In 2008, The Muppets needed a good boost of popularity. So, what's the quickest way to become popular in this day and age? Post funny videos on the Internet, of course!
The good folks at Muppet Studios started off by setting up individual channels on YouTube and other video sites for several characters (Gonzo, Beaker, The Swedish Chef, Sam Eagle, Statler and Waldorf, Fozzie Bear, and Rizzo the Rat), as if the characters themselves were posting the content. These videos soon caught the attention of Muppet fans on the Web, sending some of the videos' hits into the millions. One video ("Ode to Joy", starring Beaker) won a Webby Award in 2009.
Eventually, in 2009, all the Muppet viral videos were reposted under the offical Muppets channel, which still posts new content every now and then (mostly when the new films come out) - and people are still watching, judging from the fact that the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video gained 13 million hits in the span of three months.
In 2015, some new viral videos were uploaded, set to the songs "Jungle Boogie" and "Flowers on the Wall", leading up to the 2015 revival series.
You can find the videos here.
These videos provide examples of:
- Berserk Button: An already ticked-off Sam is furious to discover that "American Woman" is by a Canadian band (The Guess Who).
- Black Comedy: All of "Stand By Me." In it, the monster Big Mean Carl sings the song while devouring cute bunny rabbits.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In grand Muppet tradition. One notable example would be "Beaker's Ballad", where Beaker is almost literally attacked by negative YouTube comments.
- Butt-Monkey: Anytime Beaker shows up, something horrible happens to him.
- Carnivore Confusion: The "Stand By Me" video.
- Character Blog: The original point of the videos. Statler and Waldorf's solo videos took this a step further by actually being video responses to other popular YouTube videos!
- Christmas Episode: "Ringing of the Bells", "Joy to the World".
- Comedic Sociopathy: Most of Beaker's appearances can be this.
- Crazy-Prepared: "Cårven Der Pümpkîn" has the pumpkins attempting to stall the Swedish Chef by recommending increasingly esoteric tools with which to carve them (battle axe, chainsaw, bazooka), assuming he won't have them at hand. But, sure enough...
- Everything Is an Instrument: The main point of "Pöpcørn". Appropriately enough, the song played while the Chef is microwaving the popcorn is "Popcorn".
- Forced Meme: Though, unlike most attempts, it worked.
- Forced Perspective: Used in the "Habanera" video for a gag at the end where the Swedish Chef appears to swallow Beaker.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Inverted with "The Ballad of Beaker", where Beaker's attacked by the fourth wall via Youtube comments appearing as annotations.
- From Bad to Worse: In "Carven Der Pumpkin", their attempts at stumping the Swedish Chef go awry.
- Fun with Subtitles: When the Swedish Chef tries to make popcorn shrimp. During a break in the action the subtitler even starts chatting with the audience via the subtitles, admitting that he's just guessing at what the guy is saying.
- Halloween Episode: "Cårven Der Pümpkîn", "Muppet Labs Experiment 2Q975: Carve-O-Matic" and "Muppet Labs Experiment 5T832: Ghost Hunt", the latter being a Parody / Homage of ghost-hunting shows.
- Mythology Gag: Beaker's Ode to Joy cover seems to reunite six of the Beaker clones (or the original and five clones) from the Muppet Show episode starring Mac Davis.
- Not Where They Thought: At the beginning of "Food Fight", several Muppets are lined up for what they think is the line for a bathroom, but it's actually a line for the food trucks.
- Out Of Control Popcorn: In "Popcorn", the Swedish Chef tries to make popcorn shrimp, and starts by microwaving a few dozen bags of popcorn at once. At the end of the song, the microwave door explodes off, and enough popcorn spills out to fill the kitchen and bury the Swedish Chef.
- Pop-Up Texting: "Beaker's Ballad" has internet comments appearing in the air next to him, really tormenting him, and laughing as he gets set on fire.
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: In the subtitles for "Pöpcørn":"A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE CAPTION WRITER: If you have any idea what the Swedish Chef is saying, then you are waaaaay ahead of me. I've just been guessing, writing it up phoenitetic... phennotic... fein... Oh you know, when you write it down the way it sounds."
- Potty Emergency: The Muppisode "Food Fight" begins with the male Muppets desperate on what they think is a line for the bathroom.
- Refuge in Audacity: Can you imagine a better trio of Muppets to sing in music videos than the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal?
- Shout-Out: After Beaker gets set on fire in "Beaker's Ballad", one of the most prominent comments reads "BURNINATION!"
- Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Miss Piggy, at the end of "Bohemian Rhapsody".
- The Stinger: Much like in the original Muppet Show, Statler and Waldorf close out most of the videos, commenting on what they just saw from their computer.
- Take That!: At the beginning of "American Woman", Sam the Eagle describes YouTube as "your steady stream of ninjas, sleeping puppies, and pirated music videos".
- YouTube trolls in "Beaker's Ballad" (likely).
- Unexplained Recovery: In "Lab Experiment 5T832: Ghost Hunt", Beaker is killed by a ghost, yet he reappears in several other videos.
- The Unintelligibles: The main reason why Beaker (who only speaks in meeps), Animal (who can barely make a sentence) and the Swedish Chef (BORK BORK BORK) form the best Muppet trio ever. You can put them in any situation and not worry about the script.
- They even give a nice rendition of Danny Boy.
- Up to Eleven: In "Ringing of the Bells", Animal decides to take his "DING DONG"-ing to the next level with bigger bells. He eventually pulls out a church bell which falls on Beaker.
- Statler: Well, at least these videos are short.Waldorf: How would you know? You always fall asleep in the first minute.Statler: I know. Delightful isn't it?Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!