Family resemblance?

References by the Muppets and other Jim Henson creations to actually being puppets, as well as times when those characters made references that suggest that they are not puppets.

The Land of Gorch

  • In the November 22, 1975 episode, Scred starts flirting with guest star Lily Tomlin. Tomlin finds it difficult to have her name linked romantically with a puppet. Scred gives the audience a rather confused look, but tells Tomlin that it's no problem.
  • When Raquel Welch hosted the April 24, 1976 episode, she pointed out that, as puppets, the Gorch characters did not exist below the waist.

The Muppet Show

  • Episode 101: Juliet Prowse: Kermit is drinking milk through a straw. He looks at the camera and says, "Think about this, friends," referring to the fact that he is a puppet and can't really be doing what he appears to be doing.
  • Episode 122: Ethel Merman: Kermit the Frog begins his introduction to Richard Bradshaw's puppet act by saying, "We on The Muppet Show are very interested in puppets, for some strange reason."
  • Episode 124: Mummenschanz: When Waldorf comments that the Mummenschanz are a lot like puppets, Statler says that he's always hated puppets. "You're a traitor to your class!" Waldorf answers.
  • Episode 216: Cleo Laine:
    • When Kermit introduces Bruce Schwartz's first act, he says that it's not only rare to have a guest puppeteer on the show, but it's also rare that they have any puppeteers on the show.
    • When Bruce Schwartz's act ends, Waldorf comments on the puppet looking so alive. "That's more than I can say for you." Statler replies.
  • Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan: In the cold open after Jaye P. Morgan gives Scooter a bomb as a present and it explodes, she comments, "This is not going to be just another cute puppet show."
  • Episode 307: Alice Cooper: When a bewitched candle was creeping across Kermit's desk, Kermit blows out the flame on the candle for it to stop moving. He laughs as he looks at the camera and says, "Think about it, folks," referring again to the fact that he is a puppet and can't really be doing what he appears to be doing.
  • Episode 318: Leslie Uggams: When Big Bird tells Miss Piggy that he's from Sesame Street, Miss Piggy asks, "Isn't that that cute little children's show with puppets?"
  • Episode 413: Dizzy Gillespie: When Scooter sees Dizzy Gillespie playing with a marionette, he tells Dizzy that Kermit only has one rule: There are no puppets allowed.
  • Episode 508: Señor Wences: This episode features several references and inside jokes about the Muppets being puppets, including:
    • Kermit telling the audience that the show will have a change of pace and be a puppet show.
    • Gonzo asking Kermit and Fozzie Bear what a puppet is, and after Kermit and Fozzie have difficulty explaining to Gonzo what puppets are, Gonzo remarks that it's such a stupid idea that he wouldn't even do such an act. After he leaves, Kermit says, "I didn't have the heart to tell him."
  • A preview clip created for Episode 113: Bruce Forsyth includes Fozzie working his hand as a puppet wearing his hat.
  • In a commercial for Here Come the Puppets! filmed on The Muppet Show set, Statler and Waldorf announce a puppetry festival and share their opinion of puppets.

The Jim Henson Hour

  • The show's house band was called Solid Foam.
  • Episode 104: Dog City: With Ace stuck arguing with Quackers, Rowlf talks about how Ace's principals and the one he loves is reduced to talking to a hand puppet; "What'll they think of next?"
  • Episode 110: Secrets of the Muppets : This entire episode is filled with explanations about how puppets work and jokes about the Muppets being uncomfortable with their identity as puppets. Whenever someone mentions the word "puppet," the characteers gasp in horror; Bean even screams, "He said the 'P' word!" When Gonzo hears Jim Henson explaining how Gonzo works, Gonzo denies it, telling the audience, "This man is deranged!" When the camera pans out, revealing the Muppet performers under the Muppets, they freak out all the more. However, at the end of the show, the camera pulls back in to again hide the performers, and to the Muppets' relief, when they look down, they can't see their performers anymore. Jim explains that with the Muppets, "the fantasy always wins."

Little Muppet Monsters

  • Episode 102: Space Cowboys: When the cows were dressed up as aliens, one of them comments on how their careers are ruined and another one replies, "Next, we will be doing puppet shows."

Muppets Tonight

Sesame Street

  • This Way to Sesame Street: Bert proudly states that the one thing kids like to watch on TV is puppets.
  • In a 1988 episode where Telly receives a visit from his Fairy Godmonster (Andrea Martin), Telly, misunderstanding her intentions, says, "And you're going to turn me from a puppet into a real live boy!" (YouTube)
  • In a Global Grover sketch, Grover plays with a marionette, remarking that it must be great to be a puppet.
  • In the Abby's Flying Fairy School episode, "The Pinocchio Process", Blögg remarks to the camera at the episode's end "I love puppets" and winks.
  • In a 2007 episode (and later a 2010 episode), two of the Three Little Pigs play "Rock-Paper-Scissors." They both play paper each time, always ending in a tie, acknowledging the fact they are unable to move their fingers.

Fraggle Rock






  • In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet, Danvers' dad says that he's tired of working for his boss "like some kind of puppet" at the breakfast table the morning Danvers finds himself a Muppet. Danvers snaps, "I heard that!" Throughout the series, characters also notice Danvers' flip-top mouth, foam skin, and flaily arms.



Scooter talks at TED about puppets vs. CGI.

  • The Vent Event: Fozzie and Kermit provide commentary for "Dr." Jerry Nelson's description of how the Muppets work. Nelson goes on at length until they can't take it anymore, and Sweetums whisks him away.
  • Reading Rainbow: Kermit appeared on July 8, 1985 looking for pig books in a library to find out how to handle a certain pig he knows. He uses pig books to convince LeVar Burton that he's there for pig classics. One of these books is "Pigochio, which is about a puppet who wants to be a real pig. "It's a pretty silly idea."
  • The Arsenio Hall Show: Rowlf appeared on May 22, 1989 wearing a sling because he had no one to perform his right hand, as he explained to Arsenio.
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Fozzie guest starred on the May 13, 2005 episode. Ozzy Osbourne was sitting next to Fozzie, and complained "What am I doing, talking to a fucking glove puppet for?" Fozzie appeared quite insulted.
  • Today: In an April 2, 2009 appearance, Elmo says that he doesn't know anything about puppets.
  • The Bonnie Hunt Show: In an April 7, 2009 appearance, Elmo and Abby help build paperbag puppets - the two are intrigued by the concept of puppets.
  • Five Minutes with: In outtakes shown for the segment, Matthew Stadlen asks if it's okay to see the black arm rods on camera. Grover whispers to him, "I am a puppet."
  • Good Morning America: When Roscoe Orman comments that he originally thought Sesame Street would be a fun, short job where an actor can "play with puppets," Abby Cadabby laughs, then says "What?" Following that comment, a heated dispute erupts between Zoe, Grover, and Abby about how they have never seen puppets on Sesame Street before.
  • Suffolk University: At Suffolk University as part of promotions for The Muppets, Kermit, David Hoberman and Steve Whitmire appeared in a lecture, along with showing a few clips from the film. When asked what it was like being immortal, Kermit replied, "It's an odd place to be...It's one of those things that I rarely deal with in our work because it gets too strange. But, you know, what are we all but inanimate objects in the end? There's something inside of us that gives us a spark, and at the end of the day we get put in a box and shoved in a closet."[1]
  • Puppeteers of America's 75th Annual National Puppetry Festival: During their guest appearance at the festival, Steve Whitmire addressed to Kermit as a puppet, to which Kermit replied with his trademark chagrined expression. He then introduced Whitmire as his puppet.[2]
  • When the Muppets appeared on Saturday Night Live, Kermit guest starred on the Weekend Update segment "Really??!!?? with Seth." When Seth Myers apologized for saying the word "puppet," Kermit explained that he was a Muppet, and that puppets are things controlled by a human, while he is actually a real live talking frog.
  • When Miss Piggy, Kermit and James Bobin were interviewed at a press conference after the London premiere of The Muppets in 2012, Kermit said at one point, looking down below him, "You wouldn't believe what goes on under here." Miss Piggy looked below her as well and shuddered.[3]
  • At TED2012 on February 29, 2012, Scooter delivered an entire speech about puppets vs. computer generated characters. Throughout the talk, he referred to the Muppets as being puppets, even going into detail about the materials they're made of.
  • As Statler and Waldorf attempted to leave The Secret Policeman's Balls in 2012 to start "twittering", Waldorf said "Give me a minute, my legs fell asleep," to which Statler responded "You have legs?"
  • When German Sesamstrasse characters Pferd and Wolle appeared on the show DAS! in 2012, with their performers about to be interviewed as well, the two characters confirmed that "there are puppeteers hanging out of us!"
  • When the Sesame Street characters appear in JD's fantasies in the Scrubs episode "My ABCs", JD's diagnosis after consulting Ex Ray's x-ray is "You have a hand inside you." Ray concludes that this explains many things. In the same episode Oscar, as the new Chief of Medicine, warns JD "I'll be watching you, John Dorian! My eyes never close!"


OKGo-Muppets (17)

See also


  1. Suffolk University - A Conversation with "The Muppets" Producer David Hoberman
  2. The Muppet Mindset: An Evening with Steve Whitmire and Kermit the Frog
  3. The Muppets Press Conference in London
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