Wendy encounters an intelligent gorilla in the pilot

The Middleman was a television series, that ran for one season on ABC Family, based on the comic books by Javier Grillo-Marxuach. The comic itself was originally intended as a TV pilot. The premiere episode, "The Pilot Episode Sanction" (aired on June 16, 2008) established the basic premise, as struggling artist Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) is recruited by mysterious crimefighter "The Middleman" (Matt Keeslar) to be part of his ultra-secret agency dealing with unusual, comic-book style monsters and mad scientists.

Also in that episode, the heroes discover a lab which aims to create super-intelligent apes. The apes, specifically gorillas, are in fact a single silverback gorilla puppet, supplied by Jim Henson's Creature Shop and originally built for George of the Jungle. The principal gorilla is named Spanky.

All of the gorillas were puppeteered facially by Michael Oosterom, with Tom Fisher as the suit performer (demonstrating his tai-chi skills during the end credits).

Muppet Mentions


The tenth episode, "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation" (August 18, 2008) was promoted on the series website blog by Grillo-Marxauch, referencing Count von Count: "10! 10 'middleman' episodes! ha ha ha ha!" The actual episode contained neither references nor Creature Shop puppets, but did feature Michael Oosterom again (puppeteering Little Vladdy and briefly appearing on-camera as one of the vampire puppet's hypnotized victims).

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