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Headscratchers / The Muppet Show

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  • Why did Stadler and Waldorf keep going to the show if they hated it so much?
    • For the same reason they keep watching Muppets Tonight! during that series - they have nothing better to do. And it's obvious they take a great deal of enjoyment out of their heckling, as well.
    • A few of the gags implied that they had no choice in the matter. Once, they mentioned they were stuck to their seats and another time they ask for the doors to be unlocked. (In fact, sometimes they really WERE nailed to the seats!)
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    • They're theater critics. It's their job to be there, and to write reviews for their respective papers.
      • That's what I always figured, combined with the "retired Vaudeville actors" theory down below.
    • I guess we'll never know!
    • Because every production needs a villain, yeah?
    • They're retired Vaudeville actors, who have a weekly meeting to reminisce about the good old days. . . by blasting those shmucks out of the water. In a second season episode, guest starring Steve Martin, they actually try out for the show themselves. They have a whole vaudeville song and dance number routine, complete with striped suits and straw hats.
      • That's actually an interesting theory; old vaudeville shows used to hire "hecklers" to sit in the audience and make fun of the (intentionally bad) acts on stage. Then a performer would get offended and start jeering back and either a comical fight or a challenge to let the heckler see if he could do better would result. It was all totally scripted of course, but audiences ate it up. I read somewhere that Charlie Chaplin got his start that way, when he was working in British music halls. Maybe Statler and Waldorf really are a part of the show, or at least think that heckling is supposed to occur, and decided to provide it.
      • They wear the same outfits when they do their own opening to the show, an old-fashioned Burlesque number. Real Burlesque, not a strip show obviously.
      • And maybe there're envious and disgruntled after their lame audition. So they stuck around heckling them.
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    • And we do know that they get their seats for free. ("And overpriced at that!")
    • They hate the show, but by gods, do they LOVE hating that show.
    • They're actually Marley and Marley (from A Muppet Christmas Carol). They said themselves that they're being punished for "all time", so being forced to watch The Muppet Show is part of their ongoing punishment.
    • No, that's just what they were called during that one episode. Is Kermit's name really Bob Cratchitt? Didn't think so. Although now I think about it, you do raise a good point.
    • At least in the first season, they're generally quite complimentary about any acts featuring that week's guest star, maybe they attend just for those.
    • And in the second season, they're usually pretty enthusiastic about the old-fashioned vaudeville music hall numbers, and usually sing along and make appreciative remarks.
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    • In episodes of Muppets Tonight, they are actually shown in various locations other than at the show; at home, in cars, at clubs, in lobbies, out by the pool, and they're still watching the show everywhere! Waldorf lampshades this with the remark, "As sad as it is, I can't think of anything I'd rather do than watch this show." Then two attractive women approach and join them and they simultaneously say, "I just thought of something!" and shove the TV away.
    • Yet another theory. In the Danny Kaye episode, Stadler and Waldorf leave their box (because they think that the episode is starring Manny Kaye) and Janice and Floyd join them; immediately taking on the role of hecklers. Perhaps it's something that the box itself does to people.
    • What are Statler and Waldorf to each other? Friends? Enemies? They constantly heckle each other, but get a kick out of heckling together...
      • They're brothers-in-law, or at least they might be. In one episode, Statler is unavailable, so Waldorf brings his wife, Astoria, instead... and Astoria looks exactly like Statler in drag. The popular theory is that she's Statler's twin sister, thereby making Statler and Waldorf in-laws. It's never been officially confirmed, though.
      • Itself a shout-out to a Laurel and Hardy short where they played each other's wives, while in drag.
      • Vitriolic Best Buds?
    • To them, it's a train wreck!
    • I think they stayed just so they could do this
  • When you think about it, why do the players in the theater keeping approaching Kermit about act proposals and creative disputes during show times when such discussions should have been done during rehearsal development during the preceding week? Furthermore, why doesn't Kermit tell them that it's too late for such programming changes?
    • Because it's more funny that way.
    • What rehearsals? I seemed to me that most of the time they were just making it up as they went along.
    • If they walk, he's left without a guest, and he has to do the Argyle Gargoyle Who Gargles Gershwin. Not a good set-up.
    • The show is parodying old-style vaudeville more than modern production tropes. Temperamental performers making abrupt and pointless demands, on-the-fly changes based on availability of props/guest stars/whatever...they're all old, old cliches in that format.
  • In the episode with the "stars of Star Wars", how come Yoda never appeared? Frank Oz performed him as well as the Muppets!
    • Because that episode aired several months before Empire Strikes Back premiered. Nobody knew who Yoda was yet.
  • Right, this always bugs me with the Muppet Show (most of the other Muppet productions don't have this problem). So, in the show, there's a special guest or two, and then there's all the Muppets. But the guest star is the only human. As in, all the other performers are Muppets, the entire production crew is made of Muppets, the audience is made entirely out of Muppets. So, are they in a Muppet ghetto or something? Do they only allow Muppets into the theatre? Are they allowing the guest star in only as a token human?
    • You're supposed to pretend not to notice the difference.
      • I'm gonna go with this. I mean, sure, a lot of the Muppets are discolored or caricatured, but they may as well be humans. The Muppetverse just has Doug levels of racial diversity.
    • There never were humans on the Muppet Show- just very human-like muppets (if you look closely you can see the strings holding up Alice Cooper).
    • I'd say Muppets are a sort of fairytale/magical species, like elves or urban fae or munchkins: you only see the occasional human guest in Lothlórien, in a Fairyland polder in the real world, or in Oz, so it makes sense you would only see the occasional human guest in the polders of the Muppets (whether the Muppet Show theatre or Sesame Street).
      • Sesame Street is much more integrated, there are several human characters.
    • One of the guests actually pointed out that he felt like a token minority. Kermit replied that that was a good point, nobody had thought that a human might feel uncomfortable surrounded by barnyard animals, and called the other Muppets over to help. When the dust cleared, the guest was in a chicken suit, couldn't get out of it, and spent the rest of the show that way.
      • That was Harvey Korman, during his talk spot with Kermit, he answered Kermit's general upkeep question with "Well, I feel like the token minority..." and Kermit called in other muppets to put him in a giant chicken suit, which he got stuck in.
    • The Muppets only brings up this question again with more complicated details: HUMANS can now enter the theater and they are now permitted to publicly watch the telethon! I suppose by the time the show ended, the building policies left with it.
  • Has anybody ever seen Miss Piggy's feet? All the pictures I've ever seen of her have her in regular shoes, but then, in Great Muppet Caper, she leaves behind a glass slipper shaped to fit a hoof... So...?
    • Assuming that wasn't a one-time gag (which it most likely was), I figured she just put her heels inside the shoes that were made to fit humans, but that shoe was made to fit her hoof. However, the Muppet Babies Piggy had human-like feet, and I thought her puppet self did too (maybe she kicked someone with bare feet, in the Rudolph Nureyev steam-bath scene or something similar? I could be thinking of a different muppet, though, one of the extras or single-song guests, but I don't think so). In the same episode, the guest asked to dance with Miss Piggy, but since muppets are mostly ballet-impaired, they put a human-size pink boar muppet in Miss Piggy makeup, who had human-like feet if the ballet slippers were any indication. It very, very obviously wasn't Miss Piggy (I didn't even realize it was supposed to be a Miss Piggy standin and not just a comically awful crossdresser until watching the episode with commentary on DVD), but the humanlike feet might hold by analogy since it was supposed to look like her (albeit, comically unlike her).
      • Muppet Wiki says that wasn't meant to be her, pointing out that Ballerina Pig doesn't even share Piggy's hair colour.
      • More interesting, there's a picture on that link of her feet, in heels, so, it looks like she has trotters...
    • To be picky, pigs have trotters, not hooves.
      • Sorry, I wasn't aware of that.
    • One of the old Muppet parody poster calendars has two pictures in which Piggy is barefoot. In the "Kermit Clien" poster she has trotters, but in the "Swine Trek II: The Bath of Pig" poster she has human feet.
      • So, Piggy's feet are supposed to be a running gag?
      • (whispers into your ear) Pain.
      • According to the OK Go Muppets theme song official video, Miss Piggy has trotters on her build...
    • In episode #423 with guest star Carol Channing, Miss Piggy's feet ARE shown - she'd bought a new pair of shoes that were too tight. Problem was, Kermit thought they looked cute on her, so Piggy wore them through the pain...
  • Great Muppet Caper, in the song, "Happiness Hotel', they sing a line: "Don't try to order dinner, there's no kitchen anymore!" But, later, when Beauregard drives the taxi through the hotel, the Swedish Chef comes out of the back, holding a pot with the steering wheel and noodles. What the?
    • Maybe they'd rebuilt the kitchen by then, or maybe the Chef was cooking in the bathroom?
      • When Rizzo takes them up to their room, Fozzy says, "Call room service..." and Rizzo immediately responds, "There's no food."
      • Well, we are talking about Rizzo here. He may just have said that in the hope of keeping the food for himself.
    • Steering wheel soup isn't food by most definitions. (Janice's comment, "Steering wheel soup again?" is probably just a snark at the Swedish Chef's expense.)
  • How tall would Animal be if he were actually standing up straight? I mean, you can see his knees on both sides of his drum set when he's sitting at it, and then his legs are roughly as tall as his bass... He must be the tallest muppet out there, not counting the human costumes...
    • And not counting the Boss Men. Or the tall birds. Or Gonzo in Muppet Treasure Island after the scene with the rack. But while I hate to imply that Muppet Babies might be anywhere near a useful source of information, Animal is relatively human-shaped there, and he doesn't seem any taller than the average muppet (in fact, shorter than most) when going on his cross-screen rampages, so maybe he just sits with his legs up, and doesn't use the kickpedal?
      • Let me rephrase, knees and shins and such on both sides of the drum...

  • In The Muppet Movie, Dr Honeydew is showing off his inventions, and Floyd asks, "What's that?" "A four foot prune!" made from the insta-grow pills... but, later, Animal eats a pill and grows... how did the pill work on a prune?
    • The prune ate the pill, of course!
      • After all, food items are just as likely to be sentinent Muppets as anything else on the show...
    • There's no reason to believe he couldn't grind up the insta-grow pills into fertilizer, grow a giant plum tree, and then make giant prunes. Why he'd do that, I have no idea...
      • He's Dr. Honeydew. Pretty sure that's all the reason he needs.

  • If the Swedish Chef's native tongue is actually Mock Japanese, why did he need a phrasebook to understand that Mock Japanese-speaking cake?
    • I don't think his native tongue really is Mock Japanese- he and Jean Stapleton were just pranking Sam the Eagle.

  • So, are Statler and Waldorf and the Swedish Chef muppets or humans? Some kind of hybrid?
    • Muppets. Just particularly humanshaped ones. There are several that are even more human than them, but are still undoubtedly muppet.

  • How old are Statler and Waldorf? They were at least in their 80's when The Muppet Show fist premeired and now, 30-40 years later, they're still alive! HOW??!?!?!?!!?
    • The Muppets are essentially cartoon characters made of felt. For a cartoon, aging into the 100's is entirely plausible (Professor Farnsworth, who is 160 by the second season of Futurama, and Yzma, who is so old that Kuzco jokes that she's living proof that dinosaurs roamed the Earth), so they may go by these rules too. Heck, Kermit's been the same age for roughly 60 years!
      • Hm... Reasonable explanation...
    • Simple—they're younger than they look. That, or the Muppet timeline is collapsible, and everything we think we knew took forty years actually happened over the course of ten or twenty.
    • I remember an episode I think it was Statler who said it where he said he was offended by a joke about the Titanic as he was on it and that he still had the woman's nightgown he wore to get in one of the boat's so think about it.
    • One possible explination comes during The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years , where Harry the Hipster, a character from Sam and Friends asks how Kermit looked a lot better at the time then back during the orginal airing and Kermit replies "That's one of the advantages of being a Muppet" hinting that the Muppets are in some way imortal.

  • It's said in several episodes that tickets to the Muppet Show are free. If that's the case, how can Kermit afford to keep paying his crew, staff, guest stars, and rent/utilities on the theater?


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