Every Muppet That Matters, Ranked
Look, we know people have ranked the Muppets before. Hell, as I was contemplating this assignment with the vigor of a serial killer poring over newspapers looking for mentions of himself, Deadspin fired out a list of its own, one that looks about as arbitrary as, well, making lists about decades-old puppets. It had no context. No explanation. It was to true fan lists what the Moopets are to the Muppets. Hilarious, but not real.
You can say the same about me, sure. But I've seen ever movie, every episode, and every spin-off. I am a true fan. As such, my list is perfect. It is final. And it doesn't include anything but Muppets that have appeared on The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, and Muppets films based in the universe established by The Muppet Movie. That means no Treasure Island. And certainly no David Bowie bulge from Labyrinth.
In total, there are more than 500 Muppets. These are the 65 that matter. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have newspapers to clip. Wocka wocka.
65. Robin the FrogKermit’s nephew, Robin was brought in to up the cute factor. He’s basically the Cousin Oliver of the Muppets. But he’s kind of a whiner, and most of us like to pretend he never existed. We get it, dude. It's not easy being green. Your uncle told us. Go back to the swamp.
64. J.P. GrosseThe owner of the Muppet Theater -- and, presumably, the one who offered to sell it to Tex Richman in The Muppets -- Grosse is a mysterious, mustachioed man who looks too human, and nepotistically hires Scooter to work at the theater, despite Scooter being clearly incompetent. That’s just bad management.
63. MuppyMuppy was the shaggy white dog owned by Grosse. He hangs backstage and is extremely adorable. But he also bites. Which is why, I’m assuming, he disappeared by season two. We’re guessing they Old Yeller-ed the bitey little bastard, which just makes me sad.
62. The Smashing PumpkinsFrauds! When Muppets Tonight booked the Pumpkins, they anticipated Billy Corgan and Co. Instead they got a bunch of gourds shaped like Billy Corgan’s head. Big Mean Carl, bless him, smashed them with a club. Perhaps that’s also what happened to Zwan.
61. Bobby BensonBenson's got sweet style, but he's like the Joe Jackson of the Muppet world, what with his all-baby band that are basically enslaved by him. Even worse, he smokes around them, which might explain their terrifying disfigurements. We can't condone any of this, despite the cool shades.
60. Mary LouiseA sweet little girl in a nice floral dress, she incurred the frequent wrath of Miss Piggy, being yanked off stage by a hook and threatened for attempting to steal the spotlight. We never got to even see her whole act.
59. ScooterScooter’s just a lackey. A stage hand. And a beneficiary of nepotism. Also, a buzzkill. Next.
58. Eric the Yodeling ClamA partner of Gonzo, Eric snapped backstage and chomped down on the Weirdo’s nose. He was promptly made into chowder. With that attitude, we’re assuming it was New England clam chowder.
57. Miss PiggyNot only is she a diva, she’s a violent sociopath, forcing Kermit the Frog into a lifelong prison filled with jealousy and constant domestic violence, choosing to express herself through frequent karate chops, threats of bodily harm, and unwelcome sexual advances. She’s also a borderline psychotic, choosing to threaten all oncoming romantic rivals with death. In the world of the Muppets, Piggy sets interspecies feminism back at least 30 years. Gloria Swinem would not approve.
56. All-Food Glee ClubThey said it themselves. They have no bananas. We want no part of this sad, segregationist basket. Especially since it has two different kinds of onions paired with grapes.
55. Purple Rain ManA Prince superfan who is also a parody of Dustin Hoffman’s Raymond Babbitt? Why the hell not? Oh, maybe because we're being PC.
54. The BabiesBobby Benson’s brood is a gaggle of horrifying humanoid children that are the stuff of nightmares.
53. Geri and the AtricsLike the baby band. But elderly. And not horrifying.
52. WalterWalter’s a milquetoast nerdlinger who is supposed to be our avatar in the new Muppet movies. But we just can’t get into the shoes of a dude who’s played by Jim Parsons in real life. Because, to be honest, Walter should look like ME.
51. Bean BunnyMuppets are, by nature, kind of ugly. Bean’s patently cute. Next.
50. BeauregardIf we were ranking these plushies solely on their job efficiency, Beauregard would be way up top, since keeping the Muppet Theater clean amid the flurry of explosions, flying feathers, and actual flurries takes some real professionalism. Alas, he’s otherwise just kind of a dim bulb in the background. But if there was an actual dim bulb in the rafters, he’d be all over it.
49. WayneWayne is perpetually in the ballroom, always dancing. Dude’s got endurance, though he’s kind of a dud.
48. WandaWayne’s dancing partner. Wanda gets points for standing by her man, and even more for her wonderful taste in hats.
47. '80s RobotThe Muppets was a shamelessly nostalgic love letter to Jim Henson’s creations. But there was a sense of hipster pandering on the periphery. ‘80s Robot played to that mentality, and his inclusion gave the movie an excuse to play crappy ‘80s music as well. Jefferson Starship doesn’t belong anywhere, especially within earshot of "The Rainbow Connection."
46. The NewsmanWe know Ron Burgundy. And you, host of Muppet News Flash, are no Ron Burgundy.
45. GrampsThe fiddle player is always the MVP of the bluegrass group. Consider Gramps Boyd Tinsley to Lubbock Lou’s Dave Matthews. Actually, don’t. Because that would imply that Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers are terrible.
44. ConstantineKermit’s Russian doppelganger is hilarious, but it was a bummer that he had to be augmented by CGI during his daring escape. Kermit could have pulled off that daring caper without even removing the hand from his butt.
43. Sam the EagleBasically, Sam is the prototype Fox News anchor. And a fun sponge.
42. Angus McGonagleA deranged Scotsman who gargles the songs of George Gershwin, he was nearly bumped off the show by Mark Hamill, who was proved a great singing partner. He also gave Chewbacca a run for his money on the weird noises.
41. NigelFor a brief moment before Kermit took over, Nigel was host. He was promptly demoted to orchestra conductor, but you’ve gotta hand it to the dude: if you were tasked with keeping the burnouts in the Electric Mayhem and a bunch of aliens who play their own bodies in tempo, you’d prefer not to pull double duty either.
40. Spamela HamdersonSomebody, quick, call Tommy Sooie! Wocka!
39. DoglionHe looks like a monster from Where the Wild Things Are, and exists solely to destroy things other people think are pretty. Still, he’s probably more fun at a party than Sam.
38. David HoggselhoffStar of Bay of Pigswatch. Inexplicably popular in Germany. More specifically, in German sausage.
37. Gorgon HeapAll this big purple bastard does is eat other Muppets. Vincent Price called him one of the greatest eaters of all time. That’s prestige, baby.
36. Miss PoogyShe’s like Miss Piggy, except honest about her horribleness.
35. ThogEver wonder who the big, fat, blue monster at the beginning of The Muppet Show is? Now you know. And that's kind of his thing.
34. Big Mean CarlBasically, Big Mean Carl -- a green-furred, yellow-horned beast -- exists to smash stuff. I also like to smash stuff. Carl and I would be fast friends.
33. The Irish RodentsIf the Irish Rodents were content to just be a bunch of rodents simply speaking in stereotypical Dublin accents and playing jigs, they’d be incredible. That they do it while bathing in a vat of fondue makes them personal heroes.
32. Pepe the King PrawnEverybody loves Pepe, but honestly, he’s little more than an ancillary figure who’s skated by for far too long on his erratic movements and Hank Azaria-aping accent. He's the favorite Muppet of people who claim to love the Muppets but don't know what a Koozebanian is.
31. Bobo the BearBobo started out as a security guard, making him like the Paul Blart of the Muppets. And he looks too much like a real bear for my tastes.
30. Uncle DeadlyDeadly’s a misunderstood monster who appears to seem evil but, in later incarnations, thwarted evil designs on the Muppet legacy, embracing his Muppet heritage. Plus, he’s wicked-cool looking.
29. Link HogthrobThe Pigs in Space leading ham, with his cleft chin and golden locks, is the kind of lovably aloof hunk Hollywood used to churn out. Except he could be made into hunks of ham.
28. Bunsen HoneydewNERD!
27. Elton John’s LunchWhen human Muppet Elton John hosted back in the ‘70s, he had a nice chat with his lunch items before scarfing them down. That they didn’t really care is the mark of professionalism.
26. Dr. Julius StrangeporkThe beating, bizarro heart of Pigs in Space. Also, a somnambulist.
25. The KoozebaniansIt’s kind of cheating to lump an entire planet’s worth of creatures into one number, but the Koozebanians are united in their abilities to turn their bodies into musical instruments. If another planet hears the bullshit music we transmit into space and responds, let’s pray it’s Koozebane that sends back its sounds.
24. Lew ZealandIs it just me, or does Lew -- master of the boomerang fish -- look like he could have walked off the set of a ‘70s skin flick? This man needs more back story, stat.
23. Rizzo the RatRizzo’s great and all, but he’s just kind of a prick. Granted, he’s got a lot to compensate for, but unlike Statler and Waldorf, he doesn’t really seem to have earned the attitude.
22. ZootI’m guessing it’s Zoot, the mellow, blue sax player from the Electric Mayhem, who scores weed for the rest of the band. Dude just seems like a guy who knows where to get things.
21. Marvin SuggsA multi-instrumentalist who would shame Beck, Suggs both conducts the All-Food Glee Club and is the master of the Muppaphone, which is like a xylophone made of living creatures. Sure, that seems cruel. But they love the spotlight.
20. BehemothThe only Muppet monster who appears to visit the dentist regularly, he seems like the friendliest of all the monsters whose sole purpose is to eat other Muppets. And he even duets with them while they’re in his mouth.
19. Mahna MahnaNo need to explain Mahna Mahna. Just know that I wish you luck getting the song out of your head now.
18. Hugga WuggaLest you forget that the Muppets were products of jazz-loving, super-imaginative hippies, I present to you, Hugga Wugga.
17. Floyd PepperFloyd was a Muppet version of Willie Nelson before Willie Nelson was a Muppet version of Willie Nelson. And, really, any version of Willie Nelson is a good version of Willie Nelson.
16. BeakerMeep meep. Meep meeeeep meep. Meep -- meep meep meep -- meep meep. Beaker meep meep meep; meep meep. (Meep meep meep.)
15. Dr. TeethThe trippiest member of the Electric Mayhem, and thus the leader, Dr. Teeth’s pretty prone to giving up and calling it a day. But that’s probably because he scored some grass from Zoot and is pretty stoked to get back to the bus.
14. The Flying Zucchini BrothersSimply put, the greatest dysfunctional group of Italian stereotypes/acrobats ever to exist.
13. JaniceThe Electric Mayhem’s guitarist is the Muppets’ most appealing humanoid. But she’s also got range, as proven by her acting skills on Veterinarian’s Hospital.
12. WaldorfAlong with his homeboy Statler, Waldorf sits in the balcony show after show, complaining about how it’s gone downhill and griping about how terrible every sketch is. Basically, he’s the personification of every Internet comments section, ever.
11. Crazy HarryThe Muppets’ pyrotechnic expert might not be that great at his job, considering his work results in more holes than the plot of Interstellar, but damn does he enjoy himself. He also invented the explodaphone. His original name, by the way, was Crazy Donald. We’re assuming he changed it to avoid prosecution.
10. StatlerHe and Waldorf are pretty interchangeable. But Statler looks exactly like my grandpa, so he gets the edge.
9. SweetumsWhen Sweetums -- all shaggy hair and floppy jaw -- first popped onto the scene, he was terrifying. Turns out, dude just wants to be loved. And sometimes dance with Alice Cooper and eat other Muppets.
8. CamillaBehind every great performer, there’s a great chicken. And Camilla has stood by Gonzo through good times and bad, always giving a cluck when times are tough. Were it not for Camilla, Gonzo would have resigned himself to being a toilet salesman. She didn’t henpeck him. She told him to follow his heart. Also, she’s a hell of a performer, as she recently demonstrated by, awkwardly, clucking Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You” in a PG-rated movie.
7. KermitLook, we all know Kermit’s everybody’s favorite. His philosophies on the difficulties of greenness have affected me endlessly, and his overall practice of love and acceptance is universally applicable. When I was a kid, I admired his keen reporting skills. Hell, I walked down the aisle to “The Rainbow Connection.” He’s a leader and a role model -- and it’s in the latter field that the frog falters.
Because Kermit, perhaps because of his incredible heart, is a pushover. It’s because Kermit can’t say “no” that the Muppet Theater is in constant danger --he’s willing to give any old dog and pony show a place in the spotlight without considering that dogs and ponies shit all over the place. He’s constantly getting walked on. And, at the end of the day, he goes home to an abusive wife who snarls at him and slaps him around and forces herself on him. I love you, Kermit. But you know what? It’s time for you to take some time and learn to love yourself.