Frank Oz may not be a household name, but some of his closest friends are. The puppeteer and filmmaker, who brought life to such beloved Muppets as Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, is at South by Southwest with his documentary “Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched.” In a new Variety interview, Oz talks about his love of the Muppets — and why he only watched 15 minutes of the quickly canceled TV show that premiered in the fall of 2015.
“I felt the show wasn’t true to the characters,” he says of ABC’s sitcom, which ran for 16 episodes. “There was a purity in each character that was vital. I felt that purity was being moved around to areas that didn’t feel right.” Though he feels that everyone involved “did the very best they could,” they weren’t helped by “working with scripts that other people wrote. They had to do it the way it was. If it was given more air and they trusted the performers, as we had air, it would have come alive more. Those abilities, to riff and be smart enough, weren’t appreciated.”
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Oz, who also directed “In and Out,” “What About Bob?” and “Bowfinger,” is asked which of the characters he considers his favorite. Though he has difficulty — “It’s like saying, ‘Who is your favorite kid?'” — he singles out three: Piggy, Animal and Grover. Read the full interview here.