Pepe the King Prawn – The Muppets

November 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Not only one of the most debonair and attractive of all the Muppets, Pepe the King Prawn is also the only one of the group who is bilingual. Originally from Madrid, Spain, Pepe, whose was born Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales, moved to Hollywood to become the most famous prawn this side of the Atlantic. As part of the Muppets gang since 1996, Pepe has starred in a number of Muppets TV specials and movies, including the newest theatrical release, “The Muppets.” During an exclusive interview with me, Pepe talked about teaching Miss Piggy Spanish and what kind of women he’s looking to date.

How does it feel to be the only Spanish-speaking Muppet? Does it give you a sense of pride?

Si, I am very proud to be the first Spanish-speaking Muppet, okay.  But in truth, I only speak a little Spanish, okay. I can say “hola” and I can say “adios.” What more do you need? You see, my mama, she never taught me to speak Spanish. We were too busy dodging the fishing nets off Majorca.

Have you ever tried to teach any of the other Muppets Spanish? How did that go?

I don’t understand a thing any of the Muppets are saying, okay. They all speak with funny accents, except for the Swedish Chef. He makes sense to me, even though I have no idea what he is talking about. Once I tried to teach Miss Piggy to speak Spanish, but it sounded like Pig Latin to me. Unbelievable! But this is all okay, okay. You see when the Muppets go to other countries, we get dubbed. We talk and someone else’s voice comes out of our mouths. This is very strange, okay.

If it’s not too painful, please tell us what really happened between you and Seymour the Elephant?

You are a real fan, okay. Either this, or you really need to get some hobbies because you are spending way too much time thinking about the Muppets. Seymour, for those who aren’t as crazy as you, was my sidekick on a show we did called “Muppets Tonight!” We were hilarious, but then he decided to go solo. Last I heard he was a juggling gondolier in one of the Cirque du Soliel shows. I wonder if they’re hiring?

What did you think about Statler and Waldorf’s criticism of the group effort on “Dancing with the Stars” last week when you performed “Life’s a Happy Song?” How was your experience on the show?

These old guys, I like them. They say what everybody else is thinking, okay. When they make fun of the Muppets, is very funny. When they make fun of me, not so much. I had the great time on “Dancing with the Stars.” The show needs a good salsa dancer. As a King Prawn I was made for salsa. Next season, I think they will have me on as a celebrity contestant. You are important. Tell them to do this, okay?

Tell me the first thing that comes into your mind when I say the following word: Tapas.

Dios mio! Tapas is how I lost my cousin Victorio. He went too close to an all-you-can-eat Tapas seafood buffet. Is very sad. I need to compose myself. (Sobs) I’m fine. Next question, okay.

What kind of policies would you like to see implemented to fix our broken immigration system and do you think that can happen without offering a path to citizenship? Just kidding. Who does your hair?

Yes. I would. And no, I don’t.  Since I don’t understand your question, I thought I would return the favor with my answer. As for my hair, I do it myself. Can’t you tell?

You are a very attractive crustacean and I know you did very well with the ladies before you got engaged. Any advice for the single guys out there looking for their own Queen Prawn?

Hold on, engaged!?  Dios mio! Who says I am engaged, okay? I am not engaged! I am available! That is right, ladies, I, Pepe the King Prawn, am ready to party and make with the romance anytime day or night. Don’t believe what you have heard about me being engaged! Who makes up these rumors!? Unbelievable! Call now before all my available dates are taken. What kind of womens do I like? Well, I like my women the way I like my salsa, okay?  Hot, spicy and just a little chunky.

Kermit the Frog & Miss Piggy – The Muppets

November 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Interviews

After 12 years away from the big screen, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets are back for their seventh theatrical release since the original “Muppet Movie” in 1979. In the newest film, “The Muppets,” the gang reunites to put on a telethon to try and raise $10 million to save their beloved Muppet Theater from an evil oil tycoon who wants to demolish it. During an interview with me, Kermit and Miss Piggy talked about returning for another big extravaganza together and how they’ve managed to stay in a healthy relationship all these years.

Kermit, it’s been 12 years since the last time a Muppets movie hit the big screen. How does it feel getting back into the swing of things, especially with writers Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller behind it?

Kermit: It’s fantastic to be back on the big screen. And to be working with two of Hollywood’s hottest talents, Jason and Nick, is a real treat for us.

Piggy: Of course, it’s a much bigger thrill for them.

Kermit: Piggy, show some respect, Jason and Nick wrote our movie.

Piggy: You’re kidding?! Someone actually writes our movies? Coulda fooled moi!

In past Muppets movies you’ve had some great cameos from celebrities. Which celebrity were you most excited to see in this new film and why?

Kermit: Oh, there are a lot of great surprise cameos in the movie. Ever since the Muppets started making movies, star cameos have been part of our tradition…and with this movie I think we top ourselves.

Piggy: Naturally, for these “surprise” cameos to remain a “surprise” we can’t tell you who they are or you won’t be “surprised.” So don’t ask again, okay?

If a movie was ever made about your lives, which celebrity would you like to portray you in the film?

Kermit: Tom Hanks. He’s such a great actor – funny, decent and lovable. It would be an honor to have him portray me in a movie.

Piggy: Oh, I’d have to portray moiself. Especially if Tom Hanks is playing Kermit. Hanks is not only cute, he’s an Academy Award magnet. If he was in the movie, then they’d have to give me an Oscar, too.

Miss Piggy, it’s no secret inHollywood, celebrity couples come and go all the time. What is the secret between you and Kermie that has kept you to together all this time and do people ever refer to you two as Permit or Pigmie?

Piggy: Our secret for staying together is simple: I never ever let Kermit out of my sight.

Kermit: That’s true.

Piggy: And on those rare occasions when he’s not close by, I use a GPS to keep track of him.

Kermit: Very true.

Piggy: As for anyone calling us “Permit” or “Pigmie” – no, that’s never happened. At least not more than once.

Kermit: Painfully true.

Kermit, who is hairier, Animal or Zach Galifianakis (Zach has a cameo in the film)?

Kermit: Only their barbers know for sure.

Piggy: And since obviously neither one of them has ever been to a barber, we may never know.

Kermit: It’s one of the great mysteries of life.

Piggy: Let’s keep it that way.

The Muppets

November 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper
Directed by: James Bobin (TV’s “The Flight of the Conchords”)
Written by: Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshal”) and Nicholas Stoller (“Get Him to the Greek”)

If watching actor/writer Jason Segel reluctantly trying to impress Mila Kunis by performing a song from his Dracula puppet rock opera in the 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” made you wish all love was as eternal as a vampire’s, then you must’ve also been as intrigued as I was when news that Segel and Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller would continue playing puppet show by penning the script for a reboot to the famed Muppet film franchise.

After 12 years without a theatrical release (their last was the second-rate, Gonzo-centric “Muppets from Space” in 1999), there would finally be what the studio was calling a fresh take on the beloved cast of characters who first appeared as a group on “The Muppet Show” in the mid ’70s. If by “fresh” they meant “The Muppets” would feel like it was plucked from the days when Bob Hope and Milton Berle would cameo, then, yes, a lifelong Muppets fan like Segel should be proud of sticking to tradition despite original muppeteers like Frank Oz opining about the script’s lack of respect for the characters.

For people like myself, however, who grew up watching reruns of “The Muppet Show” in syndicate and trusted Segel and Stoller wouldn’t harp on homage so much and be brave enough to take some creative license, “The Muppets” is in many ways both a charming return to form and a surprising letdown. Sure, Judd Apatow humor, while usually clever, might be considered much too mean-spirited for the wholesomeness of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear. But the new version is so far from modern that even Statler and Waldorf would deem parts of it all dried up.

Still, playing the nostalgia card is welcomed. We get a glimpse of the Muppets’ past at the beginning of the movie when we’re introduced to Walter, the Muppets’ No. 1 fan (and a Muppet himself) who grew up collecting their memorabilia and watching the old TV show with his human brother Gary (Segel). When Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams in an equally chipper role as “Enchanted”) invite Walter to tag along on their anniversary trip toLos Angeles, he jumps at the chance to go so he can visit the famous Muppet Theater. Now abandoned, the theater has caught the attention of wealthy oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who wants to buy the building and bulldoze it so he can drill for the sweet crude underneath. The only way to save the theater: raise $10 million in two days by reuniting the now estranged Muppets for one last extravaganza show and telethon.

It sounds easier said than done, which makes Segel and Stoller’s decision to give Kermit, Gary, Mary, and Walter only 48 hours to track down all the Muppets, rehearse, and find a celebrity to host the event and TV network to air it, all the more ridiculously impossible. To help with the time constraints, the writing duo incorporate a few meta techniques to cheat their way through the narrative such as admitting to the audience that a musical montage would be used to skim happily through the Muppet hunt (or making sure said audience remembers they’re watching a movie). None of it comes off as clever as it probably did on paper, but Segel and Stoller stick with it nevertheless. Even the save-the-theater storyline itself didn’t rely on much thought. Whether it’s saving an orphanage in “The Blues Brothers” or a community recreation center in “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” or — get this — the Muppet Theater in 2002’s “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie,” originality isn’t a key element in the screenplay. Segel and Stoller would’ve had better luck coming up with something imaginative by filling in the blanks of a Muppet MadLibs.

Instead, “The Muppets” goes for quick and easy jokes like outdated references to “Dirty Dancing,” “Scarface,” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Even more contemporary gags like chickens clucking to Cee Lo Green’s always-edited single “F*ck You!” will be overshadowed by the disappointment lingering after you realize another 12 years from now, the biggest cameos in this newest version (Jim Parsons, really?) will be just as memorable as Rob Schneider and Andie MacDowell’s in the last.