If you aren’t familiar with The Muppets I feel sorry for your childhood. Luckily for you the show has barely aged and you still catch up on the fun. You can still make the rainbow connection. For those who know and love the Muppets, enjoy this countdown of the best Muppet characters. If you do know and don’t love the Muppets I have no interest in you.
This may seem like an odd entry to the list, being a character that plays such a small role in the show. Zoot appears in every episode as the saxophone player for the Muppet Orchestra and The Electric Mayhem, but rarely features as the centre of a sketch. He makes this list because he manages to crack up Funk, Jr. every time to turns up.
9. THE SWEDISH CHEF
Looking back at the original Muppet Show seasons it’s surprising how well the comedy holds up. It’s also massively racist at times. But we can look past that, it was a different time. What’s surprising is that people can still look at the Swedish Chef without cringing. Blindingly stupid, psychotically violent – these don’t really fit the Swedish stereotype (unless you’ve been reading Steig Larsson novels) but the gibberish he spouts is a bit off. Still – his failed cooking show routine in which the ingredients often turn against him never gets old.
8. THE GREAT GONZO
Poor Gonzo…he’s everyone’s foil. Even Fozzie begins some of his early jokes with “Gonzo is so stupid…” Never managing to catch a lucky break and left sleeping with the chickens. Beyond failing to bang the gong in the opening sequence Gonzo didn’t have much to do until his alter-ego The Great Gonzo turned up. The misshapen creature (what the hell was he?) and his failed stunts found their way into our hearts. Random fact: his original name was Snarl the Cigar Box Frackle.
Animal is entertaining in part due to his simplicity. He’s a savage, uncontrollable beast whose mania is only partly satisfied by his madcap drumming. Animal is one of the Muppets who has changed the least over time, even in early episodes he finds random acts of violence to be funny and would randomly bite or maul the shows guest stars. Animal nearly always received swift comeuppance.
6. MISS PIGGY
If there’s one thing that ‘The Muppet Show’ always did well, it’s parodying the entertainment industry. The peak of this comedy vein comes in the form of a pig. Miss Piggy is the ultimate celebrity diva, living in a self-involved bubble and caught up in the legend of herself. Piggy’s conflict always stems from the one place – not getting her way. This is especially true when I comes to the ever suffering Kermit.
5. SAM THE EAGLE
In a large cast of lunatics, criminally dangerous nutters and absurd creatures Sam the Eagle stands out for being the only character who is completely serious and sensible. The stern, deep voiced eagle was the go-to straight man for many of the other characters providing a stark contrast to other performers with his unshakingly brisk delivery.
4. FOZZIE BEAR
Also one of the most familiar members of the Muppet cast, Fozzie fulfilled the role of stand-up comedian. This task he took as seriously as he was terrible at it. With forced encouragement from Kermit Fozzie would often abandon his routine responding to taunts from Statler and Waldorf – which isn’t to say he didn’t get the odd chuckle from viewers.
Beaker was a later addition to the show, brought in to play the foil to Doctor Bunsen Honeydew’s explosive and electrifying experiments. With his perpetually panicked expression and monosyllabic ‘mi’ being his only form of communication the comical character soon started getting his own scenes which rank highly on youtube’s most watched Muppet clips.
2. STATLER & WALDORF
One of the main features of the Muppet Show was that it was performed in front of a theatre audience (later a studio audience in updated versions of the show) Representing the audience from their box seats were the constantly antagonising duo of Statler and Waldorf. More than the grumpy old men there were portrayed as, the delighted in interacting with the performers and providing a running commentary throughout the show, often having the final punch line on many skits.
1. KERMIT THE FROG
Quite a bit of thought was put into the order of the characters on this list and every time it was revised and reconsidered the number one spot never changed. Kermit is more than just the most recognisable of Jim Henson’s creations; he’s very much the heart of the ‘The Muppet Show’ and the link between the audience and the cast. He gets more than his fair share of one-liners, and opens the show as the host each week, but he also holds the whole thing together, losing his patience and keeping everyone on task. There’s a reason why Walter went to Kermit to round up the gang in the recent film – he’s the centre of the Muppet world.
Please stand by to have your heart warmed:
Isn’t it nice having them back in cinemas?
Get more of Funk’s Geekiness at the House of Geekery!