Muppet Mayhem Monday!

As I was driving along the other day I was struck with this brilliant idea to bring Muppets into my blog.  Now, if you are reading this and you have not connected with me on FB (there’s a little button on this page- go ahead and click it) then you have not known of my limitless affection for Jim Henson’s creations and so this might come as a bit of a surprise to you.  What I aim to do with this is to bring a bit of levity to my otherwise very serious blog  by way of Miss Piggy and the gang.  I am also going to endeavor to make that clip into a lesson about writing but, you know, sometimes that just might fail.

And now, I present to you- the first Muppet Mayhem Monday!

Please watch this clip carefully: 

Aside from learning that Piggy snorts A LOT when she gets, errrr, excited I thought this aptly demonstrated something that’s been done time and time again in all sorts of books.  The use of cultural identity in the character’s mindset and world experience as well as how others in the fictional world interact with him/her.  Would we not wonder if a native of Scotland had landed in the US and they DIDN’T have an accent?  Different set of vernacular?  Personally, I’d be scratching my head and all but having a purple fit if such things occurred.  Sure, it’s not necessary to harp on such things but to ignore them entirely I view as a very bad thing indeed.

If we want to delve further into this we can also look at language as a tool in writing.  Obviously our native tongue is necessary in the process but what about other languages?  Many authors use languages besides their primary as a means of giving depth to both the character and the story.  This can be done by the character searching for a word and sliding into their native tongue thereby demonstrating exactly how “new” the person may very well be to the environment in which they’re now residing or simply a way of showing the differences between cultures with words that do not translate well into other languages.

Above all else, and I think this could be said of ANY Muppets episode, humor is something that heartens a viewer and reader alike when the timing and delivery are just right.

Do you have a favorite Muppet clip? Character?  What other writing lessons do you see in the clip?

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6 responses to “Muppet Mayhem Monday!

    • kimberlyloomis

      He sooooo does! This Christmas I’ve seen “A Muppet Family Christmas” countless times and EVERY time Animal picks up the phone at the farmhouse and says, “Hello, hello, gimme presents! Eh. Pig,” I bust out laughing.

  • J.L. Campbell

    I have the challenge all the time of staying somewhat authentic in terms of the Jamaican language and yet writing so that the North American market can read and understand. Too much broken English and people won’t get it. If I use none at all, the Jamaican flavour might be lost.

    I can see how Ms. Piggy got carried away with those numbers whispered in her ear. 😀

    • kimberlyloomis

      That is such a good point, Joy. I can’t remember where I’ve read it but one of the “rules” I’ve seen about accents has been to only demonstrate it grammatically the first few times the character speaks after that to let it go. Trying to get through sections of “Wuthering Heights” I can see why that would be a useful approach but, generally, it doesn’t bother me once I get into the accents and voices of the characters. They become part of the narrative and keep me immersed in the cultural identity of the protagonist. How have you balanced it in your work?

      Hehe- I can identify with Miss Piggy’s exuberance as well. 😉

  • Corra McFeydon

    I used to watch Muppet Babies. 🙂

    There’s also the purely American difference between Southern/Northern/Eastern/Western culture, as well as the melting pot cultural differences between (as an example) New York City vs. California. Or Atlanta, Georgia vs. Maine. Native American heritage in New Mexico vs. the Louisiana Bayou.

    There’s a fine line between offering enough culture to give a taste of it, and flooding a scene so it’s unreadable. (Example – an author who shows off their knowledge of the French language so heavily that the reader feels blocked from the scene because they can’t translate the dialogue.)

    Great post. 🙂

    Corra

    from the desk of a writer

    • kimberlyloomis

      I LOVED the Muppet Babies!

      Totally agree with you about that fine line as well. Wuthering Heights has a character who speaks like that… Sometimes I understood and others I just kind of went cross-eyed over.

      Thanks for dropping in and commenting. 🙂

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