gonzo: You have to focus, Piggy.
[room zooms into focus]
Piggy: How's that?
Gonzo: Better. There are three agents.
Piggy: Agents? Come to see moi? I knew that audition for "StarWarts: The Froggy Menace" would pay off!
Gonzo: Not that kind of agent! Run!

[Exterior street corner with snack machine. Piggy appears, running. Agents are close behind her. Piggy dives into vending machine trough and manages to wriggle through just as agents arrive.]
Sam: She got out.
Statler: I wish we could! Ho ho ho!
Sam: It doesn't matter. We know our informant is real, and we know their next target.
Waldorf: The frog.

[Interior, dark room. Kermit asleep on computer keyboard. Letters appear on computer screen]
Computer: Wake up, Kermit.
Kermit: {snores}
Computer: Kermit!
Kermit: {rolls over}
Computer: {full screen bright lettering} WAKE UP!
Kermit: {jerking awake in surprise}
Computer: The Muppetrix has you, Kermit.
[Creepy fanfare music. Kermit looks around, trying to locate its source.]
Kermit: Who's the wise guy?
Computer: Follow the white rat, Kermit.
Kermit: The white rat?
[Knocking on door. Kermit opens door. Rizzo on other side, all white.]
Rizzo: Hey, Kermit, you got a towel? I was baking some treats for my party and got flour all over me.
Kermit: Yeah, sure Rizzo. Um, can I come with you?
Rizzo: To the party? The more the merrier. You okay?
Kermit: A little tired. My computer woke me up.
Rizzo: You're weird, Kermit.
[Door closes behind them]

[Interior, Rizzo's apartment. Party in progress. Lots of rats. Kermit holding a piece of cheese. Piggy standing nearby trying to look attractive]
Piggy: Kermy!
Kermit: How did you know my name?
Piggy: We know lots of things about you, Kermy. I'm Piggy.
Kermit: Piggy? The one who ate her way through the "Sticky Fingers" chocolate factory?
Piggy: Alright, so I had a craving. Look, Frog, we know you're trying to find Gonzo.
Kermit: I am?
Piggy: But that's not what you want.
Kermit: It isn't?
Piggy: No. You want the answer to your question. You know the question, don't you Kermy?
Kermit: Why does Keanu Reeves have an acting career?
Piggy: No! What is the Muppetrix, dummy!
[Creepy fanfare music. Party stops while everyone looks around for the source.]
Piggy: The answer's out there, Kermy, and it'll find you if you let it. [She walks away, pushing rats aside]. Pardon moi... Mysterious exit coming through!
Rizzo: Who was your friend?
Kermit: I think she was the voice in my computer.
Rizzo: You need to get out more.

Part 2:
[Interior, office. Outside, Sweetums is washing windows. Kermit enters, breathless.]
Kermit: I'm sorry I'm late, mister Chef, sir.
Swedish Chef: Y'dhurder de vorky-orky.
Kermit: My computer woke me up.
Chef: Yur computerer? Yur wurder, froggy-oggy.

[Interior, Kermit's cubicle. Kermit sits at terminal. Rolf enters in delivery uniform.]
Rolf: Kermit the Frog? Delivery for you.
[Kermit takes package. Rolf leaves. Kermit takes cell-phone shaped like Gonzo's nose out of the package. It rings.]
Kermit: Hello?
Gonzo: You're in danger, Kermit. Look over the wall.
[Kermit looks over the wall to see Sam, Statler and Waldorf enter.]
Kermit: Who are those guys?
Gonzo: Agents.
Kermit: I thought I was already under contract.
Gonzo: Not that kind of agent. They're looking for you.
Kermit: What do I do?
Gonzo: Hop to the office at the end of the hall.
[Interior, office. A circus cannon sits in the middle of the room, pointed out the window. Kermit enters.]
Gonzo: Get in!
Kermit: Are you crazy?
Gonzo: You'll love it! Besides. There are only two ways out of this building. In the cannon, and in their custody. Oh, wait... There's also the the back stairs. And I hear there's a great service elevator around the corner. The choice is yours.
Kermit: Sheesh!
[Exterior street. Kermit is taken out of the building by the agents. Piggy sits on a motorcycle, watching them in its mirror. After a moment she starts mugging glamorously.]

[Interior office. Kermit sits. Statler and Waldorf stand behind him. Sam enters and sits across from Kermit.]
Sam [pulls out thick folder]: Kermit. We have been watching you for some time now. It seems that you have been living two lives. In one, you're Kermit the Frog, staple fixture of children's programming. In another, you're [grows excited] Weiman Carbuncle, Used-car salesman from Philadelphia, known for driving unsafely and re-using his dental floss! Wait... Sorry, wrong file. Nevermind. Your country needs you, and we're willing to throw out this file in exchange for your help in capturing Gonzo.
Kermit: That sounds like a good deal, but I have a better one. You let me go, and I'll talk to Mr. Carbuncle about his flossing.
Sam [Rising and producing a large fly]: No! Instead we're going to plant this bug on you!
[Kermit's tongue lashes out before the sentence is finished, catches the fly and he swallows it. The agents look at him in surprise.]
Kermit: Frogs eat bugs. What did you expect?

[Interior, Kermit's apartment. Kermit sleeping. The phone rings several times before Kermit answers it.]
Kermit: Hello?
Gonzo: Kermit. Do you still want to meet?
Kermit: Who is this?
Gonzo: If the agents knew what I know, they would never have let you go. A taxi is waiting outside to bring you to me. I'll give you all the answers you need.

[Exterior, apartment building. Kermit enters taxi. Inside are Floyd, Janice and Piggy.]
Piggy: Hello Kermy.
Floyd: {Starts meter} Get in, Frog. The meter's running.
[Kermit enters, cab starts moving. Janice pulls out a flashlight and shines it in Kermit's face.]
Kermit: Hey! Stop that!
[Car stops. Kermit opens door.]
Kermit: I can't see! Who are you people!?
Piggy: Don't get out, Kermy. You've been down that road and you know where it leads.
Kermit: Yes! Back to my apartment.
Piggy: But Gonzo wants to meet vous! Pleeeze?
Kermit: Oh, alright.
[Kermit closes door. Car resumes. Piggy pulls out tire pump.]
Kermit: What's that for?
Piggy: We think the agents might have given you a bug.
Kermit: They did. I ate it.
Piggy: Eeew!
Floyd: Uncool!
Janice: Gross, fer shur!
Kermit: Frogs eat bugs. What did you expect?

Part 3:
[Interior, dusty room. There are two chairs, with a table between them. On the table is a box of donuts. Kermit enters, followed by Piggy.]
Piggy: One word of advice, Kermy. Don't mention chickens. He's weirder than you can imagine.
[Piggy leaves. Gonzo enters.]
Gonzo: Kermit! At last! You may have been looking for me for months, but I've been looking for you all my life!
Kermit: I'm in the book.
Gonzo: Do you have any idea how many "the Frogs" there are in this city? Sit. You're here because you know something.
Kermit: I do? What?
Gonzo: How should I know?
Kermit: But you said you'd give me the answers!
Gonzo: Sure! {Holds out piece of paper} Here are the words for your next spelling test.
Kermit: But I want to know about the Muppetrix.
[Creepy fanfare. They look around for its source.]
Gonzo: Oh, the Muppetrix! Well, the Muppetrix surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together. You can feel it flowing through you.
Kermit: That's not the Muppetrix, that's the Force!
Gonzo: Really? Cool! Then the Muppetrix must be something that can't be explained, but can only be experienced. {Opens the donut box} Have a donut. If you take the jelly one, then you'll stay here and never know the truth. If you take the one with chocolate sprinkles, then you'll come with us and discover what the Muppetrix really is.
Kermit: What about the cruller?
Gonzo: That's mine.
[Kermit takes the chocolate sprinkles. Gonzo leads him into the next room where a dentist's chair is set up. Piggy, Janice and Floyd are standing around it in surgical garb. Gonzo indicates the chair. Kermit gets in and Piggy takes a breath from the gas mask before strapping him in.]
Kermit: Did you have to do this?
Piggy: Moi? Of course not. They took me to the salon and I had a mudpack [She takes another breath from the gas mask and passes out].
[Gonzo dons surgical gear and picks up an oversized dentist's drill.]
Gonzo: Open wide!
Kermit [struggling]: What? No! Aaaahh!
[Camera moves in on Kermit's mouth as the drill comes closer. Camera enters his mouth and goes down his throat before fading to black].

[Interior bathtub full of suds. Kermit sticks his head up out of the bathtub. He has a metal cap on his head into which an extension cord is plugged.]
Kermit: What? What's going on?
[He looks over the edge of the bathtub to see an endless array of other tubs, each with a muppet wearing a metal cap and extension cord inside it. A human hand appears above Kermit, pulls the plug from his head and hits a button on the tub to open the drain. Water swirls and Kermit begins spinning in place.]

[Exterior river, night. Kermit flies out of a drain pipe and plops into the water. After a moment, a hovercraft shaped like Gonzo's head appears and an extendo-hand comes out to grab Kermit and pull him in.]

[Interior hovercraft. Gonzo appears in front of blurred camera. Behind him plays the intro to MTV's The Real World.]
Gonzo: Welcome to the real world.[Fade out.]

[Fade in. Interior hovercraft. Kermit in vise. Beaker at handle, Gonzo nearby.]Gonzo: Okay, Beaker, give him another squeeze.
Beaker: Meep meep![Beaker turns handle, vise closes, water is squeezed out of Kermit. Fade out.]

[Fade in. Interior hovercraft cabin. Kermit lies on bunk. Gonzo enters wearing mickey mouse ears. Kermit sits up.]
Kermit: Where am I?
Gonzo: A more important question is "What's with the ears?" But have it your way. You're aboard my hovercraft the Nebucaschnozzer. Come on, I'll show you around.
[Interior hovercraft deck. Floyd and Janice are tuning their guitars. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker are fiddling with one of several dentist chairs spread around the deck. Robin is playing with Pokemon cards in a corner. Lew is running around waving his fish. Piggy is face-first in a bag of peanuts. All but Honeydew and Beaker are wearing metal helmets.]
Gonzo: This is the main deck where we broadcast our pirate signal and hack into the Muppetrix. You've met some of my crew. [Goes to each in turn.] This is Floyd. Janice. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker. Lew Zealand and his boomerang fish. And the little one behind you is Robin. You already know Piggy.
Piggy [preening.]: Hello, Kermy.
Kermit: Hi ho, everybody.
Gonzo: It's time you found out the truth, Kermit. It's time you found out what the Muppetrix really is. {Points him to one of the seats.} Doctor, load us up.
[Kermit sits in one of the dentist chairs. Piggy picks up an extension cord from nearby and plugs it into the helmet on Kermit's head.]
Piggy: Now, this might feel a leeetle bit weird.
Gonzo: Yeah! It's the best part!

[White space. Kermit appears without headgear. Gonzo appears upside down.]
Gonzo: Woohoo! I love that! {He drifts one way, then another} This is the loading program. We use it to supply us with anything: cars, weapons, clothing and chia pets. We can even get the Chicken Sports Network in here.
Kermit: You mean this isn't real? What happened to that thing on my head?
Gonzo: I have no idea! Isn't it great? {Chairs and a television set appear. Gonzo produces a remote.} Whee! Most of what we know about the real world has been pieced together from old files and Gypsy fortune tellers. [Television shows shot of person showering] Once upon a time, people washed themselves with cloths. We don't know what happened then, but suddenly there weren't any cloths any more. It takes about twenty square yards of foam rubber to produce the average Muppet. Between Sesame Street, the movies, The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight, people had found all the sponges they would ever need. [Television shows shot of the bathtub array, with helmetted Muppets lying in their tubs]. There are fields, Kermit, endless fields, where Muppets are soaked until we're soft and soapy.
Kermit: That's unbelievable!
Gonzo: I didn't believe it myself, but then I went there and saw it... {Television shows person in shower washing with soapy Gonzo,who's whooping and enjoying himself}. What is the Muppetrix? It's an interactive video-game plugged right into our heads, an illusion to keep us from realizing what's really going on. The Muppetrix is an industry designed to turn a Muppet into one of these {holds up sponge}.
Kermit: No. No! Let me out! Aaaa!
[Interior, main deck. Kermit struggling in dentist's chair.]
Kermit: Get this thing off of me! Get it off!
[Piggy pulls plug from his head. He hops out of the chair, takes two steps, and faints.]

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