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Western Animation / Muppet Babies (1984)

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Clockwise from top left: Fozzie Bear, Kermit, Gonzo, Rowlf, Animal, Skeeter, Scooter. In the center (with the book): Miss Piggy.
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.
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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 Episode random 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. It briefly gained a companion show in Little Muppet Monsters (running in an hour-long block as Muppets, Babies and Monsters), but that show was quickly cancelled for various reasons.

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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. For the 2018 CGI reboot from Disney Junior, see Muppet Babies (2018).


Examples:

  • Abandoned Mine: "Water Babies" begins with the kids pretending they are in such a mine (in reality, a series of cardboard boxes) looking for treasure.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Statler and Waldorf, known for their constant heckling and snarky demeanor, are considerably nicer in this series.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: That was why Skeeter was made and put into the show. They didn't have too many female muppets besides Miss Piggy to work with.
  • Alien Episode: In "From a Galaxy Far, Far Away", the babies pretend to be space creatures and are surprised when they find what they think is a real alien from Neptune. It's actually a koala from a nearby zoo.
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  • All Love Is Unrequited: Gonzo is hopelessly in love with Piggy. Saying the feelings aren't mutual is an understatement, as she thrashes him in return. See Mad Love below.
  • Amateur Film-Making Plot: In "Gonzo's Video Show", Nanny gives the Muppets an old home movie camera to play with. After arguing about what kind of movie to make, they settle on doing their own version of the original Star Wars.
  • Animation Bump: The first three seasons were outsourced to Japan's Toei Animation (with the third season looking the best out of the three); the rest of the series at AKOM. The difference is that the animation for AKOM is that it has better animation, though cheaper than Japan, and slightly thinner outlines. The fifth season (1988) in particular stands out from the rest of the seasons AKOM did.
  • Apple for Teacher: "Fozzie's Last Laugh" begins with the babies playing school. Piggy plays the teacher, and Fozzie gives her an apple, which he hid a rubber worm in to prank her with. Fozzie finds this prank funny, but Piggy certainly doesn't.
  • 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.
  • The Artifact: The end credits theme from Season 2 onwards is actually that of Muppets, Babies and Monsters, the very short-lived pairing of Muppet Babies and Little Muppet Monsters. The castanets and trumpet solo at the end also come from that.
  • Art Shift: In most cases when we visit Animal's imagination, the artwork becomes very childish.
  • Balloonacy: In "Fun Park Fantasies", when the gang imagines they are at the fun park, Animal grabs a bunch of balloons being sold to visitors and floats into the sky. Kermit and Miss Piggy, who are flying on one of the elephants from the fun park's elephant ride, shoot peanuts out of the elephant's trunk to pop the balloons, causing Animal to fall back down to the ground.
  • Banana Peel: The gag of slipping on a banana peel is a major plot point in the episode "Slipping Beauty." See Fractured Fairy Tale below.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "Don't wish for elephants unless you own a zoo/ 'cause wishes have a way of coming true!"
  • Beeping Computers: Scooter's computer often makes beeping sounds whenever he uses it.
  • Big Eater: Piggy, being well, a pig and all. One time, when the gang wanted some cupcakes but they were all gone, Piggy demanded to know what happened to the rest of the cupcake with Nanny answered promptly to her, "You ate the last three."...much to Piggy blushing.
    • Animal even more so, and in his case, he can (and does) eat almost ANYTHING.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • In "Scooter's Hidden Talent", the gang makes an exercise bike as a birthday gift for Nanny. All of the babies help to build the bike except for Scooter, who starts to worry when he thinks he may not have a talent.
    • "Happy Birthday, Uncle Piggy" has the children help Nanny with a surprise birthday party for Statler.
  • Bond Gun Barrel: In the episode "Nice to Have Gnome You", the James Bond gun barrel sequence is briefly parodied at one point in the song "Bookah Bookah" by having Gonzo use a squirt gun on the gun barrel.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: At the end of "By the Book", Gonzo warns Animal to not say his catchphrase "Go bye-bye!" because everyone just got to sleep and he doesn't want to wake them up. However, since Animal doesn't remember what he says, Gonzo says the catchphrase and wakes everyone up anyway.
  • Box-and-Stick Trap: In "Raiders of the Lost Muppet", the gang tries to use a box-and-stick trap to find Animal, using cupcakes as the bait. Fozzie winds discovering the cupcakes and ends up in the trap by accident when he goes to eat them.
  • Brainy Baby: Bunsen is the same brilliant inventor he's always been, only smaller.
    • Also, Scooter, being the little computer whiz he is.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: From the episode "Good Clean Fun"
    Animal: Go bye bye!
    Piggy: No, Animal, the show's not over yet!
    Animal: Sorry.
    Piggy: It's ok.
    • At the end of The Case of the Missing Chicken, Kermit tells the audience not to worry about Gonzo; he'll be okay by next week.
    • In the third act of The Next Generation, the episode's writer is shamelessly and hilariously asking for more money!
    Piggy: I don't know who's writing this, but give him a big bonus!
  • Burping Contest: Animal holds this with rocks and some others in "Journey To The Center Of The Nursery".
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Most of the go bye bye skits feature Animal playing some cruel prank on Gonzo and sending him flying Team Rocket-style.
    • Whenever Fozzie tells a joke, he's lucky if the worst reception he gets is mere booing.
    • Beaker, even as a baby, is still often the unfortunate guinea pig for Bunsen's inventions. The most prominent example being the anti-nightmare device in "I Want My Muppet TV"
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Dark?", when the babies are in the closet, there are a couple of shots where their eyes are the only visible objects.
  • Call-Forward: This being a cartoon about the Muppets as children, it's no surprise that there are scenes alluding to what the characters will be like as adults.
    • Animal is occasionally seen playing drums and stating how much he loves drums, a call forward to how he'll be the drummer of Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
    • "When You Wish Upon a Muppet" ends with Kermit wishing that he and his friends would grow up and make movies together. We even see a clip from The Great Muppet Caper.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: In "The Transcontinental Whoo whoo", while Statler and Waldorf are telling the kids about railroad trains, Bean Bunny says, "This is confusing. Which direction is the bathroom?" And his friends tell him.
  • The Cameo: Tom Selleck (in live action!) as a lovestruck fan of Piggy. It may have helped that both this and Magnum, P.I. were on CBS.
  • Canon Foreigner: Skeeter, though an adult version of her has made appearances in The Muppet Show Comic Book, so (depending on how much you're willing to take the comics or even that storyline as canon), she may be verging into Canon Immigrant territory.
  • Cartoon Bomb: In "What's New at the Zoo?", Fozzie imagines he is telling jokes to some laughing hyenas. The hyenas don't like his joke and run away after he tells it, followed by Gonzo appearing out of nowhere as part of a bomb squad looking for a bomb that somehow got set off by Fozzie's joke. The side of the truck Gonzo rides has a cartoon bomb on it.
  • Catapult to Glory: In "From a Galaxy Far, Far Away", the gang makes a big catapult to launch the alien back to its home planet of Neptune.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Anytime Fozzie tells a joke, he says "Give up?" before the punchline. The rest of the babies yell "Fozzie!" when his joke sucks. He also says "I knew that" after someone corrects him.
    • Kermit says "Sheesh" when frustrated.
    • Piggy says "Yippee skippee!" when she's excited.
      • And like her adult counterpart, usually referred to herself as "Moi."
    • Rowlf when excited says "Far out!"
    • Animal's favorite expression is a grotesque "Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah!"
    • Everytime Piggy abuses Gonzo in some way, he says, lovestruck, "Ooo-hoo! She touched/grabbed/squeezed my nose! She must be in love/into me/proposing marriage/etc.!"
  • Cat Fight: Piggy and Skeeter at least 3 times. For someone so young, Piggy sure can be vicious...
  • Character Focus: While Gonzo was always a major character in the Muppet franchise, this show really gives him a lot of this, with numerous A Day in the Limelight episodes and prominent B-plots in others.
  • 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).
  • Chicken Joke: In "Noisy Neighbors", Fozzie attempts to tell this joke to Animal to get him to be quiet. It doesn't work - in fact, Fozzie doesn't even make it to the punchline before Animal starts to make too much noise again.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Piggy for Kermit. Like in The Muppet Show and the movies and...pretty much any Muppet franchise, don't you dare try to come between Piggy and her Kermie. There were times when Skeeter tried to do that, though it may have been just to mess with Piggy.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Gonzo, as in all Muppet media, is portrayed as the weirdest of the group.
    • Fozzie also qualifies to an extent. A minor running gag has the other babies react negatively to him abruptly making a very bizarre statement, like claiming to help himself sleep by counting baby ducks jumping over chili dogs into a bowl of tapioca bumblebees rather than Counting Sheep.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A comic book based on this cartoon began publication in 1985 and ran for 26 issues. The first 17 issues were published by the now defunct Star Comics, an imprint of Marvel Comics, with the parent company handling the publication of the remaining 9 issues. There was also a version published by Marvel UK that was published weekly and lasted 59 issues and a Summer Special one-shot.
  • Companion Cube: Camilla exists in this series as a stuffed chick owned by Gonzo, who dotes on her almost as much as in regular continuity.
  • Company Cross References: In "The Daily Muppet", Oscar the Grouch, from fellow Jim Henson series Sesame Street, makes a cameo during the episode's song, "The Daily Muppet".
  • Competition Coupon Madness: "Six-to-Eight Weeks" has a scene of Fozzie explaining his convoluted theories on why some cereals offer free prizes in exchange for mailing box tops.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Snarl: Only if you consider the Fridge Logic: when is this show taking place anyway? 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. It's somewhat justified, however, by the very nature of The Muppets. In pretty much every continuity they're entertainers, so any works that don't square with others can be called Mutually Fictional. Even The Muppet Movie included a throw-away line indicating that liberties had been taken with the "real" events.
  • Cool Old Guys: Statler and Waldorf had much softer personalities in this series.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel:
    • While The Muppet Show was set in the 1970s (the time it was airing), this show has baby Scooter with a personal computer, and it's clear that Star Wars and other late '70s/early '80s pop culture creations already exist.
    • Interestingly, a proposed prequel animated series (which was ultimately scrapped) would have shown the Muppets as teenagers in The '50s, even though (as The Muppets Take Manhattan makes clear) they graduated from college in the early '80s.
  • Couch Gag: Animal's "Go bye-bye!" stinger occurs in different settings and styles, based on the theme of the episode.
  • Counting Sheep:
    • In "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Dark?", Gonzo asks Beaker if he's ever counted sheep to help him get to sleep. He also asks if he's counted elephants, squirrels, and kangaroo rats. Fozzie then says he always counts baby ducks jumping over chili dogs into a bowl of tapioca bumblebees. (Yeah, we don't know either.)
    • "Muppet Goose" had Fozzie try to count sheep, but was overwhelmed by how many sheep there were. Of course, it was all an Imagine Spot.
    • In "Gonzee's Playhouse Channel", Kermit and Scooter use paper bag puppets to play the respective roles of "Kert" and "Bernie" on Sesame Seed Boulevard. When Kert can't sleep, he tries to count sheep, but Bernie finds this a bad idea, since Scooter is allergic to sheep. When the sheep jump over the beds, Scooter sneezes, causing his Bernie puppet to fly off his hand.
    Kermit: AAAAAAHHH!!! HE SNEEZED HIS FACE OFF!
  • Cousin Oliver: Played with, as Bean Bunny joined the Babies in the 1989/1990 season. However, Bean was a well-established Muppet character in his own right, averting the trope.
  • Covered in Kisses: In "Piggy's Hyper-Activity Book", the babies pretend they are coloring each other with crayons in the coloring section of an activity book. After Gonzo sees Fozzie coloring Kermit blue and gets the idea to trick Piggy into thinking he's Kermit by coloring himself green, Piggy tells Kermit that she recognizes him no matter what color he is and kisses him several times on the head, leaving several visible lipmarks.
  • Cowardly Lion: Fozzie fits this bill, as he is shown to be quite fearful of different things. He even plays the Trope Namer in a The Wizard of Oz-esque Imagine Spot in "By the Book".
  • Cute Bruiser: Piggy. She's an adorable little piglet, but she has a bad temper and could possibly kick anyone's butt. "HI-YAH!"
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: In the episode "Happy Birthday, Uncle Piggy", the song "It's Hard to Be as Wonderful as Me" has a gag where Piggy "shares" a cake by handing the other children a tiny slice while keeping the rest of the cake to herself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Piggy will sometimes make dry remarks about the others, particularly Gonzo's unrequited crush on her and Fozzie's inability to tell good jokes.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: In "Of Mice and Muppets", Gonzo becomes a detective in order to search for Officer Carruthers' pet mouse Peewee, who Rowlf let out of his cage by accident. Gonzo notices some footprints leading directly out of Peewee's cage, follows them into the wall, and comes to the conclusion that Peewee is in the wall.
  • The Dentist Episode: "Dental Hyjinks" is about Fozzie getting a loose tooth and being afraid to go to the dentist. Nanny ends up taking him to the dentist, leaving the others worried, but Fozzie ends up coming back perfectly fine.
  • 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.
  • "Double, Double" Title: Of the triple variety. One episode is titled "Hats, Hats, Hats!"
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Piggy on Gonzo. When Gonzo accidentally annoys her or ticks her off or when he shows romantic feelings to her, she'll thrash him or throw him across the room.
  • Double Take: In "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Dark?", Fozzie tries to point out that there's no such thing as slime monsters as the gang is being chased by one. The slime monster then appears next to him, Fozzie notices and tells it that he was afraid it was the slime monster, and then realizes it is the slime monster and panics.
  • Dream Episode: In "Elm Street Babies", the babies have strange dreams, so they wake up in the middle of the night and tell each other what happened in them. Kermit's dream involves the babies in the Wild West and him getting into a showdown with Gonzo, Rowlf's dream involves him turning into a "wereboy" at a dog prom, Gonzo's dream is a spoof of Leave It to Beaver, and Fozzie's dream is a spoof of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: In the first issue of Star Comics/Marvel's comic book adaptation, Kermit was depicted going naked like his adult self for some reason. The remainder of the comic had him wear a sailor suit like he did in the cartoon.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first two episodes, Fozzie, Gonzo and Rowlf have deeper voices and sound closer to their adult selves. (Fozzie in particular sounds very much like he did in the first season of The Muppet Show.) The episode title music is also different.
  • Every Episode Ending: After the end credits, Animal always says "Go bye-bye!" in a different setting depending on the episode.
  • Everybody Cries: In "Raiders of the Lost Muppet", all the young muppets are in tears when they can't find Animal in a game of hide and seek.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Animal. If it's edible he'll eat it, if it's NOT edible he'll eat it, if it's something in-between he'll also eat that, if it's something in NONE of those three categories he'll eat that too.
  • The Face of the Sun: In "Fun Park Fantasies", the babies are so excited to go to the fun park that they imagine themselves at the fun park at night. When Kermit tells Piggy that they're going to the fun park during the day, Piggy imagines a sun with sunglasses and a mouth into the imaginary fun park.
  • The Faceless: Nanny. You never see anything about her shoulders, but she has very distinctive socks at least.
    • And all non-Muppet adults in the babies' fantasy sequences, although an adult's face is seen briefly from time to time.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother:
  • Feud Episode: In the episode "Fine Feathered Enemies", Nanny brings a parrot named Polly into the nursery and tells the babies that she's considering adopting him. When Gonzo lets Polly out of his cage, everyone starts to argue when they think the others are making fun of them, unaware that it's just Polly speaking. At the end of the episode, the babies decide not to keep the bird because he talks too much.
  • Fiery Redhead: Skeeter is full of energy and spirit, and loves to have adventures. She's tomboyish, loves sports and ends up clashing with Piggy.
  • First Day of School Episode: Two books based on the series, "I Can Go to Preschool" and "Baby Piggy Goes to Nursery School", focus on Kermit and Piggy's first days of preschool, respectively.
  • Flying Broomstick: In "By the Book", when the gang imagines themselves in The Wizard of Oz, Scooter appears as the Silly Sorcerer of the South, who flies on a broomstick.
  • Flying Car: In "Out-of-This-World History", Gonzo appears in a flying car to save the others from Queen Teacup on Planet X.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: In "Musical Muppets", Bunsen invents a bouncing ball that bounces to the words of a song in this fashion. Beaker tests out the ball, so all of the on-screen lyrics appear as "meep".
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Several times throughout the series. For example, in "Slipping Beauty" instead pricking her finger to fall into a deep sleep as in 'Sleeping Beauty', Piggy as the sleeping princess, slips onto a banana peel, falls and then goes into a deep sleep. Slipping Beauty.
  • Freudian Couch: In the episode "Remote Control Cornballs", the song "Is That What's Bugging You, Pearl?" has a scene where Piggy lies on a couch while Rowlf plays psychiatrist.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: Animal's "Go bye bye!" scene at the end of "From a Galaxy Far, Far Away" has him flying on a bicycle with the alien who's actually a koala, referencing the famous scene from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel:
    • "The Great Cookie Robbery" had this happen with Baby Gonzo, when Nanny trusts him to share with the rest of the babies to tide them over before lunch. The angel Gonzo says that he should indeed share them, while the devil Gonzo (decked out in a leather biker outfit) says that he should keep them all to himself and not tell the other babies.
    • In "The Frog Who Knew Too Much", Kermit witnesses a surprise Nanny had planned for the babies, and Nanny makes him promise not to tell. When the other babies find out, they want to know what it is, so the devil Kermit suggests that he tell. Kermit is about to do so, when the angel Kermit reminds him that he made a promise to Nanny, and that promises are meant to be kept. This gets the devil Kermit to realize that the angel Kermit does have a point.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Piggy: "Oh Kermie! Take me! I'm yours!"
    • Not to mention Gonzo's nose fetish and his line when Piggy takes him into the closet, "Be gentle with me."
    • In "Romancing the Weirdo" Gonzo starts telling Nanny a story. He begins with the phrase "It was a hot and steamy night."
    • The episode "Babes in Troyland" somehow got away with showing footage from Flesh Gordon, a sexploitation film.
  • The Great Whodini: In "Fine Feathered Enemies", Gonzo does a few magic tricks under the name "The Great Gonzini".
  • Growling Gut: It happens to nearly everyone (except for Gonzo) in "The Great Cookie Robbery". Nanny was late with making lunch, and she gave Gonzo the task of passing out cookies to tide everyone over until she could get it ready, but he ended up eating them for himself. At one point, Piggy snaps at Rowlf, thinking he's growling at her, only for him to say it's his stomach.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Many episodes seem to start this way. The kids are usually involved in some sort of gang or group fantasy, until a little later, something arises (usually started by Nanny) that completely changes the focus of the episode. Such examples include...
    • "Dental Hijinks" starts with the babies pretending they are in a big auto race, until they crash, giving Fozzie a loose tooth and triggering the episode's main plot.
    • "Eight Take Away One Equals Panic" begins with the babies pretending they are flying on an airliner plane, until they overhear Nanny on the phone and think she's planning on getting rid of one of them. (She was on the phone with a charity and actually looking at getting rid of an old chair from the nursery but was having trouble deciding which one; naturally, with the babies only hearing part of her end of the conversation ... .)/spoiler
    • "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?" has a variation of this, with the babies pretending to be hospital surgeons and Fozzie as their patient (in a possible reference to "Veterinarian's Hospital"), and after playing that, Gonzo mentions he want to be a doctor like that when he grows up. This gets the other babies to start stating what they want to be when they grow up, but Kermit can't decide what he wants to be, getting the main plot underway.
    • "Close Encounters of the Frog Kind" begins with the babies acting out a bank robbery and showdown in The Wild West (with Gonzo as "the Lone Weirdo"), until Nanny comes in with Kermit's baby nephew Robin, changing the focus of the story altogether.
    • "Gonzo's Video Show" starts with the babies pretending they are enjoying a day out at the beach, until Nanny arrives and lets them borrow her video camera she rented to make some fun videos with it.
    • "Piggy's Hyper-Activity Book" begins with the kids spending a rainy day trying to build a house out of cardboard boxes until it collapses, and then the babies decide to play with an activity book, thus getting the main plot underway.
    • "Fozzie's Last Laugh" begins with the babies playing "school," with Piggy as the teacher. When she gives Fozzie an "F" for all his bad jokes, Fozzie decides to give up comedy, which turns out to be the main plot.
    • "The Muppet Broadcasting Company" opens with the babies trying a domino setup, until it leads to an argument. Then a sudden thunderstorm knocks out the power and Gonzo thinks it's an alien invasion. When the babies complain they can't do anything without electricity, Nanny recommends they listen to some classic radio shows she saved on tape cassettes, which gets the main plot underway.
    • "Bad Luck Bear" starts with the babies in the bathtub pretending they are whale-hunting (with Gonzo as the whale), until Fozzie breaks a mirror and everyone believes he has bad luck.
    • "Water Babies" begins with the babies pretending they are in an Abandoned Mine tunnel (actually a series of cardboard boxes) looking for treasure, until Nanny comes in with an aquarium of fish.
    • "Where No Muppet Has Gone Before" begins with the babies reenacting Lewis and Clark's expedition to the Pacific, until Nanny comes in with Baby Bunsen and Beaker, who have come over to spend the night. Bunsen then begins teaching the babies about space, getting the main plot going.
    • "Beach Blanket Babies" begins with the babies playing an impromptu game of mini-golf, until Nanny comes in with new bathing suits for them and a small wading pool.
  • Handcuffed Briefcase: One of their Imagine Spots had Kermit as a secret agent trying to transport a briefcase like this, and the others being enemy agents trying to steal it in one of those mystery on the train scenarios. Their attempts to steal it got pretty blatant, up to Gonzo trying to hide it under his hat while it was still cuffed to Kermit's wrist!
  • Hair-Trigger Sound Effect: In "The Muppet Broadcasting Company," Gonzo played The Weirdo in one of the kids' radio shows, and every time his name was mentioned, Rowlf played a Musical Sting on the piano. Eventually, Gonzo got tired of it and asked Rowlf to knock it off.
  • Here We Go Again!:
    • The episode "Good, Clean Fun", where the babies accidentally break Nanny's lamp and make up for it by making her some lunch, ends with the babies breaking Nanny's scale.
    • "Muppets Not Included" has the children try to determine what an object Nanny is looking for is used for. After Nanny explains to them that the object is a tea strainer, the children then get into an argument over what the tea strainer is used for, some of their interpretations resulting from mishearing "tea strainer" as something else. Kermit even says "Here we go again" at the end of the episode.
  • Hidden Depths: Piggy always cast herself as the Distressed Damsel Princess Classic in their make-believe adventures, only to usually end up saying something like, "Gimme that stupid sword!"
  • Honorary Uncle: Statler and Waldorf are this to the babies.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Piggy: I'm not playing any wicked queen! Why... I haven't got a DROP of wicked in me!!!
    • Gonzo makes fun of Fozzie for sleeping with a teddy bear in "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Dark?", but stops when Fozzie pulls Camilla out from behind his back.
    • The "Go Bye Bye" segment of "Six-to-Eight Weeks" has Gonzo suggest that one of the weird things he could include in his clubhouse would be talking furniture, an idea which is ridiculed by actual talking furniture.
  • "I Am" Song: In the full version of the Opening Theme:
  • I Just Want to Be Special:
    • One episode dealt with Scooter feeling like his computer abilities were nothing compared to the other kids' areas of expertise. Oh, if only he'd been born later...
    • 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.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Muppets Not Included" has a scene where Kermit and Animal have to draw pictures while celebrities from the past guess what is being drawn. When Animal draws a smiley face when told to draw a cow, Edward G. Robinson correctly guesses that Animal was supposed to draw a cow with the reasoning that smiley faces are drawn by happy children, children are made happy from drinking milk and milk comes from cows.
  • "I Want" Song: "The Biggest Little Pig In Hollywood" in the episode "This Little Piggy Went To Hollywood".
  • I Will Show You X: In "The Weirdo Zone", when the others finally start to understand Gonzo's weirdness and start to act weird themselves, Gonzo bets that Piggy can't act weird. Piggy then says "You want weird? I'll show you weird!", imagines that the nursery is made entirely of candy, eats several of the objects in the candy nursery, and eventually floods the nursery with butterscotch, at which point Gonzo says that Piggy may be acting too weird, even by his standards.
  • 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.
  • Imagine Spot: The babies did this a lot, often all partaking in the same spot together. Justified in that the main premise of the show was to show how fun and important one's imagination can be.
  • Impact Silhouette: In the episode "Noisy Neighbors", the babies are pretending they are fighting each other at sea. Scooter sends Animal down a ramp to hit the side of the box Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and Miss Piggie are using as a submarine, and he creates a hole in it that's shaped exactly like him.
  • Jerkass Ball: Skeeter, just watch "Pigerella." When she stole the cupcakes, Piggy tried to put them back but got framed by Nanny for it. It was to the point that Skeeter acted unfairly mean towards Piggy and even played the Wicked Stepsister from 'Cinderella'.
  • The Joy of X: The episode "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Dark?", whose title references the song "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?" from the Disney short The Three Little Pigs.
  • Kissed Keepsake: At the end of the episode "The Muppet Museum of Art", when Piggy apologizes to Gonzo for blaming him for leaving his roller skates out and causing Skeeter to trip and hurt herself, Gonzo says that he wants her to kiss him on the nose to make up for it. Piggy obliges, and a flattered Gonzo exclaims that he'll never wash his nose again.
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: In "Noisy Neighbors", Fozzie tries to tell a knock knock joke to the dragon in Piggie's story. Kermit tells him that dragons can't talk, so telling one a knock knock joke would be useless.
  • Lame Rhyme Dodge:
    • In "Good Clean Fun", Kermit remarks that Piggy weighs more than he thought after she stands on him to reach the sink. When Piggy gets mad, Kermit hastily claims that he said "Those are the nicest shoes you bought".
    • "The Pig Who Would Be Queen" had Piggy claim to have said "You look just like your brother" to cover up her complaints that by the time she was done with the quest given to her by Skeeter, she'd be a grandmother.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: "Babes in Troyland" had Medusa end up turned to stone when Gonzo uses his camera to deflect her petrifying gaze. Afterwards, Medusa tumbles over and shatters into pieces.
  • Look Behind You: In "The Great Cookie Robbery", Gonzo distracts the others by saying there's a flying dinosaur with tennis shoes so that he can eat one of the cookies he was supposed to give to them to tide them over while Nanny prepares lunch. When the others point out there's nothing there, he changes his mind, saying it was probably just an unidentified flying donut.
  • Lost Voice Plot: In the episode "Once Upon an Egg Timer", Rowlf loses his voice. The others take turns telling a story to cheer him up.
  • Mad Love Triangle: Piggy's crush on Kermit, and Gonzo's crush on Piggy. Things can get crazy. What with Piggy not wanting anyone or anything to get between her and Kermit, and with Gonzo always pouring his heart out to Piggy only to get thrashed by her.
  • The Man in the Moon: In "The Great Cookie Robbery", Kermit explains a weird dream he had where he rides a train into space. The babies imagine that the moon has a face and eats their train as it enters space.
  • May the Farce Be with You: The final stretch of "Gonzo's Video Show" is a Star Wars parody, and smaller-scale sendups appear in other episodes.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: "The Frog Who Knew Too Much" featured an imagination sequence based on James Bond where Kermit at one point says "The name's Frog, Kermit the Frog".
  • Narrative Shapeshifting: Baby Beaker, while explaining his fear of the monster under his bed to the other babies (since, like Adult Beaker, all he can say is "Meep!").
  • Newhart Phonecall: In "Eight Take Away One Equals Panic", Miss Piggy imagines she's running a lemonade ice company. She gets a couple of phone calls, one telling her that the president of the United States has bought two billion dollars worth of lemonade ice and another telling her that they're running out of lemons to use in the lemonade ice. For both phone calls, the person calling Piggy cannot be heard speaking.
  • Not Quite Starring: A weird example: none of the original puppeteers reprised their roles as their respective characters. (Didn't happen with the Fraggle Rock Animated Adaptation either.)
  • Ocular Gushers: In "The Case of the Missing Chicken", Fozzie starts to cry with tears that gush out of his eyes when he is being interrogated by Gonzo, who thinks he's the one who took his plush chicken Camilla.
  • Off-Model: It is a Marvel Productions cartoon (see also My Little Pony)... But then AKOM took over...
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the first two seasons Howie Mandel, a Canadian actor, was the voice of Skeeter, Bunsen, and Animal. Occasionally one of them would say sorry as sorr-ee. Though in Animal's case, that's a close approximation of how Frank Oz' Animal says it.
  • Paper People: In "Noisy Neighbors", Gonzo imagines he's the superhero Super Gonzo. He is in an elevator with his crush, Piggy Lane, when the rope on the elevator breaks and the elevator starts to fall. Gonzo transforms into Super Gonzo and stops the elevator, only to be Squashed Flat by Piggy. Super Gonzo remains in his squashed form until he leaves the room and comes back as normal Gonzo.
  • Phrase Catcher: Fozzie usually catches a WHAT???? from the others when he comes up with some bizarre scenarios.
  • Pinch Me: In "Of Mice and Muppets", Gonzo pinches himself several times to make sure that he's not dreaming up the strange sound coming from under the crib.
  • Pirate Girl: In one episode, the kids pretended to be treasure hunters and encountered a trio of female pirates.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Scooter and Skeeter. Scooter is a shy computer geek and Skeeter is an outgoing tomboy.
  • 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.
  • Produce Pelting: Whenever Fozzie tells one of his bad jokes, he's usually pelted with tomatoes, bananas, and similar foods.
    Fozzie: "Something tells me I oughta give up comedy and go into the tomato sauce business."
  • Pun-Based Title: The episode title "Dental Hyjinks" is a pun on "dental hygiene". The episode is about Fozzie having to go to the dentist to get a loose tooth removed.
  • Real-Place Background: Often in the Imagine Spots the babies will appear in backgrounds which are obviously taken from real life.
  • The Real Spoofbusters: In the episode "Bug-Busting Babies", Gonzo leads the babies into a team called the Bug Busters to catch the bug messing up Scooter's computer program. The episode also spoofs the Ray Parker Jr song from the 1984 movie, and features Bug Busters and a car similar to the Ghostbusters and their Ecto-1.
  • Reference Overdosed: The various film clips that are sampled easily land this show firmly in this trope.
  • Rejection Affection: Gonzo continually woos Piggy, despite her greeting his advances with contempt and karate chops. This is borrowed from The Muppet Show, where it occurred less frequently.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Skeeter. As of the first episode, she was just plain always there.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: In "Of Mice and Muppets", Piggy tells everyone her own version of the story of the Pied Piper. Her version of the story is presented in the same style as a Dr. Seuss book, right down to the dialogue rhyming (until Piggy tells Kermit to stop with the rhyming, at least).
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Beaker.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Due to the show often sampling footage from live-action films, the animated babies sometimes appear next to and interact with live-action actors. One notable example is an Imagine Spot in "The Incredible Shrinking Weirdo", where an animated Baby Gonzo interacts with a live-action adult Kermit. A clip from The Muppet Show (Episode 223: John Cleese) was used for this scene, with Frank Welker dubbing new lines for the adult Kermit and Baby Gonzo matted into the scene.
    • It's also prominently featured in "Puss n' Boots n' Babies," where the babies look after Officer Carruthers's live-action pet kitten.
  • Running Gag: What will they find in the closet this time?
  • Sadistic Game Show: Kermit has an Imagine Spot about hosting one in "Dental Hijinks" after Fozzie is taken to the dentist for his loose tooth. The game show is called Tooth or Consequences, and the contestant (Fozzie) must answer a question correctly, or get one of his teeth drilled by their champion, The Dentist, with a very large drill.
  • Santa Claus: In "Piggerella", when Piggy imagines she's in the story of Cinderella, Skeeter, who is playing one of Cinderella's stepsisters, tells Piggy as Cinderella to clean the chimney. Piggy asks who would go in the chimney, and immediately afterwards Animal comes out of the chimney dressed as Santa Claus. Animal leaves after Skeeter tells him that Santa doesn't appear in this story.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Skeeter does this at the end of Gonzo's mystery tour in "Muppetland." When confronting Gonzo for stealing part of her planned theme park attraction, she approaches Gonzo's tram holding a flashlight up to her face and smiling, and then it fades to a clip of the Phantom of the Opera before the others scream in fright and the Imagine Spot ends.
  • Scooby Stack: In "Raiders of the Lost Muppet", the babies peek through the door of the nursery room stacked on top of each other in this fashion.
  • Seashell Bra: In "Bad Luck Bear", when the gang imagines themselves as mermaids, Piggy and Skeeter both wear seashell bras.
  • Secret Path: The babies think Animal found one in "Is There a Muppet in the House?" after Rowlf tells them about an old horror movie he saw the night before where secret passages were featured. It turned out to be an old dumbwaiter. By the end, Nanny explains how they were used and that they shouldn't play around in it.
  • Shooting Gallery: The Muppets are fantasizing that they're at a carnival and Fozzie decides to try his luck at a shooting gallery, but he misses every shot. Rowlf steps up and suggests that maybe his problem was he forgot to say "bang" when he fired. He then demonstrates and hits every target. Fozzie says he wants to try again, but instead of saying "bang", he says "Boom!" The shooting gallery then explodes.
  • Shorttank: Skeeter wears shorts and is tomboyish. Although, there are times when she doesn't mind wearing a dress in the imaginations.
  • 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 Babies runneth 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.
      • However, it would seem that this ended up being a problem anyway years later as a major factor for why the show has no DVD/Blu Ray release (along with the multitude of other live action snippets). On the other hand, with Disney now owning both the Muppet and Star Wars franchises (along with Marvel, which also had a big hand in making the show), a solution is seemingly possible.
    • 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.
    • There's a part when Animal comes out of a toy chest dressed in medieval garb while clicking a pair of coconuts together.
    • "It's Only Pretendo" is based around gentle spoofs/pastiches of various Nintendo Entertainment System games, plus Frogger, Fantasy Zone and of all things, Keith Courage in Alpha Zones.
    • In "The Daily Muppet," Gonzo pretends to be a newspaper photographer, just like his adult self in The Great Muppet Caper... and just like in that movie, he says "Stop the presses!" for no good reason.
  • Sick Episode: In "Scooter's Uncommon Cold," Scooter catches a cold, and in "Slipping Beauty," Piggy catches the chicken pox.
  • Slippery Skid: In "Fine Feathered Enemies", during the song "Remember to Love", Fozzie accidentally spills gumballs from a gumball machine all over the sidewalk, and the others end up slipping on the gumballs.
  • Snake Charmer: In "Fozzie's Last Laugh", Gonzo explains to Fozzie that to be funny, you have to be unexpected. The example Gonzo uses is to play his nose like a flute and summon a construction worker from a nearby manhole in typical snake charmer fashion.
  • Spin-Off Babies: The Trope Codifier of an adaptation where the characters are made younger. The very premise of this cartoon is the Muppets as toddlers.
  • The Stinger: At the end of every episode, Animal would say "Gooooooooo bye-bye!"
  • Stock Animal Name: The parrot in the episode "Fine Feathered Enemies" is named Polly.
  • Stock Femur Bone: In "Close Encounters of the Frog Kind", Skeeter and Scooter pretend to run a bank. Rowlf gives them a bone of this kind to keep in the bank.
  • Straight Man: Rowlf tends to serve as a stoic person reacting to the antics of the wackier characters.
  • Straying Baby: Animal on more than on occasion wanders off with the other babies having to keep him out of trouble.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: In "Out-of-This-World History", in the song "Yankee Doodle Rock", Fozzie starts to sing "Yankee Doodle" when Rowlf cuts in with this line:
    Fozzie: Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his head and called it...
    Rowlf: Lasagna!
  • Superstition Episode: In "Bad Luck Bear", the gang learns about superstitions after Fozzie breaks a mirror and is convinced he'll have seven years of bad luck. The others help Fozzie to turn his luck around.
  • Surprisingly Functional Toys: In "Close Encounters of the Frog Kind", Kermit's little nephew Robin drives a toy car like an actual car when the gang looks for him so that they can put him back in his fish bowl.
  • Talking Typography: In the episode "The Weirdo Zone", Gonzo comes across some of the babies playing a game of Crazy Eights. He then tells them that they're playing it wrong and summons several anthropomorphic number eights who are literally crazy eights.
  • That's All, Folks!: At the end of every episode, Animal would say "Gooooooooo bye-bye!"
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: A variation: the characters, rather than giving their names, say what they like or what they do.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: In "The Case of the Missing Chicken", Gonzo imagines he's a spy and is informed through his shoe-phone that both his plush chicken Camilla and the president's socks have been stolen. He is then informed that his phone will self-destruct in five seconds, and the phone blows up on him.
  • Time-Passage Beard:
    • "Eight Take-Away One Equals Panic" has an Imagine Spot where all of the babies, including Skeeter and Piggy, have grown long gray beards by the time they've seen each other again after ten years.
    • In "Six-to-Eight Weeks"' musical number "Waiting for You", which has the children lament how hard it is for them to wait for their playhouse to arrive in the mail, one part shows Kermit and Gonzo with long gray beards while throwing a ball at each other.
  • Time-Travel Episode: "Back to the Nursery" is about Fozzie accidentally spilling hot cocoa on a photo in Nanny's yearbook. The babies then build their own pretend Time Machine and imagine they go back in time to recreate the photo.
  • Toilet Training Plot: Two books based on the series, "Bye-Bye Diapers" and "I Can Go Potty" respectively focus on Piggy and Kermit being potty-trained.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Piggy and Skeeter respectively (No, we did not get that mixed up — Piggy dresses in pink, bows, and lace, and karate chops anyone when they set off her Hair-Trigger Temper, whereas Skeeter is a pants-wearing athlete, but sweeter and much more mellow.)
  • Tooth Fairy: In "Dental Hyjinks", Fozzie imagines Gonzo as the Tooth Fairy, who refuses to give Fozzie one million dollars since his loose tooth hasn't come out yet. Kermit then appears and says he wants to give Fozzie double that amount. Cue several of the other Muppets appearing and offering Fozzie even more money than that, with each Muppet offering double the previous Muppet's amount.
  • Totem Pole Trench: In "Of Mice and Muppets", the babies help Gonzo, who is imagining he's been trapped along with several mice by the Wall Wonker, by stacking themselves on top of each other, wearing a big trench coat, and pretending to be an even bigger Wonker who informs the other Wonker that he's failed his job and has to go back to his home planet.
  • Tough Room: Fozzie getting pelted by tomatoes for telling bad jokes.
  • Tsundere: As in all Muppet productions, Piggy is a mix between this and Yandere.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: In "My Muppet Valentine", the babies try to cheer up Rowlf when Nanny forgets to give him his Valentine's cookie.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • In the early episodes, Gonzo and Rowlf's voices were more gruff, as if their voice actresses were trying to sound closer to their adult counterparts. Their voices got more higher and relaxed by the end of the season.
    • Also in the early episodes, Fozzie spoke with a stilted accent vaguely similar to how the adult Fozzie sounded in the first season of The Muppet Show. As the season went on, his voice got more relaxed and even more Fozzie-like.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: In "Raiders of the Lost Muppet", Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie imagine they're exploring the Temple of Doom and end up stuck in a room where the ceiling is closing in on them. Piggy uses Fozzie's propeller hat as a drill to make a hole in the ceiling to use as an exit.
  • Wingding Eyes: There are several instances where Gonzo's eyes turn into hearts as he is admiring Piggy.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "Pigerella" had Piggy imagining herself as Cinderella. Gonzo, the Fairy God-Weirdo, changed it to seven for a similar reason it was done to Casper in his film. Gonzo told her that, because they're kids, they can't stay awake up to midnight.
  • Word Schmord: In "Of Mice and Muppets", Gonzo goes into the closet to look for Officer Carruthers' pet mouse Peewee. He imagines that he and several mice are captured by the Wall Wonker, who wants to use them to power a treadmill that will let him harness all of the world's electricity and Take Over the World. He then realizes Gonzo isn't running on the treadmill and asks why the "mouse" isn't running. Gonzo clarifies that he's a weirdo, to which the Wall Wonker replies with "Weirdo scmeirdo! Why aren't you running?"
  • 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.
  • You're Cute When You're Angry: In "Piggy's Hyper-Activity Book", the babies make paper dolls from an activity book. Gonzo imagines he tries to kiss a paper doll of Piggy, commenting that he can kiss it all he wants without it honking his nose... only for it to come to life, duplicate itself into three, and honk his nose, to which Gonzo replies with "Isn't she beautiful when she's angry?"

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