When I was a kid, Jim Henson was my absolute hero. He invented so many of my childhood characters, he pioneered some of my favorite television shows of all time, did so many great voices for various incredible characters, and voiced my favorite character all time, Kermit the Frog. So when he passed away it was a somber and heartbreaking occasion for me. I remember sitting through the memorial song played on television where the muppets are contemplating Henson’s death and I couldn’t even sit through it. Mid-way I literally got up and left putting the television on mute, barely able to come to terms with Henson’s passing. It felt like my grandfather, who spent so many years telling me great stories and inventing this magical world was gone. It was yet another artist going away forever.
The muppets and Sesame Street were never the same again. Sure they can pretend they rebounded, but when Jim died, everything else did, and universe for these characters was just completely pointless and oozing consumerism. Characters were no longer there to tell stories, they were just there to sell merchandise. One of the many reasons why i utterly despised and continue to despise Elmo. Seriously, I loathe that character more than Mickey an the entire cast of “Family Guy” combined. Since his death and my introduction to his work, Henson has been one of the major influences on my life inspiring my love for impressions and voices, and for creating my own characters, and I had to pay homage to the man, the legend, Jim Henson.
I never saw the big deal with Elmo. He’s obnoxious, shrill, and kind of an attention whore. Big Bird is the muppet that helped define Sesame Street for me as a child. Yes, I watched “Follow that Bird” a thousand times, and I loved his appearance in the muppets Christmas when he has a run in with the Swedish chef. One of my favorite books as a child was “Early Bird on Sesame Street,” a children’s book about Big Bird’s exploration of Sesame Street before everyone was awake.
It still lingers in my mind as one of the best kids books I’ve ever read. Big Bird, as voiced by Carroll Spinney, had humility, heart, a pleasant nature, was soft spoken, and was never cloying. He had personality, but he made learning fun for kids. Everyone has their muppet they’d love to spend time with, and Big Bird is the one for me. Sesame Street is Big Bird, and I love him for it.
Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie were the first real bromance I ever experienced on television. Roommates and best friends till the end, they lived their lives as bachelors and consistently getting in to misunderstandings. The Muppet Odd Couple, Ernie was constantly in love with his rubber ducky, while Bert was the ever suffering friend who withstood his antics.
Named after the two cops in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the duo were performed by Henson and Frank Oz originally, Bert and Ernie were just some of the best characters on Sesame Street for decades, and they provided us with keen insight on the living situations of muppets all around Sesame Street. Thanks guys!
Statler and Waldorf
Aside from my dad, Statler and Waldorf taught me about the art of the put down and the one liner. It’s all about timing and brevity, folks. Timing and brevity. Statler and Waldorf are the ultimate critics, who spend their time in the balcony watching everyone parade around only to repay them with a put down or witty criticism that were always laugh out loud funny.
They don’t want to be there, and we don’t want them there, but damned if they’re not two of the funniest crusty men we’ve ever seen in our lives. They were never really antagonists or protagonists of the Muppets, but more the critics who pointed the absurd, and with their wonderful interplay, they’re still one of the best aspects of the Muppets.
My love for Fozzie Bear is three fold. For one, he was my little brother’s favorite character for many years. For the second, Fozzie Bear was primarily known by me and my cousins as the funny toddler muppet in the immortal “Muppet Babies” cartoon. I mean, no matter how you feel about franchises pandering to kids with kiddy versions of their characters, “Muppet Babies” was a wonderful and entertaining look at the Muppets as children, all of whom spent their time in daycare getting in to wild adventures and changes with their imagination and courage.
It’s a very notable predecessor to “Rugrats” except with a frog, a pig, and a bear. My third experience with Fozzie Bear is during “The Muppets” show in which Fozzie often waxed comedic as the aspiring comedian of the group. Fozzie is a lovable oaf who really has an admirable love for comedy of all kinds. You can’t help but root for the lovable guy.
Kermit the Frog
Kermit is not only my favorite Muppet, but he’s the heart and soul of the Muppets altogether. He’s the MC for their big show, he’s one of the main characters in the 2011 movie, he has a whirlwind romance with a pig, he has an adorable nephew, and he has a wonderful personality that makes him lovable and worth looking up to. He also sang the absolutely amazing song “The Rainbow Connection,” a brilliant song pondering about life, love, and the world beyond our eyes. Kermit has been one of the most defining faces of the Muppets, and has managed to be the missing piece of every appearance from the Muppets including “Muppet Babies,” the 2011 movie, and so on.
Kermit is a frog who loves everyone around him and doesn’t have an inch of pretension. He is the glue that keeps the Muppets together, and without him, there’s a huge gap that can not be filled. Kermit is one of the finest MC’s of the Muppet Show, and his relationship with Fozzie is one of the finest friendships ever written for the Muppet series. They have a wonderful chemistry that never quite draws attention to the fact that one friend is a frog and the other is a bear. They just even each other out. And you have to love Kermit’s endless romance with Ms. Piggy who love her Kermie, and Kermit love her. You have to love this green little guy.