The Muppet movies, like most films, have their share of mistakes and goofs. Sometimes directors knowingly bend the rules of continuity, nature or physics for the sake of storytelling or cinematography, but many times errors are not noticed until it is too late. The goofs committed are also different in nature: a revealed puppeteer is a clear mistake, whereas plot holes and factual errors are harder to clearly prove.
- In the film's opening shot, a statue of a director is seen on top of the movie studio gate, with a globe spinning on his finger. The globe is spinning in the wrong direction, with the continents moving to the west.
- In the scene where Kermit meets Fozzie, Fozzie tosses a rubber chicken over his shoulder. As he does this, the puppeteer's arm at the end of Fozzie's glove can be seen.
- When the pie from the sign is thrown at Doc Hopper's limo, some of the pie can be seen flying onto Doc Hopper. However, in the next shot with Doc Hopper, he is clean, with no signs of pie.
- During the Movin' Right Along number, Kermit and Fozzie stop to greet Big Bird who is further behind the car. However, in the next shot, Big Bird is directly next to the car.
- When Fozzie and Kermit's truck are about to confront Gonzo's truck, Kermit says, "Fozzie, look at that funny little truck!" in which Fozzie responds, "Yeah...cute, huh?" But in the mirror in the car, you can clearly see that Fozzie's mouth isn't moving.
- When the gang sees Gonzo flying away on the ballons at the Bogen County Fair, Richard Hunt's face can be seen in frame, possibly right-handing or filling in for another puppeteer's character in that shot.
- In the scene where Fozzie Bear gets ice cream for Kermit and himself at the fair, the colors of the ice cream are different than the second scene where Fozzie finds Kermit and hands him his cone.
- The colors and positions of Gonzo's balloons change during his flight.
- When Gonzo is flying with the balloons and says "Look at our little car down there," the sunlight makes the cord suspending the balloons visible.
- When Kermit and friends first enter the front office of Lew Lord, the fan in the background is turned on. After talking to the secretary, Kermit goes over to the fan, which is now off, and turns it on to spread the animal dander.
- Sweetums is seen in the film the Muppets are watching (at the car dealer and chasing after the Muppets as they travel to Hollywood). However it is established at the end of the film that he did not actually catch up to them until after the movie was filmed and initially screened. How could he have appeared in the movie Kermit showed if he was still tracking down the Muppet gang?
On most full-screen home-video releases of The Muppet Movie (including most VHS editions and the 2001 DVD) this transfer is taken from a non-matted version of the film. When the movie was shot, the film used was of a larger aspect ratio. In the editing process, the "black bars" commonly associated with widescreen films were added to cover the top and bottom of the picture - trimming off material at the top and bottom of the frame. This method is common and is cheaper than shooting on 1.85:1 widescreen film. When it comes to creating a full-screen edition for home-video release the edges of the wide rectangular film are cropped-off to fit the picture to the shape of the standard TV. With The Muppet Movie, however, the full-screen prints were made from the non-matted version. This allows a little less of the sides to be cropped off, but it shows more of the top and bottom not seen in the original widescreen version. When removing the widescreen matting on the film, it results in more arm socks, arms, heads and other flubs coming into the shots that were originally cut off by the black bars. To see The Muppet Movie in its intended version, with less arms and heads poking in, one should view the original widescreen version. Each shot was arranged with the intention of masking the top and bottom, so puppeteers sometime got on the film expecting to be cropped off by the masking - the full-screen edition of this film contains more goofs.
- As Kermit introduces the movie to the Muppets, his arm sock can clearly be seen.
- After Kermit gets Piggy's phone call and leaves the restaurant, his arm sock can be seen right before he is kidnapped by Doc Hopper's goons.
- In the dramatic shot of Kermit's feet (in cowboy boots) as he walks out to face off against Doc Hopper, the puppeteer's hands are clearly visible at the top of the legs as they are moved.
- After the secretary lets the Muppets in to see Lew Lord, Kermit goes to open the door to the office. Jim Henson's head and arm are clearly visible under Kermit as he slowly pushes the door open.
- During the closing reprise of "The Rainbow Connection," Kermit's arm sock is very visible.
- During the "Hey a Movie!" musical number, Richard Hunt is seen as an angry cab driver honking and yelling at the Muppets to get out of the street. In the close-up shot, he has two passengers in the back of the cab. However, in the long shots of the street, he is seen in the cab with only one person in the back.
- When Mr. Tarkanian gets up from his desk, Jim Henson's head peeks above the desk as Kermit goes to follow him across the Daily Chronicle newsroom.
- When Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo ask the gentleman in the park to recommend a free place to stay in England, he mentions the Happiness Hotel. However, Pops asks them how they are going to pay during the song "Happiness Hotel" (although he offers them the option of sneaking out in the middle of the night).
- During the Electric Mayhem's jam session in the song "Happiness Hotel," the top of Dave Goelz's head is visible several times as he performs Zoot.
- As Beauregard makes a hairpin U-turn over a sidewalk, Fozzie grabs Gonzo's nose, pulling the foam around Gonzo's left eye slightly down to reveal more of the puppet's eyeball.
- In the song "Happiness Hotel," it's stated that there's no kitchen and no food. Yet when Beauregard crashes through the lobby, the Swedish Chef emerges with food, apparently from the kitchen.
- When Kermit is dancing on the bed during the "Steppin' Out with a Star" dance number (when Fozzie tosses him his top hat), the effect was done by controlling the full-body puppet through a hole in the wall blocked from the camera's view by the puppet's body. However, the shadow of the puppeteer's arm going into Kermit's back is clearly visible on the wall behind him.
- During the same number, when Kermit says "I'm ready to fly!" and the Murphy bed goes up with him on it, Jim Henson's head can be seen for a split second underneath the bed.
- When all the Muppets are sitting on the bed and Gonzo informs them about Nicky Holiday's plan to steal the baseball diamond, the slit in Scooter's pants where a puppeteer's arm would go through becomes visible.
- When the Muppets confront and distract "the bad guys" at The Mallory Gallery, some more characters suddenly appear, including Louis Kazagger, rats, and others, that were not with the Muppets when they went to the gallery and broke in.
- At the end of the film, when the Muppets are thrown out of the plane, they are clearly not wearing parachutes -- yet once they are out of the plane, parachutes magically appear on them and deploy. Also, Statler and Waldorf were shown seated in the main cabin of the plane, but they appear in the closing number, parachuting down with the rest of the gang.
- In the opening musical sequence, "Together Again," Frank Oz's head is briefly seen below Miss Piggy while she dances, as well as Camilla's arm sock.
- During the short scene in the You Can't Take No for an Answer number where the Muppets audition for the shaving producer, the head of a puppeteer beneath Rowlf is seen.
- In the scene where Miss Piggy is watching Kermit and Jenny hug from the construction site, she bends a metal pole in the middle and starts hitting a barrel with it. In the next shot, when she hits the barrel, the pole she's holding is much thicker, a different color, and not bent in any way. In the next shot, the pole is thinner, longer and similar to the one she originally bent -- but it's only bent slightly at the end, whereas Piggy bent it in the middle. In the next shot, the pole is now thicker, unbent, and a different color.
- When Miss Piggy is following Kermit and Jenny on their jog in the park, she stops to catch her breath by a lamppost. When she goes to remove her hand, it's stuck in a large wad of chewing gum -- but the gum wasn't there when she reached for the pole.
- During the "I'm Gonna Always Love You" musical number, baby versions of Scooter, Gonzo and Fozzie pop up from behind the piano, shaking maracas. As Rowlf leans back while playing the piano, the puppeteer's arm can be seen performing Baby Fozzie.
- The rig on which the performers for Bill, Gil and Jill are on can be spotted as they approach Pete's Luncheonette. Also, the arm of the performer of Bill can be seen as they enter the diner.
- In the scene where Fozzie attempts to help Kermit remember everybody with jokes, Rowlf is seen next to a mirror on the right of the screen, with Scooter at the other end of the scene on the left. However, in the following shot, Rowlf is nowhere near the mirror, but to the left of Scooter.
- As everyone turns to watch Kermit and Piggy enter the church in the closing number, Whaddayasay Bird and Forcryingoutloud Bird are sitting in front of Sam, peering out into the aisle. In all the other shots of the congregation, Muppy is in their place.
- In all the long shots of the church crowd, Mahna Mahna and a Snowth are seen sitting between Luncheon Counter Monster and The Fazoobs. However, in the closer shots of the congregation, Luncheon Counter Monster is right next to the Fazoobs, with Mahna Mahna and the Snowth nowhere to be found and Purple Lothar is in their place.
- During the opening song "Scrooge," a purple Whatnot appears as a vegetable seller with The Singing Food, and speaks one line, provided by Frank Oz. However, during "It Feels Like Christmas," the puppet re-appears as a prisoner, and with a British accent.
- At the end of the song "It Feels Like Christmas," the camera dramatically pulls up, showing a high shot of the square with the Ghost of Christmas Present singing the final line. As the camera moves, the forced perspective on the set is broken. The streets and houses look small and distorted, revealing the trick used to make the small city appear life-size on film. As Brian Henson explained in the DVD audio commentary, the filmmakers were aware of this problem but decided that the nice closing shot was worth it -- plus, they figured not many people would notice the goof.
- The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and the Future, along with Scrooge, are invisible. However, during the "It Feels Like Christmas" number, almost everybody is aware of the Ghost's presence.
- The holes that are underneath Rizzo's feet that blow out smoke after he lands on the goose can be seen as he sits on the bed.
- While Gonzo and Jim Hawkins are play fighting during "Something Better", the very top of Dave Goelz's head becomes visible underneath Gonzo.
- When Gonzo, Rizzo and Jim are hiding inside the apple barrel, the barrel appears much bigger and spacious on the inside than the exterior shots express.
- In the final battle, when Squire Trelawney and Mr. Bimbo face off against Angel Marie in sword combat, the head and arm of the puppeteer operating Angel Marie clearly comes into the shot.
- In the scene where the Swedish Chef causes the raspberry flapovers to go "ka-boom-boom!", Pepe announces they will serve baloney sandwiches, but it turns out that the bread was also blown up, so he says with no bread. However, a few moments later, Gonzo arrives at the table and starts to eat toast.
- When Agent Singer shows the spiral pattern of the alien messages, the spiral is contained in the Western Hemisphere. However, earlier he showed messages from the Eastern Hemisphere -- one in England (Stonehenge), the other in Giza, Egypt.
- When Gonzo, in tin foil regalia, steps behind the UFO Mania desk, a little narrow slit can be seen where Dave Goelz can be seen entering performing Gonzo.
- When Agent Barker goes to deal with Miss Piggy, he removes his sunglasses and places them in his pocket as he says "I'll deal with her" to his partner. In the next shot, as Piggy replies, he takes off his glasses again and places them in his pocket.
- When Kermit and the gang visit Muppet Labs, there is a moment when the characters move to the work table to examine Bunsen Honeydew's inventions. At that moment, the performers of Kermit, Bunsen, and Fozzie all become visible.
- In the scene where Young Kermit, Croaker and Pilgrim are under the bench in George Washington High School, a dark moving figure, possibly Bill Barretta is seen moving with Croaker.
- Towards the beginning, when Johnny Fiama tries to cheer up the mood after Kermit leaves the party, a puppeteer's head is visible underneath Sal as he turns towards Johnny.
- During Luc Fromage's scene backstage, a puppeteer's head is visible underneath Gonzo.
- During Kermit's announcement about working for free, in a wide shot of the characters sitting in the theatre seats, puppeteers' faces can be seen while operating Beaker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and Fozzie.
- A puppeteer's head can be seen during Fozzie's speech ("...when Kermit's done so much for us!") from a behind shot.
- Miss Piggy's puppeteer's head can be seen when she enters the crowd in the scene where it is announced the money has been collected.
- When Kermit asks the audience to turn off all cell phones and pagers, a puppeteer's black-covered head is seen during the pan shot to the crowd.
- During "Santa Baby," when Miss Piggy says "Let's pick it up a little!" a puppeteer's forehead is visible behind her.
- When the green-painted Fozzie crashes into the street corner Santa, he loses his hat (making him look like the Grinch). However, after he is chased through the steam bath, he is clean and wearing the hat.
- When the newly-cleaned Fozzie turns and is stopped by a Who, Eric Jacobson's head is visible as Fozzie turns.
- When Kermit enters the Bitterman Bank after his spat against Fozzie, Steve Whitmire's head can just be barely seen picking up through the wrapping paper.
- When Kermit makes his speech towards the end ("...they'll never touch the Muppet Theatre in our hearts!"), the other Muppets are seen cheering him on, and the black dowel connected to the bottom of Rizzo's arm rod becomes visible.
- When Bunsen and Beaker enter in the final scene, a puppeteer's head is visible under Beaker.
- Before the finale, Bobo tells the Muppets on stage that there are carolers outside and that they should come out and join them. Both Dr. Teeth and Crazy Harry are shown excited to hear this and are seen leaving the scene with the other characters. However, in the following scene of caroling outside the theater, the two are nowhere to be found.
- When Dorothy gives Toto the clothes from her stuffed bear to wear, the clothing from the bear changes size and gains an extra set of sleeves to accommodate Pepe's four arms.
Muppet Height Relations
One of the big errors people can nitpick with the Muppet productions is continuity of the characters' heights. For example, Rizzo and Pepe the King Prawn normally appear around (or even above) waist height compared to their human co-stars. However, a full-body look at proportions of the character would suggest they would barely reach a human's knee. Kermit, Fozzie, and the other Muppets also appear in a flexible height range in order to interact comfortably with humans and sets. Steve Whitmire said in a 1998 interview that "If a character like Rizzo only appeared at his true height next to a human actor, you’d only see the human actor’s feet when you saw Rizzo. That’s an extreme example, but the idea is true for most of the characters. Even so, we do know the relative heights of the characters to each other and make an effort to keep that in mind." The suspended belief that the audience has when watching the Muppets allows this flexible reality to exist without major distractions. So even though Pepe's feet would be floating three feet off the ground, the audience still goes along, not questioning, and usually not even perceiving.
Many people argue that the Muppet films and TV shows are non-canonical; that each production is a world unto itself - that the Muppets are timeless personalities and characters that carry throughout productions, and these characters are presenting a show. People continue to argue and debate over what is Muppet truth and what is just acting and plain entertainment. For instance, Muppet Babies undermines the whole notion of The Muppet Movie, and Scooter's role as The Electric Mayhem's road manager in The Muppet Movie undermines his backstory set up in the early run of The Muppet Show as the theater owner's nephew hired by Kermit as a go-fer. There have been many contradictions in Muppet canon and backstories throughout the 50+ years of the Muppets. However, writers and performers will overlook or circumvent them in order to create new compelling stories, new characters or character traits, or just deliver a humorous joke.
In episode 210 of The Muppet Show, Gonzo explains his mother died before he was born and left a note to his father regarding Gonzo's name. This is contradicted in the Jason Alexander episode of Muppets Tonight where Gonzo claims his mother liked his unique college interpretation of Death of a Salesman. However, the whole notion of Gonzo remembering his parents is somewhat dispelled in the film Muppets from Space.