Happytime Murders film successfully trolls Sesame Street into marketing the film

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/31/happytime-murders-film-success.html


Does no one remember Meet the Feebles?


How many people are really going to associate Happytime Murders (murders is a clue here) with Sesame Street. Sesame Workshop hasn’t a leg to stand on (or should I say an arm up a furry puppet’s bottom for support) IMHO.

And yes, I definitely remember Meet the Feebles. Though I’m not sure that was marketed as a filthy version of the Muppets - though plenty of reviewers did describe it as such IIRC.


Oh man, I hope a muppet ejaculates a foot or so of white yarn. Hot!


The preview basically showed a variation on the “Austin Powers peeing for a really long time” joke but with silly string.


Or after that, “Puppets who Kill”


It is not possible to “successfully troll” Sesame Street. Trolling Sesame Street is an asshole move, which is not something that meets my idea of success.


i’m on the side of Sesame Street here. i agree that from a kid’s perspective, which is their audience, they would not be able to tell that this movie is not a Sesame Street product and as such, it damages their brand. i wish Jim Henson was around to see what his son is doing with his life’s work. Frank Oz is certainly not happy about it, and that’s enough for me.


I watched the trailer 3 times hoping to see something actually funny. It’s just the same gross out humor. And yeah, Sesame Street is totally getting dragged through the mud. Even if they didn’t use the tagline, they LOOK like Muppets.

People will totally make the association!

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Still haven’t seen that. I have seen Let My Puppets Come though.

ETA : Don’t bother seeing that unless you really interested in bits of obscure cinema curiosity.


I’m not sure when a Sesame Street aged child will see much advertisement for Happytime Murders. Can’t be much more often than say marketing for Avenue Q, or Team America.


Ummm… Avenue Q has been exploring the “adult” side of muppets in a very popular live musical show, on and off Broadway, since about 2002. They’ve even won awards.

Here’s a famous bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJvdGcb7Fs


I was surprised that Sesame Street lost. If HTM had not had “No Sesame, All Street” in their trailer I doubt the movie would have had as high an awareness. From where I sit they definitely were riding on the name of Sesame Street.

Then again, I’m also surprised that Brian Henson is behind The Happytime Murders. A bit of cognitive dissonance here.

Also: does no one remember Greg The Bunny?


Brian Henson’s been doing adult-themed puppet stuff for a very long time (with his long running Puppet Up shows, Tinseltown, and lots of other shows); this movie’s just an extension of the Henson Alternative things he’s been writing and directing.


Like the original post says it was probably the explicit reference to Sesame Street in the tagline that pushed this production over the line.

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Wonder Showzen was even crazier and adult. Or the Dark Crystal, for that matter, even though it was marketed to kids (several scenes marred me back in the day, but I stand by my decision to see that instead of ET with my mom and sister.)

I am not. Sesame Street is part of pop culture and should be able to be referenced as much as anything else. Though you’re probably right the law suit has added to their marketing campaign.

And the tagline was attempting to not just reference but SEPARATE itself from Sesame Street. As if the actual trailer before Deadpool 2 wasn’t a give away, the tag line at face value is making it clear that this isn’t a kids show.

Look I love Sesame Street. I love the Muppets. They are both magical, wonderful things. But they aren’t sacred cows. This new movie of course is partly derivative (any puppetry can’t help but have SOME influence by the masters before it.) but also it’s own thing. Referencing another thing doesn’t make it infringement or make people unable to discern the two.

I just hope the scenes in the preview that made me literally LOL aren’t the only ones like that in the movie. As it stands, I want to see it now.


I have it on VHS from ages back, and looking to get the DVD at some point. I haven’t watched it in a long time though, so I’m not sure if I would still like it or not.

I have two seasons on DVD, and really enjoy it.

I loved this show, and was bewildered when it was cancelled.

As for “Happytime Murders”… I’m not really feeling it, based on the trailers. I might give it a shot, but it won’t be one I see on the big screen. I’ll wait for it to show up on Netflix, Hulu or Redbox.

I certainly get Sesame Street’s position on this. Unless that tagline was meant to appeal to former viewers that are now adults, like myself (and if so, it didn’t really work), I see no reason for it to be there.

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So it’s a less-funny Meet the Feebles. Woot. I don’t think Brian should have used Sesame Street’s brand in the advertising, it’s totally disrespectful to his father’s legacy. I’m fine with the movie being made, heck I would’ve even been fine if they had used to tag line and then backed-down when confronted by Sesame Workshop. Fighting it out in court? Ugh.

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As do I. (Although I think their lawyers did a shitty job of making the point that this trailer wouldn’t have garnered as much attention if they hadn’t even mentioned “Sesame Street” in any way shape or form.)

It didn’t work for me either. Yeah, I think they were trying to create an association between HTM and Sesame Street, on a subtle or not-so-subtle level. If they had never mentioned the name, at all, I think the movie potentially wouldn’t be as successful as it would be making the association.

I’d actually have more respect for Brian Henson if he had never made any association to SS in the wordage in the trailer. It would fall more on the strength of its own merits, like Avenue Q. (Not saying that Avenue Q is exactly like this; Avenue Q is classier.)


well, they are running commercials, so it definitely could happen.