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10 Years Later, We’re Still F.R.I.E.N.D.S

By: Brittany L. Reid
Brittanylreid.25@gmail.com


          See, no one told you life was gonna be this way,
         
Our favorite sitcom ended, 10 years from yesterday!

          That’s right!  May 6, 2014 marked the 10 year anniversary of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S series finale.  After a run of 10 seasons and 236 episodes, it is no stretch to say that the renowned sitcom left a lasting impression on American culture for many years to follow.

Left to Right: Chandler (Matthew Perry), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer), Monica (Courtney Cox), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow)

Left to Right: Chandler (Matthew Perry), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer), Monica (Courtney Cox), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow)

 

          The series premiered on September 22, 1994 via NBC’s network, and followed the day-to-day lives of six 20-something-year-olds in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.  The characters all had a prior connection to each other, whether they were siblings, high school classmates, college roommates, or just apartment roommates.  Yet, they all bonded over so much more than their adolescent history.  The series consisted of these six people, who also embodied the struggles of conquering many adulthood challenges: getting jobs, losing jobs, familial issues, hook-ups, broken hearts, and even more trying, maintaining strong friendships throughout a variety of strenuous tribulations.

          There was something about this series that nearly everyone could relate too.  The characters were immensely diverse, but quirky in a way that a fan could say, “My gosh, I so GET that!”  Whether you could connect with Ross being a nerd, Monica being a neat-freak, Joey being a player, Chandler being anxious, Rachel being materialistic, or Phoebe being free-spirited, it was the very essence of their personalities that made them…real.  Even more so, despite the fact that they were all different, each and every one of them always had the well-being of the others at heart.  While sometimes their deceptions would get out of hand, the measures they went through to avoid hurting each other in relation to those deceptions, showed just how much they cared for one-another.  So, it was rather uplifting that every Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. on NBC, these people welcomed America into their small circle of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. via television sets nationwide.  

          We were privy to the most intimate of their secrets: from witnessing what led to Ross and Rachel being “on a break,” to the secret relationship instigated by Monica and Chandler in London.  We were there when Ross had to give up his pet monkey, Marcel, and when Phoebe found out the hidden truths about her family.  We felt the frustration of Chandler having to deal with Janice (Maggie Wheeler), and the rest of the gang having to deal with Joey.  We felt the stress of Monica balancing her feelings for Richard (Tom Selleck), and Ross balancing the fragile web of his marriages in tandem with his dating life.  We were there for everything, and while some situations may have been unorthodox, they were by no means unbelievable.  Perhaps that is what made F.R.I.E.N.D.S so real for all of us: that their lives could have very well been any one of ours.

          Thus, the series gave us a fitting goodbye in 2004, leaving behind iconic symbols such as the Central Perk coffee shop and “the Rachel hairstyle” that swept the nation in the 90s.  Fans received genuine closure as Ross and Rachel’s rocky-relationship finally glided down the runway for a smooth landing.  We also sent off fond well-wishes to Joey, who was gearing up for moving to L.A. with goals of continuing to pursue his acting career.  Chandler and Monica took their first steps of parenthood together, and Phoebe entered the early stages of being a newlywed with her beau, Mike (Paul Rudd).  The last episode was viewed by about 52.5 million people, making it the fourth most watched series finale in television history (Christiano, 2010).  The show itself received a multitude of awards and was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmys (Emmys, 2014).  Truly, it is one of the most treasured shows in televisions history.  It has even been parodied on other hit series such as Murder She Wrote, and Animaniacs.

“Acquaintances” short-intro on Animaniacs

          The 10 year run ended with a finale that was open enough to leave plenty of room for future continuity, yet allowed the fans to envision what they believed happened with our friends in the future.  It was just last year the rumors hit the Internet like wildfire about the possibility of a F.R.I.E.N.D.S reunion special.  Such a special seemed plausible because the anniversary of the decade was looming just over our heads.  However, the rumors have been quickly dispelled by several members of the main cast, such as Lisa Kudrow (Duncan, 2014).

          Still, it is fun to imagine that there could always be a possible spin-off with one of the 2nd generation characters (i.e. Ross and Rachel’s daughter or Chandler and Monica’s twins).  Look at what is happening with Boy Meets World!

          But in the meantime, we can always delight in the fact that whether it’s via reruns on television, posts online, or just seeing our favorite actors on screen, that feeling of friendship with these beloved characters will always be there.

          I’ll be there for you, ‘cause you’re there for me too.

002-friends-theredlist           All 10 seasons of the show are currently available via DVD box sets.
——–

          Kent Christiano (2010, May 6). Top 10 Most Watched Series Finales. Retrieved from  http://www.indyposted.com/21133/top-10-most-watched-series-finales/

          Emmys. (2014). Awards Search, FRIENDS. Retrieved from http://www.emmys.com/awards/nominations/award-search?search_api_views_fulltext=FRIENDS&search_api_views_fulltext_1=&search_api_views_fulltext_3=
FRIENDS&search_api_views_fulltext_2=NBC&search_api_views_fulltext_4=&field_nominations_
year=1993-01-01+00%3A00%3A00&field_nominations_year_1=2008-01-01+00%3A00%3A00&field_nomination_category=All&submit=Search 

          Amy Duncan (2014, January 16). Were you left angry by the fake Friends reunion rumors? You might want to read this. It’s an apology. A big one… Retrieved from http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/16/were-you-left-angry-by-the-fake-friends-reunion-rumours-you-might-want-to-read-this-its-an-apology-a-big-one-4265098/

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Quack-a-Doodle-Doo: The Eggs are Falling!

     As many of you may know, I wrote, illustrated, and published my very first children’s book not too long ago.  The name of the book is, Quack-a-Doodle-Doo: Do it Like Dave.  It is the first in a series of books I am working on to promote positive self esteem within children.  I’m aiming to have the sequel released sometime this year.

      In addition, I have designed and maintained a website to promote my publication(s).  Recently, I added a game to the homepage of the site entitled, Uni’s Catching Game.  The goal is to see how many eggs you can help Uni catch in 60 seconds by moving him with the ‘left’ and ‘right’ arrow keys on your keyboard.

     So please stop by the website and check out the game!  Also, peruse the site itself and let me know what you think by signing the guest book at the bottom of the homepage.  The web address is: http://www.quackadoodledoo.com. 
Thanks!
-Brittany L. Reid

Sesame Puppeteer Workshop 2014: Photo-rific Memories!

     I just wanted to share a few pictures of my time at the Sesame Puppeteer Workshop.

PHOTO CREDIT: ZACH HYMAN

     I’ve been practicing my puppetry skills since the workshop, and I’m planning on releasing a few fun videos this month.  So stay tuned!

 

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

Photo Credit: Zach Hyman

 

     MEGA THANKS to Matt Vogel, Martin P. Robinson, Peter Linz, The Sesame Workshop, and these AMAZING puppeteers from around the country, for making this a treasured and unforgettable experience!  Also, MEGA THANKS to Zach Hyman for preserving these precious memories for us!

-Brittany L. Reid

2015: Year of the Chipmunk (UPDATE)

*Update to my original article:  The website www.chipmunks.com has recently been remodeled to promote the upcoming 2015 television series.  You can now connect with the show’s Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube pages via the new website.

The ‘History’ tab that was present on the previous site has been removed.
_____________________________________

Original article below:

 

-By: Brittany L. Reid

 (Article can also be found on my other blog, here: http://breidmedia.blogspot.com/2014/03/2015-year-of-chipmunk.html)

 alvinnn_and_the_chipmunks

“Watch out, ‘cause here we come!  It’s been a while but, we’re back with style!”

                Indeed, Alvin and the Chipmunks are back…AGAIN with another new look!  After the success of their recent live-action films, the munks’ designs are being revamped for a brand new television series set to debut next year entitled, ALVINNN!  And the Chipmunks!!!

                Buzz of the new TV series can be traced back to around 2010 with word spreading through means such as this YouTube video.  Not more than two years later, fans were treated with an idea of what the munks may look like through an interactive app that allowed people to engage with Alvin, known as the iMunk app:

imunk-alvin-and-the-chipmunks-1-1-s-386x470

                With this app, users could make Alvin dance, play his guitar, and have him repeat whatever they said in a rather munk-y voice.

                The new design seemed to be a mesh of the old school and the new school.  While Alvin’s basic foundation reflects the same anthropomorphic figure of his renowned early 80s-early 90s incarnation, he is also equipped with a chipmunk tail, stripe down the center of his face, a chipmunk nose, and darker hair color that closely matches the fur color of his design in the live-action features.

                 It wouldn’t be long before the rest of the munks made their debut with their updated designs as well.  The Chipettes’ new look quickly followed Alvin’s in June of 2012, through the release of their cover for the song “Call Me Maybe.”  Simon and Theodore would finally join the group with their designs in October of 2013, the year that also marked the 30th anniversary of the Alvin and the Chipmunks TV series, which debuted in 1983.

 Alvin1-620x343

                The chipmunks are no strangers to redesigns.  When Alvin, Simon, and Theodore made their first appearance in 1958, they were displayed on their album covers as real chipmunks, but were immensely different than how they have looked in their recent motion pictures.

wdaatcm

                At the time, it was Ross Bagdasarian Sr. who served as the munks’ “father,” having brought that munk-y voice to life for his popular song “Witch Doctor.”  He would soon affix that voice to many more novelty records, including the infamous “The Chipmunk Song” (“Christmas Don’t Be Late”).  “The Chipmunk Song” was produced after “Witch Doctor,” and served as the melody that officially introduced Alvin, Simon, and Theodore as a musical group.  *(To find out more, visit the ‘History’ tab on www.chipmunks.com).  With the success of their records, they soon made their way into the homes of millions by becoming re-mastered for the 1961 television series, The Alvin Show, which ran for just under a year (October 1961-September 1962) and garnered a total of 26 episodes.

thealvinshow_2085

                 Bagdasarian voiced all three munks, as well as Dave Seville, throughout the entirety of the show.  After his death in 1972, the munks were passed on to his son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., who has kept the franchise alive alongside his wife, Janice Karman for more than two decades.  Together, they reintroduced the munks to a new generation in the 1980s with A Chipmunk Christmas, a primetime TV special in which the munks’ designs had even more detail than they did in the 1960s.  The popularity of the special led to the creation of the Alvin and the Chipmunks television series in 1983.

                The series would last for 8 years before being syndicated in reruns on a variety of television networks. This was the cartoon in which The Chipettes first made their debut, giving the female audience 3 characters in the animation world that they could relate too alongside the boys.  Ross and Janice wrote the stories for the show, and provided the voices for the characters.  Ross voiced Alvin, Simon, and Dave, while Janice voiced Theodore and the Chipettes.

alvinandthechipmunks

The_80's_Chipettes

                The franchise produced albums, lunchboxes, VHS tapes, apparel, and action figures galore.  The show’s popularity would result in munks’ first theatrical feature, The Chipmunk Adventure, which premiered in 1987.  In 1988, the series was renamed to, The Chipmunks.  By the early 1990s, they were honored with a Rockin’ through the Decades special, recognizing their popularity throughout history.

                It’s been over 20 years since the munks have been showcased on the small screens of homes worldwide via their own TV series.  As it stands, their new show has reportedly been picked up by over 70 Nickelodeon channels around the world (excluding North America and Brazil).  According to an article published on February 24th, 2014 on Animationmagazine.net, the show has been scheduled for two seasons of 104 episodes, each 11 minutes long.  Each episode will also feature an original song by the Bagdasarians.  Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his wife, Janice Karman, shall provide the voices for the characters once again, just as they did during the Eighties and the Nineties.

                “It’s a different style of animation. My dad created a look in the Sixties and Janice redesigned it beautifully for the Eighties with a very classic look, less stylized, and then redesigned it again for the movies. This is the next iteration; fresh and new but with the essence of the characters, both in look and story,” Ross has stated (Tbivision.com).

                The series will be produced by Bagdasarian productions and OuiDO! (previously Genao) productions for PGS Entertainment.

                BUT WAIT!  That’s not all!  In addition to the television series, fans can get hyped for an expected 4th live-action movie to hit cinemas during the 2015 holiday season!  There’s been no official word on the plot of the film yet.  However, according to the International MovieDatabase, the movie is currently in pre-production and aiming for a release date of December 11.

Chipmunks and chipettes concert

                Between their return to TV and their new movie, you can bet that the year 2015 will most likely see an increase in munk-y merchandise to promote their continuous rise in entertainment industry.

Promo Video for the 2015 Series, ‘Alvinnn! And the Chipmunks’

 

 

Escape- A “Muppets Most Wanted” Fanfiction

It looks like I’m apparently in a “Muppet-y Fanfiction” mode for a while. (lol).  So, here’s another one!

This is a Nadya/Constantine story.  The inspiration for this hit me late last night.  We know that in the movie Nadya spent all of her time with Kermit the frog, but let us not forget that Kermit had merely swapped places with Constantine.  So lately, I’ve been thinking about what, if any, kind of history did Nadya have with Constantine while he was in the Gulag just prior to the film?  Did she have a connection with him that influenced why she was probably so drawn to Kermit?  Likewise, does he have a connection with her despite his “criminal” persona?

While this thought was the basis for this particular story, the plot itself is set to take place [perhaps several months] after the movie.

Also, this story is more like a single, isolated incident with no real connection to the movie, except for one reference made by Nadya.

Enjoy!

Summary: A type of toxic gas has been released inside of the Gulag.  What affect does the resulting chaos have on Nadya and Constantine?


 

ESCAPE

A “Muppets Most Wanted” Fanfiction
Written by: Brittany L. Reid
Posted on 4/14/2014 at  7:27 PM

“Nadya!  Come on, we’ve got to get out of here!” he yelled to her over the hurricane of chaos.  It stank.  It stank and the smell was getting worse, stronger.  People were screaming all around them as Constantine grabbed Nadya’s hand and yanked her off the floor, pulling her along behind him.  She coughed profusely and pulled her scarf up higher around her nose.  She felt like her throat was closing up and she could hardly breathe.  She didn’t know what had happened or what was going on; there was so much confusion and she was slightly dizzy.  Her vision blurred before her as she tried to keep up with the smaller amphibian who had a tight grip on her wrist.  She was running off of pure adrenaline at this point, feeling like she wasn’t even there, like it was all a dream.  She didn’t know where she was going, all she knew was she had to keep moving…

…keep moving…

 

“….dya….adya!”  someone was calling her name.

“Nadya!  Hey!  Come on woman, you will not quit on me!” a thick, Russian voice said.  Then, a small, clammy…hand? …patted her face.

“Nadya!  Hey!  I know you’re tougher than this you ol’ broad, wake up!” the voice said.  She groaned and slowly opened her eyes.  Everything was still blurry, but she could just make out two ping-pong balls staring at her with a small amount of concern.

“Oi, can you hear me?”

“Uggh…” she groaned and brought hand up to her head.  She was still so dizzy.

“Dammit Constantine, what did you do?” she asked, her voice cracked and just above a whisper. “This is a new low, even for you,” she added.

“Whaaa-?!  Y-you’re blaming this on me?!”

“Who else?!” she cried, rolling over on her side.  The feel of the snow against her face was welcoming for the fevered sweat she felt on her brow.  Constantine frowned.

“I would never pull a stunt like this!  It is not my style!  It was too unorganized and held too much room for human error.  If the evacuation had not been successful we would have-!”

“E-evacuation?  Oh!” Nadya’s eyes grew wide as she suddenly tried so sit up.  Bad idea.  She immediately grabbed at her stomach and leaned over, feeling like she’d puke at any moment.

“Hey-hey-hey, easy!” Constantine said, patting her back.  “The last thing I need is you blowing chunks all over me.”

“Ugh…my…my men.  A-and t-the prisoners…” she groaned.  Gods, if anything had happened to  them…her head was spinning.  There was a pause before Constantine spoke.

“They… are fine,” he said.  She glanced up and saw him staring off into the distance.  Then, she could hear it.   The voices were faint, but she could hear some semblance of order just over the hill and down below.  Several voices were trying to make sure people were accounted for.  She couldn’t tell who the convicts were and who the authorities were.  All she heard was men calling out for their comrades, or crying for assistance to help those who were incapacitated.

“Your men…did their job well.  And my cronies looked out for each other.  I am sure that most of them got out relatively safely,” Constantine said.  Nadya frowned before turning her head, giving the frog a seething glare.  Her breathing was still heavy.

“I cannot believe… you were willing to poison everyone… just to make your escape,” Nadya hissed.  “Why…why you saved me is beyond me.  What?  Do you… plan to-to hold me for ransom?  Y-you’ll never get away with it,” she said.  Constantine stared at her cooly for a moment before a small smirk played on his face.

“Ahhh, I do not know whether to be flattered or insulted.  A ransom?  Eh, is not bad idea.  But, niet.   I have told you, this was not my plan.  It was much too sloppy.  And a keeping a hostage is the last thing on my mind.  Too high-maintenance,” he said.  He then shifted from resting on his knees to sitting Indian Style in the snow.  “Ah, Nadya.  You do not give me enough credit.  I may be evil, but I’d never go so far as to use poisonous gas.  It is beneath me,” he added.

“Ha!  So says the…” she paused and swallowed to catch her breath.  Geeze, she felt like she would keel over any minute.  “S-so…so says the World’s Most Dangerous frog.  NOTHING is beneath you, Constantine.  Or did you think…I’d forgotten that you tried… to blow up the Muppets?!  A-a stunt like this is…is right up your alley,” Nadya wheezed.  She was having more trouble pushing her words out at this point.  Constantine’s eyes grew wide and fumed at this.  He opened his mouth to retort, then closed it, grumbling as he turned away.  This woman was infuriating.  Why couldn’t she just be thankful that he had saved her?

Nadya sighed as she lay down in the snow again.  Getting worked up wasn’t helping her any; she had to calm down.  But she was no fool.  Constantine would sacrifice anyone for his own gain.  She knew it.  The weary woman closed her eyes, trying to gather herself.  For a while there was silence.  She never noticed the small shade of red rising to the frog’s face.

“You know…that… that was only the one time.  Besides…I did not…like them,” he said lowly.  Nadya slowly opened her eyes and glanced over at Constantine.  He still had his back turned to her, and said nothing more.  His statement made her freeze in thought.  What did that mean?  He was an evil criminal, he didn’t like anyone.  And yet, when he glanced just over his shoulder to look back at her, she could tell he was holding back something.  It was as if a war was waging behind his countenance.  The frog sighed before standing up.

“We must find way to get you to hospital before is too late.  I believe you may have breathed in more of that gas than what is a safe for humans,” he said.  He knew he had to be checked out somewhere as well, but she appeared to be much worse off at the moment.

“But…my Gulag…”

“…Will most likely be quarantined for a while.  You will not be able to return for quite some time,” he said.  “Can you sit up?”  He asked.  She groaned and shook her head.  He sighed again with his hands on his hips.

“Right.  I will at least find way to get you transportation, yes?  You should not be moving much in your condition anyway,” he said, looking around for some sign of a passing vehicle, or some way that he could move her.

“And you?”

“…Well now, what kind of criminal would I be if I did not at least take advantage of this opportunity to pursue my next heist?”….that was what he wanted to say.  But he felt it wasn’t the time.  Yes, he would take off, but after ensuring she was alright.

“We will…get you taken care of first.  After all, a criminal is nothing if his adversary is down for the count, yes?  You are like the Batman to my Joker,” he said with a smirk.  Nadya was skeptical; she still didn’t trust him.  But she knew they were wasting valuable time.

“I may… owe you one, Constantine.  But do not think this has changed our relationship in the slightest,” she whispered, closing her eyes again.

“Yeah, yeah.  Just shut your yap and rest, huh?  I’ve got this,” he said, putting a flipper to her forehead.  Nadya felt her cheeks flush, but chalked it up to the cold weather…or to the weakened state her body was in.

She didn’t know what kind of game Constantine was playing; but she had to admit, she was touched by his concern.

 


Replies/Comments/Reviews are welcome.  Thank you!

-Brittany L. Reid

 

 

Constantine and Piggy- A “Muppets Most Wanted” Fanfiction

In addition to being an aspiring Multimedia Journalist, I also like to do a bit of creative writing in my spare time.  I compose a variety of pieces that are either based on different prompts found online, or that just strike me whenever inspiration hits.

This piece was inspired after watching a bevy of Youtube interviews for the film Muppets Most Wanted.  The interviews consisted of Kermit, Piggy, Constantine, Ricky Gervais, and the rest of the cast & crew talking about what it was like making the film.  I recall one interview in particular where Piggy stated that Constantine was the same on camera as he was off camera, and that he was always stealing things (i.e. her lines, her spotlight, etc.).

The interview that served the most inspiration for this piece, however, can be seen below (particularly when Constantine and Kermit both switch voices to trick Piggy (around 1:49).

From this, I like to imagine that Constantine just enjoys pushing Miss Piggy’s buttons, and probably got her frazzled a lot on the set just for his own enjoyment.  He seems to love switching places with Kermit if, for no other reason, than to cause chaos by doing things like fooling Miss Piggy.  (A running joke in the interviews is that Piggy got the two frogs confused off camera just as much as she did on camera).


 

CONSTANTINE AND PIGGY 

MMW-Trailer-25_1395362796
A “Muppets Most Wanted” Fanfiction
Written by: Brittany L. Reid
Posted on 4/9/2014 at 6:45 PM

 It was fun; too much fun.  Really, it shouldn’t be this fun, but it was.  It was hysterical.  The entire gang was crazy but she was just too much

At the moment, Gonzo was talking to Rizzo while there was a pause between takes for their latest film.  The two were simply minding their own business until a certain high-maintenance diva came up and just…stood there.  Now, to any ordinary bystander, one probably thought that she wanted to be included in their conversation.  But the longer she stood there, the more impatient she became and she began to do her trademark bounce of agitation.  Meanwhile, the Gonzo and Rizzo were completely oblivious until…

“ARGH!  WOULD YOU TWO JUST GET OUT OF MY WAY! HONESTLY!  YOU’RE IN MY SPACE!  MOVE IT!!” she snapped.  Gonzo jumped in surprise while Rizzo ended up yelping and scampering underneath the cloth dangling from a nearby table.  With the duo parted, Miss Piggy nodded and continued on her way.  Rizzo slowly peered out from under the cloth.

“Geeze, she could’ve just went AROUND us!  Hoity-toity much?!” the rat, complained.  Gonzo shook his head,

“I know Rizzo, I know.  Just let it go,” he said, patting his friend on the back.

“No, no, NO!  I WILL NOT LET IT GO!  She can’t just go bossing people around this way and that!  I’m sick and tired of it Gonzo; sick and tired!  She’s done this to us too many times!” he cried.

“I know buddy.  But, she kinda can.  It’s in her contract,” Gonzo said.

“And don’t you forget it, buster!” she called over her shoulder.  At this, Constantine, who had watched the whole exchange from not too far away, snickered to himself.  It was hilarious!  Here, Miss Diva Pig was walking around having everyone cater to her beck and call.  Practically the entire cast and crew was intimidated by her…yet, he was the only one who could truly make her stutter and stumble over herself.  He was the only one who could pop her bubble, and oh how he enjoyed doing so.

Now, the evil frog actually had a fair amount of respect for the pig.  He didn’t know many women who could hold their own like her.  He had to admit that she was a fantastic fighter.  Plus, she wasn’t half bad looking….for swine.  However, she was IMMENSELY annoying.   If it wasn’t for the fact that she got on his last nerve, he would have almost considered her valuable frenemy; a somewhat formidable nemesis.  But as it was, he couldn’t stand her.

Now, in light of the exchange that had just happened, one might be inclined to think that on set, off screen, and behind the camera, Constantine bothered Miss Piggy to give her a taste of her own medicine.  One might believe that he served as some sort of force that neutralized the balance between her and everyone else:  Miss Piggy agitates the team, so Constantine agitates Piggy.  But that wasn’t the case at all.

…he just liked messing with her.

She was like a puppet to him (pun intended).  So, it was at this moment that he decided to follow Piggy to the snack table where she was currently stuffing her face.  He came up right behind her, put his flippers over her eyes, and turned on his best Kermit impression (which in reality wasn’t all that good, but the pig couldn’t tell the difference).

“Guess who, my darling!” he said, trying to contain his laughter.  Piggy froze.

“Wha-?  Oh!  Oh-ho-ho, I know my little Kermie-poo’s adorable hands anywhere!” she said with glee in her high-pitched voice.  Constantine sneered in disgust and confusion,

Kermie-poo?” he mouthed to himself, before sticking out his tongue shaking his head.  He then released Piggy’s eyes and wrapped his arms around her.  She still could not see him.

“My darling, I saw what happened.  You seem a bit…stressed,” he said.

“Ugh, I just don’t know WHY I have to put up with these WEIRDOS!  Can’t we just…ya know, shoot this stuff without them and then go back and add their scenes in later?”

“It is the director’s call, honey.  You know that.  Now, there, there,” he took her by the shoulders and guided her to a nearby chair.

“Sit here and relax; let me melt your stress away,” he said, rubbing her shoulders.  Piggy’s eyes closed as she felt the tension leave her muscles.

“Oh, Kermie.  That feels nice.  I didn’t know you were a masseur,” she sighed.

“Only for you, my dear,” Constantine said, his normal accent dipping just slightly into his tone as he eyed the pearl necklace around her neck.  He smirked as he worked his fingers inward from her shoulders, coming closer and closer to the shining jewelry before him.  It wasn’t long before Piggy began drift off.  A few moments later, Constantine made his move, cautiously unhooking the necklace and pulling it over her head.  Her eyes remained closed and she didn’t notice a thing as she continued to doze.  The villainous frog held in an evil laugh as he pocketed his new possession.  He then walked around to the side of the chair to just stare at the pig. …she was sound asleep…snoring with doughnut powder all over her face.

Constantine rolled his eyes.  Overall, he felt sorry for her.  He had a feeling that she went around bullying others because she didn’t really trust them, so she had built up this wall to protect herself from ever being hurt.  Constantine, in contrast, didn’t really bully people.  He just liked tricking them, stealing their possessions, wrecking things, causing chaos, and blowing stuff up for fun.  Granted, he was the world’s most dangerously evil frog, but he had some standards.  (He’d never return a library book late, for example).   So, with his most recent mission completed, he prepared to slip away. …But not before reaching for a coat that was nearby (he didn’t know whose) and draping it over the pig.

He only did this because apparently, the piece of pork was too stupid to realize that she’d awaken with a chill, otherwise.

About ten minutes later, Piggy woke to the feeling of someone shaking her.

“Piggy?  Piggy?  C’mon Piggy, we’ve gotta get ready to shoot the next scene.”

“Hmm…no Kermie, not yet…” she murmured, feeling warm and relaxed as she curled into herself more under the coat that was draped around her.

“Ah…we kinda don’t have a choice, we’re on a tight schedule…”

“Uuuuggh…geeze.   Look, if you wanted me awake you shouldn’t have given me that…fabulous massage earlier,” she moaned, stretching and trying to wake herself up as she rubbed the matter from her eyes.  Kermit blinked in confusion.

“Huh?  Um…Piggy, w-when did I give you a massage?”

“Oh, don’t be silly Kermit.  Just a little while ago, you came over and helped me relax because I was feeling stressed!  That was so sweet of you,” she cooed.  Kermit looked around a bit in confusion.

“Ahhh…..Piggy, I’ve been going over the script with the director all afternoon.  I haven’t seen you for about three hours at least.  What are you talking about?” he asked.  It was then that Miss Piggy froze, eyes wide open.  She immediately tensed as she hopped from the chair and advanced on her frog, frustration oozing out of her.

“This isn’t funny, Kermit!”

“I-I-I…ah-…w-who’s laughing?!” Kermit asked, quivering in fear.

“Don’t play dumb, frog!  If it wasn’t you gave me a massage, earlier, who did?!” she asked, bringing a hand up to the side of her neck where she still could feel the lingering sensation of…wait a minute…

“Wha-…wait…no it….what?”

“Piggy, i-is there something wrong?”

“Ah…ah…oh no!  Oh no!  Where is it, I’ve lost it?!  How can that be?!”

“Lost what, Piggy?”

“MY NECKLACE!!  How could you not notice, I’m not wearing my pearl necklace!  Where is it?!  What happened, did it fall of somewhere?!  Ooh!” she cried, panicked.  She then got down on her hands and knees, looking for any sign of her shining jewels.  Kermit stepped back in surprise.  Piggy never got down on the floor for anything unless it was for a scene…and even then getting her to commit was like pulling teeth.

“C-calm down, Piggy we’ll find it!”

“No, Kermit you don’t understand!  Those pearls were worth…”

“I know, I know!  Don’t worry, we’ll find it!” Kermit said, also getting to his knees to help her look.  The couple was unaware of the dark figure who was evilly grinning from the shadows of some curtains hanging nearby.  Constantine’s trademark chuckle rose out of his mouth as he could barely contain his glee.  Look at them, crawling around on the ground like the animals they were!  No, lesser than that!  They were more like roaches…or ants!  It was so easy!  Man, he loved being a villain!

While working on this film, he always enjoyed  watching the pig get so frazzled that she was almost nothing like her strong, self-assured self, and the frog was usually hardly ever far behind.  (Although, Constantine did like Kermit; he was the one signing the paychecks, after all).  Constantine fingered the pearls he had wrapped around his wrist as he watched them squirm all about.  It was too invigorating.  He was amazed how such a small act of chaos could make him so giddy, but seeing others in distress was like eating cotton candy at the circus to him.

Yet, just as soon as it had started, the thrill began to wear off.  Constantine frowned and sighed.  He needed to do something to up the frenzy…like maybe framing the bear as the one who had taken the pearls in the first place.  Or perhaps framing the curly-nosed one; she seemed to have a great amount of hatred for him.  OOH!  Or the boy…the newest member of the group.   Yeah, shaking up the bonds of his trust should be good for a laugh.

Yes, Constantine loved causing discord.  But for some reason, irritating the pig was the thing that brought him the most joy.

After all, it was always fun to knock down a brick wall that seemingly no one else could.

 


I may write a few more Muppet fanfictions.  I have several plots running around in my head at the moment, so we’ll see!

-Brittany L. Reid

The Herald Gazette: “Reid Knows the Way to Sesame Street”

“Reid Knows the Way to Sesame Street”

(As published in the Barnesville newspaper, The Herald Gazette)
Date of Publication: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

     Above is a printed copy of an article that was published in my local newspaper, highlighting my trip to The Sesame Workshop.

*For a larger view, click “Reid Knows the Way to Sesame Street,” or click on the picture.  When a new window opens, click the picture again to enlarge it.

 

Good Boy- A “Muppets Most Wanted” Fanfiction

In addition to being an aspiring Multimedia Journalist, I also like to do a bit of creative writing in my spare time.  I compose a variety of pieces that are either based on different prompts found online, or that just strike me whenever inspiration hits.

I recently was inspired to do a very small piece after watching the film Muppets Most Wanted.  This short piece involves Walter reflecting on what happened in the film, and Animal trying to make him feel better.

*Warning: This story does contain spoilers of the movie.  If you have not seen Muppets Most Wanted yet and wish to avoid spoilers, do not read this.

The story can also be found on my Tumblr HERE.

GOOD BOY

walteranimal

A “Muppets Most Wanted” Fanfiction
Written by: Brittany L. Reid
Posted on 3/27/2014 at 6:50 PM

Walter stared up at the ceiling as the train’s cars rocked back and forth along the tracks.

That had been a close one.  Too close.  Constantine had almost married Miss Piggy, blown up the Muppets, and they had almost lost Kermit for good.  The boy pressed his lips together firmly.  If only he had gone with his gut instinct sooner, they could’ve rescued Kermit earlier and avoided this whole mess.  How could they have missed it?

After rescuing Miss Piggy and doing one last performance back in Siberia, the Muppets boarded their train to make the long trip back home, all agreeing that they deserved a much needed vacation.  Everyone had apologized profusely to Kermit.  Miss Piggy was especially shaken.  She and Kermit had spent the last couple of hours in Kermit’s car alone together, just…talking things out…and trying to reconnect.  The group gave them their space.

And Walter…he was a bit at odds with himself.  He had considered himself the greatest Muppet fan, ever!  Why hadn’t he been more assertive in the fact that something was fishy with their leader from the start?  What kind of number one fan was he?  The boy rolled over onto his side, staring at one of the many Muppet posters plastered on his wall as he pondered over whether or not he even deserved to be a part of the team.  He almost didn’t hear his door open, but he most certainly heard the heavy breathing at the entryway.

A rather shaggy, red creature stood there, panting with heavily drooped eyelids.  Despite the fact that their family was filled with bears, rats, pigs, chickens, and anything else under the sun, Animal was definitely the most feral of the group.  As such, he was more in-tune with his natural instincts, and had known something was up from the start.  He also could tell that out of everyone’s energy on the train right now, Walter was perhaps the most conflicted.  Oh sure, they all were a bit chagrined over what had happened, but Walter was thoroughly disappointed in himself.  And yet, Animal knew that more than anyone else, he really didn’t have a reason to be.

So the creature made his was over to the boy, who hadn’t still hadn’t turned over.  Animal stood there for a moment, just staring.  Then, he gently nudged Walter with his head.  Walter sighed before turning over fully to just look at Animal, wondering what he wanted.  Animal panted for a moment before his eyes grew wide, allowing only two words to escape his mouth,

“GOOD.  BOY,” he grunted.

Walter’s own eyes grew wide, and he let out a breath before a small smile crossed his face.  He then reached over and gently rubbed Animal’s head.  Animal leaned into his touch.  Walter chuckled a bit before reaching out and wrapping both arms around the Muppet Family’s shaggy “dog.”  It was small but somehow, this moment made him feel a lot better.

“Thanks, Animal.  You’re a good boy too,” he said.

2015: Year of the Chipmunk?

-By: Brittany L. Reid

 (Article can also be found on my other blog, here: http://breidmedia.blogspot.com/2014/03/2015-year-of-chipmunk.html)

 alvinnn_and_the_chipmunks

“Watch out, ‘cause here we come!  It’s been a while but, we’re back with style!”

                Indeed, Alvin and the Chipmunks are back…AGAIN with another new look!  After the success of their recent live-action films, the munks’ designs are being revamped for a brand new television series set to debut next year entitled, ALVINNN!  And the Chipmunks!!!

                Buzz of the new TV series can be traced back to around 2010 with word spreading through means such as this YouTube video.  Not more than two years later, fans were treated with an idea of what the munks may look like through an interactive app that allowed people to engage with Alvin, known as the iMunk app:

imunk-alvin-and-the-chipmunks-1-1-s-386x470

                With this app, users could make Alvin dance, play his guitar, and have him repeat whatever they said in a rather munk-y voice.

                The new design seemed to be a mesh of the old school and the new school.  While Alvin’s basic foundation reflects the same anthropomorphic figure of his renowned early 80s-early 90s incarnation, he is also equipped with a chipmunk tail, stripe down the center of his face, a chipmunk nose, and darker hair color that closely matches the fur color of his design in the live-action features.

                 It wouldn’t be long before the rest of the munks made their debut with their updated designs as well.  The Chipettes’ new look quickly followed Alvin’s in June of 2012, through the release of their cover for the song “Call Me Maybe.”  Simon and Theodore would finally join the group with their designs in October of 2013, the year that also marked the 30th anniversary of the Alvin and the Chipmunks TV series, which debuted in 1983.

 Alvin1-620x343

                The chipmunks are no strangers to redesigns.  When Alvin, Simon, and Theodore made their first appearance in 1958, they were displayed on their album covers as real chipmunks, but were immensely different than how they have looked in their recent motion pictures.

wdaatcm

                At the time, it was Ross Bagdasarian Sr. who served as the munks’ “father,” having brought that munk-y voice to life for his popular song “Witch Doctor.”  He would soon affix that voice to many more novelty records, including the infamous “The Chipmunk Song” (“Christmas Don’t Be Late”).  “The Chipmunk Song” was produced after “Witch Doctor,” and served as the melody that officially introduced Alvin, Simon, and Theodore as a musical group.  (To find out more, visit the ‘History’ tab on www.chipmunks.com).  With the success of their records, they soon made their way into the homes of millions by becoming re-mastered for the 1961 television series, The Alvin Show, which ran for just under a year (October 1961-September 1962) and garnered a total of 26 episodes.

thealvinshow_2085

                 Bagdasarian voiced all three munks, as well as Dave Seville, throughout the entirety of the show.  After his death in 1972, the munks were passed on to his son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., who has kept the franchise alive alongside his wife, Janice Karman for more than two decades.  Together, they reintroduced the munks to a new generation in the 1980s with A Chipmunk Christmas, a primetime TV special in which the munks’ designs had even more detail than they did in the 1960s.  The popularity of the special led to the creation of the Alvin and the Chipmunks television series in 1983.

                The series would last for 8 years before being syndicated in reruns on a variety of television networks. This was the cartoon in which The Chipettes first made their debut, giving the female audience 3 characters in the animation world that they could relate too alongside the boys.  Ross and Janice wrote the stories for the show, and provided the voices for the characters.  Ross voiced Alvin, Simon, and Dave, while Janice voiced Theodore and the Chipettes.

alvinandthechipmunks

The_80's_Chipettes

                The franchise produced albums, lunchboxes, VHS tapes, apparel, and action figures galore.  The show’s popularity would result in munks’ first theatrical feature, The Chipmunk Adventure, which premiered in 1987.  In 1988, the series was renamed to, The Chipmunks.  By the early 1990s, they were honored with a Rockin’ through the Decades special, recognizing their popularity throughout history.

                It’s been over 20 years since the munks have been showcased on the small screens of homes worldwide via their own TV series.  As it stands, their new show has reportedly been picked up by over 70 Nickelodeon channels around the world (excluding North America and Brazil).  According to an article published on February 24th, 2014 on Animationmagazine.net, the show has been scheduled for two seasons of 104 episodes, each 11 minutes long.  Each episode will also feature an original song by the Bagdasarians.  Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his wife, Janice Karman, shall provide the voices for the characters once again, just as they did during the Eighties and the Nineties.

                “It’s a different style of animation. My dad created a look in the Sixties and Janice redesigned it beautifully for the Eighties with a very classic look, less stylized, and then redesigned it again for the movies. This is the next iteration; fresh and new but with the essence of the characters, both in look and story,” Ross has stated (Tbivision.com).

                The series will be produced by Bagdasarian productions and OuiDO! (previously Genao) productions for PGS Entertainment.

                BUT WAIT!  That’s not all!  In addition to the television series, fans can get hyped for an expected 4th live-action movie to hit cinemas during the 2015 holiday season!  There’s been no official word on the plot of the film yet.  However, according to the International MovieDatabase, the movie is currently in pre-production and aiming for a release date of December 11.

Chipmunks and chipettes concert

                Between their return to TV and their new movie, you can bet that the year 2015 will most likely see an increase in munk-y merchandise to promote their continuous rise in entertainment industry.

Promo Video for the 2015 Series, ‘Alvinnn! And the Chipmunks’

 

My Visit to the Sesame Workshop

sesame_street_characters1

Tremors shivered up and down my spine and butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I clutched the phone tightly in my hand. It rang and then I heard my mother’s voice on the other end.
“Hello?”
“Hi, where are you?”
“Driving with your Memama.  We’re about to do some Christmas shopping.”
“Okay, well you might want to pull over or something.”
“Why?”
“I’ve got some big news.  Do you have me on speaker?  Put me on speaker!”
“Hold on. ……Okay, you’re on speaker,” my mom says.  Then, after my grandmother gives me her hello, I take a breath,
“Hi! Well, it looks like I’m heading to Sesame Street!”

That’s how I broke the news to my family after I received an e-mail stating that my submission for the 2014 Sesame Puppeteer Workshop had been accepted back in December. Immediately there were exclamations of joy from my mother and grandmother, and we soon shared the news with other members of the family.

The Count, Telly, and Me!

The Count, Telly, and Me!

I’ve loved the Muppets ever since I was a kid. I mean, who hasn’t? Their characters are hilarious and timeless, heartfelt, and imaginatively realistic. Since their debut, they’ve practically been a part of everyone’s family, for every generation. But my love of puppetry extended beyond the Muppets. As a child, I had puppets of Charlie Horse, Lamb Chop, and Hush Puppy whom I often lifted up to the TV as I tried to mimic the performances I saw on “Lamb Chop’s Play Along.” I even took an interest in ventriloquism when I was about 9, and did shows for my local church and local school.

My love only grew as I became intricately interested in not just the performances, but the foundations of the stories and lessons that the puppets conveyed to their audiences.  By the time I was 11, I knew that I wanted to be part of a movement that had a great, positive impact on today’s generation. I knew I wanted that impact to be educational and entertaining.

Before long, I had written and illustrated my first children’s book, Quack-a-Doodle-Doo: Do it Like Dave.  After its success, I immediately began formulating a plan to incorporate my puppetry into my hobby of writing. I had done a few on-camera puppetry performances already. But I thought,

“Who better to help me hone my educationally-entertaining puppetry skills than the masters at the Sesame Workshop, a corporation who has breathed life into the edu-tainment industry since my parents were kids?”

With that in mind, when I heard about the open-call for puppeteers to send in their videos to the Sesame Workshop, I knew I had to take my shot. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and there was a one-in-a-million chance that I’d get in. But at least if I entered, I’d have a chance.

The video below is the one that I sent in for my submission:

As I shot the video, I recorded my part first. Then, I recorded my Muppet’s part. When I went in to edit, I merged the two scenes together, utilizing skills I’d learn from the Video Production courses I’d taken at the University of West Georgia.

Needless to say, when I informed my family that my application had been accepted, they were thrilled and gave me their full support…(and when I say full support, I mean FULL). Before I knew it, I had two aunts and a grandmother exclaiming that they, “wanted to go to New York too!” I practically had an entourage geared up to travel with me to The Big Apple.

My family and I decided to travel by car. It was a long trip, but we entertained ourselves with several movies we had brought along for the ride. By the time we reached Maryland, we realized that a pretty heavy snow storm would be coming along our path. So we decided to bunk at an Inn for the night. We woke up early the next morning, and pulled out around 9 AM to finish up the rest of the drive. We ended up reaching NYC around noon, giving us plenty of time to check in to our hotel. I then made sure I had my materials ready before heading on over to the workshop, which began early that afternoon.

Walking into the workshop, I was surrounded by pops of color and the kid inside me was giddy with excitement! As I turned the corner into the meeting room, I met some of my fellow puppeteers. Before long more people began to trickle in. We all signed in, put on our name tags, and all chatted for a while as we eagerly waited for our mentors.

It wasn’t long before…they entered.

There was an air of cheeriness and positivity surrounding all three of them: Martin P. Robinson, Peter Linz, and Matt Vogel.

Everyone was beaming ear to ear as a bubbling wave of eagerness washed over the room. We all went around and introduced ourselves. Then, after we were given a rundown of what the workshop would entail, we were split up into our groups for the day.

Overall, the workshop focused on the basics such as eye focus and bold characterization. We did several exercises to help enhance our individual strengths and techniques throughout the workshop. There was also a great deal of versatility, both in terms of our groups and the puppets that we worked with. In the end, it all culminated into several fun skits that we did to gauge how much we had learned over the course of the workshop.

On the last day, we all make sure that we gathered each other’s contact information. My family ended up leaving NYC at about 4 AM after the last day, and we made it back home by that night.

I took away a lot; but one of the greatest aspects of this experience was the fact that I got to meet a lot of fabulous puppeteers, whom I hope to work with again at some point in the future.

I wouldn’t trade my experience at the Sesame Workshop for anything. I feel like a part of me is still in NYC; it all ended way too soon.

But it will definitely be marked as one of the best experiences of my life!

Me with my mentors: (left) Matt Vogel, (center) Peter Linz, (right) Martin P. Robinson.

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