Screentime: How Gonzo Made Me A Bad Parent

(YouTube/YouTube Movies)

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.

(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.

(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!

(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.

(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.

(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!

(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”

 

(YouTube//Sam P)

 

 

Dad Shaves Toddler’s Head With Photoshop to Prank Wife

(Bobby Wesson)

Bobby Deacon, a writer from Birmingham, Alabama, knew his wife was feeling anxious about their first family photo shoot with their 3-year-old son, so he decided a little prank might lighten her spirits.

Rayena, his wife, works as a trauma nurse, so Bobby and Deacon get to have a lot of ‘guys nights’ during the week. Given the intensity of Rayena’s job, she rarely has time to respond to a bunch of text messages, so when a calmer than usual night finally arrived, Bobby struck.

(Bobby Wesson)

Putting his photoshop skills to use, Bobby doctored a photo of their son to make it look like he had buzzed off a giant patch of his hair.

“She went 0-100 quicker than Drake lyrics,” Bobby told GoodHousekeeping.com. “I knew she would.”

And he wasn’t even close to being done.

(Bobby Wesson)

(Bobby Wesson)

Yes, along with a devious looking photo to remind his wife of his own glorious locks, Bobby claimed to be willing to shave his own head, all in hopes of consoling their own son of course.

Because what father wouldn’t do such a thing for their kid, right?

(Bobby Wesson)
(Bobby Wesson)

Bobby finally decided to call it a day when it looked like “she was going to leave the hospital to put me in one,” as he put it.

(Bobby Wesson)

When she got home, they both (allegedly) had a good laugh about it, claiming that pranks are a standard in the Wesson household.

“We play jokes on each other all the time,” Bobby said. “I ended up with her name tattooed on my butt thanks to a bet lost last year.”

Bobby put the text exchange on social media and it, understandably, went viral almost immediately.

It’s not the first time the couple has achieved internet fame, though. Back in 2015, Bobby put his writing chops to use and penned a beautiful and sincere note about his wife and her amazing roles as both mother and nurse. It has over 920k likes and over 200k shares.

From these posts, it appears there’s rarely a dull moment in the Wesson home, but we doubt they’d prefer it any other way.

Teacher’s Test Has Unique Extra Credit Questions and a Savage Prank

Teacher's Extra Credit Questions
(Imgur/SharkyTheSharkDog)

An extra credit question is like finding a life-preserver in the middle of ocean. It won’t radically change your outlook, but might just be the one thing that saves your life.

And while most teachers tend to tack on an extra difficult or vague question at the end of an exam, one special scholar has thrown the extra credit rulebook out the window.

Imgur user SharkyTheSharkDog has been taking photos of the extra credit questions from this specific teacher and most of them are outrageously fun… with the most recent being a truly special kind of social torture.

1. How many seasons was “Full House” on the air?

 


2. Complete the verse… “I been in the game for ten years makin’ rap tunes…”

 


3. What color pants does Jake from State Farm wear?

 


4. “Yesterday, during my lecture, I quickly mentioned that only a pink pen will save you tomorrow. Draw a stick figure below in that pink pen.”

(brutal…)

 

5. Describe the dumbest conversation you overheard recently.

(extra extra credit!)

 


6. Including “The Revenant,” how many times has Leo DiCaprio been nominated for an Academy Award?

 

7. (And, finally, a savage test of one’s patience and reading comprehension skills…)

First person to read this, stand up proudly on your chair, and yell at the top of your lungs, “Oh Captain, My Captain!” will receive a 95% on this exam.

*Just kidding. Name the drummer for The Beatles.

(Imgur/SharkyTheSharkDog)

We proudly reward this fine teacher with an additional 10 points for their hilarious cruelty. Huzzah!

Aussie Airline Passenger Checks a Single Can of Beer as Luggage

Beer Luggage Check
(news.com.au/supplied)

Often times, beer is the answer.

The question? What is the only piece of luggage that an Australian man checked on a recent flight from Melbourne to Perth?

That’s right, no toothpaste, no underwear, and in turn, no hygiene. Dean—a beer lover through and through—checked only one item of luggage: a single can of Emu Export Lager.

Dean conceived the idea with the help of a friend who works at the Melbourne Airport, reassuring fellow fliers that practical jokes take greater priority than airline safety. I for one think that if the TSA pied people in the face while groping them then they wouldn’t have such a lousy reputation, but that’s just my opinion as a big Three Stooges fan.

As you can imagine, Dean wasn’t 100% sure his plan would work. However, in stereotypical Australian fashion, his beer was treated like precious cargo and loaded onto the airplane. Before Dean “hopped” on the flight, he snapped this picture:

Beer Luggage
(news.com.au/supplied)


The trip was no doubt a nerve-wracking one. Honestly, Dean could’ve used that beer to calm his nerves, which poses quite the conundrum since it was stowed away. But when he finally landed in Perth and approached baggage claim, something amazing happened:

Beer Checked
(news.com.au/supplied)

Wow, who knew Emu Export lager was as sturdy as it is refreshing.

The beer arrived in pristine condition and was given the same treatment that actors get from TMZ when they land at LAX, as fellow passengers took out their phones and begin feverishly snapping photos of the can.

Being either incredibly cheap or a stickler for technicalities, Dean was prepared to file a lost luggage report had his beer not arrived, but thankfully that wasn’t necessary.

Instead, Dean could sit back and enjoy a refreshing can of beer before realizing he had no changes of clothes for the days ahead. Also, it’s safe to assume that the can would be pretty shaken up after a turbulent flight, so hopefully he was careful opening it.

Cheers, mate!

Like beer as much as Dean? Well if you also like Breaking Bad, then you need to check out “Schraderbrau,” a beer brewed by one of the show’s stars himself.

Evander Kane Loses Baby in Utero, Hockey Community Rallies

Hockey Rallies Around Evander Kane
(Getty/Brandon Magnum)

Learning that you’re going to have a baby is one of the most joyful moments a person can have, and the next nine months or so are among the most exciting you’ll ever experience. You spend that time rearranging your home and your head-space to accommodate the little person that is going to upend just about every aspect of your existence.

When something goes wrong and you are robbed of that experience, it can be absolutely devastating. It helps to have family and friends around to comfort you.

That’s what happened when hockey player Evander Kane announced that his wife had lost the daughter they were expecting. Earlier this month, Baby Eva passed away mid-pregnancy, at just 26 weeks. Kane took to Twitter to share the news with San Jose Sharks fans, many of whom had been wondering why he hadn’t been on the ice lately.

The player’s statement thanked the community for reaching out in the aftermath of their loss.

“I would like to thank everyone who has reached to to my wife and I during this extremely difficult time,” he wrote. “Over the weekend, our daughter, Eva, at 26 weeks, passed away. As expecting parents, this past week has broken us.


Evander’s statement was met with condolences from people throughout the NHL community, including the league itself, and his team.

Other players offered sympathy as well, including both Evander’s teammates and players on rival clubs.


The LA Kings mascot sent well wishes.


And fans.



Evander missed a handful of games for the Sharks, having departed in late February and taking two weeks to be with his wife as they dealt with the tragedy. The player was clearly relishing the chance to be a dad and was heartbroken to have his unborn daughter taken from him before he was able to become one.

“Words cannot express how excited we were to welcome our baby girl into the world and watch her grow,” Kane wrote. “Eva, you have been the absolute biggest blessing of our lives and we are so grateful for all the joy you brought us in such a short amount of time.”

Father Figures: Rainbow Baby

“I never thought i would be a great father. I grew up in a home with a father who had anger issues.

As the years went by, I got married to my first wife, and we decided to try to be parents. Time and time again it was pregnancy, doctor’s visits, then, a few months later: miscarriage.

I gave up hope, and life being life, we separated. 7 years later, I met my wife Julie. 2 years after that, I got the text: two blue lines.

I was ready for a repeat. The months and visits kept happening, and I began to see my child grow. Her heart was strong, and she began moving. Then the visits began in the middle of the night. My wife’s blood pressure kept climbing and the threat of losing yet another baby became real.

Then, three weeks early, I get the call: my wife is being induced. 33 hours later, I’m holding my little girl.

9:12 a.m. on July 18, 2018 Victoria Ruth VanHuss, my rainbow baby, stole my heart.”

– Evan VanHuss

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

6 Dads Who Made the Most out of Winter 2019 [WATCH]

6 Dads Who Made the Most out of Winter 2019
(Eric Fobbe)

Winter is the best season! There’s snow to play in, there’s ice to skate on, and sometimes the commute to work is just too tough to struggle through (even though you managed to drive to the good tobogganing spot without a problem).

While lots of people are content with snuggling up indoors with some cocoa and a movie, these Dads are showing the season who’s boss.

1. Dad builds a wheelchair accessible snow fort

Gregg Eichhorn of Cincinnati spent five hours building a wheelchair-accessible snow fort so his daughter and son could both wheel through it. And he has seven other kids, get the full amazing story here.


2. Snow+Batman = Snowman? oh.

Alan Wolfard in New Mexico built an 8-foot snow Batman in his front garden in Bloomfield. He said it took him about three hours to build and it’s been getting lots of attention from his neighbors. He followed up Batman with Wonder Woman shortly after.


3. B.C. Dad builds an ice rink for his hockey-loving son

The winters are notoriously temperamental in British Columbia, Canada. After waiting weeks for the cold weather to stay, Sam Dinter and his dad, Chris are skating around their own backyard.

Ever since he was a boy, Chris wanted to build his own hockey rink in his garden and now, as a Dad, he can do it. Along with his sons, he put a liner down and filled it with a layer of water.

After weeks of worrying that the big freeze was never going to come, the weather finally cooperated and their garden was transformed from a shallow pool to the perfect ice rink.

4. Dad builds a monster snowman

Yet another dad putting our moderately proportioned snowman to shame, Eric Fobbe of Buffalo, Minnesota wanted to build ‘The Father of All Snowmen’.

He used a snowblower, a skidsteer, and a shovel to construct the 20-foot-tall ‘Snowskwatch’ in his yard. His neighbors must be so happy.


5. Saskatoon man builds an ice castle

Elsa has nothing on Don Greer of Saskatoon, Canada who built a 22-feet tall ice sculpture in the shape of a beautiful castle.

“Built with a one-by-two wood armature – with a chicken wire mesh that’s applied over that and then you begin to spray with a fine mist of water from a garden hose,” Greer said.

Inspired by Disney’s Frozen, it took Greer over 60 hours to finish and almost all of December.


6. Dad builds a snow tubing track in his front yard

Brian Johnson in Moorhead, Minnesota was inspired by the sheer amount of snow they’ve had this season. He has been working on the snow tubing track since February and is over 6 feet tall at the highest point. You can watch a video of the fun here.

“Just an epic tubing hill…of course, the children, they need something to do, keeps me busy,” he said.

In the spring Johnson said that he’ll turn it into a slip ‘n’ slide hill.

Wow! I wish he was my neighbor.

Dad Builds 6 Foot Snow Tube Hill
(KVRR Local News)

Looks like I’m going to have to up my game next winter!

Brewery Puts Lost Unicorn Stuffy to Work in Hopes of Getting Him Home

(Twitter/EurekaHeights)

Breweries offer a lot of things, most of which I am a big fan. One that surprised me recently, however, was stuffed animal recovery.

It started when a frantic dad ran into Eureka Heights Brew Co. looking for his kid’s stuffed unicorn. At the time, no one in the brewery had seen the toy so the dad left to look elsewhere.

When the little mythical creature turned up later, the brewers had no way of contacting the flustered dad, so they hopped on Twitter to try and get the word out.

And things didn’t stop there. Since things were taking longer than expected, the brew team decided the little guy should have to earn his keep.

In the end, the new four-legged brewer went through the entire beer-making process, from raw ingredients to canning.




With all of the social media hullaballoo, the dad eventually got in touch to rescue the newest Eureka Heights master brewer.

Hopefully, he grabbed a few cold ones on the way out that the two of them could share after such a hard day’s work.

Yippie-Ki-Yay! The Die Hard Board Game Is Almost Here

(20th Century Fox)

Welcome to the party, pal! The newest board game coming to market is based on the classic action film Die Hard and looks pretty promising.


Titled Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game, the game is reportedly a one-versus-many asymmetrical experience, just like John McClain versus a skyscraper full of baddies.

(OP Games)

Die Hard’s influence over the action-thriller genre is staggering, so we were beyond excited for the opportunity to harness the movie’s expert blend of action, intelligence and drama into a unique tabletop experience,” said Pat Marino, lead game designer for OP Games, in a press release. “We are developing a game that will deeply resonate with Die Hard enthusiasts, incorporating even the slightest details to create a rich and entertaining experience that properly pays tribute to arguably the greatest action movie of all time.”

OP Games is known for creating new licensed versions of classic games like Clue, Monopoly, and Risk.

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is reportedly an all-new tabletop game developed internally at OP, not based on any classic games you might recognize.

The price of the game has yet to be announced, but $640 million in bearer bonds would be reasonable to the vast majority of Die Hard fans. Expect to see this bad boy on select retailer shelves this spring.