Muppet Babies (1984-1991) was one of the few well-received Spinoff Babies conversions, partially because it was one of the first. Spinning off from The Muppet Show, the show's premise was a takeoff from a sequence in The Muppets Take Manhattan involving baby-versions of the characters, itself later referred to in an amusing callback. It also naturally spawned a side franchise of children's books.Aside from the original, and otherwise unseen Nanny character, it featured most of the big Muppet celebrities (Scooter's hitherto unknown sister Skeeter notwithstanding) discovering quite mundane things and approaching them in a precocious, childlike way — before completely blowing them out of proportion with their overactive imaginations. The Once an Episoderandom song and trademark gimmick of spliced Live Action Stock Footage (one of the main factors that has prevented it from getting an official DVD release) gave it a rather surreal quality, too. And despite being a Saturday morning spinoff, it managed to contain all the wit and intelligence of its predecessor. Some fans even prefer it to the original Muppet Show.Later seasons would feature guest appearances from other Muppet characters, including fan favorites Statler and Waldorf. The Babies also had a memorable appearance in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.
Alpha Bitch: Miss Piggy, especially in "Snow White and the Seven Muppets".
Also Skeeter, just watch "Pigerella."
Ascended Extra: Rowlf, Scooter and Animal. They were hardly nobodies on The Muppet Show or in the first three movies, but for many, it was this show that firmly put them into core character territory with Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo.
Chekhov's Gun: In the beginning of the episode "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dark?," the kids play with Scooter’s computer pen with a glowing tip. By the end of the episode, it is used by Beaker to ward off and defeat a slime monster (a representation of his fear of the dark).
The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Fozzie Bear suffers this greatly, not only from his friends but also from his imaginary audiences when they boo and throw tomatoes at him for every joke he tells to them, good or bad.
Let's not even get started on the later season that introduced Baby Bean Bunny; Bean's a young kid in the normal Muppets! Or that fact that this was all just Piggy's dream sequence in the third film, but actual backstory in A Muppet Family Christmas, but that would contradict The Muppet Movie ....yup, this is a galaxy-sized snarl.
Cool Old Guys: Statler and Waldorf had had much more softer personalities in this series.
Interestingly, a proposed prequel animated series (which was ultimatley scrapped) would have shown the Muppets as teenagers in The Fifties, even though (as The Muppets Take Manhattan makes clear) they graduated from college in the early '80s.
Couch Gag: Animal's "Go bye-bye!''" occurs in different settings and styles, based on the theme of the episode.
Derailed Fairy Tale: "Snow White and the Seven Muppets" becomes one when Piggy, who was playing the Evil Queen against her will, realizes that Kermit (Prince Charming) will be kissing Skeeter-as-Snow-White awake, so she starts (via narration) bringing in antagonists from other fairy tales to interrupt the final scene.
In one episode, the babies try to figure out how to relate with Gonzo better by finding ways where they are really weird too. It worked too well, and Gonzo wound up coming to the conclusion that he wasn't really weird and if he wasn't a 'weirdo', then he wasn't anything at all. Of course, for the Muppet Babies version of Gonzo, being labeled "weird" was always a point of pride.
"I Want" Song: "The Biggest Little Pig In Hollywood" in the episode "This Little Piggy Went To Hollywood".
Irony: In "The Muppet Museum of Art", Skeeter slips on Gonzo's roller skate and twists her ankle, forcing Nanny to cancel a trip to an art museum to take care of her, and Gonzo has a guilt trip over ruining the trip they were all waiting for. The (dramatic) irony is we see Skeeter slipping on one of Piggy's roller skates, and she swapped it with one of Gonzo's to pass the blame to him. The rest of the episode has the other babies making their own art museum for Skeeter, while Gonzo makes various works of art featuring Piggy, subconsciously sneaking a roller skate in; Piggy reacts negatively to each one as it reminds her that Skeeter's accident was her fault.
Additionally, Skeeter gets to stay in the living room with Nanny, watching TV and drinking soda-pop while Nanny pampers her. Not a bad deal at all.
Pounds are Animal Prisons: Discussed and subverted in the episode What's New at the Zoo? Rowlf applies this trope to zoos because they remind him of dog pounds. Nanny shows Rowlf the importance of zoos to preserving animal life.
Shout-Out: How many movie references did they have? A Star Wars one (just like the original Muppet Show) where Kermit was Luke, Miss Piggy was Leia, and Animal was Vader. (Now, that is impossible, Luke.) They also did Indiana Jones.
Muppet Babiesrunneth over with Star Wars references, in fact. Thanks to how close Henson Productions and Lucasfilm were at the time, Lucas basically gave the Henson crew free rein to make as many references as they liked without fear of lawyers, a privilege they used as much as they could. The target audience being relatively familiar with the works due to their fame helped matters a lot, too.
Another episode had Scooter and Piggy re-enacting Nanny's favorite movie, The African Queen.
"Nice to Have Gnome You" is based around shout-outs to (and extensive footage from) Labyrinth and the film adaptation of The Witches, two of Jim Henson's non-Muppet productions.
Talking to Himself: For the first two seasons, Howie Mandel voiced Skeeter, Animal and Bunsen. Frank Welker voiced Kermit, Beaker, Skeeter (taking over for Howie respectively) and various other voices. Dave Coulier also took over for Howie respectively, voicing Animal and Bunsen, as well as voicing Bean Bunny, Janice, Statler and Waldorf. Greg Berg voiced Scooter and Fozzie. Russi Taylor voiced Gonzo and Robin.
When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "Pigerella" had Piggy imagining herself as Cinderella. Gonzo, the Fairy Godmother, changed it to seven for a similar reason it was done to Casper in the film. Gonzo told her that, because they're kids, they can't stay awake up to midnight.
Writer's Block: Shows up once where Piggy and Gonzo literally ran into a writers (toy)block and Gonzo explained this trope. It was solved in the most zany fashion possible - writer's termites.