Jan 12, 2011

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Beaker

 
Today's Weekly Muppet Wednesday article is written by Michael Wermuth, Jr.

BEAKER

Performed by...
Richard Hunt (1977-1991)
Steve Whitmire (1992-present)

First appearance...

The Muppet Show Episode 202: Zero Mostel (1977)

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

Best known role...
Accident-prone lab assistant to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Muppet Labs ("Where the Future is Being Made Today"), non-speaking red head, crooner.

Best friend...
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

Memorable quotes...
"Mee mee mee mee mee."

WHO IS BEAKER?
Beaker is the lab assistant to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. Beaker’s dialogue is pretty much limited to "Meep" noises (though in his earliest appearances his dialogue was more like grunts and yells). Beaker often has to test out Bunsen’s inventions (including some that would be more suitable for Bunsen, such as hair-growing tonic and elevator shoes), and ends up being a victim to whatever he’s testing. As a result of science testing Beaker has been electrocuted, flattened, attacked, shrunk, duplicated, and has lost body parts.

In addition to his science work, Beaker has occasionally assisted Beauregard with his stagehand work, and from time-to-time (especially in recent years) has sung despite his limited speech, sometimes with other hard-to-understand characters like The Swedish Chef and Animal (in fact, despite his limited speech he has more songs to his repertoire than Bunsen).

BEAKER SONGS
  • Feelings (The Muppet Show)
  • Danny Boy (with The Swedish Chef and Animal, The Muppet Show)
  • Room in Your Heart (with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, The Muppet Christmas Carol soundtrack)
  • Stars and Stripes FOREVER! (with Sam the Eagle and cast, YouTube)
  • Habanera (with The Swedish Chef and Animal, YouTube)
  • Ode to Joy (YouTube)
  • This is Me (with Demi Lovato, Studio DC: Almost Live)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (with the cast, YouTube)
  • Carol of the Bells (with The Swedish Chef and Animal, YouTube)
  • Dust in the Wind (YouTube)
MEMORABLE BEAKER MOMENTS
In one memorable Muppet Labs sketch, after Bunsen points out that they had yet to find a use for their liquid invention Bunsonium, Beaker is ordered to drink it. After some reluctance, Beaker takes a few sips... And his head inflates as a result!

In one scene in The Great Muppet Caper, when the Muppets get on the roof of the Mallory Gallery, Bunsen has Beaker test out whether the gallery has a monitoring system. While testing, Beaker gets electrocuted, with his eyes lighting up and hair going up as a result.

In The Muppets at Walt Disney World, Beaker gets his own subplot/running gag when a bucket falls on his head and gets stuck. At one point, Bunsen takes Beaker to get a snack from a taco stand run by The Swedish Chef, but thinks Beaker wants the spiciest sauce on the taco. The sauce is so hot that the bucket flies off his head, only to fall back on seconds later.

In an episode of Muppets Tonight, Beaker takes a Star Trek fan cruise, and meets George Takei, who played Sulu on the series. At first he marveled at listening o Takei’s experiences on the show, but over time grew bored with all the talk.

In It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, when Kermit sees what life would have been like if he’d never been born, Kermit sees that Beaker would have become a bouncer for The Dot, having big muscles and a much deeper voice.

In A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, Beaker tests out Bunsen’s invention “The Wish Granter 3000”, an invention that makes wishes come true. Beaker’s wish is for a supermodel girlfriend who speaks like Beaker. However, when Bunsen insists that Beaker wish her away, Beaker wishes himself away as well, including the Wish Granter (and therefore preventing the others to use it to solve their problem of getting letters to Santa Claus). The Wish Granter 3000 is one of Bunsen’s few inventions that has not backfired on Beaker.

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED BEAKER?
Beaker is one of the funniest and most popular characters in the Muppet cast. He is needed to assist Bunsen in whatever inventions he comes up with, and despite all the abuse he gets, he remains loyal, always coming back after what disaster happens to him. Along with Bunsen, Beaker appears in many major Muppet productions.








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

5 comments:

  1. I always just love when Beaker says: Mi mi mi mi because it sounds like a cat laughing and I know that Beaker is not a cat.

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  2. Beaker Is an absolute legend. Definitely one of the best muppets ever!!

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