Not long ago, we set out to make a list of Cinema Blend’s favorite Muppets. Ten different writers were asked to compile ordered lists of their top fifteen. We expected some diversity. What we got were few similarities. Not only did the ten lists not match, many of them bore little resemblance to each other. There were only four characters that made everyone’s list and only a further two that made nine. If we were looking for consensus, our efforts failed miserably, but if we were looking for an indication of why the Muppets have inspired such devotion for fifty odd years, these vastly different lists accomplished just that.
The world the Muppets inhabit is simply too rich for agreement. There are too many well-developed characters and too many great moments to conclude anything absolutely. It’s all a wonderful gray area, an amusement park of colors, shapes, sizes, personalities and tones. Now and again, it’s a bit of a zany madhouse, but that’s part of its charm. Halfway down the stairs, Henson’s characters meet, interact and grow in one another’s presence. Muppet strength lies in diversity. We wouldn’t change the extensive cast for anything, but since we’re pretty sure the gang’s not breaking up, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in arguing out our preferences.
As voted on by the Cinema Blend writers, here are our 25 favorite Muppets* of all-time…
#1 Kermit The FrogMore than just a frog with a talent for banjo and an oddly pleasant singing voice, Kermit’s real strength is as the perfect leader; which is to say he doesn’t really want the job. People who crave power often don’t deserve it, while those most reluctant to take it are usually the ones you want in charge. Leading the Muppets makes Kermit crazy, and he’d probably rather hang out somewhere in the background with Scooter, but he can’t sit idly by when he knows someone needs him. Kermit’s unending belief in his friends and in the genuine goodness of the world around them is what makes the Muppets great.
He’s not the smartest Muppet or the most talented. He’s not the best public speaker and almost everything makes him nervous. He’s not the best looking or the strongest, and he’s definitely not much of a fighter. But he’s loyal, and he’s brave, and he believes in you. Yes, you there, reading this paragraph. He believes in you. Kermit is and always will be the greatest Muppet because he is the Muppets. Everything that makes Jim Henson’s enduring characters wonderful is, in some small way, embodied in this one green little frog. It’s not easy being green, but it’s worth it.
#2 Statler And WaldorfThe sugary sweet, hugely energetic Muppets who dare to put on a show every week would be nothing without their polar opposites. Perched high in the balcony like lazy vultures, tossing out barbs that are as clever as they are harmless, Statler and Waldorf give the Muppets the bite that Kermit and Fozzie aren't capable of. And even as much as they claim to hate everything the Muppets stand for, they're back week after week, launching their bombs from their pricey seats but also dying to see what the show will bring them next.
They're like the original Internet commenters, providing the vitriol that allows the performers to thrive, all the while secretly loving the entertainment they're given. You wouldn't be able to enjoy the Muppets nearly as much without Statler and Waldorf to make fun of you for it.