Is no one gonna suggest how this could affect works like Star Trek: Undiscovered Country?
Klingon high command face a coup attempt and it’s only the actions of the Enterprise (breaking orders from the Starfleet side of the conspiracy) that sees it fail, after a major battle that sees the Sulu’s Excelsior save the Enterprise-A. Finally proving Kirk has honour he becomes the bridge to the Klingons allowing proper peace talks to take place.
 
Klingon high command face a coup attempt and it’s only the actions of the Enterprise (breaking orders from the Starfleet side of the conspiracy) that sees it fail, after a major battle that sees the Sulu’s Excelsior save the Enterprise-A. Finally proving Kirk has honour he becomes the bridge to the Klingons allowing proper peace talks to take place.
That's not getting into whether Star Trek 6 will even follow the same plot.
 
For 1992 I think we’ll see an influx of weapons on the legitimate and black markets the likes of which are unseen before. The cold war is done, and Russia needs capital. Selling military material, continued destruction of nuclear weapons under treaty to reduce arsenal to a manageable number (START Treaties), and selling natural resources of Russia (energy, mining, agriculture) will likely be a back bone for the conomy.

Main economic concerns is ensuring the Ruble is more stable and can be exchanged internationally,

And Across the pond, we’ll probably see major cuts to defense budgets in the states. B-2 will cut more planned bombers, SDI is canceled, F-22 is faces being canceled, hopefully they kill the Zumwalt ship program.
 
And Across the pond, we’ll probably see major cuts to defense budgets in the states. B-2 will cut more planned bombers, SDI is canceled, F-22 is faces being canceled, hopefully they kill the Zumwalt ship program.
The Zumwalts were a post-Cold War program, so they aren't even going to be directly affected. Most of the drivers that led to them still exist.

Anyway, the Cold War isn't really over. Yes, tensions have been ratcheted down and the Soviet Union no longer officially exists (but you just know Cold Warriors will be calling the Union of Sovereign States the Soviet Union anyway), but tensions had gone down before (detente, anyone?) before ratcheting back up again. I wouldn't be surprised if defense spending was higher, on the premise that the USS will eventually recover and become a threat again and the United States needs to be read for it. I certainly expect there to be a lot of Neo-Soviet technothrillers in the 1990s...
 
I got an idea for a Bond film. It’s one where he teams up with a sexy Russian agent to hunt down SMERSH after the organization went rogue after the USSR became the USS. It’d play on expectations by making Anya Volkov* look like a Bond Girl before revealing that she can handle herself just fine.

*work-in-progress name
 
The Zumwalts were a post-Cold War program, so they aren't even going to be directly affected. Most of the drivers that led to them still exist.

Anyway, the Cold War isn't really over. Yes, tensions have been ratcheted down and the Soviet Union no longer officially exists (but you just know Cold Warriors will be calling the Union of Sovereign States the Soviet Union anyway), but tensions had gone down before (detente, anyone?) before ratcheting back up again. I wouldn't be surprised if defense spending was higher, on the premise that the USS will eventually recover and become a threat again and the United States needs to be read for it. I certainly expect there to be a lot of Neo-Soviet technothrillers in the 1990s...
Well Zumwalts are a post Cold War system but many systems will be canceled like the slashing the Seawolf class as we did in our world.

But the Russians are in financial hardships, I get why many politicians would want high defense spending (jobs =equals happy voters) but it’s a harder sell now that the Russians are essentially having a military fire sale. It’s a hard sell to the public who are asking “Why do I need to worry about them Russians now?” And in many regards they’re right. Russia is on its ass. It’s gonna take a generation to recover. And who knows how things could be managed? And finally America can spend money on health care, roads, schools, and so forth as liberals will argue and the GOP will like it as they can get the budget reduced. Defense cuts while unpopular in some sectors will be widely popular. And folks won’t be happy at the military once Gulf War syndrome starts up.

The best logic is to refocus on China. China is likely to be one of the major buyers of Soviet equipment with India following close behind and probably Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Vietnam, and others. But China with a massive military force could be the new target of America as well. China will likely purchase Kilo Class subs, they could work a deal out for Russian ship makers to build Chinese ships. Definitely I expect the Chinese to buy and get permission to build Russian fighters in China.

This probably means Russian aid to Cuba will be cut. Still will be a hard sell to normalize relations between US and Cuba, (Cuban Florida voters after all) but it is possible.

In the states, gun shows are gonna be awash with Russian guns. Everyone from militia nuts, survivalists, to average guys will be able to buy them. And that’s legally, they’ll be smuggled into the states either by plane or from Canada. (Mexico is unlikely as most guns would go INTO Mexico from America.)

As for Neo-Soviet thrillers, I expect your Tom Clancy’s, Dale Brown’s, Larry Bond’s, Patrick Robinson’s, Stephen Coonts’s, and others will come up with material, perhaps a mad general, an angered billionaire oligarch, or worse than Neo-Soviet, Neo-Fascist AND Neo-Soviet in Fredrick Forsyths’s Icon. But it will likely be escapists fantasy as the real enemies aren’t known yet.

As for American spending? Expect NASA budget to be cut, slashes to defense, slashes to the intelligence budget, it makes little sense to have all this infrastructure when your main enemy is beaten. Not dead but even I wouldn’t be paranoid to believe this is a long con.

As for your average USS citizen, supplies will trickle in at first but by mid decade you’ll see McDonalds’s, Pizza Huts, and other American fast food chains, along with 7/11 and other convenience stores in the country. The main issue will be updating phone lines to be able to handle the emerging internet (or is it Tech net here?) USS will have issues probably but it hopefully won’t be as bad as OTL. Only Question is Putin... was he arrested or was he out of the KGB by that time? He’s probably doing the scam in St. Petersburg if he isn’t in the KGB or prison,
 
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But the Russians are in financial hardships, I get why many politicians would want high defense spending (jobs =equals happy voters) but it’s a harder sell now that the Russians are essentially having a military fire sale. It’s a hard sell to the public who are asking “Why do I need to worry about them Russians now?” And in many regards they’re right. Russia is on its ass. It’s gonna take a generation to recover. And who knows how things could be managed? And finally America can spend money on health care, roads, schools, and so forth as liberals will argue and the GOP will like it as they can get the budget reduced. Defense cuts while unpopular in some sectors will be widely popular. And folks won’t be happy at the military once Gulf War syndrome starts up.
I don't think all that many people cared about Gulf War Syndrome. In any event, the point is that since the USS is just the Soviet Union with the serial numbers filed off (that is, it consists of most of the same territory and has a lot of the same leadership), a lot of people will think "I need to worry about them Russians," just like they had for the previous forty years. It comes across more as the Soviets having to take a breather than being down for the count, like the United States in the 1970s. And if the U.S. in the 1970s recovered, why shouldn't the USS...? Certainly many Republicans will probably be more attracted to that idea than purely to saving money by cutting the military--they've always liked the "national strength" narrative.

As far as the military goes, while you will likely see some cuts--after all, it's pretty obvious that World War III isn't going to break out tomorrow--you probably won't see the cuts you saw OTL, and in particular you won't see the realignment away from superpower conflict. That is, the military probably still sees its main mission as fighting World War III whenever the ball drops instead of pivoting to U.N. interventions and fighting "major regional wars" with minor powers. The USS having problems and shedding its buffer states just means that they might have the unexpected pleasure of having the advantage instead of having to fight like hell and still probably lose. This means a lot more continuity in procurement (no stop-start effect) and perhaps procuring somewhat more of the late Cold War-era systems that OTL got pared way back or entirely cancelled to provide a bridge to more cost-effective new equipment. If anything does in the Zumwalt, it will probably be that the Navy is still worried about fighting the convoy battle in the Norwegian Sea instead of preoccupied with providing naval gun support to the Marines and Army in the Persian Gulf or wherever and so looks more for a direct replacement to the existing ships rather than a gunfire support platform.

As for American spending? Expect NASA budget to be cut, slashes to defense, slashes to the intelligence budget, it makes little sense to have all this infrastructure when your main enemy is beaten. Not dead but even I wouldn’t be paranoid to believe this is a long con.
The NASA budget is unlikely to fall. It didn't in our 1990s--actually, it was higher than during the 1980s--and it still serves a useful geopolitical purpose (subsidizing USS rocket engineers so that they don't go off and work for Iran or North Korea or whomever). Moreover, by the 1990s it had achieved a kind of equilibrium value, that is it Congress had basically figured out exactly how much they were willing to pay for NASA and gave that much to them--if you look at constant dollar appropriations, NASA has received between $19 and $23 billion every year since 1989 (excluding a short-term bump related to the construction of Endeavour in the early 1990s). There is zero reason to think that Congress would cut NASA's budget in any serious or significant way.
 
Yeah, I don’t see how the existence or non-existence of Commie Russia affects the Space Shuttle. If anything, Roscosmos getting its act together means that NASA needs more funding.
 
I don't think all that many people cared about Gulf War Syndrome. In any event, the point is that since the USS is just the Soviet Union with the serial numbers filed off (that is, it consists of most of the same territory and has a lot of the same leadership), a lot of people will think "I need to worry about them Russians," just like they had for the previous forty years. It comes across more as the Soviets having to take a breather than being down for the count, like the United States in the 1970s. And if the U.S. in the 1970s recovered, why shouldn't the USS...? Certainly many Republicans will probably be more attracted to that idea than purely to saving money by cutting the military--they've always liked the "national strength" narrative.
An additional thing to note from OTL is the discussions that were had about Russia potentially joining NATO during the 1990s. Among the many, many, many, many factors that have been brought up as to why something like that hadn't or wasn't going to happen, one was the fact that American leadership believed that people still viewed/felt Russia was still an opponent or rival, inheriting the dynamics held from the Soviet Union even when Russia was weaker. By the time they thought that folks might've finally internalized that the Soviet Union was no more, and that such a prospect was possible, the moment had passed in Russia, as by 1998 a political and economic crisis would occur.

With that in mind, and the Sovereign Union being a more clear successor to the USSR and potentially has the chance to stabilize going forward, I imagine this aspect would only get emphasized further TTL.
 
I don't think all that many people cared about Gulf War Syndrome. In any event, the point is that since the USS is just the Soviet Union with the serial numbers filed off (that is, it consists of most of the same territory and has a lot of the same leadership), a lot of people will think "I need to worry about them Russians," just like they had for the previous forty years. It comes across more as the Soviets having to take a breather than being down for the count, like the United States in the 1970s. And if the U.S. in the 1970s recovered, why shouldn't the USS...? Certainly many Republicans will probably be more attracted to that idea than purely to saving money by cutting the military--they've always liked the "national strength" narrative.

As far as the military goes, while you will likely see some cuts--after all, it's pretty obvious that World War III isn't going to break out tomorrow--you probably won't see the cuts you saw OTL, and in particular you won't see the realignment away from superpower conflict. That is, the military probably still sees its main mission as fighting World War III whenever the ball drops instead of pivoting to U.N. interventions and fighting "major regional wars" with minor powers. The USS having problems and shedding its buffer states just means that they might have the unexpected pleasure of having the advantage instead of having to fight like hell and still probably lose. This means a lot more continuity in procurement (no stop-start effect) and perhaps procuring somewhat more of the late Cold War-era systems that OTL got pared way back or entirely cancelled to provide a bridge to more cost-effective new equipment. If anything does in the Zumwalt, it will probably be that the Navy is still worried about fighting the convoy battle in the Norwegian Sea instead of preoccupied with providing naval gun support to the Marines and Army in the Persian Gulf or wherever and so looks more for a direct replacement to the existing ships rather than a gunfire support platform.
Well for the Democrats in Congress it will be one heck of an internal party problem as they have conservatives, moderates, and liberals. And uniting all three groups that Russia is as great of a threat will be difficult. Many will want to fund different projects.

Now I will say likely programs to be cut in the military
SDI
Peacekeeper Rail Garrison
The B2 Bomber
The A-12
Easy programs to cut.

This program won’t die probably
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

Main question I wonder is if Strategic Air Command changes name or stays the same?



The NASA budget is unlikely to fall. It didn't in our 1990s--actually, it was higher than during the 1980s--and it still serves a useful geopolitical purpose (subsidizing USS rocket engineers so that they don't go off and work for Iran or North Korea or whomever). Moreover, by the 1990s it had achieved a kind of equilibrium value, that is it Congress had basically figured out exactly how much they were willing to pay for NASA and gave that much to them--if you look at constant dollar appropriations, NASA has received between $19 and $23 billion every year since 1989 (excluding a short-term bump related to the construction of Endeavour in the early 1990s). There is zero reason to think that Congress would cut NASA's budget in any serious or significant way.
Main question is will we have the ISS or will it be Space Station Freedom.
An additional thing to note from OTL is the discussions that were had about Russia potentially joining NATO during the 1990s. Among the many, many, many, many factors that have been brought up as to why something like that hadn't or wasn't going to happen, one was the fact that American leadership believed that people still viewed/felt Russia was still an opponent or rival, inheriting the dynamics held from the Soviet Union even when Russia was weaker. By the time they thought that folks might've finally internalized that the Soviet Union was no more, and that such a prospect was possible, the moment had passed in Russia, as by 1998 a political and economic crisis would occur.

With that in mind, and the Sovereign Union being a more clear successor to the USSR and potentially has the chance to stabilize going forward, I imagine this aspect would only get emphasized further TTL.
Poland will certainly want to join NATO. There is no love lost between the states.
 
I got an idea for a Bond film. It’s one where he teams up with a sexy Russian agent to hunt down SMERSH after the organization went rogue after the USSR became the USS. It’d play on expectations by making Anya Volkov* look like a Bond Girl before revealing that she can handle herself just fine.

*work-in-progress name
What about just making GoldenEye grittier and switching the roles of Sean Bean and Pierce Bronson.
But the Russians are in financial hardships, I get why many politicians would want high defense spending (jobs =equals happy voters) but it’s a harder sell now that the Russians are essentially having a military fire sale.
Here's an odd idea to both economically help (at least temporarily) and disarm the CCG: what the the US and NATO purchase a lot of the weapons to later be decommissioned so they don't appear on the black market.
 
What about just making GoldenEye grittier and switching the roles of Sean Bean and Pierce Bronson.
Cool.
Here's an odd idea to both economically help (at least temporarily) and disarm the CCG: what the the US and NATO purchase a lot of the weapons to later be decommissioned so they don't appear on the black market.
Hmm... it’s unprecedented it’s probably to be talked about but it might go nowhere.

Now for @Workable Goblin one thing I would think would be interesting for Disney, National Geographic, or somebody can go to Baikonur Cosmodrome.
 
You know, there's a crappy direct-to-DVD movie about an all-dog Russian space program (loosely based on the RL Strelka and Belka); might Disney reach across the pond to help a fledgling studio make a cartoon about one of the few things the ex-Soviets can still be proud of?
 
Muppets Impossible New
Mad About Muppets: Impossible (1991)
From Mad About Muppets with Mad Molly Moolah Netsite, April 13th, 2004


Hi, I’m Molly and I’m mad for Muppets. And so are you, or why would you be here?

And is it any surprise that I LOVE LOVE LOVE 1991’s Muppets: Impossible? (Well, duh, right?)

bfdcea32f4cbb12bb0ea3874953c8be7.jpg

(Image source “pinterest.com”)

But seriously, Muppets: Impossible is awesome, a collaboration between Disney and Paramount to produce an affectionate parody on Mission: Impossible, which at the time was back on TV on PFN.

Yes, the Muppets do Mission: Impossible! I know, right?

I mean, if for some stupid reason you haven’t seen it, these lines tell you a lot of what you need to know:

[Mission: Impossible theme plays]

CD Player (Bob Johnson V.O.)
Your mission, if you choose to accept it...

Robin
(whispers) Are we going to accept the mission, Uncle Kermit?

Kermit
(whispers) It’d be a short movie if we didn’t, Robin.

CD Player
…infiltrate Madam Carbroek’s fabulous penthouse suite and acquire the MacGuffin Papers...

Rizzo
Hey…no problemo, me and some of the boys…

CD Player
Hey, I’m still talking here.

Rizzo
(raises hands) My bad!

CD Player
Anyway, the IMF will disavow any knowledge of your actions, blah-blah, you know the schtick. Speaking of schtick, this message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Fozzie
Well, that message wasn’t very informa…​

The CD Player EXPLODES in a massive shower of sparks.

Gonzo
Hey! That wasn’t five seconds!

Remains of CD Player
I miscounted. Sue me.​

Yea, it’s like that.

And it all began with a video game!! Can you believe it?!?

MissionImpossibleNESBoxart.jpg
220px-Muppet_Adventure_Chaos_at_the_Carnival_Cover.jpg
1634034562278.png


Yes, crazy, I know. But, like, at Nintendo there was a teenage intern named Jeri Elsworth and she was working on redoing both Muppet Adventures: The Disneyland Dilemma! and Mission: Impossible for NES and, well, I’ll let her tell it (from an interview she did with Wired):

“OK, so I’m at Nintendo and I’m mostly doing basic coding for game ports, and my team was assigned all kinds of crazy stuff, like The Dark Crystal, The Muppets, Godzilla, and Mission: Impossible. So, one week I’m tired and bored because I’ve been working long hours and me and another code monkey needed a break. So as a joke on our supervisor we replaced all the graphics files for the Mission: Impossible characters with the graphics files for the Muppets, so now Kermit and Piggy and Beaker are all doing Mission Impossible’s stuff. We slipped it onto his sandbox [testing computer] and changed his shortcut link and watched the fun happen!

Well, not only was the boss a good sport about it, he actually pitched the idea to Disney and Paramount for a crossover video game. And not only did they like the game idea, Jim Henson and Jeffrey Hayes actually thought that it would make a good crossover movie!!

So we got one!!! (Yay!)

8bbee-mmwgg1.png

(Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

And the plot’s pretty simple, really. The Muppets are on a location shoot in Prague for a new movie when for some crazy reason a dying spy (cameo by Tom Cruise) stumbles onto the set and hands Sam the Eagle a packet containing “The MacGuffin Papers”, pleading to his patriotism to deliver them to his “contact”. Suddenly Kermit and the gang go to meet the spy’s contact to deliver the MacGuffin Papers, and the contact turns out to be none other than Agent Phelps (Peter Graves) of the MI series. But, alas, the MacGuffin Papers are (gasp!) a forgery (and openly labelled as such: “Look, it says so right there: ‘Forgery of The MacGuffin Papers!’”), and Phelps and the IMF enlist the Muppets to break into the chic Hôtel de Prétentieux in Monaco and retrieve the real MacGuffin Papers from the safe of the sexy and nefarious Madame Carbroek (Michele Pfeiffer).

“But why us?” asks Gonzo.

“Because otherwise this would be a very short and pointless film,” Phelps replies.

“But first,” he continues, “You will need training!” And he sends them to see Agent Montage (Rene Auberjonois in his most outrageous French accent) who leads them, naturally, through a training montage after starting a CD called “The Best Inspirational Power Ballads of the ‘80s, Vol 4.” The montage is, of course, full of gags and cameos.

b9358-j5.jpg

(Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

Soon the team is assembled and the plan is made. Kermit, the Leader, will take up position in the hotel casino and coordinate the whole mission through his watch communicator with a “totally non-conspicuous” spinning dish antenna (along with providing wry commentary to the fourth wall, of course!). Link Hogthrob will disguise himself as “Rico de Straction”, a dapper Argentinian rubber duckie import baron, and charm and distract the stunning Madame Carbroek. Piggy, who is playing the stunning feme fatale “Victoria Snout”, will seduce the guards into complacency so she can karate-chop them out so Beaker can then slip into the utilities room and tap into the security system, allowing Dr. Honeydew to hack it. Then Gonzo and Rizzo Rat will break into Madame Carbroek’s penthouse suite to crack the safe and steal the MacGuffin Papers. Animal (tended by Floyd and Janice) is the Muscle on hand for when needed. And finally, Sam the Eagle and Fozzie Bear are in a helicopter, the “eye in the sky and bear in the air”, ready for the extraction.

This plan then unfolds exactly like any spy caper/break in caper should, with wall climbing, glass cutting, safe cracking, security camera disabling, and all of the standard clichés and tropes you expect.

And naturally everything goes exactly according to plan, they get the MacGuffin Papers, and the day is saved!

a81ef-mmwtrailer215.png

(Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

Psyche!!! One by one they all screw up their jobs, Madame Carbroek is alerted to the duplicity, and soon an epic chase and hostage situation sets in, with Madame C. closely clutching Link to her, holding a shrimp fork to his neck (Link, of course, actually kind of likes this situation; “I see your passion has overcome you, my dear!”).

And soon every other spy caper cliché and trope sets in with car chases, bond-like gadgets, Animal being Animal, and Kermit hanging from the skid of a helicopter while Gonzo looks on jealously (“He’s stealing my schtick!!”).

The huge conclusion, which as Kermit notes takes up “most of the effects budget, so I hope you’re enjoying it,” is just too much fun to describe! You just have to see it!!!

Yaayyy!!!

f50da-vlcsnap-362092.png

“I will, uh, pass on the barbeque sauce, ok?” (Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

And of course there’s all the other gratuitous and unnecessary cameos: Paul Reubens as a snobby waiter. Clint Eastwood as a master thief and Sandra Bullock as a martial arts instructor during the training montage. Roger Moore as a high stakes gambler and “obviously not a British agent” interacting with Kermit and Statler and Waldorf, as well as Alan Rickman, who is “obviously not a Russian spy”. Tom Hanks as the Hotel concierge with Sweetums as his bellhop (sadly, it was Richard Hunt’s last appearance before his tragic passing!). Robin Williams as an eccentric Greek cabbie whose cab they commandeer during the chase scene.

And it was the first Muppets feature film without either Jim Henson or Frank Oz doing any Muppet performance. Ken Kwapis directed and people like Steve Witmer and Kevin Clash took over the Jim and Frank Muppets, with Frank doing some voiceover in post where needed. Alf creator Paul Fusco even performed Link!!

So, Disney and Paramount both had really big hopes for this film. I mean, not like Number One Hit big, but Paramount’s MI reboot was struggling through season four on PFN[1] and they hoped to boost that and maybe launch a true MI movie and Disney was hoping to reinvigorate the Muppets brand (and I’m sure it’s hard for my readers to imagine this, but in the early 1990s the Muppets were losing their novelty and were a far cry from how popular they were ten years earlier. I know, crazy, right?). Well, it’s true, so the movie made a good profit, like $55M against a $24M budget, but it wasn’t, like huge. The critics were, like, it’s fun, but it’s not, like deep. There weren’t really, like, character arcs or anything, it was just taking the Muppets we love, putting them into crazy situations, and letting the fun happen, right?

There weren’t even any songs this time unless you count the Electric Mayhem’s diegetic playing of the MI theme or the montage power ballad “Keep Up”.

I mean, I loved it and Gene Shallot [SIC] and his stupid porn ‘stache can kiss my butt and a lot of us grew up with this on VHS and VCD, right? So, we saw it a hundred thousand times and have every line memorized (say it with me: “Oh good, I was hoping for a car chase!”; “I do all my own stunts, you know.”; “I bet Sam Neill never has to go through this!”), so it’s a modern classic now, no cult required.

So, we all love this movie, and a lot of people like, love it in hindsight and it played a lot on the Disney Channel and then Disney Movie Channel.

And I still love it. Go figure!!

Oh, and as to Gene Shallot, well, his exact words were “While nobody expects The Muppets to be producing Shakespeare…” It seems that Frank Oz read that review and had some thoughts of his own…

Can you guess what my next post is about? 😊



[1] In our timeline since the Paramount Fox Network (PFN) never existed Paramount took the Mission: Impossible 1988 reboot to ABC. Season One did fairly well on Sunday and Saturday, but then ABC for some reason (arrogance? Sabotage because the profit margins were too low? Ironically attempting an actual Mission: Impossible of beating Cosby?) moved it to the Thursday 8 PM slot for Season 2, up against The Cosby Show and A Different World, which went about as well as you’d expect (hint: there was no Season 3).
 
And the plot’s pretty simple, really. The Muppets are on a location shoot in Prague for a new movie when for some crazy reason a dying spy (cameo by Tom Cruise) stumbles onto the set and hands Sam the Eagle a packet containing “The MacGuffin Papers”, pleading to his patriotism to deliver them to his “contact”. Suddenly Kermit and the gang go to meet the spy’s contact to deliver the MacGuffin Papers, and the contact turns out to be none other than Agent Phelps (Peter Graves) of the MI series. But, alas, the MacGuffin Papers are (gasp!) a forgery (and openly labelled as such: “Look, it says so right there: ‘Forgery of The MacGuffin Papers!’”), and Phelps and the IMF enlist the Muppets to break into the chic Hôtel de Prétentieux in Monaco and retrieve the real MacGuffin Papers from the safe of the sexy and nefarious Madame Carbroek (Michele Pfeiffer).
Is it bad that my first thought when seeing this was "What does the IMF (International Monetary Fund) have to do with this?"
 
Is it bad that my first thought when seeing this was "What does the IMF (International Monetary Fund) have to do with this?"
I mean, my first coherent thought was “Thank goodness Jim Phelps wasn’t horribly derailed into a villain like in the first Tom Cruise M:I film did IOTL”; your thought is at least more creatively-minded!
Mad About Muppets: Impossible (1991)
From Mad About Muppets with Mad Molly Moolah Netsite, April 13th, 2004


Hi, I’m Molly and I’m mad for Muppets. And so are you, or why would you be here?

And is it any surprise that I LOVE LOVE LOVE 1991’s Muppets: Impossible? (Well, duh, right?)

bfdcea32f4cbb12bb0ea3874953c8be7.jpg

(Image source “pinterest.com”)

But seriously, Muppets: Impossible is awesome, a collaboration between Disney and Paramount to produce an affectionate parody on Mission: Impossible, which at the time was back on TV on PFN.

Yes, the Muppets do Mission: Impossible! I know, right?

I mean, if for some stupid reason you haven’t seen it, these lines tell you a lot of what you need to know:

[Mission: Impossible theme plays]

CD Player (Bob Johnson V.O.)
Your mission, if you choose to accept it...

Robin
(whispers) Are we going to accept the mission, Uncle Kermit?

Kermit
(whispers) It’d be a short movie if we didn’t, Robin.

CD Player
…infiltrate Madam Carbroek’s fabulous penthouse suite and acquire the MacGuffin Papers...

Rizzo
Hey…no problemo, me and some of the boys…

CD Player
Hey, I’m still talking here.

Rizzo
(raises hands) My bad!

CD Player
Anyway, the IMF will disavow any knowledge of your actions, blah-blah, you know the schtick. Speaking of schtick, this message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Fozzie
Well, that message wasn’t very informa…​

The CD Player EXPLODES in a massive shower of sparks.

Gonzo
Hey! That wasn’t five seconds!

Remains of CD Player
I miscounted. Sue me.​

Yea, it’s like that.

And it all began with a video game!! Can you believe it?!?

MissionImpossibleNESBoxart.jpg
220px-Muppet_Adventure_Chaos_at_the_Carnival_Cover.jpg
View attachment 686765

Yes, crazy, I know. But, like, at Nintendo there was a teenage intern named Jeri Elsworth and she was working on redoing both Muppet Adventures: The Disneyland Dilemma! and Mission: Impossible for NES and, well, I’ll let her tell it (from an interview she did with Wired):

“OK, so I’m at Nintendo and I’m mostly doing basic coding for game ports, and my team was assigned all kinds of crazy stuff, like The Dark Crystal, The Muppets, Godzilla, and Mission: Impossible. So, one week I’m tired and bored because I’ve been working long hours and me and another code monkey needed a break. So as a joke on our supervisor we replaced all the graphics files for the Mission: Impossible characters with the graphics files for the Muppets, so now Kermit and Piggy and Beaker are all doing Mission Impossible’s stuff. We slipped it onto his sandbox [testing computer] and changed his shortcut link and watched the fun happen!

Well, not only was the boss a good sport about it, he actually pitched the idea to Disney and Paramount for a crossover video game. And not only did they like the game idea, Jim Henson and Jeffrey Hayes actually thought that it would make a good crossover movie!!

So we got one!!! (Yay!)

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(Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

And the plot’s pretty simple, really. The Muppets are on a location shoot in Prague for a new movie when for some crazy reason a dying spy (cameo by Tom Cruise) stumbles onto the set and hands Sam the Eagle a packet containing “The MacGuffin Papers”, pleading to his patriotism to deliver them to his “contact”. Suddenly Kermit and the gang go to meet the spy’s contact to deliver the MacGuffin Papers, and the contact turns out to be none other than Agent Phelps (Peter Graves) of the MI series. But, alas, the MacGuffin Papers are (gasp!) a forgery (and openly labelled as such: “Look, it says so right there: ‘Forgery of The MacGuffin Papers!’”), and Phelps and the IMF enlist the Muppets to break into the chic Hôtel de Prétentieux in Monaco and retrieve the real MacGuffin Papers from the safe of the sexy and nefarious Madame Carbroek (Michele Pfeiffer).

“But why us?” asks Gonzo.

“Because otherwise this would be a very short and pointless film,” Phelps replies.

“But first,” he continues, “You will need training!” And he sends them to see Agent Montage (Rene Auberjonois in his most outrageous French accent) who leads them, naturally, through a training montage after starting a CD called “The Best Inspirational Power Ballads of the ‘80s, Vol 4.” The montage is, of course, full of gags and cameos.

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(Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

Soon the team is assembled and the plan is made. Kermit, the Leader, will take up position in the hotel casino and coordinate the whole mission through his watch communicator with a “totally non-conspicuous” spinning dish antenna (along with providing wry commentary to the fourth wall, of course!). Link Hogthrob will disguise himself as “Rico de Straction”, a dapper Argentinian rubber duckie import baron, and charm and distract the stunning Madame Carbroek. Piggy, who is playing the stunning feme fatale “Victoria Snout”, will seduce the guards into complacency so she can karate-chop them out so Beaker can then slip into the utilities room and tap into the security system, allowing Dr. Honeydew to hack it. Then Gonzo and Rizzo Rat will break into Madame Carbroek’s penthouse suite to crack the safe and steal the MacGuffin Papers. Animal (tended by Floyd and Janice) is the Muscle on hand for when needed. And finally, Sam the Eagle and Fozzie Bear are in a helicopter, the “eye in the sky and bear in the air”, ready for the extraction.

This plan then unfolds exactly like any spy caper/break in caper should, with wall climbing, glass cutting, safe cracking, security camera disabling, and all of the standard clichés and tropes you expect.

And naturally everything goes exactly according to plan, they get the MacGuffin Papers, and the day is saved!

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(Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

Psyche!!! One by one they all screw up their jobs, Madame Carbroek is alerted to the duplicity, and soon an epic chase and hostage situation sets in, with Madame C. closely clutching Link to her, holding a shrimp fork to his neck (Link, of course, actually kind of likes this situation; “I see your passion has overcome you, my dear!”).

And soon every other spy caper cliché and trope sets in with car chases, bond-like gadgets, Animal being Animal, and Kermit hanging from the skid of a helicopter while Gonzo looks on jealously (“He’s stealing my schtick!!”).

The huge conclusion, which as Kermit notes takes up “most of the effects budget, so I hope you’re enjoying it,” is just too much fun to describe! You just have to see it!!!

Yaayyy!!!

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“I will, uh, pass on the barbeque sauce, ok?” (Image source “muppetmindset.wordpress.com”)

And of course there’s all the other gratuitous and unnecessary cameos: Paul Reubens as a snobby waiter. Clint Eastwood as a master thief and Sandra Bullock as a martial arts instructor during the training montage. Roger Moore as a high stakes gambler and “obviously not a British agent” interacting with Kermit and Statler and Waldorf, as well as Alan Rickman, who is “obviously not a Russian spy”. Tom Hanks as the Hotel concierge with Sweetums as his bellhop (sadly, it was Richard Hunt’s last appearance before his tragic passing!). Robin Williams as an eccentric Greek cabbie whose cab they commandeer during the chase scene.

And it was the first Muppets feature film without either Jim Henson or Frank Oz doing any Muppet performance. Ken Kwapis directed and people like Steve Witmer and Kevin Clash took over the Jim and Frank Muppets, with Frank doing some voiceover in post where needed. Alf creator Paul Fusco even performed Link!!

So, Disney and Paramount both had really big hopes for this film. I mean, not like Number One Hit big, but Paramount’s MI reboot was struggling through season four on PFN[1] and they hoped to boost that and maybe launch a true MI movie and Disney was hoping to reinvigorate the Muppets brand (and I’m sure it’s hard for my readers to imagine this, but in the early 1990s the Muppets were losing their novelty and were a far cry from how popular they were ten years earlier. I know, crazy, right?). Well, it’s true, so the movie made a good profit, like $55M against a $24M budget, but it wasn’t, like huge. The critics were, like, it’s fun, but it’s not, like deep. There weren’t really, like, character arcs or anything, it was just taking the Muppets we love, putting them into crazy situations, and letting the fun happen, right?

There weren’t even any songs this time unless you count the Electric Mayhem’s diegetic playing of the MI theme or the montage power ballad “Keep Up”.

I mean, I loved it and Gene Shallot [SIC] and his stupid porn ‘stache can kiss my butt and a lot of us grew up with this on VHS and VCD, right? So, we saw it a hundred thousand times and have every line memorized (say it with me: “Oh good, I was hoping for a car chase!”; “I do all my own stunts, you know.”; “I bet Sam Neill never has to go through this!”), so it’s a modern classic now, no cult required.

So, we all love this movie, and a lot of people like, love it in hindsight and it played a lot on the Disney Channel and then Disney Movie Channel.

And I still love it. Go figure!!

Oh, and as to Gene Shallot, well, his exact words were “While nobody expects The Muppets to be producing Shakespeare…” It seems that Frank Oz read that review and had some thoughts of his own…

Can you guess what my next post is about? 😊



[1] In our timeline since the Paramount Fox Network (PFN) never existed Paramount took the Mission: Impossible 1988 reboot to ABC. Season One did fairly well on Sunday and Saturday, but then ABC for some reason (arrogance? Sabotage because the profit margins were too low? Ironically attempting an actual Mission: Impossible of beating Cosby?) moved it to the Thursday 8 PM slot for Season 2, up against The Cosby Show and A Different World, which went about as well as you’d expect (hint: there was no Season 3).
This is definitely an unexpected piece of fun for TTL; bless Jeri Elsworth’s mashing the two properties in a programmed video game for fun, and the fallout making a then under-appreciated gem for later.

And of course, bless Molly Moolah for her unabashed adoration of everything Muppets; without someone like her we wouldn’t really know what we’re missing out on here! Sure it’s a shame, but OTOH we get to live vicariously through her sincere appreciation of TTL!Muppets and everything they do.

And having Tom Cruise as the “I’m Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin” spy figure is just the proverbial icing… for us; TTL has no idea why that’s particularly hilarious beyond “budding young action star Tom Cruise is a glorified cameo in a Muppets/Mission: Impossible crossover movie… But I’m betting that somewhere down the line, a certain G. Khan will spawn an AH (or whatever site it ends up being) TL in which Jim Henson never joined Disney and tragically passed in 1990, they have their own share of other RL tragedies like the car accident passing of Samantha Smith, the Balkans collapsed into genocidal Civil War/Tiananmen Square resulted in a bloodbath… and Tom Cruise starred in a distant sequel/soft reboot of M:I in which Jim Phelps turned evil, pissing off classic fans and Peter Graves himself in one fell swoop. And everyone in this more-utopic (but not perfect) world said: “This is twisted and messed up as shit… I love it!”
 
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