Archive for November, 2015

Why We Love the Muppets Like Family

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

In honor of one of my Philcon panels today, “Muppets! Muppets! Muppets!” I am reprinting a piece I originally published on the now-defunct Yahoo! Contributor Network.


The new Muppet movie, “The Muppets,” will relaunch the brand with the classic characters, along with some new faces. After so many years, the Muppets are like old friends — or better yet, like family. So who’s who in our Muppet family?

Kermit the Frog, The Perfect Dad

No matter how perfect your real dad might be, there’s no way he’s as patient, as gentle, and as understanding as Kermit. The soft-spoken father figure of the Muppet clan leads his misfit crew with TLC, offering support and advice where necessary, mediating disputes, and occasionally sending family members to their (dressing) rooms. Even his rage is cute.

Miss Piggy, The Flamboyant Stepmother

Dad remarries to a glamorous diva who never really wanted children to begin with (unless they’re part pig). She insists on being called “Miss Piggy” and will never answer to “Mom.” But at times she is a lot of fun: telling stories about the celebrities she’s met, demonstrating her martial arts skills, and singing us to sleep with operatic bedtime lullabies.

Gonzo, The Weird Uncle

Just about everyone has one: the uncle whose bachelor pad is festooned with a quirky collection of his personal memorabilia, the one who makes archaic references you don’t get but that make your dad go “tsk-tsk.” The guy who has absolutely no idea other people think he’s odd, even while he’s wearing skates, balancing a bowling pin on his head, and juggling chickens. At times, it’s hard to believe he’s related.

Rowlf the Dog, The Cool Uncle

Rowlf is the uncle who’s in a band, gives you backstage passes for his concerts, and teaches you how to play chords. He tells you that you’re talented and introduces you to all his cool music-making friends. Even though Kermit is the perfect father figure, there are times you wish that, instead of plinking away on his wimpy little banjo, he’d rock out on the keyboards with a bluesy growl like Rowlf.

Fozzie Bear, The Daydreaming Older Brother

Ever since he was born, older brother Fozzie was convinced he was destined for greatness. Unfortunately, his chosen profession was comedy, and as everybody knows, Fozzie isn’t terribly funny. But with plenty of support from dad Kermit (after all, he even put Fozzie in his show), Fozzie continues to follow his dreams. He might still be living in his old bedroom, but he knows one day he’ll make it big, get his own place, and bask in the adulation reserved for a star.

Scooter, The Geeky Younger Brother

While Fozzie is a dreamer, Scooter is practical, which is why he helps run the family business, serving as a stage manager for the Muppet Theater. Everybody knows that someday it will be him and not Fozzie who takes over for dad Kermit. He is young but detail-oriented and eager to please. If you need someone to fix your computer, ask Scooter.

Statler and Waldorf, The Wisecracking Grandfathers

Retirement was the best thing to ever happen to Statler and Waldorf; it freed them from any real responsibilities. Now they can just sit back and criticize the world around them. If you listened to just their words, you’d think they hated everything their family does. But as much as they claim that sitting through it is sheer torture, they make sure to get a box seat to every performance.

Philcon 2015 Schedule

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Here is my Philcon schedule. I will be attending, even though I am in the midst of mourning my Mom’s sudden death. I need a little normalcy, and an emotional break.

My heart will still be with my family, but I look forward to lots of interesting conversations.

Fri 9:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)
SOCIAL INSIGHTS FOR THE SOCIALLY PERPLEXED (2069)

[Panelists: Hugh Casey (mod), Alyce Wilson, James Prego, Robert C. Roman, Debra Baker]

Interacting with strangers doesn’t come effortlessly for everyone.  How do you know when it’s acceptable to jump into a conversation? Just as importantly, how can you know when it’s time to jump out? How do you leave a good impression on someone you want to…impress? And how do you tell whether someone is actually flirting with you or  just being nice?

Sat 10:00 AM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
MUPPETS!  MUPPETS!  MUPPETS [FAMILY FRIENDLY] (2044)

[Panelists: Suzanne Rosin (mod), Michael McAfee, Christine Norris,  Barbara A. Barnett, Alyce Wilson, Matt Black]

Created in 1955, these characters have been in our lives on various TV shows and movies. Now they are back in a new “sitcom”. Chat with panelist about your favorite muppets,  and their shows. Was it Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Rigel in Farscape, Dinosaurs, The Muppet Show, the movies, the youtube videos?  Bring your coffee, wear your pjs, and have a good time

Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)
NOT FOR THE MONEY: HOBBIES AS…HOBBIES? (2061)

[Panelists: Deborah Stanish (mod), Andre Lieven, Diane Kovalcin, Alyce Wilson]

Why do people pour money into cosplay outfits, post art and comics online for free, and spend hours crafting stories that they have no intent to publish? Why is there such a push in American society to monetize everything we’re capable of, and devalue that which has no price tag on it.

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)
A SUPER YEAR FOR TV? (2054)

[Panelists: Kyle Williamson (mod), Russ Colchamiro, Alyce Wilson,  James Chambers, Steve Vertlieb, Andre Lieven]

2015 was host to seven live-action television adaptions of superhero comic book properties and the rebirth of the Heroes franchise. Which shows “got it right,” and which ones made you want to write angry letters to the producers?

Sat 8:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
150 YEARS OF WONDERLAND (2108)

[Panelists: Siobhan Carroll (mod), Alyce Wilson, Debra Baker, Savan Gupta]

Why have Alice’s adventures through the looking glass remained a classic for so long? What does it have to say to the 21st Century?

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