What Are These Muppets Even Trying To Be?

Muppets Most Wanted comes out today – and nobody is more excited about it than small children grown adults who had weirdly emotional reactions to The Muppets a few years ago and almost started crying when they saw it but couldn’t quite figure out why.

I’m sure a lot of us grew up with the Muppets, whether in the Muppets shows and movies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, or their early SNL performances. And most of us could tell you that a Muppet is like a weird, cool puppet. But after that, things get dicey. Some of the Muppets are very clearly certain animals – Kermit is a frog, Miss Piggy is… I mean obviously she’s a pig, Fozzie is a bear. Some Muppets are vaguely humanoid. Others are probably monsters or something. But think of some of those lesser Muppets. What are they even trying to be? Other than, probably, their best selves?

Here are the most confusing Muppets. I’m writing what I think they are without checking on their official taxonomy, then going back to tell you what Jim Henson intended for these guys to be.

Abby Cadabby

I think it’s trying to be:

So, this is like the Muppet version of a Kardashian, right? Marketing savvy + an elaborate performance of femininity + my worst nightmare? But also sort of a fairy as well?

But it’s actually trying to be:

A “fairy in training.” But it was developed by a team of marketing experts to appeal to little girls after the Disney Princess thing started happening at us. So basically what I said.

Animal

I think it’s trying to be:

I understand that this is like a drummer/monster, but he’s also kind of got a Jerry Garcia, did too much of whatever the PG version of LSD is vibe. I assume the PG version of LSD is those giant plastic pixie sticks.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A “primitive man and crazed drummer” who debuted in the 1975 special The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, which, in my understanding of the mid-70s, was probably a children’s programme. Muppetteer Frank Oz says that Animal can be summed up in the five words “sex, sleep, food, drums and pain.” So, Animal is the Muppet version of Freud’s id, or of half of the guys in your freshman year dorm. I guess I was off-track with the rated PG thing.

Beaker

I think it’s trying to be:

A human who was stuffed into a scientific beaker during its formative years, like a more science-y and creepier bonsai tree.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A “hapless assistant” and “perpetual victim” who has been shrunk, cloned, and blown up. Nobody mentions the human bonsai thing, but I don’t think I’d be too off-track to hold onto that one as head canon.

Clifford

I think it’s trying to be:

A more neon, more muppety, more alive version of Bob Marley. I’m going off of the dreads. But he’s usually dressed in business casual, so maybe more like an accountant with Marley fantasies and a local festival-quality band. He also sometimes wears Hawaiian shirts, lending further credence to my white-collar professional who moonlights in trying to be cool theory.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A catfish, maybe. It’s never been confirmed. Did not see that coming. Others say “humanoid.” Screw this. Nobody knows what the heck Clifford is trying to be, so maybe what he should try to be is better.

The analysis linked in the photo above says that he is the “sort of black sheep” of the Muppet world, but the line break occurred after the word black and I thought “well, at least he’s not supposed to be a white guy with dreads, because they are the actual worst.” But they weren’t saying he was sort of black, guys. They weren’t.

Janice

I think it’s trying to be:

An actress who you loved 20+ years ago, who is now in at least her late 40s and has messed with her face. [See: Meg Ryan, Janice Dickenson, Melanie Griffith, Suzanne Somers, Kim Novak, … so much of elder Hollywood is turning into Janice from the Muppets that I think they must be taking her picture to the surgeon’s office.]

But it’s actually trying to be:

She is a guitar player / Valley girl . Fun fact: Janice was originally intended to be a male character and was modeled after Mick Jagger – but I wasn’t so wrong, because most of your favorite actresses of 20+ years ago probably had a little Mick Jagger in them, too.

Dr. Bunsen

I think it’s trying to be:

That’s just a melon, right? They just used a melon.

But it’s actually trying to be:

An actual melon. His last name is “Honeydew.” I didn’t know that. So, good job, Muppets, this one looks exactly like what he’s even trying to be.

Dr. Teeth

I think it’s trying to be:

A stoned leprechaun. No question. Possibly also the Muppet version of a Chav.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A humanoid inspired by jazz keyboardist Dr. John. Have you guys seen Dr. John? He’s like a stoned New Orleans jazz man. Trade one cultural stereotype for another, and I pretty much got it. There’s also reportedly an Elton John influence that I can’t believe I missed.

Marvin Suggs

I think it’s trying to be:

He’s a pinhead! Excuse me. A person with microcephaly. Like Pepper in American Horror Story: Asylum.

But it’s actually trying to be:

a “whatnot” Muppet, which is a blank Muppet that you can basically turn into whatever. Not to be confused with an “anything” muppet, which is mostly the same thing (think: Prairie Dawn, Don Music, Guy Smiley, Roosevelt Franklin). Muppetteer Frank Oz called Suggs “demented” and said “I’ve always felt Marvin lived in a scuzzy trailer park with his put-upon wife, and he kept the Muppaphones in a cage and would beat them regularly.”

Mildred Huxtetter

I think it’s trying to be:

An old lady who is also a lizard or snake. Like Queen Elizabeth.

But it’s actually trying to be:

I can’t even deal with how right I am. She’s a beak-nosed Muppet who is a Dame of the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire.

Nanny

I think it’s trying to be:

Just legs, connected to a voice box, who was dreamed up by the orphaned and abandoned Muppet children of Muppet Babies to cope with their unloved, parent-less existence.

But it’s actually trying to be:

Well, they call her a woman, but that looks like pure guesswork to me.

Scooter (And Skeeter)

I think it’s trying to be:

The bastard child(ren) of Dr. Bunsen and a mango. Obviously, a relative of Sid The Science Kid.

But it’s actually trying to be:

Vaguely humanoid, but “when pressed about his family, he explained that his mother was a parrot but he didn’t know about his father.” That’s funny at first, and becomes more and more bleak and disturbing the more you think about it.

I didn’t know this til I was looking for a link of Sid The Science Kid’s family, but it is a Jim Henson production, so maybe Scooter really did get a family after all.

Snuffleupagus

I think it’s trying to be:

A wooly mammoth who is always sad. Probably because all of the other Wooly Mammoths died and his name is impossible to spell.

But it’s actually trying to be:

a snuffleupagus. It is both his species and his name. Also, he is properly Mr. Snuffleupagus – his Christian name is Aloysius.  Snuffy has an entire family, so he’s not so sad because his species is extinct. He’s sad, I guess, because he looks like a cross between an elephant, shag carpeting, and dog poop.

Telly

I think it’s trying to be:

The monster version of Telly Savalas. Their facial structure is very similar.

But it’s actually trying to be:

“Television monster.” He was obsessed with TV, and then the Henson company changed it when they realized that they want kids to be obsessed with TV.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “What Are These Muppets Even Trying To Be?

  1. Pingback: Saturday Spotlight: All Growed Up | cookies + sangria

  2. Pingback: Everybody Who’s Anybody Is On Sesame Street | cookies + sangria

  3. Pingback: Just Say YES: 80s & 90s Kids’ Shows That Made Drugs Look Fun | cookies + sangria

  4. Pingback: TGIF Month: A Dinosaurs Live Blog | Cookies + Sangria

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s