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Liz Lemon = Kermit the Frog
June 9, 2009 9:57 AM   Subscribe

How are your minds today? Are they good? Not blown, you say? 30 Rock is a ripoff of The Muppet Show.
posted by Cool Papa Bell (79 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh wow, it kind of is! My mind is indeed blown, my friend.
posted by Mister_A at 9:59 AM on June 9, 2009


Yeah, yeah, yeah, and Kermit's just a figment of Ms. Piggy's lonely imagination.
posted by Reverend John at 10:03 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


It happens with such regularity, I half-expect Tina Fey to pop out of the "0" in the 30 ROCK opening credits, announce who's stopping by, and then wave her arms manically in the air celebrating.

This must happen in the fourth season. My crazy god demands it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:05 AM on June 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


He's kind of right. That's awesome.

Like 30 Rock, The Muppet Show also made a Lemonparty reference once, only that involved Statler and Waldorf and was done in very bad taste.
posted by bondcliff at 10:06 AM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Shall I expect an upcoming Jenna Maroney Liz Lemon obsession?

Hiiiiii-YA!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:06 AM on June 9, 2009


To disagree with the "ITS A RIP OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Sentiment:

Exhibit A: She's been saying it's basically the muppet show was a huge influence from the onset of season 1. Plus Rip-off is a pretty crappy way of putting it considering it's a great show with its own sense of humor.

Exhibit B: The Jack Donaghy to sam the eagle corollary is actually pretty weak considering Jack is the 2nd lead of the show and pretty much the funniest character. Wait... i do feel the same way about sam the eagle, but their level of profiles are so radically different as sam is hardly ever in it.

... Though yeah some of those picture comparisons are hilarious if hardly accurate.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:07 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the connections to the Mary Tyler Moore Show are much less of a stretch.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:07 AM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hilarious article. I can see one huge difference between the two, however...

I love The Muppet Show and watch it frequently. Neither of those is true for 30 Rock.
posted by hippybear at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2009


I would call it more of an elegant remake, rather than a ripoff. But maybe that's just me.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This Muppet Show. I want to go to there.
posted by punkfloyd at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


That's weird. I'd heard that 30 Rock was loosely based off some late-night sketch comedy show. I'll believe the Muppet comparison when, next season, we see the 30 Rock cast all ballroom dancing up in the Rainbow Room, cracking bad jokes in turn.
posted by Spatch at 10:11 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: Murphy Brown much?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:12 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is absolutely no difference between Liz Lemon and Kermit the Frog save for genitalia

I don't know if my mind is "blown". But it's definitely less happy than it was before I read that sentence.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:13 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


“I watched Boston Legal 9 times before I realized it wasn’t a new Star Trek.”
posted by xod at 10:15 AM on June 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


SNL is a muppet show rip off!
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on June 9, 2009


The Jack Donaghy to sam the eagle corollary is actually pretty weak considering Jack is the 2nd lead of the show and pretty much the funniest character.

Little known fact: Sam the Eagle was the original host of the muppet show.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:17 AM on June 9, 2009


EXHIBIT B: LIZ LEMON VS. KERMIT THE FROG

Both are the most normal people on their respective shows.


FAIL. Kermit is a puppet. And a frog at that!
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on June 9, 2009


One word. Archetypes.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 10:20 AM on June 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


You can solve the Jack Donaghy problem by saying the show is a ripoff of Muppets Tonight and that Jack is Clifford. Problem solved.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:21 AM on June 9, 2009


The Jack Donaghy to sam the eagle corollary is actually pretty weak considering Jack is the 2nd lead of the show and pretty much the funniest character.

To be fair, the article doesn't say Jack = Sam The Eagle; it says Jack is a combination (a "Voltron") of several different muppets.

That said, the article wasn't half bad...
..it was ALL bad!
posted by inigo2 at 10:21 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've never had any inclination to watch 30 Rock, until now.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:23 AM on June 9, 2009


EXHIBIT A: THE PREMISE. Each week, our smart yet neurotic lead character has to manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show.

Well, that's arguably the premise of a lot of successful and/or influential sitcoms, from "I Love Lucy" to "Andy Griffith" to "Barney Miller" to "M*A*S*H" to "Seinfeld" .....
posted by blucevalo at 10:24 AM on June 9, 2009


But then I watched an episode of 30 ROCK and it hit me: Jack isn't just ONE Muppet. Jack is like Voltron: many Muppets combine to form a BIGGER, COOLER super muppet!

Weak. Really weak.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:26 AM on June 9, 2009


That's weird. I'd heard that 30 Rock was loosely based off some late-night sketch comedy show. I'll believe the Muppet comparison when, next season, we see the 30 Rock cast all ballroom dancing up in the Rainbow Room, cracking bad jokes in turn.

I think that one went A Thurber Carnival -> Laugh-In -> Muppets, but I suspect it's even older than that.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:29 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, flashback to the kind of crap people posted online 10 or even 20 years ago, desperately trying to say A was like B, and throwing various unwanted/non-conforming aspects of the metaphor over the sides like ballast. The difference now is the accompanying images are 16 bit instead of 8 and load much faster.

Well, whatever makes you feel like you just read something "deep", I guess.

Now, go try to line up your dark side of the moon with the wizard of oz.
posted by jscott at 10:32 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just watch a season of SCTV.
posted by xjudson at 10:34 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I enjoy this kind of thing if it's not taken in all seriousness. Among my friends and I, one of our favorite past-times is associating each other with "random groups," eg., Who would be who in Dr. Horrible, Ninja Turtles, Greek gods, etc.
posted by litterateur at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2009


Does no one remember this season when Tracy was flipping out and LITERALLY saw everyone around him as muppets??
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 10:36 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I always thought the Bush Administration was a rip-off of the Muppet Show.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:37 AM on June 9, 2009


Other people who totally look like Muppets: Peter Boyle, Donatella Versace, Bruce Vilanch, John C. Calhoun, and John Hodgman.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:38 AM on June 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Ka-freakin-boom.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does no one remember this season when Tracy was flipping out and LITERALLY saw everyone around him as muppets??

No, but I do seem to recall that we discover that Kenneth the Page always sees everyone around him as muppets.

As does Hatchet Harry, but that's another story. An emotional one.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:43 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Confirmation bias.
posted by grouse at 10:45 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sitcom is like sitcom?
posted by benzenedream at 10:45 AM on June 9, 2009


it's fun if you just scroll through for the comparison pictures -
a kind of separated at birth thing -
not sure the comparisons really run any deeper though
(eg, lemon and kermit don't seem to me to be anywhere near the same person)


also

Metafilter: save for genitalia

posted by sloe at 10:48 AM on June 9, 2009


This would have worked better if it were "If 30 Rock characters were muppets" rather than the fallacious claim that 30 Rock is a rip-off of the Muppet Show. The Muppet Show is basically Sonny & Cher (or any '70s variety show) with backstage scenes. 30 Rock is not a variety show.
posted by The World Famous at 10:59 AM on June 9, 2009


And the Sci-Fi series Tremors was really just the Dukes of Hazzard.

No, really, stop and think about it. You've got the guy whose main talent is to drive fast. A gal in cutoffs whose main role on the show is to be in danger? That's your Daisy Duke. The ongoing not-too-threatening antagonist, a big albino worm named El Blanco? That's just Boss Hogg, in his big white suit.

This comparison works on more levels than I'd really like.
posted by adipocere at 11:02 AM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Now you're grasping at straws" you say? Well CHECK OUT THESE STRAWS
posted by kaspen at 11:03 AM on June 9, 2009


Metafilter: save for genitalia

Roll a d20.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:04 AM on June 9, 2009 [19 favorites]


I think possibly that there is a part of the brain that allows you to see that someone is saying something for effect, and get the gist of their true meaning, and enjoy what they are saying if it happens to be a lightkly comedic peice. For some reason people who lack this part of their brain are inexplicably drawn to MeFi threads like this.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on June 9, 2009 [14 favorites]


"That blog post was rare."

"Well it certainly wasn't well done!"

*old man guffaws*
posted by brundlefly at 11:09 AM on June 9, 2009 [18 favorites]


Ummmmm, but I never had the urge to have deeply meaningless sex with Kermit...
posted by Samizdata at 11:11 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


And the Sci-Fi series Tremors was really just the Dukes of Hazzard.

The thing I liked about the Tremors films is how they had to make do with progressively less expensive leads. First one - Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon, good stuff. Second one: Well, Kevin Bacon is too expensive, let's just have Fred Ward. third one: Fuck it, who was that guy that played the gun nut? let's just have him. The series is probably all glovepuppets on a set of cardboard boxes or something.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


xjudson: "Just watch a season of SCTV."

This guy probably is already.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:16 AM on June 9, 2009


Also, Battlestar Gallatica is just a rip off of Battlestar Galactica. Think about it, the Cylons are like Cylons, Starbuck is like Stabuck (though a woman of course), even the ships look kind of the same
posted by poppo at 11:28 AM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I dunno if they're strongly related or not, but:

blucevalo: "EXHIBIT A: THE PREMISE. Each week, our smart yet neurotic lead character has to manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show."

Well, that's arguably the premise of a lot of successful and/or influential sitcoms, from "I Love Lucy" to "Andy Griffith" to "Barney Miller" to "M*A*S*H" to "Seinfeld" .....


I think you misread "manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show" as "a weekly sketch comedy show about managing a group of wacky misfits".

Neither Andy Griffith, Barney Miller, MASH, or Seinfeld were about people trying to put on shows. I dunno about I Love Lucy, because I never managed to watch more than 5 minutes of it.
posted by Bugbread at 11:31 AM on June 9, 2009


Hey you guys, did some of you not quite get it....

on preview, what Artw said
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:36 AM on June 9, 2009


Neither Andy Griffith, Barney Miller, MASH, or Seinfeld were about people trying to put on shows. I dunno about I Love Lucy, because I never managed to watch more than 5 minutes of it.

30 Rock is The Dick Van Dyke Show.
posted by The World Famous at 11:46 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Friends was Thundercats.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:49 AM on June 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Yep it is. I said so myself. It's as goofy and slapsticky and yuck-yuk-yuky as the Muppet Show and was clearly meant to be a callback to it ..which is even MORE fun cause the orginal Muppet Show was a callback to the the old vaudeville and Bowery playhouse styles. Considering how 30 Rock is one big long in-joke-history-geek handjob to the entire history of TV comedy in the 20th century, I don't see why this is a thing.


Or to put it another way, things that worked at the start of last century work in this start of this century.


*honk honk*
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 AM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I liked The Muppet Show when I was a kid, because I liked everything.

But I don't like 30 Rock now, because I don't like anything.
posted by box at 11:55 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


One word. Archetypes.

Two words: party pooper.

Friends was Thundercats.

Oh man, my favorite episode was The One with The Berbils and a Monkey, where Monica and the gang are taken prisoner by a band of small robotic bears named Ro-Bear Berbils, but Ross arrives just in time with his new companion, a monkey named Marcel, and everyone learns a lesson about the power of communication.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am taking seriously this lighthearted homage to two classic television shows, and I object to it!
posted by brain_drain at 12:21 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, filthy light thief, everyone knows that RoBear Berbils are friendly, peace-loving, creepy-looking creatures.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:22 PM on June 9, 2009


Did you guys see the 30 Rock where there were muppets? My head just asploded a little thinking about that in this new context.
posted by Mister_A at 12:48 PM on June 9, 2009


Mister_A, that was already covered in the article, which linked here. See also: Sesame Street's take on 30 Rock,
posted by filthy light thief at 1:22 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sesame Street is teaching people to count to 30, now? Back in my day, they only counted to 12.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:30 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sesame Street is teaching people to count to 30, now? Back in my day, they only counted to 12.

I want to tell the kids to get off my lawn, but there are more than 12 of them and I can't count that high!
posted by The World Famous at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Friends was Thundercats.

Thundercats was Oedipus Rex.

Oedipus Rex was Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks was The Bible.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2009


Twin Peaks was The Bible.

In the beginning was the Arm, and the Arm was with The Man From Another Place, and the Arm sounded like this: Loolooloolloooloolllooolloo.
posted by The World Famous at 2:04 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Snarfer (to Cheetara): We were on a brrrrrreak!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:05 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think that quite a few of you are not taking this article in its intended spirit.
posted by cobra libre at 2:21 PM on June 9, 2009


You know who else had to manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show?

No wait, that's not right. Never mind.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:42 PM on June 9, 2009


Milton Hitler?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:56 PM on June 9, 2009


Neither Andy Griffith, Barney Miller, MASH, or Seinfeld were about people trying to put on shows.

Well, Seinfeld spent large parts of season 4 working on a sitcom about nothing at all, and I'm pretty sure there's some metahumor in MASH too. Haven't seen the others.
posted by effbot at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2009


You know who else had to manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show?

Hilter?
posted by The World Famous at 3:15 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else had to manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show?

I demand a Downfall parody covering this thesis.
posted by GuyZero at 3:31 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


MeFi - sucking the life out of humorous posts for nearly 10 years now...
posted by evilgenius at 4:05 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I work for a theater company that specializes in musicals and operetta. One of our favorite games is to recast every show with the Muppets. Good times.
posted by nax at 4:07 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I demand a Downfall parody covering this thesis.

I did that. The premis was the assasination attempt by von Stauffenberg was simply becuase nobody could stand Hitlers repetitious bunker stand up routine.

I was told by my writing professor that Hitler could never be funny.
posted by tkchrist at 4:49 PM on June 9, 2009


I was told by my writing professor that Hitler could never be funny.

I take it your writing professor was not Mel Brooks, Chris Kattan, or John Cleese.
posted by The World Famous at 5:01 PM on June 9, 2009


"Gay Hitler" is the only funny thing Chris Kattan ever did.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:09 PM on June 9, 2009


"Tina Fey, you should be ASHAMED."

Frankly, if it were true, I'd think it was a GREAT idea that 30 Rock "brought back" The Muppet Show!
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2009


I'll believe it when I see the episode where Grizz and Dot Com break out in a chorus of "Mahna Mahna."
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:51 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


This analogy fails without a suitable equivalent for Animal.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:54 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


This analogy fails without a suitable equivalent for Animal.

Carrie Fisher's guest appearance covers that role.
posted by sammyo at 6:39 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oooh yeah. And Devon Banks is THIS GUY?
posted by mds35 at 7:37 PM on June 9, 2009


I did that. The premis was the assasination attempt by von Stauffenberg was simply becuase nobody could stand Hitlers repetitious bunker stand up routine.

I was told by my writing professor that Hitler could never be funny.


...hence Stauffenberg's assassination attempt. Bit slow on the uptake, your professor?
posted by Sparx at 2:14 AM on June 10, 2009


Firefly was Gilligan's Island.
posted by crossoverman at 11:18 PM on June 10, 2009


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