25 May 2013


Locus Focus: Take Ninety-Four!

Doing a movie month is always fun. By the end of one, I'm always sorely tempted to turn Shredded Cheddar into a movie blog, with only occasional posts on books. (Well, what do you think?)

We had the first "movie edition" about three years ago, when Scream 3 reminded me that every cinematic setting comes boxed within the bigger locus of Hollywood. I have a vague memory of that post  being an unplanned, last-minute decision, due to my being unable to write about a good Horror setting from a fourth book--but I don't seem to have left a written record which corroborates that, so your guess is as a good as mine! =P It is 100% certain, however, that today's setting from television is here because I couldn't come up with something good for a fourth movie.

So our first ever TV setting also gets to be the last to answer the question May I Have Some Music? with a resounding yes.

The Muppet Theatre
The Muppet Show

"It's time to play the music/ It's time to light the lights/ It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!"

My favourite Literature professor of all time once said: "Every good book is about its own writing." Incidentally, he was talking about Anthony Burgess's Clockwork Orange, which has provided, so far, the only musical character of the month. (See Character Connection 41.) The reason I love that line so much (and quote it so often) is that it can be applied not just to books, but also to movies . . . and to live performances.

When a stage production is really, really good, you can bet that the story behind it is even better. I tried to get a bit of that across in my liveblog of The Big Reunion, Episodes 1 to 3. (Did I succeed?) If you're only looking at the stage, then you miss the best parts.

Similarly, the musical numbers for which The Muppet Show was famous may have all taken place on the stage of the Muppet Theatre, but they would have been less magical if they hadn't been framed by what was going on backstage at the same time. There are countless examples, but I'm going with an episode from Season 1, with guest star Bernadette Peters.

If just one person believes in you/ Deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you/ Hard enough, and long enough,/ It stands to reason, that someone else will think/ 'If he can do it, I can do it'/ Making it two . . ."

While Peters has been singing up a storm and soaking up everyone's attention on stage, theatre director Kermit's young nephew Robin has been feeling completely ignored backstage. So he does what any child in his situation would do: he decides to run away. But he is a polite little frog, and presumably also a fan of the inimitable Miss Peters, so he goes to her dressing room to say goodbye first. And the two worlds on opposite sides of the curtain come together. 

Their meeting makes the perfect set up for the song Just One Person, which Peters begins alone, but finishes with a proper chorus of Muppets. And this musical number, which the theatre audience never gets to see, happens to be the best one of the entire episode.

Question of the Week: If you had the chance to wander around backstage (or behind the scenes) of any stage (or film) production of your choice--past, present, or future--which one would it be?


Belfry Bat said...

Ah, theatre about theatre... of course, the Muppet Show show didn't have a back-stage so much as an under-stage... but that's neither here nor there.

Here's a good'un. Say, have you already covered Marion's Library?

Enbrethiliel said...


Theatre about theatre is ten times more fun than story-within-a-story!

I had to look up Marion's Library and got a bunch of search results that aren't really Locus-Focus-ey. Which of them did you mean?

cyurkanin said...

As cool as the Muppets were, backstage of LOST is where I'd have to spend all of my time. I've said before that the television show LOST was one of the greatest novels never written and I'm sticking with it in response to your question! To those familiar with the show, everything that happens "behind the scene" unlocks layers and layers of further understanding of the story. None of it is needed mind you, but it is there for those willing/wanting/needing to explore it. Almost like a show with eternal "spin-offs." Every person, every street sign, library book, candy wrapper, song on the radio, etc etc etc has a piece of history of its own that relates to the show in fascinating ways. The mythology is endless. The show was actually as much a role-playing game (to use another recent theme of yours) as it was a weekly mystery in that you could expand your interest and research of the plot, the characters, the background, etc into four dimensions, and the only limit was your imagination. How fascinating and precise those brainstorming sessions must have been with the writers and producers creating a consistent and believable world to live in.

One of these days, you'll watch it and wish you'd have listened to me... :)

/dev/null said...

Oh, this one... oh, silly me, it's Marian...


Enbrethiliel said...


Christopher -- I'm sure that when I finally do watch LOST, I will feel that my timing was perfect. ;-)

But I really do admire you for trying. (LOL!)

Bat -- Oh, it's Mrs. Partridge! =D

I've never seen that musical, but I might have featured an episode of The Partridge Family if I had remembered it in time.