The Top Ten Muppet Explosions
Michael Wermuth, Jr. - One of the Muppets’ greatest trademarks is explosions. In the early days, explosions would often punctuate the punch line of a routine. And of course, blowing things up was a trademark of Crazy Harry. The recent "Green With Envy" trailer for The Muppets has "an expensive-looking explosion," according to Fozzie. And yet that “expensive-looking explosion” doesn’t look too impressive to me. But I guess no explosion really beats the old-fashioned kind, in which somebody would blow into a tube of powder to make the effect look real, sometimes making sparks appear.
I’m going to list my top ten favorite explosions in Muppet productions. And I’ll try to do so in the manner of a dignified film critic.
10. Crazy Harry blowing up a wall in The Muppet Valentine Show
At one point, Crazy Harry blows up a wall, and it’s the only time that wall was shown in the special. Too bad the wall was only built for one reason, but at least it was a worthy cause. Two thumbs up!
9. Bunsen’s exploding clothes
In the Phyllis Diller episode, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew presents his latest inventions, exploding hats, exploding earmuffs, and the self-destruct necktie. It’s amazing to think of what Dave Goelz must have gone through putting his hand up in the air as his character was getting blown up. Fans often think this experience is what led to Bunsen getting an assistant. If that’s true, then if it weren’t for this scene, we wouldn’t have Beaker, would we? So thank you, explosive clothes!
8. The explosions in "Danger"
The Sesame Street song "Danger" includes a few explosions, making it among the few times Sesame Street used an explosion, proving that explosions aren’t too taboo for television, not even educational television.
7. Waldorf’s "explosions aren’t funny" speech
In the very first episode of The Muppet Show, Waldorf tells Statler that he always thought the Muppets were weird because they thought explosions were funny, which Waldorf doesn’t agree on… Until Statler’s cigar blows up. The irony of the scene is very genius, though I disagree with Waldorf on explosions not being funny.
6. Kermit’s introduction to Ben Vereen’s second number
The episode with Ben Vereen is full of explosions by Crazy Harry. But some of the best come from when Kermit is introducing Ben Vereen’s second number. It’s beyond brilliant that Crazy Harry ends up holding a bomb even as it explodes.
5. M.A.M.M.A.’s big explosion
When Dudley Moore was the guest star and brought along his music machine known as M.A.M.M.A., Gonzo did an act, defusing a big bomb. He needed silence... But M.A.M.M.A. just had to go on-stage and make a big dramatic sting, causing the bomb to explode, and not only destroy the robot, but also half the theater. Perhaps one of the biggest explosions ever!
4. "Television news reporters are blowing up!"
In one Muppet News Flash segment, the Newsman reported that news reporters are blowing up... And then promptly blew up. A very good explosion, indeed. It’s quick and to the point.
3. "I hear this movie is dynamite!"
At the beginning of The Muppet Movie, Dr. Teeth tells Crazy Harry that he hears the movie is dynamite, to which Crazy Harry makes a rather genius explosion. It’s a shame this didn’t even get nominated for "Best Explosion in a Film." What’s that? There’s no such Oscar category? Never mind...
2. The World’s Most Powerful Explosion!
In a classic bit that originated in an IBM film (which I actually haven’t seen) and was remade on The Ed Sullivan Show and then The Muppet Show when George Burns guest starred, a monster eats various parts of a machine, as the machine describes the parts being eaten, before the monster learns that nothing can stop it from its primary purpose: to be the world’s most powerful exploding device. In fact, in the version done on The Muppet Show, it’s so powerful that Luncheon Counter Monster disappears. This is more than just genius (super genius, perhaps?).
1. Jaye P. Morgan’s talk spot
So how do you top the stroke of genius that is #2 on this list? Well, there are many ways, but the talk spot with Jaye P. Morgan should be #1 for the quantity more than the quality. The first half of the episode is full of explosions, from Jaye P. tossing a bomb to Scooter, to Waldorf blowing up Statler, to the guest star getting a cake that was unknowingly baked by Crazy Harry. But in the talk spot, Jaye P. Morgan and Kermit discuss explosions, which Kermit notes is a trademark of the Muppets. So the best way to top explosions on a list of explosions is by talking about the explosions.
Well, let’s end this list with a BANG!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier