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Celebrities Guide

Belated attempt to respond to Scott's last request. As for who *does*, the category and my initial post made it as clear as possible, but here goes:

  • Guest stars on the major Muppet series or in the movies or videos
  • Guest stars in material made for Sesame Street, regardless of whether they appeared with Muppets or not
  • Talk show hosts and anyone who directly interacts (talks, performs a skit, brutally attacks) a Muppet character in a special, appearance, live event, commercial, etc.
  • Anyone introduced by a Muppet character (or Baby Sinclair) in such a context.
  • Anyone who worked in a behind the scenes capacity (director, writer, voice, etc.) on a Muppet/Creature Shop/Henson Company/Henson film production.
  • Any famous or notable actor who appears in a Creature Shop film with actual Creatures (puppets or CG) or major physical effects (prosthetic make-up, costumes), regardless of whether they shared scenes
  • Any actor in a Henson company project, even if it involves neither Muppets nor Creatures, but if it falls under our general detailed coverage bounds (i.e. MirrorMask, Good Boy!, the web series, but not the supporting cast of Family Rules)
  • Any famous person who was "interviewed" in Muppet Magazine or gave Miss Piggy a recipe and so on.

Who doesn't is easier to break down:

  • Celebrities who only appeared in a single movie with additional, technical, or minor non-character CG effects outsourced to the Creature Shop, as discussed above (i.e. Around the World in 80 Days, Talented Mr. Ripley, Gosford Park, etc.)
  • Celebrities from an all-star special or appearance with minimal Muppet content who otherwise have no interaction with the Muppets
  • Celebrities in an en masse appearance where a Muppet's in a corner somewhere but don't directly interact (so no to Paul McCartney because Kermit's hovering behind him in a couple shots, yes to Tom Jones for having Kermit on his shoulder, and he's already relevant anyway)
  • People who sang covers of Muppet songs in exclusively non-Muppet contexts (this came up with Vera Lynn)
  • People with no Muppet relevance at all but who spoofed the Muppets or worked with people who worked with Muppets (common sense, but it still happens now and then)

And as a note, the "don't list" applies to those who have no other relevance. In cases like Ricky Martin where a celeb has been heavily referenced and also appeared in an en masse appearance, I think it's worth categorizing and mentioning (though I'm still not sure about Jim Varney in the Disneyland anniversary special or Will Smith in The Earth Day Special, as mentioned, but they can be left alone). I unlinked most of the potentially troublesome names anyway. So I don't think Jackie Chan deserves a page for being in Around the World in 80 Days, *but* if we ever see Fozzie Bear as Wockie Chan or something, then he could get a page to discuss the reference and also the very distant connection via a CG effects Creature Shop project. Does that make sense? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 06:28, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I think this is a great summary, very helpful! I'm sure that over time we'll find more bits to add, or little exceptions, but we can add 'em on as we find them. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:16, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Defining Parameters

I've been meaning to bring this up for a long time, especially since recently we've been clarifying unwritten policies regarding other aspects of the Wiki. A lot of what we've been including in celebrities has been based on an unwritten system which certain of us have followed, as far as defining who belongs based on Muppet/Henson relevance (and not fame, which while also relative, has generally been easier to define based on context and in general how familiar the person is to the world at large or to certain specific groups, like comic book fans or classical music devotees and so on). However, there's some gray areas (mostly affecting red-links rather than existing pages) which I think are worth exploring and defining, especially as we get new users who don't really know what our parameters are. So a lot of this may be nothing new, and may not even raise disagreement, but I thought it worthwhile to document how I, at least, have been using and understanding this category, and some question areas.

First, the general category definition: "This category is for celebrities who have interacted with the Muppets. The list can include, but isn't limited to: guest stars, movie roles, and talk show hosts." That's a good start, but obviously there's areas that go beyond it, as well as some where "interaction" can be or has been defined verty loosely, which I think needs clarification. Obviously celebrity guest stars on any of the main Muppet shows (The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, Sesame Street, The Ghost of Faffner Hall, etc.) qualify, and with Sesame Street, we haven't tried to limit it only to stars who appeared in a scene with Muppets, and I think that makes sense. And obviously any behind the scenes personnel who are celebrities count (voice actors for Muppets, creatures, or relevant cartoon characters; writers, producers, directors, etc.; people who contributed recipes to In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy).

But now, let's look at some of the gray areas. First, Category:Creature Shop Actors. This was brought up on current events long ago, but never fully resolved. At this point, the way the category has developed, it's fair to say that it includes any person who has appeared in a Creature Shop production (both those fully produced by the Jim Henson Company, and those where Henson has been a contractor). I think that's reasonable, for while some movies have more Creatures and thus more direct interaction between stars and puppets (The Flintstones comes to mind), others don't. But they're fun links, and in general, I think it works fine the way it is since otherwise we'd have to delete people or get into tricky fields. *but* this is where the greyer area comes in, and a lot of red-links, and that's with movies where the Creature Shop was neither the main effects house no provided any clearly tangible characters or effects, but just some CG work. So my thought is any movie where Creatures, prosthetics or costumes worn by stars (The English Patient, The Phantom), or digital creatures are involved, the celebrities deserve a page. But then there's things like Batman Begins (where the Creature Shop is way down on the list, and Scott finally determined they provided digital cloth in a single scene), Gosford Park, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Around the World in 80 Days, among others. In those films, either the Creature Shop only provided vague "additional digital effects" which we haven't been able to pin down (in something like Gosford Park, it appears to be something like clouds or whatnot at best) or where it was something very minor like removing digital wire or providing a camera or things like that. My gut feeling, then, is that the stars of those movies shouldn't be linked or get pages *unless* there's some other legit connection, as with Arnold Schwarzenegger. What do others think?

Next grey area comes with "all-star" specials and events. The Beatles page notes that Sir Paul McCartney appears with Kermit. This is sort of true. The finale of the special in question has McCartney playing "Hey Jude" live, with every performer at the Queen's Jubilee (some 100 or more people) showing up on stage for it. Tom Jones stands behind McCartney with Kermit on his shoulder, so in some shots you see Kermit's foot dangling. Should McCartney get a page because of that?

Then there's things like The Earth Day Special or For Our Children. My own feeling on things like that is, again, if the celeb has some other connection, or if not interacting with Muppets/Creatures is at least mentioned by them (in For Our Children, Baby Sinclair introduces Randy Newman and Gerardo, among others), they belong. We have a few pages categorized as Category:Celebrity References, because stock footage was used of Will Smith (who was also in The Earth Day Special) and Ernest P. Worrell (who Jim Varney played in Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration). Neither interacted with Muppets in those specials, but since there's already a connection, my own inclination would be to categorize them as gfull celebrities and note the connection. Does that make sense?

There's also things like Yakety Yak - Take It Back, a PSA music video which aired on Sesame Street but was not produced for it. A bunch of celebs are redlinked whose only relevance is this video, so I think those should be taken out. Similarly, Nick added Phylicia Rashad as a redlink on Image Awards, presumably because she was on The Cosby Show and in "Cliff's Nightmare." Since her segment was distinctly separate from the Muppet portions, however, with no interaction, I'd say leave her out, and the same goes for other TV appearances. This might seem to contradict what I said earlier about Creature Shop movies. However, as Scott often mentions universe theories, I think it's reasonable to apply that to Creature Shop stars; even if a given actor didn't interact with a brontosaurus in The Flintstones, they're in the same universe so to speak. With one-shot TV show appearances, I don't think that applies, and I don't think it's worth creating a page for every person who was in an episode which featured Muppets in a single scene, especially problematic for shows with enormous casts like The West Wing or instances when only one not very famous cast member interacted with a Muppet (The Torkelsons), so I think that's worth avoiding.

Finally, just a reminder to everyone. If a famous person was parodied or mentioned only, they never go in celebrities, just Celebrity References (and as such, they don't belong in the "Connections" lists on various pages; those are fun, but work better if we stick to people who actually had some tangible involvement with the Muppets or Henson, not just those who they spoofed or mentioned one time). If they had no interaction at all with the Muppets but worked with people who worked with them, they obviously don't belong (common sense, but someone recently created a Bill Murray page which had to be deleted).

So, there's the whole manifesto. Any thoughts, agreement, or disagreement? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:20, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

My two cents - I think pages for films like Batman Begins are not really needed, if all that the creature shop supplied was some digital work on a cape. But that's not what we are talking about. We are talking about Christan Bale, who was in Batman Begins, having his own page. I feel he shouldn't. If an actor is in a creature shop film, where no creatures are featured, then no page for them, unless they have other ties. I really think even pages like Peter Boyle are even pushing it. It's totally interesting to see how he connects to articles on the wiki like Joseph McCarthy, but does that justify an entry in the wiki? I'm still on the fence. We know how much I love The Producers, but should Uma Thurman or John Barrowman have a page based only on the fact that there were pigeons and a black cat created for the movie by the creature shop? I'm a huge Producers and John Barrowman fan, but I just think it's sort of silly that John has a page for a small role in a movie that had creatures created for a muscial number that was cut down and another split second gag. In a movie like the Flintstones it makes more sense when dinosaurs (which were often PUPPETS) were always popping up to give William Hanna a page for his cameo then Gary Oldman having a page as Gordon in Batman (with a Henson altered piece of fabric). -- Nate (talk) 16:55, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I was hoping you'd weigh in on this, Nate. As far as the digital movie pages in general, we'd discussed it early on; originally I was in favor of just listing all those on one page, but they are legit Creature Shop projects; it's just that, the way we decided not to create pages for human characters in movies where the Creature Shop was only a contractor, I think similar logic is worth applying to those movies. List the info on the movie page, but people don't get pages if that's they're only connection. For the record, Peter Boyle did have a scene where the Creature Shop pigeons leave their, er, mark on him, so that mostly fits under the strict definition. I know what you mean about Barrowman (and I've been reluctant to create a page for Thurman, but by the same definition, she's allowable); by the strict definition, Will Ferrell is the only one who shares scenes with the puppets. But they are fun connections and at this point I'm not sure it's worth deleting those pages (since with past discussions, its been difficult to reach a consensus so they got pages; I'm generally fine with that and have made a few pages of that kind myself, but I thought this bears discussing before Macy Gray gets a page for Around the World in 80 Days). Also, Oldman is the only actor redlinked there because he was also in Lost in Space, and interacted with the robot and a CG creature. Also, I admit I try to include actors who've been in more than one Creature production, even if they don't have puppet scenes, because somehow it seems more interesting to track actors who keep ending up in these kinds of projects. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 17:37, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
To me a lot of it is just common sense. Many pages for people who worked directly with the Muppets, or creatures, or whatnot are bland and low on content, but yet pages like Peter Boyle's are chock full of nifty info that connects to other odd pages on the wiki, and stuff like that is EXTREMELY interesting to geeks like me. (and I'm betting wiki geeks on the whole). So where to draw the line? It's a slippery slope, however I do feel that if it is just a digital effects contracted movie, no pages should be created without other connections for any actors. For creature effects, then I can begin to see more logic behind a page. Especially if they can be connected to other actors via films they have been in which you might not realize. Maybe it makes a little more sense to put it this way. When I log onto the Muppet Wiki, I find it interesting that the Creature Shop worked on Batman Beyond. I don't need to read a page informing me that Maggie Smith was in Gosford Park or Christan Bale played Batman, when I can learn about the cast members of those films on IMDb or other wikis. That's just a waste of my time here to read about Muppet related activities. Maybe we can add links to the IMDb for those films for people to find info on individual cast members? -- Nate (talk) 18:41, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
So far, nobody has weighed in on this except Nate and myself, but since there's no opposition, I'm inclined to assume a consensus to unlink actors whose only connection is a movie with minor non-character digital Creature Shop effects (actual digital characters are still Creatures, so those would count), and I'm going to go ahead and assume the same for something like the Yakety Yak music video. As for the grey areas, here's another example. I've been researching Our Place and found a list of guest stars (there was one per show), including Woody Allen (who has been spoofed and referenced countless times), Eddie Albert, Nipsey Russell, Soupy Sales, and Cyril Ritchard (plus Joel Grey, Arthur Godfrey, and Carol Burnett). From the one episode in circulation, with Dick Shawn, it appears that the guest usually had at least slight interaction with Rowlf, so would they count as celebs and should they get pages? (Allen will definitely get a page when I or someone else get around to it, so this would only affect categorization, as a Celebrity as well as a Celebrity Reference). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:32, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the digital Creature Shop question. For variety shows and such, I think we should just have pages for celebs who interact in some way with the Muppets -- including Baby Sinclair's intro of Gerardo as an "interaction".

I think the Our Place celebs should have pages, if the Muppets were in every episode. There seems to be a lot of cross-guest interaction, so it's a safe bet that they shared scenes.

I don't think Paul McCartney gets a page for appearing on the same stage as Kermit, although Tom Jones obviously would in that instance.

In general, I agree with Andrew's judgements about what counts as interaction; I think that's a sound way of making these distinctions. Are there other examples still in question? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:44, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I can't think of any other questionable areas just now, although looking around, I think Brian Wilson and Rod Stewart might merit deletion under the new standard, since like McCartney, they were only in a huge crowd scene (Joe Cocker, Ricky Martin, and Mick Jagger, among others, were also there with no direct interaction, but they have other connections and references, and I'm only really concerned about those with no relevance at all beyond the grey areas). So I'll probably go ahead and start unlinking the digital folks, and removing them from any connection lists, and work on Woody Allen and others who do qualify later. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:48, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that all sounds good. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 04:51, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Could we maybe have a bulleted list of who we do and don't make pages for? That would be really helpful. —Scott (talk) 16:25, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
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