Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bizarre Muppet crossovers 

Muppets and celebrities go hand in hand. The best example of this of course is the Muppet Show which featured a celebrity every week but the roles have often been reversed when Muppets were guests on another programme to provide comic relief or plug an upcoming project. To list all the programs that had a Muppet guest appearance is a seemingly impossible task but a look at the more bizarre crossovers is certainly an entertaining thought. The Muppet characters are pretty weird in nature and when mixed with 'normal' or equally bizarre shows the results can be entertaining, disappointing but certainly unexpected. Without further ado, I present three bizarre Muppet crossovers:

Batman and Superman on Sesame Street
Especially in the wake of the release of the Dark Knight a few years back it's hard to imagine the caped crusader appearing on a kids programme, much less Sesame Street. And happened. Batman appeared in animated segments in the earlier Sesame Street years teaching young viewers about topics like traffic safety. Along with Batman, his young ward Robin and arch enemy The Joker appeared in several short clips. Due to Sesame's nature however, things always ended fairly clean without Batman and the Joker actually fighting. Animated by Filmation, who later produced the The New Adventures of Batman cartoon in the same style, Batman appeared in a mere four segments but that doesn't make them any less memorable.

Fellow Justice League hero Superman also appeared on the most famous street in the world. Also animated by Funimation, Clark Kent's alter ego appeared in two segments in the first season. Maybe somewhat contradictory with the character of Sesame Street, the first segment, which aired in the Sesame Street pilot, consisted of Superman punching a giant ape down to the ground. Refering to the door-like shield Superman used to counter the giant's ape laser eyes (yeah, I know) he proudly exclaims “D”, celebrating the fourth letter of the alfabet.

The second segment features Superman naming several S-words as he flies around the world, battling spaceships and saving a sailboat from a storm before proclaiming the letter S as his favourite letter.

Sesame Street meets Star Wars
In the late seventees and early eighties Star Wars was everywhere and George Lucas made sure that his characters got as much exposure as possible. C-3PO and R2-D2, two droids (robots) that appeared in all three classic Star Wars movies, seem to get exposed the most with them appearing in things their own cartoon show, getting their won cereal and even doing public service announcements in which they urged kids not to smoke. A Muppet crossover seemd inevitable and sure enough, they appeared on The Muppet Show with Mark Hamill and Luke Skywalker, with a cameo by  Chewbacca  but this spot on the list is reserved for the Star Wars appearance on the other big Muppet project. 

Back in 1979 aliens landed on Sesame Street, in the form of C-3PO and R2-D2. Arriving in what looks like a frisbee, the droids from Star Wars interact with Big Bird and the gang while R2-D2 falls in love with a fire hydrant. In Sesame Street tradition the episode featured a song, revealing that  while C-3PO can interpret six million languages, he clearly wasn not build for singing. It's all in good fun though and C-3PO saying "Better to have loved a fire hydrant than never to have loved at all" is pretty funny. The droids starred in two episodes and filmed a song, Beep, to be used in later episodes.

The Muppets invade WWE RAW
That the Muppets would invade a plethora of shows in 2011 was expected with the new movie coming out but this crossover was unexpected even by the biggest wrestling fan. While the Muppet Show pilot featured a wrestling segment nobody knew what to expect when this news broke a few months before their Halloween appearance. Would the Muppets wrestle before a live audience? Would there only be one or two 'backstage' segments? The fact that both Muppets and pro wrestling are portrayed as real made the whole situation even more puzzling. What wrestling fans eventually got was a mix of everything and it was clear that WWE treated the Muppets with respect and integrated them in several ways in the show.  

Segments included a backstage segment where Bunsen Honeydew send out Beaker to deliver a 'Muppet Labs potion' to a weaker wrestler in order for the wrestler to win the match. . Subsequently Beaker encountered the equally red haired Sheamus, who has mockingly been called Beaker by his opponents. Talking to Beaker however, wrestler Sheamus revealed that he and Beaker are related but that Sheamus can't make it to the family reunion, effectivly saying wrestler Sheamus is a Muppet.
The most bizarre moment of the evening however was Beaker interfering in a wrestling match when he got another Muppet Labs potion and suddenly appeared next to the ring and handed over the potion to a wrestler while mimmicking that he had to drink it. On TV it looked pretty well but I'm wondering how it must have looked for the people in the arena, watching a Muppeteer under Beaker, trying to alter the ending to a wrestling match.

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