Third Bohemian Rhapsody prompt.
This video. The Muppets are always an outstanding technical achievement when they do anything more complex than stand there and open and close their mouths, and it is a tribute to Jim Henson that his techniques have been used for such a wide range of media, from Sesame Street all the way to big-budget films like Star Wars and Labyrinth, to a TV series like Farscape that wanted a higher level of verisimilitude for their non-humanoid characters than CG can provide on a TV budget even now.
But the Muppets, admittedly in their aimed-at-older-audiences-than-Sesame-Street The Muppet Show doing a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody (altered for added silliness that fits the characters so well, and does not take away from the song)? That dozens or hundreds of people spent weeks or more of their life to recreate the song that was rejected by the band's manager at first for being nothing that anyone would want to listen to and then initially panned by critics, with Muppets filling all the vocal roles, and it currently has almost sixty-nine and a half MILLION views, almost thirty million views higher than the next most popular Muppet music video, when the Muppet Youtube channel does not even have two-thirds of one million subscribers, says something about the lasting impact this song has had.
(of course, the sheer fact that the official Muppets channel has almost two-thirds of a million subscribers in the first place, as well as multiple videos above the twenty million view mark and even more above the ten million view mark, says something about the lasting impact the Muppets themselves have had - don't want to give any impression otherwise!) -- RecklessPrudence
This had to be one of the most bizarre things that Shayde had ever dragged him along to. The travelling museum had, like most travelling museums, a central theme. The Museum of the Missing, for instance, was eternally attempting to track down what happened to various artworks lost to the Shattering. This one was called the Hensonium, and showed the Galactic scene works of pre-Shattering technological prowess in the arena of entertainment.
The pieces on display were not the originals. They were modern replicas made with authentic materials. The originals were long since lost to attrition or too fragile to be manipulated at all. There was one original piece, however, a bronze statue at the entrance of a bearded man sitting on a bench apparently talking to the effigy of a frog. It had no cultural impact on Rael, but Shayde left a single rose and got a wobbly lower lip from the sight of it.
"I thought your deity didn't have a face," he murmured, attempting to show a proper level of respect. He was vaguely aware that one aspect of Shayde's pre-shattering religious figures was pictured as a man with a beard, but otherwise the iconography didn't match.
"He's no' a deity," she whispered. "He's... a figure o' great respect." She directed him to an information placard that detailed the works of Jim Henson and his descendents in the arenas of public education, entertainment, and technological progress in the field of animatronics. He was the first puppeteer to understand the translation through television, and inventor of several techniques used through to the present day.
Since the medium was 2-D entertainments, there were several screening rooms in which his finished works were displayed. With appropriate warnings for Havenworlders that included 'simulated explosions', smoke, and flashing lights.
These were, after all, Deathworlder entertainments. There was little funnier to a larval Deathworlder than things unexpectedly going bang.
"It was his philosophy," she said, during a particularly surreal video involving singing vegetables, penguins, and several smoke bombs. "When in doubt, penguins. When yer sure, explosions. It's chaos, aye, but it's... benign chaos."
This from an entertainment series that included characters with names like "Uncle Deadly" and "Crazy Harry". He looked at her and wondered once more if Human Insanity had been watered down by exposure to more sane species, if the species had mellowed between the Twentieth Century and now, or whether Shayde was just Like That because of her lived experiences.
This was, after all, a being who had grown up with this particular chaos as an essential part of her childhood. Picturing the larval stage of her maturation broke his brain, but watching young Humans laughing at the same material gave him something of a window into the early Human mind. Crazy as a bed bug just about covered it.
Then he saw the other worlds that this man had dreamed. A wonderland in a labyrinth, with creatures who could harmlessly remove essential body parts. Monsters both benign and malevolent. Creatures who could plausibly come from other worlds, and still appeared to be plausible five hundred years after the fact. Dinosaurs come to life and then given too-human characteristics. Legends, if not turned to flesh, then given flesh in the form of intricately-painted latex.
He could have stopped at any point and been hailed as a genius.
There were other screening rooms, about the man behind the curtain instead of the things he made. Rael expected a boisterous and energetic person, rather like the chaotic things that came from his mind. Instead was the antithesis. A quiet, unassuming Human who was softly-spoken and otherwise very restrained.
"People always ask me if I ever learned ventriloquism," the recorded image was saying on the screen. He had one arm up the frog puppet and a spare hand on rods that manipulated the arms. "I never needed it." The voice changed and the puppet moved. "You see, the frog is way more interesting to look at and -uh- who cares what the man in the beard is doing?"
Even prepared as he was, Rael's attention was temporarily seized by the puppet.
"Genius," said Shayde. "Never got tae hug th' man. Wish I could'a."
The screen, heedless of its audience, played other interviews about other things. Other Hensons. Other innovations. Other works of quiet genius that nobody thought about because the puppets were way more interesting to look at than the people behind the curtain.
Five hundred years too late, Rael started to wish he'd had a chance himself.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / adam121]
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