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[[quoteright:289:[[Series/SesameStreet http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_ly9hjkb6cc1r8bqnuo1_400.jpg]]]]

->'''Lisa Simpson:''' Dad, what's a Muppet?\\
'''Homer Simpson:''' Well, it's not quite a mop, and it's not quite a puppet, but ''maaaan''! (laughs) So to answer your question, I don't know.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''

A character in a live-action series rendered by puppetry or animatronics. Usually used to create an alien or other non-human character.

Technically, "Muppet" is [[Creator/{{Disney}} The Walt Disney Company]]'s [[note]]previously The Jim Henson Company[[/note]] trademark name (a coined name, not a portmanteau of "marionette" and "puppet" as is commonly believed) for the [[Franchise/TheMuppets unique brand of puppets]] created by Creator/JimHenson. This usage generally occurs in such things as television shows and movies. Other production shops have adapted Henson's techniques, which have revolutionized puppetry. For many people now, ''Muppet'' and ''puppet'' are practically [[BrandNameTakeover synonymous]].

Henson created a merging of puppetry (using the hands for the mouth movements) and marionettes (in their use of wires and how animated their movements are). Before television, puppetry was a fairly static art. Henson made the Muppets almost hyper-kinetic, putting a lot of energy into the performance. Furthermore, the way the puppets were operated, for example making them look directly at something (typically with a puppeteer's hand directly manipulating the head), gives them a remarkably lifelike appearance. In addition, while puppeteers in previous productions hid behind a structure on screen in keeping with tradition, Henson realized he could just stage his show using the TV screen frame itself in order to hide the operators and focus all attention on the puppets.

Animatronics was also improved by the Jim Henson shop. Animatronics employs a complex series of mechanics to create a creature with much more subtle movements and expressions than a standard puppet, such as blinking eyes or opening gills. A puppeteer may often wear a full body suit and an animatronic head. He [[YouKeepUsingThatWord didn't consider them to be "Muppets",]] though most people ignore that distinction.

Now common in children's shows, Muppets became widespread due to their popularity in ''Series/SesameStreet'', a Henson co-production.

A common sub-type is the HandPuppet. For CGI characters, see SerkisFolk.

In British slang, the word can be an insult, indicating someone who is clueless and incompetent. If you're looking for the entry on the franchise, you can find it [[Franchise/TheMuppets here]].



* Even before ''Series/SesameStreet'', early proto-Muppets appeared in ads for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bfdaR4xMeU La Choy Noodles]], and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lFDJTVvp8U C&P Telephone]], among others.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Franchise/TheMuppets' feature films:
** ''Film/TheMuppetMovie''
** ''Film/TheGreatMuppetCaper''
** ''Film/TheMuppetsTakeManhattan''
** ''Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol''
** ''Film/MuppetTreasureIsland''
** ''Film/MuppetsFromSpace''
** ''[[Film/TheMuppets The Muppets]]''
** ''Film/MuppetsMostWanted''
* Featured in the very adult film ''Film/MeetTheFeebles''.
* In the movie ''Film/TheDarkCrystal'', the entire world consisted of such aliens.
* Nearly all characters in ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'', such as Hoggle, Sir Didymus, Ludo, and those really strange creatures who dismember themselves at will (and think Sarah can, too). Inside the labyrinth, the only characters that aren't Muppets or actors in some sort of Muppet-enhanced suit are are Sarah, Jareth and Toby.
* Yoda, of ''Franchise/StarWars'' fame.
** Yoda is portrayed and voiced by veteran Muppeteer Frank Oz in the original trilogy and first film of the prequel trilogy, but due to the need for Yoda to be in elaborate fight sequences in Episodes 2 and 3, Yoda became CGI but was still voiced by Frank Oz.
*** Its more the other way around, according to the special features, they had Yoda CGI in a couple scene in Ep. 1 and by Episode 2 realized they had the technology to do Yoda convincingly as CGI, and so they gave him the elaborate fight with Dooku. [[WhatCouldHaveBeen If it hadn't worked the fight would have been Mace Windu vs. Dooku.]]
** The Rancor of ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' was scary as hell and very realistic, but a muppet nontheless. Also other aliens from the StarWars universe, including the [[PeopleInRubberSuits Wampa]], Max Rebo and [[SmallAnnoyingCreature Salacious Crumb]]. R2-D2 may qualify if you ''really'' stretch the definition of "Muppet".
* Most of the creatures in ''Film/HellboyIITheGoldenArmy'' (bar the Elemental, the Stone Giant and titular Golden Army).
* The first three ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' films and the television show ''[[Series/NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation]]''.[[note]]In the movies, at least, the turtles are actually suitmation with animatronic heads, but Splinter is 100% muppet[[/note]]
* Audrey II in the 1986 version of ''Film/LittleShopOfHorrors''. Please note it was directed by the aforementioned Frank Oz. Also that it's an extreme example that required ''sixty operators'', and the lips had to be filmed at 16fps (necessitating slower movements for actors in the shot).
* The Vogons in ''Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. All puppets in the film were designed and constructed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop.
* The Creator/JimHensonsCreatureShop will be bringing Freddy Fazbear and friends of the ''Film/FiveNightsAtFreddys'' movie to life with animatronic Muppets - in an unnerving example of Defictionalization.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Most of Jim Henson's live works include Franchise/TheMuppets.
** ''Series/TheMuppetShow''
** ''Series/MuppetsTonight''
** ''Film/AMuppetFamilyChristmas''
** ''Series/FraggleRock''
** ''Series/SesameStreet''
*** Parodied in ''Series/GregTheBunny''.
*** Also parodied somewhat on ''Series/CrankYankers''.
*** ''Series/WonderShowzen'' completely and utterly thrashes this show around in their yard.
** ''Film/EmmetOttersJugBandChristmas''
** ''Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree''
** Some of the dinosaurs from ''{{Series/Dinosaurs}}'', at least the ones that aren't played by actors in costumes, that is.
** ''Series/MopatopsShop'' was a co-production between Jim Henson Productions and Carlton Television, and of course featured Muppets as a result.
* ''Series/{{Oobi}}'' is a puppet show, created for Creator/{{Noggin}} while Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon co-produced all of its programming. The characters are literal hand puppets, described as "furless" Muppets in promotional statements, with acrylic eyes and accessories. Whether or not they actually count as puppets or Muppets is debatable, but it's worth noting that this is one of the most recent TV shows to refer to its characters as Muppets without actually featuring ''the'' Muppets.
* Not to mention such programs as ''The Jimmy Dean Show'' and ''Series/TheEdSullivanShow''.
* And earliest of all, ''Series/SamAndFriends'', a locally-produced late '50s children's show on a Washington D.C. station, which featured Henson performing several Muppet characters, including an embryonic Kermit the Frog.
** On the other end of the spectrum, the earliest episodes of ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' had sketches with muppets (not ''The Muppets'' per se, but original characters). Sadly, the AnimationAgeGhetto came into play and the Muppet sketches were withdrawn.
* A third of the cast of ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. (Pilot, Rygel)
** That's just the main cast. A good number of alien extras and guest characters are Muppets as well.
** Note well that these muppets were provided by the Jim Henson Workshop.
* Almost every actual alien species (not counting displaced human cultures) on ''Series/StargateSG1'', most notably the Goa'uld/Tok'Ra symbiotes and the Asgard. (The Re'tu and the Replicators are SerkisFolk.)
* N'Grath, the mantis-like crime lord from the first season of ''Series/BabylonFive''.
* The puppet for ''Babylon 5'''s N'Grath was recycled as the She-Mantis in the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Teacher's Pet".
* Joel Hodgson's Puppet Bots from ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000''.
* During one ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode, the stars of the quality edutainment show ''Smile Time''. And Angel himself.
** Which adds double meaning to Spike's "You're a bloody puppet!" line.
* ''Series/{{Alf}}''.
* Most of the cast of ''Series/LazyTown''. Why, we may never know, because they're all Muppets of supposedly human characters (although it is a good way to make exceptionally silly characters without asking people to give up their dignity).
* Marcus of ''WebVideo/{{Mega64}}''. This is frequently lampshaded.
* ''Series/SpittingImage''.
* Pinch, ''Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld'''s New York Times Correspondent. A copy of the NYT with cardboard eyes and a string attached. A regular "panelist" along with Bill Schulz, who are the [[{{Fox News Liberal}} token liberal]] [[{{Butt Monkey}} butt monkeys]].
* Series/{{Mongrels}}, which tries to do "to puppetry what WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons did to animation."
* ''Series/TreintaYUnMinutos''
* In the ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode "[[Recap/CommunityS4E09IntroToFeltSurrogacy Intro To Felt Surrogacy]]", the study group had all experienced some "embarrassing moment" of some kind, and were going through an awkward silence that had apparently been lasting for days, at which point the Dean shows up and gives out sock puppets to each member to help them relive what happened, as a way of "therapy." The story was told via flashback, where each study group member was represented as a muppet (''not'' their sock puppets), complete with musical sequences a la "Franchise/TheMuppets." Everybody else who appeared in their flashback during the episode was shown as their regular human self, excluding Chang, who had a sock puppet of his own.
** Apparently, Chang already had his sock puppet at that point in time, which you can actually see ''[[Film/{{Inception}} on his muppet]]'' in the brief moment it appears in the episode.
* ''Series/FurTV'' it's a European parody of the Muppets with a lot of sex and DarkHumor.

* Parodied, subverted, lampshaded and everything else in TheMusical ''Theatre/AvenueQ'', which is not by Jim Henson.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/TransylvaniaTelevision'', "The Retro Monster Comedy Show [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids that's not for kids]]," contains examples of Muppet-style puppetry.
* The Dan Deacon music video for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N01aTvi7ef4 Paddling Ghost]] features a whole array of differently articulated muppets, evidently telling TheHerosJourney of a bedsheet ghost with an eyepatch.
* Most of the characters from ''WebVideo/DontHugMeImScared''.
* WebVideo/{{Arlo}} is one that reviews Creator/{{Nintendo}} games.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Robinsons from ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' all resemble muppet characters and have MarionetteMotion, though they're actually CGI. They even have stuffing inside of their bodies, implying they're literally muppets [[LivingToys come to life.]]
* The characters from ''WesternAnimation/{{Mad}}'''s "Flammable" and "[=SpongeWow=]" sketches.
* Everyone in ''WesternAnimation/MrMeaty''.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'''s "Born Again Virgin ChristmasSpecial" in a sketch parodying ''Literature/EmmetOttersJugBandChristmas''.
* A couple of Jim Henson Company-produced kids series of the recent past, ''Series/SidTheScienceKid'' and ''Series/DinosaurTrain'' are fully [=CGI=]. However, not only do the character designs resemble traditional Muppets, but they're performed like them as well. For some of the more complicated puppets on ''Series/FraggleRock'' and other 80s Henson projects, Jim Henson and crew created radio control puppetry systems where a puppeteer operates a remote control that is translated into movement of the puppet by small motors. In the late '80s, Jim Henson, who was an early fan of [=CGI=], had the idea that the controller output could instead be sent to a computer which then translates it into a rough first pass version of an animated character that is then cleaned up in post. The first such character, Waldo C. Graphic, appears in the MuppetVision3D attraction at Walt Disney World. The system was later refined by a team lead by Jim's son Brian, and has been used for projects like the aforementioned series.