Now, for something completely different. Are the Muppets making a comeback? I hope so and it appears so. (Did they ever completely leave the scene?) Last week my friend and I stopped reading our current blogs and news websites to check out the Muppets perform Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (see below). Tonight I watched a new “Merry Christmas From the Muppets” prime time TV special.
I was one of the lucky generation to grow up watching the Muppets every week. Then I enjoyed Saturday mornings with the “Muppet Babies” cartoon. I collected Muppet Baby stuffed animals from Hardees when I was in grade school. In college we ordered pizza and stayed up watching “Menamana” video and laughing hysterically. (Don’t ask.)
Like baseball, the Muppets are one of the great American treasures we have been able to share together over the decades. The Muppets are something we can all unite around in peace time and war, a booming economy or repression, Republican or Democrat. Jim Hensen’s characters are truly all-American icons and something we’ll never outsource to China. (Or, where are these guys made again…?)
The Muppets are one more thing we should all be thankful for as Americans this Holiday season. So, who are your top 3 Muppets? Here are my top 3 Muppets with a little trivia compliments of a CNN.com’s “Surprising Stories Behind 20 of The Muppet Characters”:
3. Beaker & Bunsen: I always thought of Beaker and his buddy Bunsen Honeydew as characters that came along later in the Muppet timeline, but they have been around since the “The Muppet Show.” Although Beaker usually says things along the lines of, “Mee-mee-mee-mee!”, he has had a few actual lines: “Sadly temporary,” “Bye-Bye” and “Make-up ready!” Despite being word-challenged, he manages to do a pretty convincing Little Richard impression and, surprisingly, had mad beatbox skills. Beaker is one of the only Muppets that was never recycled from some other purpose — he was created solely for “The Muppet Show.”
2. Animal: The Who’s Keith Moon may have inspired everyone’s favorite member of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. This is speculation, but people who support the theory will point out that Jim Henson named one of the Fraggle Rock characters “Wembley,” which is the town where Moon was born.
1. Swedish Chef: Real Swedish chef Lars “Kuprik” Bäckman claims he was the inspiration for the Swedish Chef. He was on “Good Morning America,” he says, and caught Jim Henson’s eye. Henson supposedly bought the rights to the show’s recording and created the Swedish Chef (who DOES have a real name, but it’s not understandable). One of the Muppet writers, Jerry Juhl, says that in all of the years of working with Jim Henson on the Swedish Chef, he never heard that the character was based on a real person.