Whatever Happened To… Space PiRats?

How did the Foul-Mouthed German Astro-Rats Puppet Show Fare? After the Break…

Whatever Happened To… Space PiRats?

“Space PiRats” (the “e” omission in the word “pirate” is apparently intentional) was a YouTube series debuting in 2010. It was a foreign puppet production whose plot revolved around a group of space-faring rats that hijack a ship of unknown origins with the intent to sail it around the cosmic seas, plundering much like their ancestors.

Just as then, I’m still not a huge fan of “obscene puppetry.” I simply don’t understand the appeal of foul-mouthed puppets or puppets engaging in lewd or obscene conduct. Watching a finely-produced puppet production is no less rewarding than that of hand-drawn animation, CGI or live-action. Why people feel the need to ruin a perfectly acceptable puppet production with lewd and obscene material is beyond my scope of understanding. To each their own.

As the initial offering of “Space PiRats” didn’t quite appeal to me, I didn’t maintain a following of what this production later achieved. Upon performing research as to what was produced since then, I was a bit surprised that the series ended after only Episode 5 (I had only seen Episode 1 and the teaser trailer). Since I am not fluent in German (and am, admittedly, too lazy to throw huge chunks of German text into Babelfish to generate crudely translated English sentences), I have no idea why Space PiRats’ Internet presence disappears rather quickly around December 2012. Maybe five episodes was all that they intended to produce but, if that was the case, that’s a lot of work for a lot of swearing space rats.

It is with a bit of irony that the “lewd puppet” genre has not had a tremendous amount of success. Having followed puppetry at least a bit more than the common individual, I can’t recollect a single instance of “lewd puppetry” (beyond “Avenue Q,” naturally, which seems to have sparked the modern rendition of this genre) that has lasted more than an initial offering of episodes. It is not as though the genre has had the same level of success as the “lewd cartoon” (so characterized by early pioneers such as “Ren & Stimpy”) or “lewd live-action movie” (starting with “The Kentucky-Fried Movie” and more recent audiences knowing them as the “Scary Movie” franchise and their offsprings).

Ever since Jim Henson has died, the puppet form of media has lacked a clear voice, vision or leader. Using that voice to spout obscenities has, in my opinion, not worked to advance the genre significantly. Maybe it’s time for productions to rethink how to appeal to the audience that they thought that they were appealing to?

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