It’s not easy being green
Being a Muppet fan right now is hard.
Obviously, the character of Kermit the Frog will endure, but losing Steve Whitmire is really hard to accept. I’ve always admired him as a performer and as a person, so hearing Disney’s and the Henson family’s statements on his termination is nothing short of heartbreaking.
At the very least, I do believe that Whitmire truly had the best interests of the Muppets at heart. I will never doubt that. And, having never met the man, I don’t wish to cast aspersions on his character, but I would not be surprised if his devotion to the role did not result in some unprofessional behavior on his part.
His recent comments exhibit evidence of this. In one instance, he flat-out says that Matt Vogel is not the right person to take over as Kermit. I understand Whitmire’s aversion to an audition process, but I think that his decision to cast judgement on Vogel before even seeing him in the role is unfair. Vogel is an extremely talented performer in his own right, with some of my favorite characters under his belt, and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the role. Maybe an extra spring in the hop that Whitmire’s Kermit has been missing for a while.
I have a bunch of other reservations about Whitmire’s coments, but I will keep those opinions to myself. That’s because this post isn’t about Whitmire as much as it is about Kermit.
Kermit’s bigger than Whitmire or Vogel, and he’s even bigger than Jim Henson. I have always loved that frog, and I always will. And I miss him, terribly. The last time we saw him was back in December for a Pigs in Space sketch on YouTube (seeing him THEN was a treat, too), and his continued absence is just…hard.
I think we all just casually ignore the fact that the Muppets are made of foam and fleece. They’re real to us, they’re people, and not seeing Kermit around is kinda like having one of your favorite celebrities drop off the face of the earth. Meanwhile, their publicist maintains their Twitter feed as though nothing is wrong.
Vogel’s Kermit was supposed to have made his debut on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, but there’s nothing. And there’s no word on when he’ll show up.
I just hope that Disney takes advantage of Vogel’s energy and turns it into something great. A new movie, perhaps. The Muppets need some love and attention, and I don’t want them to fall by the wayside again.
Kermit, if you’re reading this, please come back. I love you, warts and all.