1 The Muppet Mindset: Muppets do NOT negotiate with pirates (except Rizzo)

Jun 8, 2010

Muppets do NOT negotiate with pirates (except Rizzo)

Ahh-ha me hearties! If ye thought I be done with my notorious acts of blatant piracy and senseless reporting, ye be wrong...and I be...speaking in a farmer/pirate accent? Anyway, accent aside, I am still here and you are still reading from me, The British Correspondent. The way I see it, when Ryan gets back and finds some simply splendid deeply thought-out pieces of deep journalistic writing on his blog he'll be BOUND to hire me again.

I'll leave you with that thought...

Muppets do NOT negotiate with pirates (except Rizzo)

Throughout their long and lustrous (?) careers, the Muppets have found themselves on more than one occasion having to deal with relentless marauders, the scourge of the high-seas, the sea-devils of the waves, the smuggling sasquatch, the rum-drinking shanty-stomping high-diving synchronised-swimming pirates of this world. There are a number of things which connect (and disconnect) these appearances of pirates within the Muppetverse and it may prove rewarding to take a brief glance at them.


Most appearances of pirates in the Muppetverse also include at least one appearance of a cannon…and often a human cannonball. A few sketches before John Cleese appears as a pirate on the Swinetrek with a nagging pirate-parrot in episode 223 of the Muppet Show, Gonzo can be seen onstage catching a cannonball with his bare hands (and surviving!)! Muppet Treasure Island features Beaker exploding from a cannon, as well as Bunsen and Beaker saving Fozzie from Angel Marie with some fancy cannon action. Comic book, The Treasure of Pegleg Wilson, features a pirate named Pegleg Wilson (go figure), who claims that “I took to the stage, and was fired from a gun/Every day, twice on Sundays, at quarter to one.” Similarly, Gonzo’s comic-book character of Captain Hook has a dream of entertaining by being shot from a cannon in a high-seas show.

Parrots (or Penguins…or Lobsters)

Parrots come in many forms, as the Muppets have proven. John Cleese’s bird companion appeared with all the charisma of a nagging wife, while Glenda Jackson (episode 507) was accompanied by Eric the Parrot, disguised as a penguin. Long John Silver found the idea of a talking parrot as inconceivable as a singing dancing mouse with its own amusement park and had a talking lobster named Bad Poly instead.


Putting the rat in pirate, Rizzo is often on hand when pirates abound, especially within the Muppet comic books where he forms an alliance with Kismet the Toad to excavate the Muppet Theatre and in Muppet Peter Pan were he appears as Mr Smee. Rizzo also sold tickets to the ‘pirate’ cruise in Muppet Treasure Island and was tempted to ‘negotiate strenuously’ when facing the sword beside Jim, Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie and Mr Bimbo the man who…lives…in Fozzie’s finger?...No, I still don’t get it.


Where there be pirates, there be singing! From Glenda Jackson and her pirate gang singing ‘Sailing Sailing!’ which then erupts into a medley sing-off at sea, to ‘Sailing for Adventure’ and ‘Professional Pirate’ in Muppet Treasure Island, pirate appearances are often accompanied by a ruckus of melodious Muppets in tune (and occasionally out of tune).

What does this MEAN!?

Now, this has been a fun list to write (and I’m sure that my readers -- or Ryan’s readers that I have personally pirated for the week -- will be able to think of other connecting factors between pirate appearances in the Mupetverse) but unless the list can be applied, there is little point in making one.

All these factors discussed – Cannons, Parrots, Rats and Singing – are related to the bonus moments that make the Muppets the Muppets.

Explosions, for example, are a signature of the Muppets and should always be seen…whether it be Crazy Harry playing with electricity or random booms sending the guest stars into the rafters.

Random appearances of new and crazy Muppets, such as the unique twists taken in relation to the parrots, should always be there, proving that the Muppetverse is wider and more extensive then we imagine…There’s always room for new Muppets!

Rats, chickens, penguins and monsters are vital ingredients of successful Muppet moments, providing a note of seriousness to otherwise ridiculous moments (or the other way around?).

Musical numbers and singing should be paramount to Muppet success (feel free to note that Muppets From Space which did not include the Muppets singing new songs did not exactly land on its feet).

These four factors are things that I would love to see in the next Muppet movie: explosions, random Muppets, rats, chickens and things and some fantastic new musical numbers.

Stay tuned this week for a Weak Muppet Wednesday and a Strong Muppet Interview with a completly unexpected (but utterly delightful) lady with an equally surprising, but similarly delightful connection to the Muppetverse!!!


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