It's Not Easy Being Mean
The British Correspondent - From the sneering, white-suit wearing Doc Hopper, to the raw sexual magnetism of Nicky Holiday, the Muppet villains are characters which should always hold a place of pride within the evil halls of villainy. Although they appear to want nothing more than to bring our furry, feathered friends down, these frog-catching, alien-hunting, chicken-strangling Muppet villains truly have dreams of their own. In the words of the song, "Look closely, I’m sure there’s a good man inside..."
The original Muppet meanie, Doc Hopper wanted nothing more than his own chain of fast-food restaurants. Creating Doc Hopper’s French Friend Frog Legs was his dream... But as the Muppet Movie begins, he needs a better plan, because frankly, dressing up as a frog and advertising the frog-leg burger on a bright-green bun just wasn’t a good look. Mimicking the Golden Arches with green legs, and matching the Colonel himself with a snappy white suit, Hopper was halfway there. He just needed a spokesperson, because although he made a great businessman... he was a rather lousy frog.
Luckily for him, waiting in the wings (or rather going with the Schwinn) was the very frog he needed. Kermit the Frog was setting out across America to an open audition for frogs in order to sing and dance and make people happy when he was spotted by Doc’s assistant Max. Kermit was the perfect choice to advertise the Doc’s brand... unfortunately for him, all Kermit could see were hundreds of frogs on tiny crutches and refused to get involved.
Now, this is where most of us would have packed our bags and headed back to the drawing board for a new marketing plan... maybe getting an old spring coat and sewing on some ping-pong balls, but no, not Hopper. Hopper was a man of ambition and once the frog was in his sights, the game was on. Persuading a bear and a frog in a rainbow coloured Studebaker across America, dodging cream pies, kidnapping wild boars and hiring mad scientists, Hopper was determined to do anything to make the frog his spokesperson...whether he did it live, or stuffed.
Finally facing Kermit in a ghost-town showdown, Doc Hopper stood on the brink of maintaining his humanity, or dipping into utter ruthlessness to get his own way. But as Kermit shared his dreams of singing and dancing and making people happy... a dream which gets better the more people you share it with, Hopper realised that his own dream would separate him from any true feelings–even his sidekick Max refused to be involved.
It’s that moment right there which makes Doc Hopper a wonderfully rounded villain. A moment of indecision, of seeing a better way... And still not taking it. Instead of backing off, he orders the death of the Muppets’ leader and, had an insta-grown Animal not intervened, I dread to imagine the kind of world we would live in today.
Doc Hopper was a complex and brilliantly designed villain to go up against the Muppets. He held many of the characteristics seen within the Muppets themselves. He had a dream, he had determination, he was focused, with a good imagination and sense of humour–but, unlike the Muppets, he didn’t have the heart or strength of character to guide those traits in the right direction. Because of this, Hopper pursued the wrong goals and lost himself in the process. Due to their similarities and differences, Hopper makes a perfect nemesis for Kermit the Frog.
Honestly though, he probably got off lightly... had his food empire expanded (Don’t you frogs expand?) he’d have been blamed for all this childhood obesity.
Ruthlessness: 10 (He ordered his men to kill Kermit! It does NOT get worse than that.)
Sidekick: 7 (Max showed up Doc’s true nature by actually having a conscience, but did little else of consequence. I was going to give him a 6, but he got an extra point for warning the Muppets.)
Evil appearance: 8 (The snappy suit, and madman hair made him memorably evil)
Talking the talk: 7 (His evil monologue moments were brilliant, from his first meeting “Don’t you frog’s expand?” to finale sneer, “I have lots of friends.”)
Likability: 3 (I’m sure his mum still loved him, but even Max refused to be called his friend by the end.)
Returnability: 8 (I’d love to see him return as an even crazier, even more determined antithesis of everything Muppety.)
Likely-hood to take over the world: 4 (Unlikely...he couldn’t even get a food franchise off the ground.)
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier