Jan 16, 2013
Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: George the Janitor
The Muppets Valentine Show (1974)
Most recent appearance...
Muppets Tonight Episode 102: Garth Brooks (1996)
Best known role...
Grumpy janitor for the Muppet Theater; Mildred Huxtetter's dance partner
WHO IS GEORGE THE JANITOR?
George the Janitor was the original and only member of the custodial staff of the Muppet Theater for quite some time. He was always around mopping up during Season 1 of The Muppet Show, but in Episode 106 he complained about J.P. Grosse's ownership of the Theater, implying that he had worked there prior to J.P. owning it.
The first time George appeared was in The Muppets Valentine Show pilot which aired in 1974. George was extremely grumpy and fed up with the Muppets trying to define love. However, guest star Mia Farrow soon discovered that George truly loves his mop, which he calls "cute," proving that he's not as coarse as he may seem. George went on to appear in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence pilot and Des O'Connor Presents before The Muppet Show debuted.
Once The Muppet Show debuted, George was a secondary player exclusively in Season 1, featuring mostly in backstage plots. However, one of George's best known roles was in the "At the Dance" segments on the show, where he was partners with Mildred Huxtetter. George's favorite jokes in these segments were variations on a classic in which Mildred would ask something like, "Do you like Kipling?" and George would respond, "I dunno! I never kippled!"
After Season 1, George was delegated exclusively to background roles in acts on the show. Throughout Season 2 and for one episode of Season 3, George would make occasional, non-speaking appearances. However, by Season 3, George was completely phased out as janitor in favor of Beauregard, who has held the job at the Muppet Theater ever since.
But that was not the end for old George, the janitor had a singing line in the song "Scrooge" in The Muppet Christmas Carol and also popped up in The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan, and Muppet Treasure Island. George's final onscreen appearances were in the first two episodes of Muppets Tonight in 1996. In Episode 101 he portrayed Benjamin Franklin, but in Episode 102 he was fittingly seen cleaning KMUP Studios, back with his beloved mop. Though he hasn't appeared onscreen in over 15 years, George brief comic book cameos recently in The Muppet Show Comic Book and Muppet Robin Hood.
WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED GEORGE THE JANITOR?
Well the obvious answer here is that the Muppets need (or needed) George to keep the place clean. Now that they have Beauregard, George seemingly serves no purpose, other than being another grumpy old man. However, George's character extends farther than just being angry. He clearly loved his job when he held it, adoring his mop and enjoying his work. Even when he reaches his breaking point and talks about how sick he is of his job and Kermit asks why he doesn't quit, George responds, "What? And quit show business?" That's the essence of George. A man who loves his mop, his job, and playing even a minimal part in show business.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com