Having seen the new Muppet movie recently got me thinking about Muppet Babies, a show I grew up watching. The conceit is that many of the Muppets grew up in a nursery together, which is obviously outside even their rather loose continuity. We know Kermit and Miss Piggy didn’t grow up together, but that was the subject for a fantasy sequence in The Muppets Take Manhattan, which was then spun off into the cartoon. The babies also were aware of movies and such that were current at the time the show was being made, which the original Muppets presumably couldn’t have been. I even remember one episode where they parodied Sesame Street, on which the adult Kermit was a character. Talk about a paradox! In addition to the familiar Muppets, the show featured Scooter’s hitherto unknown tomboyish twin sister Skeeter, who apparently didn’t go into show business with the others. She did apparently appear as an adult in a recent comic book, however, and SamuraiFrog wrote a bit about that. Skeeter’s presence was due to a desire to have more female characters, which were lacking in the original cast. I guess they didn’t want to use Janice as a regular character, although she did show up as a slightly older neighbor in some later episodes. Also occasionally putting in appearances were Statler and Waldorf, as well as Robin as a tadpole. One interesting bit of characterization was Gonzo’s unrequited crush on Piggy. I guess that has something to do with Camilla only being a stuffed toy in the series.
Another item of note about the show is that most of it is made up of the babies imagining adventures, rather than actually having them. I guess that makes sense in a way; the adult Muppets were performers on a variety show, and their younger versions had very active imaginations. There were clips from movies interspersed throughout the show, with Star Wars being heavily featured. There was one episode that was quite liberal with clips from Labyrinth; I have to wonder if the fact that both the Star Wars movies and Labyrinth used Jim Henson’s puppets had anything to do with this. Both the baby and imagination aspects were pretty influential at the time. For instance, I also remember Flintstone Kids, which similarly broke established continuity by having Fred and Barney know Wilma and Betty as children. Tiny Toon Adventures also utilized a similar concept, although the Tiny Toons were separate characters from their adult equivalents. As for other shows that focused on kids imagining adventures, I know Bobby’s World had quite a bit of that, and there were others as well that I can’t quite place at the moment. Anyway, continuity issues aside (and as I’ve said, continuity has never been a major issue for the Muppets anyway), it was an enjoyable show.