Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Jumping on The Wiggles Drama Bandwagon!

With parents everywhere in an uproar over Sam Moran's dismissal from the children entertainment super group The Wiggles, I decided I may as well throw my opinion out there as well.

Normally, I could care less about something like this and would certainly not bother posting about it, however, I have been reading about it on every webpage I visit so I feel inclined to join the masses. I have actually brought my son to see The Wiggles in concert live in our hometown in New Brunswick, Canada a few years ago. Now, I would never pay fifty bucks for tickets to a children's show and I certainly didn't make an exception for The Wiggles. It happened like this: I was doing some shopping with my children at Giant Tiger on the same day that our local radio station happened to be doing a live, in-store show about the that weeks sales or whatever. I saw the radio guy at his booth doing his thing and pointed him out to my son because it was kind of neat seeing him talking into a mic and then hearing him on the radio over the loudspeaker at the same time.

As we were walking away, the dude called after me and asked if my children liked The Wiggles. Truthfully, they didn't even really like them much at the time but, sensing he was about to give us something, I said yes anyways. Sure enough, he gave me four tickets to the Wiggles show that was happening the following week. As I was thanking him a passing mother overheard and quickly pounced him asking if he had anymore. He said that he didn't and that he had only brought four of them. Sensing that things were about to get ugly I began to hightail it out of there before I got rolled by some crazed mom for my Wiggles tickets. Sure enough, as I took one last look over my shoulder on the way out the door, this poor radio DJ was now surrounded by a hoard of Wiggles crazed mothers and crying snot-nosed kids demanding that they too should get free tickets. I am only lucky that I managed to escape unscathed. So, that my friends,  is how we ended up with four tickets to the Wiggles.

At the Wiggles live show...It was chaos!

My daughter was too young at the time to attend the show and hubby looked less-than-thrilled when I asked him to come with us, so instead I invited the Hubby's sister and her son (who was the same age as Coder) to join us instead. Needless to say, the kids loved it, but my god it was the longest show of my life. Seriously, by the 25th song I wanted to veer off a cliff at high speeds. I will give them props though, The Wiggles sure know how to work a crowd. My son, like every other child in the place, was absolutely memorized.  I, on the other hand,  couldn't help but find the concept of grown men in skin tight bodysuits, singing for children, a tad creepy. But if it kept them entertained (and quiet) for a while, then who was I to judge? At the time I didn't know their names or that the yellow one wasn't one of the original members. I actually recall Googling them when I got home from the show later that evening to find out the back story on these four dude dancing in their colorful skivvies.

Coder still watches the Wiggles from time to time, usually when there is nothing else on TV that interests him, but he never really got hooked on them like many other kids have. And thank God for that because I probably would have lost my shit after one week of listening to "Fruit Salad"...Anyways, when The Wiggles faces and names kept popping up all over the net yesterday I finally gave in and Googled it to see what the eff the big deal was. Now, from what I gather, everyone is in a huff because Sam Moran, the Yellow Wiggle  (Thank you, Google) has been dropped from the gig because one of the original founding members (and the original Yellow Wiggle) who had been unable to perform for several years due to health issues, now wants to return to the limelight. From what I have gathered, Sam was Greg's understudy for some time and when Greg fell ill and was unable to perform Sam was hired to stand in for him for an undetermined amount of time. I also read that many people aren't angry simply because he was let go but because they feel he was treated unfairly in the process. So, let us look at the facts before I give you my final conclusion.

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The Wiggles FAQ:

  • The Wiggles were formed  when Anthony Field, Murray Cook and Greg Page met while studying Early Childhood Education at Sydney's Macquarie University. They began writing children's songs as a music project. They enlisted the assistance of Jeff Fatt, who played with Anthony in the popular 1980's band The Cockroaches, and The Wiggles were born. The Wiggles took the finished tape to ABC Music, who released a self-titled album in 1991. MORE INFO...
  • Sam Moran, the understudy of the original yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, was hired to fill in for him. He has worked for The Wiggles for almost ten years, fulfilling his role as Greg's replacement in the public eye for five of those years.
  • Sam was payed an annual salary of around 200 000$ during his time performing as the Yellow dude. 
  • Sam was let go with no prior warning because Greg, the original, has decided he is ready to return to the limelight.
  • Sam was payed a reported $60 000 bonus upon leaving. He will also recieve approxamately 60 000- 100 000$ per year in royalties.
  • During an interview on National TV regarding Sam's departure, Anthony Field, the blue Wiggle, dismissed Sam as being nothing more than a "hired hand"
  • While The Wiggles brought in approximately 28.2 million in 2011 alone, Sam was forced to accept less than 1% of that upon being dismissed.
  • He received no notice in advance of Greg's return or his dismissal.
  • Sam Moran has only wrote three songs out of all the Wiggles songs.

Now, I sort of have mixed feelings on this situation...

In regards to them letting Sam go in favor of Greg's return I feel as though Sam knew going in what the role of an understudy entailed.  He understood that he would only perform as a replacement in the event that Greg was unable to for one reason or another. It doesn't matter if it was for one week, one year or five years, an understudy is still an understudy. He obviously would have signed a contract upon entering into the position and was obviously aware the fact that he was only being hired on the basis that Greg had fallen ill. Yes, it was an awesome opportunity, but it was based solely on the fact that the ORIGINAL member was unable to perform for one reason or another. He got a chance that none of the other understudy's got and should be grateful for that.
Yellow Wiggle Sam Moran has been Greg's replacement for five years.

However, as with any job, the bottom line is that business is business. Greg was one of the founding members of The Wiggles; Sam was not. Sam did not create the Wiggles in any way, shape or form. He was simply an employer. Yes, he did a fantastic job and was brilliant on stage, but he did not help to create the franchise and was not there since the beginning. Being great at your job does not put you on the same level as the business owner. I think that 200 000$ is a great annual income considering that he went into the position as an understudy knowing that he may not get a chance to perform at all. He should be thankful that he was given the opportunity in the first place and I am sure that he is. Many people would love to have an opportunity like that including the other three understudy's, yet they didn't. As far as the 60 000$ goes, that was simply a bonus and a fair one in my opinion. Most people don't get the equivalent of four months pay upon being let go. It is unrealistic to expect him to receive a lions share of the profits when he was not the creator or owner of the business. I do not think that he can take the sole credit for their success. I think he did a great job and was loved by many children, but that never stopped it from being a business agreement. Also, do not forget that he will also be entitled to royalties of anywhere between 60 000$ to 100 000$ per year. During his run as the yellow Wiggle he has grossed at least a cool million dollars. That is more than generous for a position he probably never would have gotten had the original member not fallen ill. It is business, he entered into a contract and I do not believe that anything illegal has been done. I think that they are right to welcome the original member back with open arms. He was part of the original vision and without his contribution the Wiggles may not have came to be.

 Now, with that out of the way I will say I do agree that they could have handled the publicity end of the whole situation a bit better. They didn't come off very well in the interviews and it most definitely didn't help their cause. Anthony Fields came off as ill-prepared for the question and looked like a deer in headlights, basically dismissing Sam as simply an employee who has come to the end of his contract. He claims that he has not spoke to Sam since and doesn't know how he is taking the news, and that they were going to leave it at that. It all came off as rather cold to me and I can definitely understand how people may have taken it the wrong way. To view the full interview CLICK HERE. With all of their millions you would think that their PR person would have sat them down and briefed them on how to answer questions regarding Sam's dismissal in a classier manner. I can see why their responses would have rubbed a few parents the wrong way.

Sam taking a stroll just a few days after being let go...

I also agree with others who have stated that a couple members are getting up their age wise (pushing sixty!) and that they should be giving to some thought to the future of the Wiggles. As they years pass it will be harder and harder for them to jump around on stage and have the energy necessary for the gig. They should be starting to plan ahead and line up some replacement Wiggles for the next few years. Sam was a bit younger and did seem to have a lot of energy so hopefully they will keep him in mind for the future of the Wiggles. Other people have suggested adding Sam as a fifth member, but I can see why they would be hesitant to do that. They Wiggles rose to success as a foursome and all of their skits and shows are based on that foursome. Throw in a fifth member and it throws it all off. Why mess with a good thing?

In regards to the claim that the children will all be devastated by the change...Yeah,  I don't think that is going to be much of an issue. Kids adapt very well to change and truthfully I don't think my son would even notice that it is a different man playing the Yellow Wiggle. Most children are just down for the singing and dancing, they don't really give much thought to the "man behind the mask," so to say. As for parents claiming that they are boycotting The Wiggles and refusing to let their children watch it anymore: You are being RIDICULOUS!. Your kids don't give two shits about all of the politics!! They don't care about what goes on behind the scenes. They just want to watch four colorful dudes sing, dance and drive around in the Big Red Car!!
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All in all, I think that Sam should just be thankful for the time he was given with The Wiggles, the opportunity to travel around the world and bring joy to children. He brought in over a million dollars during his stint as the Yellow wiggles and I am sure that this will open many doors for him in the future. He seems to be handling it very well and I am sure he will enjoy the chance to spend time with his wife and child after touring around the world for several years. The public is taking this much harder then he appears to be and it is quite silly. Business is business, that's the way the cookies crumbles, C'est La Vie and all that jazz. As for Greg, I am sure it feels great to be back and I think that he will also do a fine job!

Greg Page, the original Yellow Wiggle, is probably thrilled to be back...
So, what are your guy's opinions on The Wiggles situation? Do you think they could have handled it better or do you think they were fair? Should Greg be able to come back after all that time away or should he just accept that he is getting older and that Sam has been doing a great job in his absence? Please share...


  1. I think they could have handled it differently in the public eye.. As for Anthony...he was never very eloquent. I feel for Sam, but then again, business is business.
    I know some new Mums who's children have only known Sam and refuse to watch Greg.. I think they'll get over it in time.. children are far more adaptable than adults :)

  2. Lots of drama going on. My 2 tots like to watch the Sprout channel. So if the Wiggles is on they will watch and of course sing the notorious "Fruit Salad" song. I hadn't heard that this was going on. But, business is business and Sam did sign a contract with the understanding this gig would be temporary. I just wished they would have given him more of a fair warning about Greg returning. My kids will still watch the show and won't have a clue it's someone new in the yellow suit:-)

  3. Wow, The Wiggles are still a fixture in kids entertainment? The last I heard of them, Greg was just leaving and everyone thought he was dying or something, so it's been a while since they've been a mainstay in our house.

    Anthony was never eloquent, but I loved his eyes! :)

    Sucks to be this Sam guy, but like you said, showbiz is showbiz. He's made a good chunk of change over the years. I'm sure he's bummed, but most kids won't know the difference. They obviously didn't when he came in for Greg and they won't now. Sad, but true.


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