Jul 14, 2010

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Link Hogthrob

Written by Ryan Dosier.

LINK HOGTHROB

Performed by...
Jim Henson (1977-1990)
Steve Whitmire (2003-present)

First appearance...
The Muppet Show Episode 203: Milton Berle (1977)


Most recent appearance...
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role...
Captain of the S.S. Swinetrek in "Pigs in Space"

Memorable quote...
"Who's your tailor? I love that outfit!"

WHO IS LINK HOGTHROB?
Link Hogthrob is the bumbling, none too bright, macho, chauvinist "pig" of the Muppets. His biggest role in the cast is that of Captain Link Hogthrob in the "Pigs in Space" sketches on The Muppet Show. Here, along with Dr. Julius Strangepork and First Mate Miss Piggy, he embarks on intergalactic adventures that usually go wrong because of his bumbling idiocy.

Sometimes on The Muppet Show Link also got to interact with guest stars. Peter Sellers gave Link an extremely rough massage, turning him into a porky pretzel; John Cleese invaded the Swinetrek, and Lesley Ann Warren discoed up a storm with Link caught in the storm surge.

Link has also been known to perform a musical number or two on occasion. His solo numbers include "I Talk to the Trees," in which he is interrupted by said talking trees, and "Sonny Boy," which he sang to a live piglet, and . He lilted "Sea Chantey" with Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, and Robin, "The Rhyming Song" with Fozzie, Scooter, and Annie Sue, "Macho Man" with Gonzo, and sang "La Ci Darem La Mano," "I Get Around," and "True Love" with Miss Piggy. His songs with guest stars include  "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" with Christopher Reeve and "Hard to be Humble" with Mac Davis.

Since he is one of the most unintelligent Muppets, Link was used on many occasions as a dumb character to foil the smarter ones such as Dr. Strangepork and Miss Piggy. Link was even brought back in The Jim Henson Hour as a main character in the Muppet Central segments of the show. Here he was once again used as the dumb character, in one episode even believing he has some ridiculous disease called Canadian Snout Fever.

In the Muppet movies, Link was relegated to cameo appearances. He appeared in the large crowd scenes of The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan and made brief cameos in The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. Since Jim Henson's death, Link was largely retired aside from these brief cameos. He also made vocal appearances in the Muppet video games "Muppet Race Mania" and "Muppets Party Cruise," voiced by Steve Whitmire in both.

Link Hogthrob finally returned to a speaking role in The Muppets (2011), his first speaking role in any Muppet feature film. He performed alongside Rowlf the Dog, Beaker, and Sam Eagle as the fourth member of The Muppet Barbershop Quartet, when they performed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" during The Muppet Telethon in the film. Hopefully Link will continue to get speaking roles in Muppet projects.

PIGS IN SPACE MOMENTS WITH LINK HOGTHROB
Since his "Pigs in Space" role was his most well-known, Link had many memorable moments in the sketches on the S.S. Swinetrek. These include...
  • Sets off the "stuck pig" alarm (Episode 203)
  • Refuses to let First Mate Miss Piggy make the mid-course correction, which she has studied for years (Episode 205)
  • Asks First Mate Miss Piggy to do the laundry (Episode 207)
  • Negotiates with space pirate Long John Silverstein (John Cleese) (Episode 223) 
  • Turned into an outline of himself (Episode 307)
  • Affected by the "Dummo Rays" (Episode 315)
  • Asks Luke Skywalker who his tailor is (he loves that outfit) (Episode 417)

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED LINK HOGTHROB?
I'm under the firm opinion that Link Hogthrob needs to be brought back to the Muppets gang once again. He was such an integral, hilarious part of the group in The Muppet Show days and it's a crying shame that he hasn't returned in a speaking role since then. Steve Whitmire's voice for Link is perfect and now that Matt Vogel is trying out Dr. Strangepork (according to Bill Barretta), I'd say it's high time we see a new Pigs in Space sketch--perhaps make that the next YouTube video?

But the Muppets need Link because he is such an excellent foil for the other Muppets. Every strong group needs a dumb character to play off of, and that should be Link. Fozzie has fit that role for awhile now and that isn't him. Sticking Link Hogthrob in there in place of poor Fozzie would make more sense and probably be more funny--at least more correct, character wise. Besides, Pigs in Space is one of the favorite and most memorable Muppet Show sketches that even non-obsessed fans have fond memories of. Why not bring it back again?

Link has been missing for far too long from the Muppet mix. Let's bring him back!








The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

2 comments:

  1. I agree. Link is one of the "pushed into the background" Muppets that should be brought back up to the middle...not quite the front. Haha

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  2. Hear, hear! I miss him as well, and was overjoyed to see him singin' and dancin' (sort of) again in the new movie. Now, if we can get Strangepork voiced again... new Pigs In Space sketches would make my life complete!

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