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Monday, November 21, 2011

Hallelujah, folks! It's almost here. The day I've been waiting months for is just upon is. It's the day I get to visit with some of my oldest friends again—the day the Muppets return to theaters.

I honestly haven't been this excited about a film in a long time—maybe The Dark Knight. And this anticipation kind of snuck up on me. Yes, November 23 has been circled on my calendar all year, but The Muppets wasn't even #1 on my most-anticipated fall movies list. It's just once I started revisiting some of the old Muppets movies and reading reviews of the new one that my excitement skyrocketed.

To commemorate this special week, I'll be blasting daily Muppets-related posts, all leading up to a Friday or Saturday review of the new movie. If you're not a Muppets fan, this probably isn't the week for you here at John Likes Movies.

Today, I want to highlight some of my favorite unsung Muppets. Everyone loves Kermit best, and rightfully so. Piggy, Animal, Gonzo, and Fozzie also get plenty of material and almost as much adoration as their green leader. So outside this group of stars, who are some of the best supporting players? These are my top 10 (with my honorable mention being every Muppet not on this list):

10.) Zoot
This dude is just a beast. He's the ultimate burnout, and doesn't seem at all interested in being part of the gang. He just plays his music like a champ and, for the most part, keeps his mouth shut. When he does open it, however, expect hilarity every time.

9.) Rizzo
As a kid, I honestly didn't love Rizzo. It was only now, after having seen Midnight Cowboy, that I can appreciate the character. Now, his New York attitude just kills me.

8.) Sweetums
Definitely the biggest and scariest-looking Muppet, Sweetums also has the distinction of being one of the most warm-hearted in the bunch. He also broke through puppetry's notorious "ogre barrier," allowing characters like Shrek to be what they are today.

7.) Sam the Eagle
It's certainly hard not to respect Sam and his staunch patriotism, even though he's not the most lovable Muppet. Still, his Nixon impersonation is one for the history books.

6.) Scooter
Rather than extol Scooter's virtues, most fans just wonder what happened to his twin sister, Skeeter. But the little orange dude, whose eyes are literally built into his glasses, is like Kermit's vice-president. Should something happen to the big guy, Scooter could take over, and the group probably wouldn't lose a step. That earns him some respect from yours truly.

5.) Janice
My personal favorite member of Electric Mayhem, Janice is probably higher on my list than most others. But I think she brings a much needed tomboy-ish attitude to the team. She's much less dainty than Piggy, and she's probably funnier, too.

4.) Statler and Waldorf
I love what Jim Henson did here: Take the collective voices of all his critics and turn them into these two old theater snobs. They often get some of the genuinely funniest jokes both in the movies and on the show, as well.

3.) Swedish Chef
Totally inept in the kitchen, our guy here earns the prize for best voice among the Muppet crew. He could read the phone book in his odd and broken form of Swedish/English, and I'd probably be in stitches.

2.) Bunsen and Beaker
As much a team as Statler and Waldorf, these two, I'm sure, would be at or near the top of most lists like this. Why? Well, it helps that they are adorable, of course. But they're also a dynamite comedy team (pun sort of intended).

1.) Rowlf
My man, Rowlf. I know I said in the intro that Kermit is my favorite Muppet, but if anyone could give him a run for his money, it's Rowlf the Dog. First off, he's funny—really funny. In fact, I'd say Rowlf is probably the most reliably funny Muppet, since he almost never has a clunker of the joke. He's also more than capable of tugging at your heartstrings. He plays a mean piano and is probably the Muppet I'd most like to be friends with, or have a beer with, as odd as that probably sounds. Rowlf is the man, plain and simple. Can't wait to see him just own it in the new film.


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