Man or Muppet

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"Man or Muppet"
Man or Muppet scene.jpg
Gary and Walter, singing alongside their respective counterparts.
Song by Jason Segel and Walter (Peter Linz)
from the album The Muppets
Published Fuzzy Muppet Songs [1]
ReleasedNovember 22, 2011
Label Walt Disney
Songwriter(s) Bret McKenzie
Music video
"Man or Muppet" on YouTube

"Man or Muppet" is a song from Disney's 2011 musical comedy film The Muppets , written by singer-songwriter Bret McKenzie. Performed by the film's main characters, Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (Peter Linz), the song also features Bill Barretta and Jim Parsons portraying the contrasting identities of Gary and Walter, respectively. [2] The song was released by Walt Disney Records on November 22, 2011, as part of the film's original soundtrack.

Walt Disney Pictures American film studio and a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Pictures is an American film studio and a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, owned by The Walt Disney Company. The subsidiary is the main producer of live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Studios unit, and is based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It took on its current name in 1983. Today, in conjunction with the other units of Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Pictures is regarded as one of Hollywood's "Big Five" film studios. Films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios are also released under this brand.

<i>The Muppets</i> (film) 2011 film by James Bobin

The Muppets is a 2011 American musical comedy film and the seventh theatrical film featuring the Muppets. The film is directed by James Bobin, written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, and stars Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones, as well as Muppet performers Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, David Rudman, Matt Vogel, and Peter Linz. Bret McKenzie served as music supervisor, writing four of the film's five original songs, and Christophe Beck composed the film's score. In The Muppets, devoted fan Walter, his brother Gary, and Gary's girlfriend Mary help Kermit the Frog reunite the disbanded Muppets, as they must raise $10 million to save the Muppet Theater from Tex Richman, a businessman who plans to demolish the studio to drill for oil.

Singer-songwriter musician who writes, composes and sings

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies.


"Man or Muppet" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 84th Academy Awards and the Sierra Award for Best Song. [3] It was also nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 55th Grammy Awards, [4] Best Original Song at the Satellite Awards [5] and Best Song at the 17th Critics Choice Awards, in which two other songs from the film, "Life's a Happy Song" and "Pictures in My Head", were also nominated, with the former winning. [6]

The Academy Award for Best Original Song is one of the awards given annually to people working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is presented to the songwriters who have composed the best original song written specifically for a film. The performers of a song are not credited with the Academy Award unless they contributed either to music, lyrics or both in their own right. The songs that are nominated for this award are performed during the ceremony and before this award is presented.

84th Academy Awards

The 84th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2011 in the United States and took place on February 26, 2012, at the Hollywood and Highland Center Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Academy Awards in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by ABC, and produced by Brian Grazer and Don Mischer, with Mischer also serving as director. Actor Billy Crystal hosted the show for the ninth time. He first presided over the 62nd ceremony held in 1990 and had last hosted the 76th ceremony held in 2004.

The Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media is the Grammy Award awarded to songs written for films, television, video games or other visual media. Through the years it's been awarded, since 1988, it has gone through several name changes:


In the film, the song is performed by Gary (Jason Segel), Walter (Peter Linz), a Muppet form of Gary (Bill Barretta), and Walter's human form (Jim Parsons).

Jason Segel American actor, screenwriter, songwriter, singer, and musician

Jason Jordan Segel is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. He is known for his role as Marshall Eriksen in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, as well as for his work with producer Judd Apatow on the television series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, and for the critically and commercially successful comedies he has starred in, written, and produced.

Peter Linz American puppeteer

Peter Linz is an American puppeteer. His most prominent role is being the performer for the character Walter who was introduced in the 2011 feature film The Muppets. He then took over the roles of Herry Monster and Ernie from Sesame Street in 2017. Linz recounts receiving the role of Walter as his favorite; "Apart from my wedding day and birth of my children, being cast as Walter was one of the greatest moments of my life. I was beyond happiness."

William Paul Barretta is an American puppeteer and producer.

The song is a piece that reflects Gary and Walter questioning what their true identities are. Through the course of the film, Gary is oblivious to the desires of his longtime girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), and instead offers to sacrifice his time to assist the rest of the Muppets return to fame. This leads to a conflict between him and a distraught Mary, who returns to her home in Smalltown without him. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Walter, despite his respect and admiration for the Muppets, experiences an identity crisis as he comes to terms with the dilemma of having to choose between becoming part of the Muppets—which has been his lifelong dream—or continuing his ordinary life alongside Gary and Mary.

Amy Adams American actress and singer

Amy Lou Adams is an American actress. Known for both her comedic and dramatic performances, she has featured thrice in annual rankings of the highest-paid actresses in the world. Her accolades include two Golden Globes and nominations for six Academy Awards and seven British Academy Film Awards.

In psychology, identity crisis is the failure to achieve ego identity during adolescence. The term was coined by German psychologist Erik Erikson.

During this song, Gary and Walter see alternate versions of themselves—while wandering the streets, Gary sees himself as a Muppet in a shop window and trolley, and Walter sees himself as a human (Parsons) in a circle of mirrors inside the Muppet Theatre. At one point, Gary and Walter (each with their respective counterpart) come together in an abstract, recondite musical setting, dressed in white tuxedos and playing pianos facing each other. At the song's conclusion, both characters ultimately accept who they really are; Gary declares himself a "Man" (but "a Muppet of a man") and Walter a "Muppet" (but "a very manly Muppet"). Gary and Mary are later seen reconciling after Gary goes back to Smalltown and apologizes to her.


I think everyone has had that crisis at some point, trying to figure out whether they are a man or a Muppet ... I like the idea of people having that crisis, driving around, trying to figure it out.

—Bret McKenzie on the meaning of "Man or Muppet" [7]

The film's writers, Nicholas Stoller and Segel, informed McKenzie that he had to avoid alluding to the term "puppet", stating that the Muppet characters view themselves as actual people, and never as sentient puppet figures. [7]

McKenzie cited power ballads written by artists such as Eric Carmen and Harry Nilsson as inspiration for the song's tone. [7] He also stated that the main reason for the song's inclusion in the film was to have the characters resolve the problem of coming to accept their true selves. [7]

Michael Cera and Paul Rudd were considered for the role of Walter's alter-ego. [8] The part was eventually given to Jim Parsons, who described it as "the role of a lifetime". [9]


After receiving the Oscar nomination, McKenzie admitted that he never expected it to be nominated and described his experience in writing the lyrics, stating that he "really wanted it to be hilarious and beautiful" and that the song itself is "sincere but ridiculous". [10]

"Man or Muppet" was the third Muppet song to be nominated for an Academy Award, the others being "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie and "The First Time It Happens" from The Great Muppet Caper . "Man or Muppet" is the first Muppet song to win an Oscar. [11] It is also the twelfth song from a Disney film to win for Best Original Song. 1


84th Academy Awards Best Original Song Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Original Song Nominated
Georgia Film Critics Association AwardsBest Original SongWon
55th Annual Grammy Awards Best Song Written for Visual Media Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Original SongNominated
Phoenix Film Critics SocietyBest Original SongNominated
Satellite Awards 2011 Best Original Song Nominated
Sierra Awards 2011Best SongWon

Chart performance

Chart (2012)Peak
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) [12] 121

Music video

On December 20, 2011, Walt Disney Records produced a music video for the song on their Disney Music YouTube channel. The video is similar to that of what is seen in the film during the song's duration, however there are a few other scenes from the film spliced in throughout the video. The video has been aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD.

On February 24, 2012, Walt Disney Records re-published the music video in high-definition on The Muppets Studio' official YouTube channel.


^1 Past winners include; "When You Wish Upon a Star", from Pinocchio , "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah", from Song of the South , "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins , "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid , "Beauty and the Beast" from the eponymous film, "A Whole New World" from Aladdin , "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King , "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas , "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan , "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc. , and "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 .

See also

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