Joss Whedon is a writer, director, and producer who first made his mark in television, creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. He made his debut as a film director with the Firefly spin-off Serenity, scripted and produced The Cabin in the Woods, and directed and adapted Much Ado About Nothing casting several of his TV players. Whedon wrote for Marvel Comics beginning in 2004 and went on to work on adaptations including the films The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron (writing and directing both) and the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Whedon's father Tom Whedon wrote for sitcoms, sketch comedy, and several Muppet projects, while his grandfather John Whedon scripted old-time radio comedies like The Great Gildersleeve. Growing up, Whedon was very familiar with the Muppets:
“I was puppet peopled, yes. My dad ran The Electric Company... the show from Children's Television Workshop back when they were doing Sesame Street. He actually worked on Captain Kangaroo before that. So a lot of our family friends were Muppet people. We were part of a whole Muppety circle. You know, it was always a big thing in my life when I was a kid, because I thought Muppets were cool. Now, I'm not talking about the ones that had their own show, I'm talking the Sesame Street ones. I was one of the people that felt that Kermit was a sell-out when he started his own show. I was never really into it. Fozzie Bear is just a wannabe Grover. I always thought there should have been war between the East Coast and West Coast Muppets. That's just me. I always liked puppets. They make me laugh, but they were a serious part of what I remember from my youth, so I just have a little obsession. Not so much an obsession. It's not like I'm collecting dolls or anything. Does my son have a Grover? Yes he does. Because Grover is the finest of all of them.”
Whedon continued to express his admiration for Grover on Twitter, as when responding to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia writer Erin Ryan's tweet about favorite Muppets (while identifying Rowlf as his favorite from The Muppet Show. In response to an official Sesame Street tweet about which of four Muppets to be stranded on a desert island with (Grover, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, or Cookie Monster), Whedon replied at length: "Ever heard of Super Grover, you idiots? He’s gonna get stuff DONE. Planes will see him in his cape and Roman helmet or whatever it was. He’s ENTHUSED. He’d do all the cooking for sure. Also will provide a good amount of food when you kill/eat, not like scrawny #Elmo."
Years before writing about vampires or directing superheroes, Whedon followed the family tradition by scripting episodes of the sitcoms Roseanne and Parenthood between 1989 and 1991. Frequently doing uncredited script doctor work on film screenplays, Whedon's credited script contributions include Alien Resurrection and the animated films Toy Story, Titan A.E., and Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Other works as a primary creator include the web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (with Neil Patrick Harris and Firefly/Buffy alumnus Nathan Fillion).
- Numerous mentions of the Muppets have been made on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and their spinoffs in other media.
- In the tenth episode of the first season, "Haunted," co-written by frequent Whedon collaborator Jane Espenson:
- Jocelyn Bashford: [crying] God, I'm so emo.
- Margaret Bashford: I have to say, there's a part of me that's not sad to see someone mourning my friend.
- Jocelyn: Is that what this is?
- Margaret: You lost your mother. It's only natural you'd be so Elmo.
- Jocelyn: Emo.
- Margaret: That's not a word, sweetie.
- In the first episode of the second season, "Vows," written by Whedon:
- [Claire wakes up Topher by sexually seducing him]
- Topher Brink: What the hell? Are you drunk?
- Claire Saunders: I'm just trying to be my best.
- Topher: Whoah, I don't want your best.
- Claire: [notices his arousal] Well, I think you do.
- Topher: [covering his crotch] That is the minority vote. And you tricked it. Okay? A guy's asleep... could'a been Fozzie Bear and it would have...
- Topher: [gestures]
- Topher: Not that I think about Fozzie Bear.
- "The Puppet Summit" by Matt Partney, Angel Yearbook 2004 published by Titan Magazines
- Joss Whedon on Twitter, May 18 2018
- https://twitter.com/joss/status/1107757033682583553 Joss Whedon on Twitter]. March 18, 2018