Ten Odd and Obscure Muppet Animals
With the new Muppet movie premiering this week, my mind has been on the strange genius of Jim Henson. As a child of the late 70s and 80s, I grew up with the Muppets, whether it was on their self-named prime time variety shows, Sesame Street, their big screen movies, or the many specials and series they've appreared in over the years such as Fraggle Rock, The Jim Henson Hour, The Storyteller or The Animal Show (which aired on Animal Planet).
Only as an adult, however, do I think I truly appreciate Henson and his team's bizarre genius when it came to creating both the look and personalities of the characters. In celebration of that creativity, here are some of my favorite odd and obscure Muppet animals.
NOTE: I've stuck with straight-up animals. Monsters are not included, nor are aliens or creatures of undefined species (sorry Gonzo). Everyone knows Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy, so I've tried to pick some of the more obscure, unsung Muppets here.
- The Rock Lobsters
This singing group of crustaceans appeared to sing the B-52's song that gave their band its name, but really were just a front for the Crustacean Liberation Army.
- Baskerville the Hound
Like his fellow canine Muppet Rowlf, Baskerville appeared first on Sesame Street before moving over to The Muppet Show. Despite this, many of his appearances were cut from the show and only made it onto the DVD collections.
- The Thought Lion
This large, gray cat was Jim's magical but mostly non-speaking co-host on The Jim Henson Hour. He's notable in that he's one of the more realistic-looking Muppets.
- Camilla the Chicken
This feathered Muppet has never had any speaking lines, and indeed we don't know if she can speak at all, but she must be something special to inspire such devotion out of Gonzo. Must be the blue eyeshadow.
- Yves St. La Roache
Like the Swedish Chef, this fancily-named roach loved to cook. But you probably wouldn't want to eat any of his dishes, since roaches have a very different definition of what is edible than we do.
Gaffer seems to be just your ordinary cat. She never speaks and just quietly does her job, which is probably taking care of vermin backstage. In a pirate eye-patch. Genius. She also appeared in one of my all-time favorite Muppet skits with Rowlf the Dog, featured here.
- The Worm
This caterpillar-like creature lived in the maze featured in the film Labrynth, and with his thick cockney accent, attempted to advise the lead character Sarah in between asking her to tea.
- Ollie the Tapir
Tapirs are odd creatures in real life, and this Muppet version is even moreso with his nasaly voice.
- Rizzo the Rat
This well-dressed New York City rat hangs with his Rat Pack but is the real stand-out of the bunch, mostly because he avoids the many perils that befall his brethren. He later became good friends with Gonzo, which must mean he's pretty odd himself.
Slimy is a worm and as such, a befitting pet for the trash-can-dwelling Oscar the Grouch. Worms after all are some of the best composters around!
Honorable Mention: Animal
Ok, so technically he's a monster, but given his name I had to include him in this list. This is the Animal Oddities blog for Animal Planet, after all.