The Babies, the Dreamers, and Me

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.

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7 Responses to The Babies, the Dreamers, and Me

  1. Okay, now you have haunted me with trying to remember in what context I remember “Bobby’s World” and even what it was about…

    I guess they figured Janice’s character is too tied up in traits that just aren’t very baby-like? At least that’s my theory. But none of the rest of the Mayhem showed up as babies either, did they? Oh, Animal. But he’s pretty easy to imagine as a baby, considering the only sign of growing up he ever did was develop a libido. If that counts as growing up.

    Speaking of libido, grown-up Gonzo always has had a crush on Piggy, even while dating Camilla. There’s a bit of it in the first Muppet Movie and a bit more in the Muppet Show, particularly in the early episodes before it’s established that he has a thing for poultry. I guess he GENERALLY has a thing for farm animals, PREFERRING poultry, but not being against a particularly well-bred sow on occasion, either….

    I still have not posted my own thoughts on the new Muppet movie. I intended to yesterday, but got distracted by whining about voice activation instead.

  2. Ozaline says:

    Actually Frank Oz created Yoda, so while he is a muppet he’s not actually one of Jim Hensons’ Henson was too busy to contribute at the time, though he was the first Lucas asked.

    Still I’m sure Lucas had no problem letting the films be used for a modest fee.

  3. SamuraiFrog says:

    There’s also a scene in A Muppet Family Christmas where they watch super-8 home movies of themselves as babies, and they sing a Christmas song. So A Muppet Family Christmas not only implies that the Sesame Street characters are basically cousins to the Muppets, but that Muppet Babies is in the loose continuity of the Muppets themselves. Which is weird because Kermit says in the beginning of The Muppet Movie that the movie basically tells the story of how the Muppets met. But then Kermit’s Swamp Years shows him as a tween growing up in the swamp… Yeah, I need to stop thinking about this.

  4. Pingback: Oz: The Next Generation | VoVatia

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