My friend John and I recently got into a debate about our favorite muppets. In a rather Statler and Waldorf moment, we both readily agreed that there were some overrated Muppets (I’m looking at you, Kermit and Gonzo). But we had a very difficult time narrowing down our favorites. Therefore, as a bit of a cheat, I’m going to do two lists: My personal top 5 muppets, and also the 5 I think are most underrated. While I think someone like Scooter is a top-5 candidate, he probably belongs more on the underrated list, and if a muppet appears on one list, he or she won’t appear on the other. Please let me know who I’ve overlooked in the comments.
Also, you won’t find Miss Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, or the newest muppet, Walter, on the list. Sure, Kermit and Miss Piggy are the central couple of the show, and make the Muppets tick. But let’s be honest: they’re not enjoyable characters. Further, Kermit’s leadership and business acumen are questionable at best: Every other movie, it seems the plot is for the muppets to put on one last gasp performance so they can save their theater/the show/their finances, that somehow Kermit has royally screwed up. They really need to put Scooter in charge (or his mysterious twin Skeeter).
Top 5 Muppets:
1) Fozzie Bear
Waka waka waka. Fozzie is hilarious, but beyond that, he’s a great friend to Kermit, someone Kermit can and does lean on when times are tough. Comic relief who manages to steal the show.
I don’t understand – to me, I can make out every word he says.
Animal has become so popular recently that he’s on the verge of becoming overrated. That said, he’s always been one of my favorite muppets, and he’s hilarious, nevermore so than when he interacted with Dudley Moore.
First of all, look at him. That is the cuddliest Muppet you will ever find. But beyond the surface, Rowlf is a talented musician, deadpan humorist, and, most importantly, a scene-stealer. Rowlf’s the muppet you’d want to hang out with the most: generous, funny, well-educated…I don’t know why he doesn’t get more respect.
Top 5 Underrated Muppets
Scooter. Who else could it be? This guy is everything you’d want in a muppet: loyal, friendly, happy to blend in or steal a scene….He’s always there, as the gofer, making sure the show runs smoothly. He was also hipster before hipster was a thing: working at Google in the most recent movie, or at the independent cinema before that in “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”
2) Rizzo the Rat
Speaking of “Muppets Take Manhattan,” the break-out star of that film, Rizzo, had to make this list. He’s the most New York-centric muppet, but he’s also just hilarious – the expressions he can make (or, the puppeteers can make him seem to make), are priceless.
3) Sam the Eagle
A patriot, a high-minded intellectual, and, often, a foil against the low-brow humor of the rest of the gang, Sam has an innate ability to crack me up.
4) Lew Zealand
I mean, just look at that picture, and tell me you’re not laughing. On top of that – what is Lew? What’s his deal? What’s with his voice? To me, he was always the hardest Muppet to get a read on. What’s he wearing? His whole shtick is about throwing boomerang fish…and yet, he’s hilarious. Somehow it all just works.
Sweetums singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” in no way feels dated. This guy is big, goofy, and funny. Cracks me up whenever he’s on screen, and never overstays his welcome.
Now, I promised just two lists, but let’s be honest: it’s impossible to classify Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. That band in and of itself is both underrated AND probably my favorite characters on the show (besides Scooter).
Of course the house band would be the coolest characters on the show, the guys everyone probably want to hang out with, but each character on their own was just incredible. I mean, how amazingly funny is Janice?
And Floyd? Floyd is just the coolest. Even when he just wants to play Penguin music:
And, of course, the ultimate convergence of all my favorites, enjoy this clip of Floyd and Scooter, jamming out: