Asking someone to choose his or her favorite Muppet is tough. It may not be as tough as asking a parent to choose his or her favorite child; it’s maybe more akin to asking someone to choose his or her favorite ice cream flavor. Sure, there are some you like more than others, but can you rally make the defining choice between Baskin-Robbins mint chocolate chip and rocky road?
But if you watch some of the old episodes of The Muppet Show or spin through the multiple Muppet movies, you’ll find that there are at least one or two characters who rise to the top…
The thought process I go through for choosing my favorite Muppet is similar to the one I used for choosing my favorite Stooge. Curly is the easy answer, but he’s too obvious for me. And while I love Moe as the acerbic leader, my favorite Stooge has and always will be Larry. He’s the glue that holds the team together, from the early days with Curly to the doldrums with Joe. Larry is the Stooge’s support and reliability. And I have a penchant for secondary and sometimes tertiary characters.
In this sense, my favorite Muppet is not one of the A-listers. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie or Gonzo. They’re all adorable and loveable, and each one has his or her (or its) strengths. But like Curly, those choices are too easy.
I go for the underdog in the Muppet derby, the guy who ends up the butt of many jokes and the figurative (and often literal) punching bag. My favorite Muppet, by a mile, is Beaker.
As the assistant to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew at Muppet Labs, Beaker was the real star. It didn’t bother him that Dr. Honeydew didn’t have any eyes (which is probably at least part of the reason that most of the Muppet Lab innovations were absolute disasters). He was a loyal helper, even when he knew he’d be seriously harmed in the process.
Everyone needs a Beaker in their lives, and he’s a star in my book.
My runner-up is another secondary Muppet who is often literally misunderstood because, like Beaker, he doesn’t quite know how to speak proper English: the Swedish Chef. These two comedic geniuses have rarely shared the spotlight, but along with Animal, they had a chance to sing this little ditty, one of my favorite Muppet sketches of all time…
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