aka: Everythings Better With Muppets
It doesn't take that much imagination, Exactly What It Says on the Tin
In any given Real Life situation,
To integrate a Muppet for the realisation,
Life could be much, much more of a sensation!
— Spray, "Everything's Better With Muppets"
This is not about works that explicitly
feature The Muppets
, such as Sesame Street
, The Muppet Show
, The Muppet Movie
, Fraggle Rock
or most other Jim Henson
productions. This is about featuring Muppets in other
works as Special Guest Stars (which is an interesting role reversal from The Muppet Show
, in which singers and actors/actresses would regularly guest-star). This automatically makes the work better.
Note that when this happens, the Muppets are (almost) always
treated as people (even when there are references to Muppetry-related things), an almost Kayfabesque
convention that also extends to press junkets and interviews. Also note that this frequently happens in live-action TV shows that otherwise use only normal life forms.
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- A commercial for Disneyland theme parks with Cat Cora and Muppets in the kitchen.
- Expanded into a series of commercials, including Miss Piggy with Taye Diggs, and Fozzie and Pepe with Sara Ramirez.
- The entire gang appears in a series of MasterCard commercials.
- They have their own Disney Channel bumpers.
- This BMW commercial with Kermit, throwing in some Furry Confusion for good measure.
- Some Disney Channel promos have Miss Piggy give China Anne McClain and Sierra McCormick advice.
- Several Pizza Hut commercials, sometimes with Jessica Simpson.
- This SportsCenter commercial featuring the Swedish Chef as the new cafeteria chef.
- And now a series for the Toyota Highlander SUV. "We ain't got no room for boring!"
- An early Internet-related Star Trek fanfic called Grades of Shay was either the Muppets guest starring on Star Trek: The Next Generation or the cast of ST:TNG guest starring on The Muppet Show. It's hard to tell exactly which, but it is crazy awesome.
- Sesame Street Muppets (Elmo, Grover, Oscar and an orange monster later named as Ex Ray) appear in a Season 8 episode of Scrubs, "My ABCs."
- In Sesame Street's 1970s sibling show The Electric Company, Grover became lost and wound up on the show, Oscar gave grouchy lessons, and Big Bird met Fargo North.
- In the 30 Rock episode "Apollo, Apollo", Kenneth hallucinates his castmates as Muppets.
- ...And in "Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001", he is shown by a conveniently placed high-definition camerah to be one himself.
- Kermit the Frog shows up to help Jack with the eulogy for the last Mrs. Donaghy. This is treated the same as if Jack had invited anyone to help.
- An episode of Dinner Impossible has Robert Irvine catering the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street with the help of Elmo, Cookie Monster and Maria.
- The Season 5 episode of The West Wing titled "Eppur Si Muove" had the first lady appear on Sesame Street. Crowning Moment Of Awesome when C.J. Craig (Allison Janney) had a brief run-in with Big Bird.
- In The Cosby Show Season 6 episode "Cliff's Nightmare", a bunch of Muppets (including Gonzo, Sweetums, Waldorf, and Leon and Digit from The Jim Henson Hour) appear in the titular Acid Reflux Nightmare.
- Studio DC Almost Live put Muppets and Disney Channel stars together.
- America's Got Talent had Terry Fator, a ventriloquist, in the second season finals; and as all the finalists got to perform with a celebrity, his performance was with Kermit. For bonus points, there was a mock judging afterward by Beaker, the Swedish Chef and Animal.
- They also made a cameo or two in the fourth season:
Sharon Osbourne: (on Kermit and Piggy)
And they say Ozzy
and I have an odd relationship!
- When Extreme Makeover Home Edition added the gimmick of involving a celebrity attend every renovation, in one episode it was the Muppets. In one of the episodes in Season Three, Kermit was the substitute team leader instead of Ty Pennington.
- On The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert once interviewed Cookie Monster regarding a minor controversy over Sesame Street segments with Cookie being taught to regard his namesake treat as a "sometimes food", perceived by many as a Political Correctness Gone Mad reaction to childhood obesity concerns. Colbert caught Cookie eyeballing the host's large, round Peabody award and warned the monster off—only to find the award gone missing in the episode's stinger.
- Two episodes of Dancing with the Stars in 2009 had Muppet appearances, likely inspired by Aaron Carter dancing to the theme to "The Muppet Show" (or is it the other way around?). Neither of these had any prior warning, BTW. The first time, Gonzo trumpeted briefly. The second time (season finale), Miss Piggy was being a diva and knocked out Samantha Harris(!).
- An episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he visited the set of LOST during its first season, revealed The Monster to be the Cookie Monster — who promptly proceeded to eat Kimmel.
- Grover has also been interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. See it here.
- The cast of Avenue Q gave the Ace Of Cakes bakers puppet-versions of themselves as a thank-you; the puppet-bakers reappeared in the intro to the Lost episode.
- On Cake Boss, Buddy & Co. were hired to do Sesame Street's 40th anniversary cake. Buddy went the extra mile and made a giant cookie for Cookie Monster, his childhood inspiration, insisting that Cookie Monster was real. The resulting cookie shocked and amazed Cookie, eventually becoming a popular reaction gif.
- Kermit and Robin make an appearance on The Earth Day Special.
- Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?? celebrated Sesame Street's 40th anniversary by bringing in some of the Muppet characters to co-host.
- Cookie Monster once made a guest appearance on Martha Stewart Living, in which he "helps" Martha and ends up destroying her kitchen. ("Me no feel pain. Cookies are like Novocaine.") It can be seen on YouTube in two parts.
- Miss Piggy made a couple of guest appearances on Martha Stewart's Christmas Special, first in 1995 and then in 1996.
- Back when Jim Henson was starting out, the Muppets were regulars on a number of variety shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show (to the point that the 1970 Christmas show was given over to them via the special The Great Santa Claus Switch). During the height of their popularity at the end of The Seventies, this shifted over to appearances on late night talk shows — including a guest hosting stint on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
- The joint interview by Ricky Gervais and Elmo in honor of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary is a thing of beauty, with such moments as Gervais warning Elmo that they shouldn't discuss necrophilia and Elmo turning to the camera and demanding, "Elmo wants this tape."
- While Jim Henson was shopping The Muppet Show around, he and his crew were given an opportunity to show that Muppets weren't just for children with a regular weekly feature on Saturday Night Live. For this, they created a new set of Muppets for the adult-themed "Land of Gorch" sketches. All relevant details and a thoughtful analysis can be found here.
- When Robert DeNiro hosted, he shared a special moment with our Kermie during the monologue, during which the two sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
- When Seth Rogen has been on the show, there have been sketches spoofing the Muppets in which he and members of the cast dress up in Muppet Costumes, including one in which Andy Samberg as the Swedish Chef sings "Beyond the Sea" with accompaniment by Rowlf the Dog and the Muppet Show Band, and another in which most of the primary Muppet cast perpetrate a hit and run.
- Cookie Monster appeared in the opening monologue of a 2010 episode hosted by Jeff Bridges. This was a culmination of a campaign orchestrated by Sesame Workshop to let Cookie Monster host. Highlights included Bridges calling the Monster "Cook", and an ad-libbed portion involving a broken prop cookie.
- When Jason Segel hosted SNL on November 19th, 2011, his famous Muppet co-stars made special appearances with him, alluding in Jason's monologue to the Muppets' original appearances on the show. Of course, one of the highlights of that episode was Seth Meyers' priceless "REALLY?!" skit on Weekend Update with the Main Frog.
- Notable in that Seth Myers at one point "mistakenly" refers to Kermit as a "puppet." When Kermit corrects him and Seth apologized and politely asks for Kermit to explain the difference, Kermit replies that a puppet is a marionette operated by a human, whereas as a Muppet, he (Kermit) is an actual talking frog.
- Top Chef All-Stars had Telly, Elmo, and Cookie Monsters judge the Quick Fire Challenge, with Elmo likening a contestant's cookies to cow pies.
- The Electric Mayhem backed a Disney Channel special performance of Demi Lovato. Kermit was set to duet with Demi, but naturally, Piggy wasn't okay with that... so Beaker took over.
- Jimmy Fallon on Late Night has been enjoying having over his own group of Sesame Street characters.
- Kermit made a few appearances on the Tom Bergeron-hosted version of Hollywood Squares. One fantastic bit had him do a quick impression of fellow square Colin Mochrie.
- Big Bird also made a few appearances on the Peter Marshall version of the Squares.
- The Muppets also made a guest appearance on a Bergeron-hosted episode of America's Funniest Home Videos in 2005.
- On Halloween 2011, the Muppets guest starred on WWE RAW to promote The Muppets. And yes, Beaker did interact with Sheamus.
- In fact, the Muppets showed up on a TON of non-Muppet shows to promote. They showed up on ESPN, talk shows galore, the abovementioned Saturday Night Live gig with Jason Segal, and plenty of others.
- Big Bird once visited his friend X the Owl in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, much to the jealousy of Henrietta. Big Bird's performer, Carroll Spinney, denied Fred Rogers' request to do a segment explaining how the Big Bird costume worked because he didn't want to ruin the character for the children, so Rogers compromised by delivering this line right before Big Bird appeared:
"When you see big make-believe creatures in parades or in plays or on television, you can know that the people inside are just pretending to be something else. There are people inside. Sometimes of course there are machines inside of them too, that make them move. But they're just pretend. Just pretend."
- Big Bird, Ernie and Bert, and Elmo once made cameo appearaces in Between the Lions.
- One April Fools' Day episode of CNN Talk Show Larry King Live had Kermit the Frog as the entire episode's Guest Host, conducting all the interviews for the full hour. Larry King appears at the end to critique Kermit on his interview performance.
- Oscar the Grouch is part of the mob in an episode of 1 vs 100.
- Miss Piggy guest-starred in one episode of So Random!.
- A Sesame Street segment was filmed with Elmo and Katy Perry, with Perry wearing a rather risqué outfit. Some parents complained about the video (which had appeared on YouTube, but not Sesame Street itself). News show The Early Show brought in Elmo and Sesame Street Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente to discuss the issue. Elmo mentioned that he didn't understand what the fuss was about. (Watch the news broadcast here: )
- Kermit and Miss Piggy being interviewed on Michael Parkinson's BBC series - see it here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_fKqMgkRa0
- The CITV puppet chat show The Pig Attraction with Billy the Pig, which normally interviewed British puppets such as Roland Rat and the Honey Monster, once had an episode devoted to a live satelite uplink with Miss Piggy ... which, much to Billy's disappointment, didn't work. Eventually, they managed to get a connection, but interviewed Big Bird instead.
- An episode of Project Runway All Stars challenged the designers to design a dress for Miss Piggy, who served as a guest judge that episode.
- Elmo made a cameo in the Big Bag episode "Elmo's Visit", where it is revealed that Elmo is Chelli's pen pal. The show was made by the same people as Sesame Street, but the puppets in the show are not Muppets.
- The Muppets have made several appearances at the Academy Award ceremony.
- In 1980, Kermit sang The Muppet Movie's "The Rainbow Connection" (which was up for, but did not win, Best Song) while Miss Piggy confronted host Johnny Carson over not being nominated for Best Actress. When she asked him if she were "Oscar material", he replied, "Oscar Mayer, maybe!"
- In 1982, The Great Muppet Caper was up for Best Song with "The First Time It Happens", so Kermit and Miss Piggy sang it together.
- In 1996, Whoopi Goldberg's attempt at a live video interview with Babe the pig was foiled by a jealous Miss Piggy hacking into the broadcast.
- In The Eighties, Kermit the Frog and Jim Henson appeared on the Nickelodeon movie reviews-and-news show Rated K — For Kids, By Kids. The episode opened with Kermit trying to give a speech introducing Henson, only to realize he got the paper with his speech and the one with directions to the studio on it — which he was supposed to give to Henson — switched by mistake. Luckily, Henson had no problem getting to the studio for an interview with the show's pint-sized critics.
- Cookie Monster was interviewed on Newsnight, to promote The BBC's new Sesame Street spinoff The Furchester.
- The Weezer music video for "Keep Fishin'."
- The Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody
- Everything's Better With Muppets is the literal title and theme of the song by the English band Spray.
- Lady Gaga's Kermit dress◊.
- What's better than Cee Lo Green singing "The Song Otherwise Known As 'Forget You'" with Glee's Gwyneth Paltrow on the Grammys? How about being backed by a "Jim Henson puppet" band from space?
- Cee Lo and the Muppets re-teamed for the song "All I Need Is Love", which has an amazing hook sampled from Mahna Mahna.
- Originally, the ensemble that performed the "Christmas is #1" song on Saturday Night Live consisted of Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, Jimmy Fallon, and Tracy Morgan. After the latter three left the show, Horatio performed with the Muppets.
- The band OK Go just recently made a brand new video starring the Muppets as part of the Green Album.
- And now Ben Folds Five has teamed up with the Fraggles. Let the music play.
- In keeping with the "kayfabe" ethos mentioned in the trope description, the "Making of..." video doesn't show a pupeteer at any point, but does have an interview with Red.
- The music video for "Grit/Love You Like This" by Danny Byrd has cameos from various Muppets.
- As a means to promote The Muppets, the cast guest-starred on WWE's RAW, leading to some great moments.
- First was one of the Divas kissing Kermit in front of Miss Piggy (and escaping unscathed, surprisingly).
- Then you had Beaker running into Sheamus - who immediately welcomed his cousin and expressed regret that he couldn't make the family reunion that year.
- Followed by Hornswoggle (a huge fan of theirs in reality, to the point that he has tattoos of 6 characters) hitting on (and getting hit by) Miss Piggy.
- And culminating in Beaker getting a mysterious concoction to the ring to help Santino Marella win his match... which works because Santino was so disgusted by the taste of it that he did a Spit Take into his opponent's face.
- More Or Less The BBC Radio 4 series about numbers in the news, once had an interview with Count von Count.
- The Radio 4 current events programme Today has a feature called "Tweet of the Day", a quick ornithology lesson beginning with a bird-call. During Radio 4's Character Invasion theme day, in which the factual programmes all featured fictional characters as if they were real people, the "Tweet of the Day" featured the distinctive sound of avis gigantes, better known as Big Bird.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, the player character is apparently a big fan. At one point you can mention how you don't like horror films because there's never enough Muppets, and after getting an unmarked, presumably gruesome tape, the description states "You hope it's one of the Muppet Movies."