In the world of The Happytime Murders, ’80s children’s television wasn’t all sunny days. Brian Henson’s dark comedy imagines a world in which puppets are alive, and just as susceptible to vice and scandal as their human TV co-stars. This Yahoo Entertainment exclusive featurette, modeled after a certain network’s signature docu-series, shows how fame corrupted the cast of fictional kids’ show The Happytime Gang — from drug use to sex addiction to excessive plastic surgery (or felt surgery, as the case may be). Like previous Happytime Murder trailers, this one is strictly adults-only. Watch it above.
The P True Hollywood Story video sets up many of the players in the film noir spoof, with the notable exception of Melissa McCarthy’s human lead character. There’s Jenny, the chirpy TV host turned stripper (Elizabeth Banks); Phil Phillips, a hard-boiled puppet detective (performed by Bill Barretta); Goofer, the puppet TV star arrested multiple times on “syrup-related charges” (performed by Drew Massey); and a host of other quirky characters.
The film has sparked the ire of the producers of Sesame Street, who claimed the children’s brand would be harmed by the salacious content and sought to stop the marketing campaign that proclaimed Happytime Murders as “No Sesame. All Street.” A judge rejected the lawsuit.
Though the R-rated Happytime Murders is a far cry from the usual Jim Henson Company production (it’s being distributed under the banner Henson Alternative), the film’s puppet characters are played by seasoned Muppet performers, including Barretta (performer of Pepe the Prawn), Artie Esposito (Kermit the Frog’s understudy), and notably Kevin Clash (creator of Elmo). Clash resigned from Sesame Street in 2012 following allegations of sexual assault; the roles of Lyle (seen in the above featurette) and Bumblypants are his first puppet performances since the scandal.
The Happytime Murders opens Aug. 24.
Watch the NSFW trailer:
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