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Film / Muppet Classic Theater

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Muppet Classic Theater is a Direct to Video Muppet special from 1994. Much like The Muppet Christmas Carol before it, this one has the Muppets acting out classic stories, (mainly fables and fairy tales by Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, and the Brothers Grimm) with Gonzo and Rizzo acting as hosts.

The Muppets do their own versions of six classic stories:

  • The Three Little Pigs, with Miss Piggy as Sandy Pig, builder of the brick house.
  • King Midas, with Kermit as King Midas, Miss Piggy as Queen Midas, and Gonzo as a satyr who grants Midas a wish.
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf, with Gonzo as the titular boy and Kermit as the town's mayor.
  • Rumplestiltskin, with Gonzo as the title character, Miss Piggy as the miller's daughter, and Kermit as the king.
  • The Emperor's New Clothes, with Fozzie as the emperor and Rizzo as a con man who "makes" the emperor's new clothes.
  • The Elves and the Shoe Maker, with Kermit as the shoe maker and Robin as the shoe maker's nephew.

Notably, this special introduced a handful of characters who would have recurring roles on Muppets Tonight, namely Andy and Randy Pig, as well as elves who resemble Elvis Presley.

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", the sheep enlist the help of their big cousin Norman to fight off the wolf, overlapping with Spared by the Adaptation.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Rather than risk her baby's safety by guessing the funny little man's name alone, the maiden tells the truth to her father and the king. After they clear up the misunderstanding, the whole kingdom gets to work trying to guess the right name. It doesn't work but it makes more sense.
  • Adaptational Karma: The conmen in "The Emperor's New Clothes" absconded with all the gold and silver thread before the Emperor found them out. Here, Fozzie puts them in a dungeon immediately for lying to him.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In a few of the stories.
    • In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", rather than being the shameless prankster from the original story, the boy (Gonzo) simply has a tendency to panic and overreact, and is ashamed when he raises false alarms.
    • "King Midas" himself isn't the greedy monarch from the original; that honor goes to his wife Queen Midas. The king tries to wish for world peace but his wife overrides him twice. She asks for the Midas touch the first time, and a Slice-O-Matic the second time.
    • In "Rumpelstiltskin", the king (Kermit) loves the maiden (Miss Piggy) for herself and not her supposed ability to weave gold straw, and it's actually the Royal Adviser who threatens to lock the maiden in the dungeon if she doesn't weave straw.
    • In "The Emperor's New Clothes", the Emperor (Fozzie) is more of a gullible oaf than the vain narcissist in the original, and he even commands his people to make their own decisions and not follow everything he does at the end of the story.
  • An Aesop: Most of the stories have one, though some are different from the Aesops of the original stories.
    • "The Three Little Pigs" has the Aesop that girls can be just as smart and strong, if not more so, than boys.
    • "King Midas" teaches that there are more important things than gold, though in this story, it's Queen Midas who needs to learn this (and admits so reluctantly).
    • "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" learns not to overreact. Also, prepare to solve a problem when no one else will help. This makes it have more in common with "Chicken Little" than the story it is adapting.
    • "The Emperor's New Clothes" delivers the Aesop that people should think for themselves and not do things just because others do.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", Gonzo tells Rizzo that he's learned his lesson and will not over-react again... Only to immediately overreact when he hears that it's time for an intermission.
  • Affably Evil: The wolf, especially in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", where he knows that the townspeople won't believe Gonzo, but allows him 24 hours to get help.
  • Bad Santa: The Wolf dresses up as Santa in his last attempt to get into the house. However, Sandy is suspicious, given that it's the middle of summer, and sends a rocket up the chimney.
  • Benevolent Genie: The Satyr (Gonzo) not only gives King Midas a wish but after turning Midas back to his ordinary self, he gives the Midases one wish for free.
  • Brick Joke: When Gonzo announces "The Elves and the Shoemaker", Rizzo mishears 'elves' as 'Elvis.' A few minutes later, the elves show up and they are indeed Muppet Elvis Impersonators.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Rizzo and a few of his rat buddies play con men in "The Emperor's New Clothes", where they get arrested and sent to the emperor (Fozzie), after some flattering convince him that his wardrobe is shabby and that Rizzo is the best tailor, convinces the Emperor that his new clothes are made from a special material that can only be seen by people of the highest culture and elegance, making him and most of the town play along, and when the truth is found out, Rizzo and the rats get sentenced to ten years in the dungeon, though Rizzo already announces plans to con a very gullible sultan when they get out.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: The rats in "The Emperor's New Clothes" have been trying to scam various people. They get caught in the beginning for lying about curing a man's baldness. Later, the Emperor puts them in the dungeon for claiming to make magic clothes.
  • Composite Character: Kermit's King Midas's role in the story is a combination of Midas and his daughter, being the person who inherited the Golden Touch and accidentally becoming a golden statue when the Golden Touch is misused.
  • Crying Wolf: Played with in this videos version of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", as Gonzo never tells an intentional lie, instead overreacting to false assumptions by his sheep.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Norman vs the wolf is over in less than a second.
  • Decomposite Character: Due to Kermit being too much of a Nice Guy to play a bad king, the king is often split into two characters, with Kermit embodying the good traits and the other character embodying the bad traits.
    • In "Rumpelstiltskin", the King's worst traits (namely threatening punishment for the maiden if she fails to turn straw into gold) are giving to the Royal Advisor. The King himself is pretty much Kermit playing himself, loving the maiden (Miss Piggy) for who she is.
    • King Midas is split into two characters, King and Queen Midas. Queen Midas, played by Miss Piggy, inherits all of King Midas' worst traits to the point it's clear she's the real Midas of the story despite Kermit's Midas inheriting the Golden Touch.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: The Wolf in "The Three Little Pigs" pretends to be a pizza delivery man to get into Sandy's house, but Sandy takes the pizza and shuts the door before he can get in, and he slams into it.
  • Elvish Presley: The titular Elves. When Gonzo introduces the last fairytale as "The Elves and the Shoemaker," Rizzo mishears and gets excited that they're getting a story about Elvis. True enough, the elves in the story end up looking and acting like Elvis.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: In "Rumpelstiltskin", Miss Piggy suggests the royal adviser and her dad to apprehend Rumpelstiltskin after he mentions going to summer camp. She then explains to Kermit that his mother would've sewn his name onto his clothes and thus they could use it to find his identity.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "The Emperor's New Clothes", Fozzie remarks that Robin is the brightest boy in the kingdom before realizing what the latter's observation means for him.
    Fozzie: I must be... NAKEEEEEEEED!
  • Genre Savvy:
    • In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", the wolf knows that the townspeople won't believe the shepherd due to his reputation. He even poses for a painting and a photograph! That's how confident he is.
    • In "The Elves and the Shoe-Maker", Robin tells Kermit they should wish for a miracle to save them from their financial problems. Kermit notes that miracles don't happen in the real world, but is convinced when Robin points out "but this is a fairy tale".
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The king and queen in "Rumplestiltskin" call on the whole kingdom to guess the funny little man's name. It's a good effort, but no one figures it out.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When the royal jester’s attempt at helping the solid gold King Midas turns out to be a bad joke about his favorite food (“24 karats!”), Queen Midas lets him have it by using her solid gold husband as a cudgel.
  • Idiot Ball: Pretty much every character NOT played by an established Muppet is an idiot, with a few exceptions (such as the Wolf and the Elves).
  • Ignored Aesop: At the end of The Emperors New Clothes, after Rizzo and his friends are arrested, Rizzo clearly does not learn his lesson, telling them about his plans to con a very gullible king he's heard of, which the other two rats clearly do not approve.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In "Rumplestilskin", the royal adviser locks Miss Piggy in the dungeon overnight to turn straw into gold, under threat of spending the rest of her life locked up if she doesn't, and Rumplestilskin shows up and works his magic. When the adviser suspects that the gold is a trick, he orders her to turn more straw into gold while he keeps an eye on that gold.
  • Interactive Narrator: Gonzo and Rizzo, much like in The Muppet Christmas Carol, serve as narrators of the stories — though when one of them plays a role in the story itself (Gonzo in "King Midas," "The Boy who Cried Wolf" and "Rumpelstiltskin," Rizzo in "The Emperor's New Clothes") the other narrates solo. Usually the narrators don't interact with the story, but there are some notable exceptions — the most notable one in "The Elves and the Shoemaker" when narrator-Rizzo shows up on stage to give Kermit the Shoemaker an idea on how to thank the elves.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: The maiden and her husband are frantic when the little man threatens to take her newborn baby away as part of their deal. While there's no hint that the little man would hurt their child, they don't know what would happen.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The sheep are the reason in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" that Gonzo keeps overreacting. When Gonzo gives up trying to get help from the villages to deal with the wolf, they realize they're going to be eaten. The sheep quickly call for the story to end. Rizzo, who's narrating, refuses, so they have to save themselves. They end up calling for help from Cousin Norman.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-universe example, as both Gonzo and Rizzo play the villain in one of the fairytales — though in the case of Rizzo he's mostly playing an exaggerated and much less moral version of himself.
  • Mistaken for Apocalypse: In this version of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", Gonzo never actually lies to the townspeople. Instead, he overreacts and jumps to conclusions over things like rocks falling over (must be an earthquake) or getting hit by a few drops of water (a tidal wave) which results in everyone assuming he's Crying Wolf.
  • Mundane Wish: In "King Midas", after the Satyr saves King Midas, he offers him another wish, free of charge, for being such a good sport. Before King Midas can go through with his original wish of peace for his kingdom, Queen Midas once again pressures him into making a wish for her: a Slice-o-Matic. At least they get to use it to throw fabulous dinner parties for everyone in the kingdom.
  • Never My Fault: Gonzo's overreactions come from his sheep making random guesses about things Gonzo asks. When it looks like Gonzo isn't going to get help, the sheep remark that Gonzo has learned his lesson.
  • Noodle Incident: While the viewer can guess based on the incident seen in the episode, how exactly Gonzo ended up raising the alarm about things like quicksand, a humongous furball, and attacking trees is never clarified.
  • Out of Focus: Fozzie only appears as the Emperor in "The Emperor's New Clothes".
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Kermit, as the mayor in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and as the king in "Rumplestiltskin".
    • In his role as the mayor, he acknowledges that Gonzo overreacts (as opposed to intentionally lying) so much, causing the town to panic. Though when the town won't believe Gonzo about a wolf being around, Kermit (along with the rest of the town people) refers to him as having lied many times. When they find out he was telling the truth and cousin Norman had to step in, Kermit gives him a medal as an apology for not believing him (and as a reward for not Crying Wolf except when in the presence of an actual wolf).
    • In "Rumpelstiltskin", after Piggy admits that she didn't really turn straw into gold, the advisor is ready to throw her into the dungeon, before Kermit, as the king, stops him, saying that he married her because he loves her, not because she could turn straw into gold.
    • However, this is contrasted with Kermit's role as King Midas, who almost sentences a satyr (Gonzo) to death for sleeping on the royal roses. This same King Midas often expresses a desire for peace in the world. However, Midas does admit that the punishment is "a little harsh" and rescinds it.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Double Subverted in "King Midas", sort of. The Satyr is able to grant wishes, and King Midas wants to use it to have peace in the world. However, both times he’s offered a wish, Queen Midas interrupts him to make her own wishes.
  • Running Gag:
    • Gonzo's "and you're gonna LOVE this part!"
    • In "The Three Little Pigs", Sandy snarking to the viewer about how she can possibly be related to Andy and Randy.
  • Spoiler Title: "Rumplestilskin", as with the original story. However, for those who saw the video before being familiar with the story, this is the one story in the video where the title is NOT announced in the introduction. Of course, the video promos and the back of the box do refer to it by title, not to mention that the title does appear on the marquee with the other fairy tale titles at the beginning.
  • Straw Misogynist: Sandy Pig gets no respect from her father or brothers because she's a girl, even though she's clearly more intelligent and stronger than they are. They only come to admit this once the Wolf comes after them.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The sheep and Gonzo ultimately deal with the wolf by sending for one of the sheep's cousin Norman, a huge ram who batters the wolf into submission.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: At the end of The Emperor's New Clothes, after the experience of being scammed makes the emperor decide that they should all start thinking for themselves, Rizzo and his friends still get arrested.
  • Villain Has a Point: The funny little man in "Rumpelstiltskin" seems evil for wanting to take the maiden's newborn child from her. He points out, however, that they made a bargain and he honored his part of the deal and he's giving her a fair way out of it by letting her guess his name.
  • Villainous Valor: The wolf in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" expressly says he's giving Gonzo 24 hours to prove to the villagers there is a wolf out there. He also poses for a painting that Gonzo does and a photograph after that.
  • Villain Protagonist: In "The Emperor's New Clothes", the focus is mostly on how Rizzo scams the Emperor.
  • Villain Song: "Nothing's Too Good For You"; the first half is Rizzo and his gang convincing the Emperor that the only clothes good enough is the "Special" suit Rizzo's making. The second half is the rats gloating at their scam, as well as mocking the Emperor for being so stupid.

Alternative Title(s): Muppets Classic Theater