Peter Jackson’s Feebles Shocks and Entertains
by Cedric Severino

So, did you ever have a nagging desire to see Kermit and Miss Piggy go at it, no holds barred? Or see Gonzo snort some coke while digging on demented pornography? If you answered yes to either of these questions, Meet the Feebles, Peter Jackson’s cinematic journey into the Muppet underworld, is definitely a must see.
The movie is complete with every form of Muppet obscenity and bizarreness that the undernourished prurient mind of an Oberlin student may desire. It also flies in the face of the establishment, which has unfortunately restricted (with Jim Henson’s leadership) Muppets to the idealized world of family values.
The movie’s plot is simple: we follow the Feebles as they prepare for the upcoming live performance of their unique variety show. We are introduced to character after character, each dealing with his own personal problems as the day unfolds. We get the best and the worst of Feeble life — the downfall and humiliation of a hippo diva, the depravity, lust and greed of a walrus producer, and the beautiful development of young feeble love between a hedgehog and a strange looking poodle.
The subplots are given equal time in the movie. These tangents include a drug deal by a golf-playing Scottish punk rhino named Cedric that goes horribly wrong, leading to the inhalation of Borax instead of cocaine and the horrible deaths that result, and a child support battle between an elephant and a duck. These scenes and scenarios complement the main action well and provide additional excuses for violence, vulgar humor and the exercise of Jackson’s weird imagination.
Since the movie is centered on the performance of a variety show, it’s filled with wonderful music numbers that the aesthete in all of us can appreciate for their odd beauty while we laugh at their ridiculousness. One high point is the pretentious director’s celebration of the joys of sodomy. We are also treated to the difficulties that a knife-throwing junkie must face as he tries to deal with his Vietnam past and keep his hands steady to avoid maiming his assistant or himself. The scenes are delightful and are framed well, as Jackson refrains from being too overindulgent with their length and disgusting content.
Feebles is ultimately life affirming, but not in the pretentious way that American Beauty is or the bullshit sentimental style of Amélie. Instead the viewer gets a glimpse into all that life may entail for anyone, feeble or not. The good, the bad, and very often, the ugly are all explored here. Although the violence and vulgarity that dominate the movie may turn the civilized viewer off like one too many smashed Gallagher watermelons, it’s all in good fun and ultimately serves the best value of all — pure superficial entertainment.
In our collegiate lives, concerned with the meaningful, the socially significant, the beautiful and the true, it is nice to escape to an alternate surrealistic cinematic existence, in which we see the world as it really is, though populated by fun loving feebles instead of the bastards in our reality. The movie may be stupid, but it’s incredibly fun and worthwhile for the once in a lifetime filmic experience that it provides.

Meet the Feebles will be shown by OFS on April 27 in the New Science Center.

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