Some readers of this article may be disappointed. There is no mention of Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, the Cookie monster, or Elmo. The characters in The Muppet Show and films are not the same that can be seen on Sesame Street. I think children know this, but adults may not. But although some characters will be absent from this article, they will be in our hearts forever.
I’ve seen the Muppets TV shows, films, and heard Animal sing a duet with John Denver on a Christmas album. Their selection was: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I’ve liked everything I’ve seen. I began to wonder: Who is my favorite Muppet? I limited myself to the “regulars” –characters playing a major role in every production. (I might have to do an article on My Favorite Supporting Muppet. Animal? Or Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, with Animal as drummer. Hmmm.)
Kermit and Miss Piggy. It’s almost impossible to evaluate these characters separately. Not since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has a Hollywood couple had such an on-and-off relationship. But I’ll try.
Kermit is a leader, sometimes by choice, sometimes by default. I don’t think he takes to the role naturally. He reminds me of Tom Hanks’ character in the film: “Saving Private Ryan.” He’s the man for the job –and he does it well. He is a leader when necessary, but he does not need to always fill that role. He’s respected by (almost) everyone.
Miss Piggy is a Diva. Everyone knows it, except her. In her mind, all she wants is her fair share of, well, whatever she wants. She plays her part with energy and effort. She hopes it will bring her the praise, respect, and rewards she wants and (in her mind) deserves. Even if her performance doesn’t get her what she wants, she continues to play the role she likes and needs. Most people go along with her because they sense the loneliness beneath her bravado. It’s why they don’t dislike her charade.
Fozzie begins every day believing his jokes will make people laugh. He is a frustrated, well-intentioned stand-up comic. His jokes may flop or Statler and Waldorf will verbally abuse him from the balcony. He may feel poorly at the end of a day, but the morning will bring a new dawn and he will make another effort. He and Miss Piggy are more alike than they know.
And, then, there is Rowlf. I pronounce his name Rolf. Others say Ralph. Say his name as you wish. He will ALWAYS be Rowlf. He is the Muppet having the most fun, being the most positive, at ease. Best of all, I don’t think it’s an act. He plays the piano well and with great enthusiasm, his large ears flying and flapping, his mouth wide open in song or joy. Every time I see him, I smile. He makes my day. So: guess who my favorite Muppet is.