Screentime: How Gonzo Made Me A Bad Parent

On Being A Good Parent

Being a good parent means a lot of different things to different people, but one of the things it means to me is this: I will always try my hardest to take time and answer my daughters’ questions. She may have asked who’s shoes those are 16 times in the past 10 minutes, but each time I calmly respond “Those are your shoes, that’s why you’re wearing them.”

This philosophy also means that when the time comes that I don’t have an answer for her, I’m committed to finding one. I expected that time to come around when she started school, but as it happened it came this year when she is but 2 and a half.

On The Muppets

My daughter loves The Muppets. The first movie she ever sat through was Muppet Family Christmas. She has watched every episode of The Muppet Show at least twice. I maintain that this love comes entirely naturally to her, and has nothing to do with my own Muppet fandom.

So it was only natural that one day she would point at Gonzo and say “Daddy, What That?”

We’d been through this before with the other Muppets, and it had gone swimmingly. “That’s Kermit,” I’d say, “He’s a frog.” “Kernit. Frodd” she’d repeat happily. Miss Piggy (Pig), Fozzy (Bear), The Swedish Chef (Chef). Easy stuff. But now we came to this. The first question I did not have the answer to.

What. Is. Gonzo?

The Muppets have been around for four decades. During that time they have starred in 8 theatrical movies, 9 TV shows and 26 TV specials. Kermit and his crew have used those productions to ask some troubling questions: What would the offspring of a frog and a pig look like? Can Michael Caine dance? What if Tim Curry was a pirate? Questions I’ve struggled with and bested. But to answer my daughter’s question, I had have to peer deeper into the heart of the Muppetverse than any man should ever peer. I have braved the Muppet wilderness, and this is what I have brought back.

Here we go.

Credit: YouTube// Walt Disney Studios Australia

 

On Reality Itself

Of course, you probably think you already know the answer to my daughter’s question. “What is this idiot on about?” you think to yourself, “Gonzo is an alien.”

This idea was first put forward in 1999’s Muppets From Space. In fact, the entire plot of Muppets From Space is concerned with Gonzo’s “people” coming to earth to take him home. Case closed, column finished, move on.

Not so fast, bucko. What makes you so sure Muppets From Space is real? What makes you think its telling you the real story behind Gonzo? Its long been the conceit of Muppet movies that they are either presenting a fictionalized version of the real story or are just completely fabricated.

This tradition goes all the way back to 1979 and The Muppet Movie. The film begins and ends with a segment showing all the Muppets attending a screening of The Muppet Movie in a theater. Kermit explains that the movie depicts the Muppet’s arrival in Hollywood “approximately how it happened”. It’s therefore clear that Kermit et al. are merely actors playing themselves in a semi-autobiographical work.

NOTE: One important caveat here is that Statler & Waldorf appear in the audience for the film but NOT in the film itself. They are merely members of the general public. (This idea is supported by both The Muppet Show and Muppet Family Christmas). It shows that not all muppets are Muppets. That is, not all muppet-like-creatures are Muppet cast members. Remember this, it’s important.

This idea is made even clearer in their follow-up film. Released in 1981, The Great Muppet Caper stars Kermit and Fozzie as identical twins who are journalists. Miss Piggy plays an aspiring model. Kermit et al. have the same relationship with their characters here that any actor has with theirs. The movie exists entirely in its own fictional universe, without reference to the established characters that we know. Heck, the whole production even begins with a song called “Hey, A Movie!” to cement this idea.

Credit: YouTube//ZuzuFitzwaller

On Non-fictional Muppet Movies

“Ok,” you think, “Great. The tradition of Muppet movies dictates that Muppets From Space is a fictional story, so Gonzo is not an alien.”

Good job! You solved my Gonzo riddle. Pour yourself a drink.

But hold on just one second! What if I told you that the markers that prove that The Muppet Movie and Great Muppet Caper are fictional stories aren’t present for ALL Muppet releases. In fact, there are three releases that don’t contain the combination of an explicitly fictional plot and impossible metatextual references that indicate a fictional Muppet movie. Those films are: Muppets From Space, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted. That’s right, the very movie that establishes Gonzo as an alien!

Credit: YouTube//HTK1968

Muppets From Space has all the Muppet cast, acting exactly within their established characters, living in a house together. The Muppets living all together is not a completely new idea. The extremely short-lived CBS series Little Muppet Monsters established a shared Muppet dwelling way back in 1985. It is, perhaps, unusual that Statler & Waldorf live with the rest of the cast. As discussed earlier, they have been established as members of the public. However, their increased involvement in sketches in later seasons of The Muppet Show may indicate that, at some point between 1987’s Muppet Family Christmas and 1999’s Muppets From Space, they became fully-fledged cast members. So there is nothing in characterization or setup to indicate that Muppets From Space is fictional.

How about any meta-textual weirdness? Gonzo may be given some hope by one line in which Pepe refers to the adventure being like a “Muppet movie”, but the comment in context is not that much more meta than something you or I might say to a friend. Still very ambiguous.

On Job Security

However, not all hope is lost. As any private eye worth his salt will tell you, sometimes clues come from the most unlikely source. Thus, in order to finally solve the mystery of Gonzo, we must follow the tracks an unlikely suspect, an obscure Muppet who seems entirely innocuous, but may actually hold the key that unlocks the mysteries of the Muppetverse.

Bobo The Bear.

Credit: YouTube//dangersque37

Bobo The Bear was a late addition to the Muppet universe. He first appeared backstage on Muppets Tonight as a security guard at KMUP, the TV station which airs Muppets Tonight. After that, he shows up again only in the TV Special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa and in the movies Muppets From Space, The Muppets (2011) and as a cameo appearance in Muppets Most Wanted. That’s right, the 3 movies we’re interested in! Each of his major appearances give him similar roles, outside of the Muppet cast, and it is possible to trace quite a neat career path for Bobo just from these productions.

1996-1998: Muppets Tonight – At the start of the show, Bobo is already working as a security guard for KMUP.

1999: Muppets From Space – At some point between the end of Muppets Tonight and now, Bobo has moved into government work, presumably with a good reference from KMUP. He now works in a prominent position at C.O.V.N.E.T. While his position is not exactly a logical leap from security guard work, he seems to be a general henchman, which his skill-set and experience make him a good fit for.

2008: A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa – Bobo has remained in government work but has, at some point between 1999 and now, been significantly demoted (presumably after the disastrous mission depicted in Muppets From Space). He is now working as an airport security guard.

2011: The Muppets – After presumably getting tired of low level government jobs, Bobo has entered the private sector. He is now working for Tex Richman, as (you guessed it) a general henchman.

There are three important things to note here: First, Bobo’s appearances all see him play a specific type of role, which can be added together to give a consistent career path. Second, all of these roles place him in opposition to the main Muppet cast. He is not shown to be a member of the Muppet crew at any point, nor is he ever seen to be affiliated with their productions except in a tangential way.

Finally, and most importantly, most of his appearances occur in works which depict themselves as being non-fictional. Muppets Tonight is a continuation of The Muppet Show, the place where the established characters of The Muppets come from. A Muppet Christmas and The Muppets (2011) are set in a world in which The Muppets are all famous actors.

This all seems to suggest that Bobo is merely a member of the general public (NOT a Muppet cast member), whose various jobs have brought him into contact with the Muppets several times. His appearance as a henchman in Muppets From Space therefore cements its position as a non-fictional work. It’s much more plausible to accept that a former security guard would accept government work than to assume he would join a group of actors with whom he has butted heads in the past. Finally, we have confirmation: Gonzo is an alien, everything is great.

Credit: YouTube//Activeaffiliates

On Ricky Fuckin Gervais

And then Muppets Most Wanted shows up.

Muppets Most Wanted begins at the exact moment The Muppets ends. The big dance number finishes and the crowd dissipates. The first lines of the film are spoken: “And…. CUT!”

The Universe is torn asunder.

With two words, Muppets Most Wanted retroactively reveals The Muppets to be a work of fiction after all. Kermit et al., were just playing versions of their real selves.

At first this seems fine. Its just a fictional version of a true story, like The Muppet Movie. But the problems run deeper than that. Bobo’s presence ruins everything.

You see, the fact that Bobo has a role in the The Muppets means he is not just some hard-working security guard. He is a member of the Muppet’s cast. When did he join the cast? Was it in 2011, after leaving his government posting? Or was it in 1997, after Muppets Tonight? If it was any time before Muppets From Space in 1999, Gonzo’s status is unknown yet again.

But more than Gonzo’s species is at stake here. So much more. What if Bobo joined the cast even earlier? Has he been a cast member this whole time? Is Muppets Tonight also fictional? Is it all a sham?!

The implications of this are staggering. If Muppets Tonight is just another work of fiction, that means that The Muppet Show is too. Nothing is true!

Credit: YouTube//dorcm1973

Well…not quite. This state of affairs leaves one movie, one keystone holding all the others in place: Muppets Most Wanted. By revealing everything else, everything upon which The Muppetverse is built, as fiction, Muppets Most Wanted reveals itself as the only thing that is real. Walter, Costantine, Ricky Fucking Gervais. That’s the real, true story of the Muppets. Everything else is bullshit. They were just playing roles for 40 years. And now, finally, we know the truth.

But Muppets Most Wanted has one more trick up its sleeve. Right at the end, right at the climactic wedding scene, who shows up in the audience? Bobo The Bear. Its as if he’s saying “I’ve been here all along, hiding in plain sight. Everything you know is a lie.”

Epilogue

And so I return to my daughter a broken man. Not only do I not have the answer she seeks, but I have knowledge that to impart to her would be to destroy her world. It would be better had I never attempted to answer at all, if I had given up my researches and used that time to play with her and like, teach her to count or whatever. But what’s done is done.

Later she asks again. Pointing to Gonzo and looking up at me, all innocence.

“Daddy, What That?”

That’s Gonzo, honey. He’s a….whatever.

“Gondo. Whaever”

 

Credit: YouTube//Sam P

 

 

Dad Opens Car Wash To Change the Life of His Son and Others With Autism

Being a parent means wanting your kids to have every opportunity they choose to pursue in life. But for parents of kids with disabilities, the world isn’t always so welcoming. Opportunities are limited, and for some, things we take for granted feel completely out of reach. Rather than let society dictate his son’s future, John D’Eri took things into his own hands.

John D’Eri’s son Andrew has autism, but D’Eri refused to accept the limitations autism supposedly gave him. The unemployment rate for those with autism is exceedingly high, often around 90%. But Andrew wouldn’t become part of that 90% – not on D’Eri’s watch.

“I want him to have a life,” D’Eri told NationSwell. “I want him to have a job. I want him to have friends that are like him.”

D’Eri knew his son was capable beyond what society expected, and he knew the same was true for others on the autism spectrum. To help give Andrew a sense of purpose and normalcy, D’Eri and his other son, Thomas, co-founded the Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland Florida – a car wash with a purpose.

“There are a lot of incredibly capable people with autism who rarely get a chance to excel in life because they have been labeled with a disability that society pities instead of a diversity that can be harnessed as a competitive advantage for business,” the Rising Tide website explains. “Now we utilize the strengths many individuals with autism have and leverage those into the highest quality experience on the market.”

The Rising Tide car wash employs around 35 individuals with autism, and each employee is held to the company’s high expectations. D’Eri stresses that individuals with autism are more than capable of doing good work. The success of the Rising Tide car wash proves his point – the high unemployment rate in those with autism is due to opportunity far more than ability.

D’Eri hopes that his family business sets a new standard across the board, opening up even more opportunities to those with autism.

“You might be thinking that we’ve succeeded in spite of our unusual workforce. The truth is that Rising Tide’s success is because of our unique team,” their website states. “Every time a customer leaves happy, every successful year of business we complete, and every new store we open is a testament of the value individuals with autism bring to the workforce.”

Brooklyn 99’s “One Last Ride” Gets a Trailer

Brooklyn 99 has had a strange road. It started as an Andy Samberg vehicle before quickly establishing itself as a classic ensemble workplace comedy. It started on one network before getting canceled and then picked up by a different network, and then saw its final season delayed – like everything else – by the pandemic.

Perhaps most challenging, it’s a comedy about lovable, bumbling cops during a time when being a cop in America carries a lot of baggage and controversy.

But thanks to a great cast and a dedicated fan base, it weathered all those changes and controversies and managed to survive for eight years. It’s finally coming to an end with “One Last Ride,” the final season that NBC ordered in late 2019, and that finally hits the airwaves on August 12.

Despite the delay and the network change, it looks like more of the same from the amiable crew, and the whole cast is back, with Samberg joined by his winning, diverse cast: incredible foil, Andre Braugher, rival turned love interest Melissa Fumero, dopey partner Joe Lo Truglio, big-hearted tough guy Terry Crews, tough girl Stephanie Beatriz, and more, including fan-favorite guest stars back to help send the show off.

Check out the trailer for the final season:

July 2021: Lewis Creed Sr.

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for July 2021: Lewis Creed Sr. Being a dad is so much more than sharing genetics with your kids; it’s about giving your all and setting an example for your family, and Lewis’s step-daughter, Shauna, says he absolutely meets those criteria and then some:

“This is my dad, Lewis Creed Sr. He is the dad of 4 – my stepsister (Jennifer), my stepbrother (Lewis Jr.), my sister (Darla), and myself. My biological father walked out of the lives of my mom, my sister, and me when I was a few years old, so while Lou is my ‘step-dad,’ the saying ‘I’m not the stepdad, I’m the dad who stepped up’ is much more fitting.

Photos courtesy of Shauna Schuman

“In the 23+ years that Lou has been my dad, he has always truly done his best to be a caretaker and a provider for our family, as well as a positive example of what a man should be. From walking me down the aisle to marry my daughter’s dad, to staying by my mom’s side and helping take care of her as she went through chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer, to coaching his brother, his son, and his grandson in wrestling, to moving his children and grandchildren across states or across the country, and even working multiple jobs to help financially support his grown children when they’ve faced struggles…I couldn’t have ever dreamed of a better dad than the one I have.

Photos courtesy of Shauna Schuman

“Beyond what he does for us, Lou is one of the first to drop things he has going on to help others whether they are family, friends, or complete strangers. Assisting with farm chores, building additions on houses and doing household repairs, auto troubleshooting and repairs, and building adjustable ramps for aging and disabled pets are just the beginning of what he does for others with any spare time he has, and he is extremely humble about all of it – never looking for any kind of recognition. This guy has a truly amazing heart, and I’m proud and extremely blessed to call him my dad!”

To honor Lewis, his selfless attitude towards life, and his incredible humility, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Lewis is an amazing example of a father who continually “steps up” to care for those he loves. Cheers!

Ryan Reynolds Explains the Genesis of “Feud” With Hugh Jackman

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman have been feuding for a long time. The former costars, each most famous for playing their respective comic book superheroes (Jackman’s Wolverine and Reynolds’ Deadpool), even turned their feud into charity. The two never miss a chance to take a shot at the other. And now, Reynolds has explained the genesis of their feud.

OK, well, first, I should explain that it’s not a feud, it’s a “feud.” If it was a real Hollywood feud, you wouldn’t see them in public together capitalizing on it, it would be confined to passive-aggressive comments in the press and cryptic social media posts. It’s clear to anyone who has a brain that the two do like each other. And just in case it’s not clear, Reynolds has made the effort to explain it.

Reynolds was a guest on Sean Hayes, Jason Bateman, and Will Arnett’s podcast “Smartless” and called Jackman “one of the best guys I know.”

“I mean he really is just the nicest guy you’d ever meet, and it drives me nuts sometimes…he really is the real deal,” Reynolds said. He said the two have fun taking jabs at each other, but that Jackman is like his life Sherpa.

Reynolds mentioned it was Jackman’s relentless optimism that forced him to lash out initially.

“He reciprocates, of course, because he’s nothing if not a sportsman,” Reynolds said. “And that’s kind of it.”

The two are both great actors, but also really good people, who have done a tremendous amount of charity work. That’s the best kind of celebrity you can be, someone who uses your platform for good, but isn’t afraid to have some ball-busting fun along the way.

Now that he’s gone on record, even people who didn’t fully understand the “feud” can enjoy the snipes taking place between the two, knowing they come from a good place of mutual respect.

Do You Want a Pizza This? Brazilian Restaurant Sells World’s Strangest Pizzas

Pizza is a food so beautifully diverse that it can be transformed into things that barely resemble the three-ingredient classic. There’s a fine line between creative pizzas and things that no longer qualify as pizza at all, and restaurants like Pizzaria Batepapo in Brazil are constantly testing the limits. Maybe all it takes to qualify is a single person who believes it’s a pizza, but even so, this Pizzaria’s Frankenstein-like creations are a hard sell, maybe even criminal.

Most foods take on different forms in different countries, and Brazilian pizza is no exception. Some popular pizza toppings in the South American country include tuna and onions, broccoli with bacon and cream cheese, and green peas. If regular Brazilian pizzerias offer such an odd array of toppings, it’s going to take some serious dedication to stand out. Fortunately (or something), Pizzaria Batepapo is up to the challenge.

Founder Dos Santos started creating giant pizzas almost a decade ago, but once he began sharing pictures of some of his more creative pies on social media, he never looked back. Pizzaria Batepapo is an immersive culinary experience, one you won’t soon forget.

Maybe you’re looking for something savory,

Or are dessert pizzas your jam?

 

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Don’t worry if you can’t decide,

 

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You can have both.

 

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Or maybe just some extra cheese?

 

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I honestly couldn’t even tell you if the baby comes with it at this point.

 

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Every day we stray further from God’s light

 

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Pineapple on pizza doesn’t seem so bad now, huh?

 

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I need a shower.

 

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Watch Snoop Dogg Light Up Peacock’s Olympics Coverage

It’s a little bit hard to believe for those of us who first knew him as a gangster rapper on the notorious Death Row label, but Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Dogg, is one of America’s most beloved celebrities. It seems the culture has finally caught up with the notorious pothead, as marijuana use has grown increasingly mainstream and increasingly legal. Now Snoop can befriend Martha Stewart, appear in national ad campaigns, call boxing matches, and even provide commentary during the Olympics.

Of course, he’s still Snoop, so if you’re gonna hire him to call some Olympic highlights, alongside comedian Kevin Hart, you’d better be prepared for some antics.

Over the weekend, Peacock put Hart and Snoop behind a desk and let them riff on some Olympic footage, and they did not disappoint. Snoop was on one, noting the similarities between the equestrian event and cripwalking, much to his co-host’s delight.

Snoop also took advantage of the similarity of an Olympic event name to some urban dictionary slang that I would not suggest you explain to your children.

Even after referencing gangs and… bangs (sorry), Snoop emerged unscathed, with most taking delight in his commentary and appreciating the wildcard spirit he brought to the gig. Peacock took it all on stride:

And viewers loved it:

No word yet on whether there was any backlash to Snoop’s hosting, but something tells me he’ll be just fine.

“Scariest Silence of My Life,” Video Shows Emotional Moment Baby Regains Pulse

The birth of your baby is a moment you never forget. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, each birthing experience is unique and magical. Every parent hopes for a straightforward labor and delivery, a predictably difficult but otherwise uneventful day. Unfortunately, for many parents, the day your baby enters the world can be filled with fear and uncertainty.

When TikTok user Sheri sherinicole455 went into labor, she never realized her daughter’s life could be in danger. In a video that’s been viewed over 4.7 million times, Sheri shares the terrifying moment she and her husband feared they would never get to watch their daughter grow up.

“We lost her heartbeat while I was pushing,” Sheri explains in the on-screen text. “She was blue and completely lifeless.”

@sherinicole455Giving me a run for my money since the day she was born 😅 ##childbirth ##birth ##babiesoftiktok ##fyp ##McDonaldsCCSing ##VideoSnapChallenge ##labor ##cute

♬ Sad Emotional Piano – DS Productions

Though Sheri’s reaction isn’t visible through the rails of the hospital bed, her husband’s panic is tangible. He stares down helplessly at his wife and newborn baby as the nurses work quickly and skillfully, waiting for a sign that his daughter is ok.

For a few heartbreaking seconds, the room is filled with a heavy silence. When a few short moments mean the difference between life and death for your child, however, those seconds feel like an eternity. A sharp cry suddenly tears through the silence, freeing the panicked dad from his petrified trance.

“The most relieving sound in the world,” confirms the on-screen text.

As the heroic nurses congratulate the new parents, Dad drops his head into his hands and cries tears of relief. Sheri reaches out towards her husband, wordlessly sharing a moment of joy and gratitude.

“I saw him crying, and I knew he was worried,” Sheri recalled in the comments. “He told me later that he thought we had already lost her, and hearing her cry was overwhelming.”

New ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ Trailer Gives Us the Woody We Deserve

Fans have been waiting for this ever since the post-credits scene!

Remember Venom, Sony’s unlikely Spider-man adjacent blockbuster from a few years back that featured Tom Hardy going gonzo as investigative journalist Eddie Brock AND ravenous alien symbiote Venom? The sequel is coming and based on the new trailer, it’s going to have exactly what we want: more Woody Harrelson!

Harrelson’s role as Carnage in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, was teased at the end of the first movie, and fans have been dying to see Harrelson’s red-headed serial killer, Cletus Kasady, get infected by a symbiote of his own and match Hardy’s scene-chewing antics. The people behind these movies know what we want, and they’re giving it to us. In spades!

Eddie Brock and Venom have settled into an odd-couple relationship, complete with rule (“No eating people”), but once the depraved Cletus gets a taste (literally) of his own symbiote, he has nothing but chaos – and carnage – on his mind.

Check out the crazy new trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, coming this fall:

David Ayer Defends His ‘Suicide Squad:’ “Who Would I Be to My Kids if I Quit?”

The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max this weekend, and early reviews suggest it will be fun, goofy, chaotic, and hilarious; four things the original Suicide Squad movie was not. The first movie is… not good. But DCEU devotees think it could have been, if director David Ayer had been allowed to release his intended version of the movie. And after the success of Zach Snyder’s Justice League do-over, there has been a growing call to #releasetheAyerCut of the original Suicide Squad.

But, because it’s the internet, there has also been a surge of people seeing the new movie as an excuse to dunk on Ayer.

One particular tweet seemed to be a final straw for the writer/director. In a three-page letter he posted on Twitter, Ayer defends work, shed light on the sometimes painful creative process, and offered an inspiring, if somewhat gritty meditation on perseverance.

“I put my life into Suicide Squad. I made something amazing – My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some ‘bad people’ who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul),” Ayer wrote. The letter touches on his troubled youth, and how these stories is a part of his sense of redemption and self-worth.

Along with standing by his own integrity, Ayer also made sure to heap praise on his team, as well as James Gunn. It’s a fascinating read, and worth considering what could have been, had the studio not done what studios tend to do.  He concludes the letter by saying this is the last time he’ll be speaking publicly about his cut and the controversy surrounding it. Read his response, and try to keep your adrenaline down because the man is fired up!