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Muppet sex

June 29th, 2004 (03:52 pm)

current mood: silly
current song: Muppet Treasure Island - A Professional Pirate

The other day I saw something or other that repeated the old speculation that Bert & Ernie are gay. I started thinking about this. The problem with it (well, the one I chose to focus on) is that it assumes Muppets actually have gender. That doesn't seem like a viable assumption, really; most Muppets (including B&E) don't even have a lower body; we don't see anything below the abdomen. Yes, OK, sometimes we see them sitting in a chair or something, and we see legs; but those legs are never very convincing. From the stiffness, it's pretty clear that they're prosthetics. This jibes with the unnatural way such legless forms move--more like floating than walking.

So, the obvious question is, if Muppets don't have gender, how do they reproduce? Well, the obvious answer is: how do you know they do? (Well...obvious to a guy who was once proven to be an Easter egg, anyway. But we digress.) We rarely see young Muppets, and the few examples (Elmo, Robin, Scooter) don't seem to have parents as such--Robin and Scooter have uncles, but we never see the rest of the family.

Now, notice one more thing: with few exceptions, there are no Muppet species----there's one Sweetums, one Gonzo, one seven-foot-tall talking carrot. Yes, we have two frogs, several pigs, and a dozen or so rats; but each of these started out as a single successful instance that then got imitated. Clearly, Muppets don't reproduce; they arise individually somehow. That's why there are so many monsters: all Muppets are monsters, but some of them just happen to look like normal species.

So, how do individual Muppets arise? Well, my first thought was that they were somehow spontaneously generated by the mysterious workings of the Muppetverse; but cvirtue balked at that one. So here's the new idea: you know how superhero comics sometimes explain the emergence of hordes of supers by postulating a "metagene" (DC) or "X factor" (Marvel) which has recently emerged, enabling people to undergo amazing mutations, as part of some imminent Great Leap Forward? Well, clearly, the Muppets are like that: the muppegene has appeared in the human population, causing them, sometimes, to give birth to Muppets, in preparation for the Great Leap Muppetward.

It explains so much. Why don't Muppets reproduce? Because they're mutants, and most macromutants are infertile--the Great Leap Muppetward is just starting, after all, and they haven't gotten all the bugs worked out. Why are all Muppets intelligent, even frogs and carrots? Because they have human brains, like their parents. Why are a pig and a frog attracted to each other? Because they aren't a pig and a frog; they're humans. Why do the Muppets always win out over unmodified humans? Because they're a Higher Evolutionary Form, Homo mupetus, imbued with powers that poor Homo sapiens can barely grasp.

The next obvious question, of course, is what will happen when the truth gets out; will the Muppetverse see an X-Men-style war between the Muppets and the normals, or will it be too late? Maybe the Muppets will have already gotten sufficient acceptance that people come to like the idea of their children being Muppets.

Or maybe the Muppetverse is our universe, and that's already happening. Maybe that's why they started with children's shows.

Maybe I'll check my kids for thick blue fur tonight. :-)


Posted by: JT (learnteach)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 04:42 pm (UTC)
The mutant power of Homo Mupetus

is cuteness. True, mutant cuteness. Even Oscar the Grouch...

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 04:55 pm (UTC)

I think that Alexx told us of an episode of some show wherein the investigators were turned into muppets by the evil side...

Posted by: Alexx Kay (alexx_kay)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 05:33 pm (UTC)

That was Angel, the Buffy the Vampire slayer spinoff. Actually, only Angel himself was turned into a muppet, but the villains of the week were all demonic muppets. Joss Whedon and Ben Edlund should not be allowed to encourage each other's silliness :-)

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 05:46 pm (UTC)

Do you have it on tape/willing to loan it to us?

Posted by: Alexx Kay (alexx_kay)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC)

I have it on a ~450 MB file I could ftp y'all. Tape is *so* twentieth century :-)

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 01:29 pm (UTC)

Aha! I'll ask John to do it. Thanks!

Posted by: Kathy-the-geek (kathy_the_geek)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 05:10 pm (UTC)

Ok, MikeKn sent me over here and I have to ask...Have you seen or heard of Avenue Q? It's a broadway musical with Muppets. Muppets there do have sex and reproduce and have children. (In fact, Muppet kids are an integral part of the plot.) _And_ they are also a different form of human, just like your mutant theory! They never do explain whether humans and muppets can have children, although they can certainly have sex (and apparently do...on the stage).

Great post, btw!

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC)

No, never heard of it. Clearly, those must be a later stage in the Great Leap Muppetwards, when things have settled down, and they can reproduce.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: June 29th, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC)

The Great Leap Muppetwards involves time travel?

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: The GLM

No, I just mean the musical is set in our future. They're representing a later stage in the GLM, with current-stage Muppet actors.

Posted by: Bob (ailurodragon)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 01:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, wonderful...

Now I'm flashing back to when one of my college drama friends (as in, one of my friends from the Dramatic Art department when I was attending UC Davis, not a friend from college with high emotional crapicus) did an imitation of ...

Kermit the Frog singing Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know"

(blame tshuma if that image warps your brain, zey told me about this post)

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 07:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, wonderful...

Clearly, your friend was a carrier of the muppegene.

Posted by: Justin du Coeur (jducoeur)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 02:38 pm (UTC)

You *have* seen Greg the Bunny, right? (If not: it was a series that only survived for half a season, about what really goes on behind the scenes at these cute TV shows. It takes place *in* the Muppetverse, and is savagely funny at times. I have it all on tape, of course.)

And I'll echo the recommendation of Avenue Q. I haven't seen it, but I have the soundtrack (first thing I bought from iTunes, in fact), and it is a delightfully nasty sendup. Best description I've heard was "Sesame Street meets Rent"...

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: June 30th, 2004 07:06 pm (UTC)

You *have* seen Greg the Bunny, right?

No, never did. Sounds like fun.

Posted by: 7a0 (7a0)
Posted at: November 3rd, 2004 04:09 am (UTC)
The Jim Henson Show

The Jim Henson Show had an episode dedicated to the topic of Muppet creation (though the idea of discussing such a sensitive topic on a family show made some of the Muppets nervous). It is the only time I've seen the Muppets actually look down at themselves below the waste, but they couldn't look down for long as they were put into blatant shock and horror so quickly. If I can find a copy, I'll watch it again and give you further details...

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