Jun 9, 2010

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Big-Fat, Bug-Faced, Baby-Eating O'Brien


BIG FAT UGLY BUG-FACED BABY-EATING O’BRIEN

Performed by...
A mysterious and sultry feminine performer (1996)
Also a deep bass-voiced male voice artist (1996)

First appearance...
Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Most recent appearance...
Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Memorable quote...
"Aye.”

Fashion Statement
Wearing a green dress with white-lace sleeves and rather more than a hint of d├ęcolletage, paired with gold-hoop earrings and a red bandana, Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O’Brien appears to have made bold, brave fashion choices for a pirate of this era. However, despite having distinctive clothing, Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O’Brien has little make-up, suggesting that she (he?) is comfortable enough with their looks not to need to drastically change their appearance.

Best Friend
It should be noted that Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O’Brien is not the first of the randomly appearing, never-to-be-seen again women within Muppet history and it is possible that his/her (hir?) closest friend may be the Myth-Myth Woman from The Muppet Movie. I like to imagine them sitting down together with cocktails to discuss their walk-on roles (and that’s not the only way I like to imagine them…)

Literary Reference
In the original Treasure Island novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, O’Brien was a pirate left to maintain the boat while the others went ashore. O’Brien and Israel Hands got into a massive rum-fuelled fight, although it is unknown what they were fighting over, which distracted them long enough for Jim Hawkins to sneak aboard. (I’d have loved to see a Muppet character in Treasure Island named ‘Hands’. I guess the closest thing was Headless Bill?)

WHO IS BIG FAT UGLY BUG-FACED BABY-EATING O’BRIEN?
This character appears only briefly within the film Muppet Treasure Island, and isn’t technically a Muppet – being played by a human actor, however within the small amount of time that she (he?) was onscreen for a simple sight gag BFUB-FB-EO’B managed to break down a considerable number of boundaries (and probably a few marriages…STOP gawking at the screen, young man!)

BFUB-FB-EO’B, or Big Fat, as she (he!???) will subsequently be called, was played on screen by a female actress but voiced by a male voice-artist – suggesting that despite her lack of felt and fur…she was still a Puppet in some ways. Big Fat is androgynous, being never defined as male or female, something that Lady Gaga would later claim as an original trademark! For the year 1996, such an undefined character seems to be way ahead of its time in terms of content regarding commentary about gender, sexism and orientation. Within the world of the Muppets, she/he was simply accepted without question as a member of the crew. (Note: That may have all been codswallop, but I’m trying to prove myself as a serious reporter here! – TBC)

BIG FAT UGLY BUG-FACED BABY-EATING O’BRIEN MOMENTS
Well…she only really had one moment didn’t he?

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED BIG FAT UGLY BUG-FACED BABY-EATING O’BRIEN?
The Muppets are an accepting group…no matter what is thrown their way (from fish, to dumbbells to Flying Zuchinni Brother) they accept it as a part of life and move on. The sudden appearance and subsequent disappearance of Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O’Brien illustrates this point perfectly. So if you are big, fat, ugly bug-faced and baby-eating (and your name rhymes with ‘no iron’) then don’t change! Be who you are! The Muppets will accept you for it! And so will we. (Note: Ryan, will you please also accept my friend request on Facebook so I can send you my plans for overhauling this blog?)






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed today's feature. I had never considered reading into the subtext of that character before. some excellent points... I could've used this great example in a project I did in graduate school, LoL.

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  2. I don't remember this character being in The Mupet Show. What episodes did she appear in?

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