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The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

Brian Henson Just Might Be Slowly Killing His Father’s Muppet Empire

Brian Henson
Brian Henson (Wikimedia)

 MOVIES 

Does Brian Henson actually hate his father’s legacy of creating wholesome entertainment for kids as well as their parents? The son of Jim Henson, the famous puppeteer and creator of the Muppets appeared on the very first episode of Sesame Street. This week, Sesame Workshop, the creators of the children’s show, is suing him. Next week, a judge “scheduled a hearing next week to consider a request for immediate relief by Sesame Workshop,” reports USA Today.

Henson’s latest directing project is The Happytime Murders which red-band trailer is being released during some screenings of Deadpool 2. The trailer portrays Muppet-looking puppets performing some very un-Muppet-like behavior (including sex acts) which the lawsuit states that the Sesame Street brand will be harmed. The trailer begins with the words, “After 35 years of entertaining children, the director of A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets Tonight is finally ready to reveal what goes down when kids aren’t around” and then precedes to show puppet prostitutes, puppets getting shot to smithereens, lots of swearing and the words, “No Sesame, All Street.”

The Happytime Murders poster
(STX Films)
The new adult comedy/thriller stars Melissa McCarthy as a human detective investigating a series of grisly puppet murders. The film also stars Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph and Joel McHale. At least one Muppet puppeteer, Bill Baretta, is also involved.

Henson, who also served as the Executive Producer of the animated faith-based film, The Star which was released last year, made headlines for firing Steve Whitmire who was the voice of Kermit the Frog for 27 years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Henson said that he should have let Whitmire go before he sold the company to Disney in 2004. After making claims that Whitmire was difficult to work with, Henson then said that he felt that Whitmire had “flattened out” Kermit’s personality over the years and thought Kermit had a “wry intelligences” and “a little bit of naughtiness” that didn’t come through with Whitmire’s interpretation. If The Happytime Murders is a reflection of the “naughtiness” Henson is speaking of, count me out. And I’m not the only one. Many longtime fans are crying “foul” in response to the trailer as well.

It should be noted that Disney has no involvement in The Happytime Murders movie. It is being distributed by STX Films and is expected to open in theaters on August 17.


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