By: Nathan Swank
With the excitement surrounding the release of THE MUPPETS, I have taken it upon myself to list my top ten personal favorite Muppet characters. While I’m thrilled to see Jason Segel’s passion in returning the Muppets, I must first thank the brilliant Jim Henson, who created these beloved characters and the amazing THE MUPPET SHOW. Picking one’s favorite Muppet character is like picking your favorite child – you love them all and you can easily rank them to your favorite. However unlike ranking your favorite children, limiting the Muppet characters is extremely difficult. So if you are a fan of Skooter, loveable piano playing Rowlf, monstrous Sweetums, cranky Sam the Eagle or Lew Zeeland and his boomerang fish, I feel your pain. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough numbers to give them all love.
10. RIZZO THE RAT – With a New Jersey accent and a sarcastic attitude, Rizzo has a tendency to steel scenes with his background shenanigans. He’s a great supporting player that continually steps in for a laugh when needed. Like a real rat, he tries to stay hidden but you always know he’s there.
Positive Attributes: Always obeyed his mother and never carried the plague not even once!
9. PEPE THE KING PRAWN – As one of the newest members of the Muppet family, Pepe got his start in 1996 and is quickly rising the charts. As a sassy Spaniard and self-proclaimed crustacean Casanova, Pepe always has a scheme up his shell, probably why he landed the job as the spokesman for Long John Silver’s commercials.
Common Misconception: He is not a shrimp and/or an appetizer.
8. BEAKER – Poor Beaker, He is so worried all the time. I guess it’s from the constant electrocutions and explosions brought on by Dr. Bunsen. His bulging eyes, frizzy red hair and inability to speak properly, makes me laugh as soon as he’s on screen. Bless his little heart.
Catchphrase: “Mee-mee-mee mee”
7. SWEEDISH CHEF – “Birdie, Birdie, Birdie.” He is the only impression I’ve ever been able to nail until I realized he wasn’t saying the Spanish word for green – “Verde, Verde, Verde.” Who doesn’t love a guy running around the kitchen wielding a butcher knife trying to cut up live chickens?
Fun Fact: Has human hands.
6. GONZO – Speaking of chickens. Did you know Gonzo’s girlfriend is a chicken? Yeah, Camille the chicken. It’s this sort of sick crazy weird stuff that makes Mr. Gonzo the Great… awesome.
Famous Quote: “I shall now eat a rubber tire to the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee…music, maestro!”
5. MISS PIGGY – When I was younger, I hated her bossy attitude but I realize now that she embodies all women, strong and independent yet always craving to be treated like a princess. Her conceited, better-than-everyone attitude coupled with her psychotic love for the little green frog make me too scared not to pick her.
Fun Fact: Has explained that her first name is actually “Pigathia” the more feminine-sounding version of Pigathius, from the Greek, meaning ‘river of passion’
4. FOZZIE THE BEAR – His jokes are always bad which is why I love him. But his commitment toward corny humor and others disgusted response in turn, help make Fozzie one of the most endearing characters of the group. However in my experience, thinking a joke is funnier the more others hate it, has gotten me in a lot of trouble in my lifetime.
Catchphrase: “Wocka Wocka Wocka”
3. ANIMAL – The crazy drummer from The Electric Mayhem Band is always the life of the party and regularly must be chained to his drum set. But lets not forget the rest of the band who complete many scenes in their own right. Lips on Trumpet, Zoot playing the saxophone, Sgt. Floyd Pepper on guitar, Dr. Teeth playing a mean keyboard and Janice doing a little guitar and great vocals. However, Animal has no fear and has perfected timing to interrupt any scene with his chaos and unbridled appetite for life, specifically for “Woo-maaaan!”
Common Misconception: His favorite painter is Renoir not Rembrandt
2. KERMIT THE FROG – Aahhh yes, the frog that started it all. The leader of the gang taught us at an early age that it isn’t easy being green. Kermit is the quintessential straight man in a room full of nut jobs (kinda like Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development). But that by no means insinuates he is boring or uninteresting, nay, he is constantly keeping the team together while pulling in his own share of laughs through his exasperated reactions and clever wit.
Fun Fact: Kermit guest hosted both The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and CNN’s Larry King Live.
1. STATLER AND WALDORF – Who else would you expect coming from a film critic? In a way, they are who I aspire to be. No holds bar, they tells it like they sees it and everything they see is bad. But they sure tickle themselves as they expose everyone’s vulnerability. With biting wit and clever comebacks, these two grouchy old men sit in the balcony and pass judgment as the funniest heckling critics ever to exist.
Statler: This show is awful!
Waldorf: See you next week?
Statler: Of course.