1 The Muppet Mindset: Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Constantine

Mar 19, 2014

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Constantine

Written by Ryan Dosier.

CONSTANTINE

Performed by...
Matt Vogel

First appearance...
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Most recent appearance...
Various talk shows

Best known role...
The World's Number One Criminal; The World's Most Dangerous Frog

WHO IS CONSTANTINE?
Constantine is an evil, Russian frog with a proclivity for martial arts, blowing things up, and knitting. Constantine is widely observed as not only the World's Most Dangerous Frog, but quickly rises to the rank of World's Number One Criminal. Of course, the most obvious trait Constantine possesses is that he's a dead-ringer for Kermit the Frog--if you ignore the black mole, shorter collar, and angry eyes.

At the beginning of Muppets Most Wanted, Constantine escapes from a Russian gulag prison using explosives and stunning karate moves. Constantine's partner in crime, his "Number Two," is Dominic Badguy, who resents Constantine for treating him so poorly. At times it seems Number Two might have better and smarter plans than Constantine... but it's hard to say. Constantine uses Dominic to break into some of Europe's most heavily guarded museums and banks as their major evil plan unfolds.

Constantine unfurls his wicked plot by planting a fake mole on the face of Kermit the Frog and getting him sent to the gulag. With Number Two already infiltrated into the Muppets as their tour manager, Constantine slips right into Kermit's role, trying his best to mimic the famous amphibian. Fortunately for Constantine, the Muppets are all gullible and dumb enough to buy his act. Constantine's impression of Kermit is nowhere near spot on, but using by his charm and allowing the Muppets to do whatever he want, he quickly sways them.

Although he is evil and dangerous, Constantine is also a very talented performer. His two songs in the film, "I'm Number One" and "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)" showcase his singing and dancing skills. Despite this, when Constantine first opens The Muppet Show on the Muppets' World Tour, he is struck by severe stage fright. As he studies his tapes of Kermit the Frog and (reluctantly) practices more, his Kermit impression gets slightly better, even fooling the Interpol and CIA.

The only Muppet Constantine seems to have a real problem with is Miss Piggy. He finds her appalling and is completely put off by her every time she is around. This hatred doesn't show, however, and Miss Piggy somehow buys Constantine's act almost whole hog (pardon the pun). Will Piggy ever figure out Constantine's true identity? Will Constantine frame the Muppets for his burglaries? Will Number Two "dance, monkey, dance"? See Muppets Most Wanted to find out!

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED CONSTANTINE?
In my opinion, Constantine is the greatest (and worst) villain the Muppets have ever faced. He's dangerous, he's menacing, he's smart, cunning, and even scary. The villains who preceded him never brought all of these things together. Doc Hopper proved to be dangerous, but never smart; Nicky Holiday was smart, but not really scary; Long John Silver was never menacing; Tex Richman was never all that dangerous. Constantine is also the very first true Muppet villain, a villain who is actually a Muppet. That alone is incredible to me.

Besides all that, Constantine is hysterical. Watching Matt Vogel perform in off the cuff interviews with the character is a joy. He gets to let loose and show us how conceited and kind of dumb Constantine is in real life. It's fantastic to see another new Muppet character already have so much depth and promise to him. I don't know what Constantine could do with the Muppets in the future, but I sincerely hope this isn't the last time we see him.






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

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