Transmedia Muppets: The Possibilities of Performer Narratives
This article examines how the Muppets franchise engages with transmedia narratives, their stories moving fluidly between television, film, comics, the internet and more. Rather than highlight the complexity Henry Jenkins (2006), Elizabeth Evans (2011) and others associate with transmedia, an examination of the Muppets offers insight into a mechanism that allows for simpler coherent connection between texts. The Muppets’ ongoing performer narrative challenges the prevailing understanding of transmedia storytelling. As performative characters (singers, actors, performance artists), any text concerned with Muppets, even those in which they act as other characters, becomes part of an overarching Muppet narrative. A high degree of self-reflexivity further supports transmediality, as most Muppet texts contain references to that text as a performance by the Muppets. Thus the comic Muppet Robin Hood and the film Muppet Treasure Island continue the story of the Muppets as further insight is gained into the characters' personalities and ongoing performance history. Examining different iterations of the Muppets franchise illuminates the ramifications of performer narratives for transmedia storytelling.