Muppet Wiki

Kermiteye.png Welcome to Muppet Wiki!

Please visit Special:Community to learn how you can contribute.


Muppet Wiki
Muppet Wiki
Snake in a can 0173.gif

Oscar uses his own trash can to play the trick on Baby Bear and Goldilocks in Episode 3389.

Fozzie in Muppet*Vision 3D

Telly reads "The Big Surprise" and gets one in Episode 2758.

Uncle Jack in When Families Grieve

The snake in a can gag is a practical joke in which someone convinces another individual to open a can that is not filled with contents as labelled, but rather a spring-loaded coil wrapped in cloth that resembles snake skin. Invented by Samuel Sorensen Adams in the 1910s as a response to his wife's frustrations with a jam jar, the container's contents have more commonly been marked as mixed nuts or peanut brittle, but both the container and the contents can be swapped out with just about anything. The gag is a favorite of Oscar the Grouch, and has seen a number of variations in Muppet productions over the years.

Sesame Street

  • During the song "Surprise!" (First: Episode 0173), the scene cuts to Oscar gifting a can of peanut brittle to Susan. She opens the can, screams, and remarks that it was a terrible surprise.
  • During his magic act in Episode 1291, Oscar tries to convince Luis to look inside his hat to confirm that it's empty. Familiar with what to expect from the grouch, Luis is cautious, "This is when I get snakes in the face, right?" Despite this, he plays along, and when Oscar attempts to pull the gag, The Amazing Mumford conjures a live rabbit in the hat instead.
  • Oscar receives snakes in a can as a birthday present in Episode 1565.
  • Telly Monster tries the trick on Susan and Olivia when he attempts to replace Oscar as the neighborhood's resident grouch in Episode 1661, but his good nature prompts him to issue a warning that the can is full of snakes, thus negating the gag.
  • Oscar is elated to receive a can of chocolate-covered lima beans from Linda as a gift for graduating from Grouch lessons in Episode 1810. When he opens it, the can erupts with flying snakes.
  • In an attempt to make him angry, Oscar pulls the trick on Telly in Episode 1962, but his mood is unchanged.
  • Bob helps settle an argument between the Two-Headed Monster when he fights over whether something is "funny" or "amusing." The humorous item is a spring-loaded snake held in his hands.
  • Oscar attempts to play the trick on Uncle Wally in Episode 2046. Being a trickster himself, Wally swaps cans and confuses Oscar. He ends up pulling the gag on his nephew Bob afterward.
  • Episode 2089 tells the story of when Oscar moved to Sesame Street where the snake in a can gag is a recurring theme as he's introduced to his new neighbors. Back in the present, Oscar uses the trick again on Telly when he opens a can of Grouch juice.
  • In a segment with "The Heartstrongs" (First: Episode 2163), Cousin Henry pulls the snake-in-the-can trick on Barnaby.
  • When Oscar moves away from Sesame Street in Episode 2269, Telly asks him to play the trick on him one last time before he leaves.
  • The gag's mode of delivery is a modified book that Oscar asks Telly to read in Episode 2758. After snakes jump out when the cover is opened, Telly says he enjoyed the surprise.
  • Mrs. Grouch attempts the gag with a can of candy in Episode 2915. When it doesn't work on Maria, Gina, and Savion, she has some partial success with Roxie Marie who opens the can, but isn't phased by the surprise, she's just disappointed by the lack of candy.
  • In Episode 3070, Telly tries to cheer Oscar up (after a disastrous episode of Ask Oscar) by letting him pull different kinds of tricks on him, including the snake in the can prank.
  • Ruthie introduces the trick to Baby Bear as she displays her shelf full of "Can of Nuts" in Episode 3389. Baby Bear then proceeds to spend most of the episode to play the trick on Goldilocks. Oscar once again has the upper hand, as a cluster of snakes fly out of his own can at the end of the episode.
  • Carlo opens a can of peanuts to humor Baby Bear who's looking inside of things in Episode 3624. Despite its label, spring-loaded snakes fly out instead of peanuts.
  • The gag is a recurring theme in Episode 4041 when Oscar thinks about moving away because life on Sesame Street has become so predictable.

The Muppets

  • After Kermit states that Muppet*Vision 3D won't be stooping to any cheap 3D tricks, Fozzie Bear "springs" something on him by opening a can and having several spring-loaded snakes fly out at the audience.

Fraggle Rock

Wikipedia has an article related to: