Alisa Opar
Published: 12/07/2011


 
If you're taking your kids (or just your inner child) to see the new hit movie The Muppets, there are a few things you should know about this controversial film. Yes, controversial. Sure, it's funny, delightful, and heartwarming, but it’s also stirring up heated debates. Fox Business host Eric Bolling, for instance, suggested on Friday that the (liberal) movie is "brainwashing" young viewers against the oil industry.
 
The movie's villain is Tex Richman, an oilman who plots to tear down the Muppets’ theater in order to drill underlying oil. “The only thing green that should be up on that screen is Kermit the Frog,” said Dan Gainor, of the Media Research Center, on the show. Right. Never mind that the movie doesn’t mention the environmental ramifications of the oil industry—the filmmakers went with the dastardly “historical landmark” approach instead. So, actually, thank you Fox for making the environmental link. (Watch the clip here.)
 
Then there's the far more serious debate: Which Muppet birds can talk? Bret McKenzie, songwriter for the movie (you may know him as one-half of Flight of the Condors), discussed this contentious topic with New York Magazine.
 

Most of the animals can talk, but chickens can’t talk. Chickens can only cluck. Sometimes I’d write lyrics and the chickens would sing; then I’d find out in the studio that they could only cluck. And for penguins, it’s a subject of much controversy as to whether the penguins can talk or not. The Muppeteers told me they can’t, but there are Muppet historians that have responded saying they can. Serious Muppet fans say the penguins can talk. I’d be writing these songs and sometimes I’d trip over these Muppet rules and have to adjust the song. And sometimes I’d be in the studio and one of the Muppets would refuse to sing a line because they didn’t think it was appropriate for the character.

 
One of those Muppet historians weighed in on the can-or-can’t-penguins-talk debate in the comments section: “A penguin speaks in ‘Muppets Take Manhattan,’ asking for a job in the diner,” wrote RobertHP. Well, that’s good enough for the birds I hang with.
 
Related stories:
 
What Kind of Bird is Big Bird? 
 
What Kinds of Birds Are 'Angry Birds'? 

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