Ed’s Op-Ed: A Fun Muppet Post That’s Not About Steve Whitmire

Hi everyone, J. D. Hansel here.  Today I’m publishing an article by a fellow named Edward Storkley.  I don’t know him very well, but he really, really wanted me to share this post of his, and I liked his idea for an article that simply ranks the Muppet movies.  With all this confusion, anger, and heartbreak surrounding the controversial issue of the recent replacement of Kermit the Frog, I think we could all use something to help us remember what it is about the Muppets that we love.  And what better to help us celebrate what we love about the Muppets than the Muppet movies themselves!  And now, to help take your mind off the news for a little while, here’s Ed Storkley.

Hi ho, everyone!  It’s that time of year again, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to rank the Muppet movies!  It’s a great way to take your mind off the current Kermit the Frog mess and just enjoy the stuff that makes the Muppets fun!

While this list is just my personal opinion, it is also correct, however feel free to comment with your own if you don’t mind being wrong.  Enjoy!

#1 – The Muppet Movie

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the movie that started it all.  It’s got great music by Paul Williams, wonderful performances from the whole Muppet cast, and a beautiful story – not to mention hilarious running gags!  Jerry Juhl’s writing is at its finest here, and Jim Henson’s performance of “The Rainbow Connection” still brings me to tears!  Unfortunately, the movie is lacking in Steve Whitmire, but the climax is so powerful that the movie almost makes up for it.  Remember the way all the Muppets stand up to Doc Hopper at the end?  That’s really inspiring to me, and I think it’s Jim’s way of showing us exactly the way we need to be standing up to Disney right now until they run away from us!  Ha!

#2 – The Great Muppet Caper

I think this movie was important both in its time and today, but for different reasons. In 1981, it was important because it was a story with a strong, intelligent, powerful woman in Miss Piggy who was truly inspirational, and because it featured some of Rizzo the Rat’s first dialogue. It’s important today because it serves as a great allegory for Steve Whitmire’s unjust firing. It’s obvious to even the most casual observer; Charles Grodin represents Disney, the jewels represent Kermit, Lady Holiday is Steve Whitmire, the Muppets are the Muppet fans, the sexy evil fashion models are all Matt Vogels, the police are the press, the press are the Hensons, Peter Ustinov is Ryan Dosier, and John Cleese is the Muppet fans.  The film’s message is, of course, to follow your dreams.  Thanks again for showing us the way, Jim!

#3 – The ones directed by that jerk Brian

I have to admit, I feel kind of bad about ranking these so high.  I know I shouldn’t because they were directed by Brian and were distributed by Disney, but what I like about these movies is that they contain such great performances by Steve Whitmire in them.  Steve was still new to his role as Kermit the Frog, but because he had been chosen by Jim and by God to portray him, he did an amazing job.  Note that his Kermit was not bitter, angry, depressed, or a victim – he was just awesome!  These movies also paired Rizzo with Gonzo, making one of the greatest Muppet duos of all time.  These are exactly what Jim would have wanted the Muppets to do after his untimely passing.

#4 – The Muppets Take Manhattan

Even before Jim Henson promised to make Steve Whitmire Kermit, he promised to make Rizzo the Rat a star.  In this movie, with some great music by Sesame Street songwriter Jeff Moss and incredible directing by The Score’s Frank Oz, he delivered on that promise!  Rizzo has some unforgettable dialogue here; lines like “Hey Pete, where’s the beef?”, “Sorry, not my table,” and “And Yolanda… What a crazy body!”  Timeless.  Plus, he sings!  It’s wonderful.  Also, Kermit gets kind of angry or depressed in different scenes in this movie, and everything still worked out just fine, Cheryl.

#5 – Muppets from Space

It’s no surprise that this one is so far down on the list – after all, it’s not about Kermit.  They made a whole movie about Gonzo when they should have been showcasing Steve Whitmire’s authentic Kermit!  I guess you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it, as the song goes, but at least Rizzo has a lot of great scenes.

#6 – The Disney ones

I will not be reviewing these movies out of protest to the Walt Disney Company.  You should boycott the company too!  If the hundreds of us who really love the Muppets don’t buy any more of their movies or merchandise, that’ll teach ’em!  Muppet fans for the win!

Anyway, that’s my list.  I hope you liked it, because it’s really good.  Post your own ranking in the comments!  And remember, the Muppets are about having fun, so take a load off and just have fun!

– es

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