For decades, a Muppet was primarily a furry torso, as we all understood that this was its innate limitation, that there could be no more Muppet because underneath and up inside that Muppet was some serene-looking lanky bearded dude controlling it. Legs were just not part of the equation, and that was fine, and we got used to it. That was the deal.No legs on Muppets. Okay!
But our love for and enjoyment of the Muppets from cradle to grave via Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, every Muppet movie except for Muppets in Space, The Dark Crystal, and Fraggle Rock emboldened and enriched the entire Muppet operation.Jim Henson and his genius band of associates got so good at Muppetry, and had so much money at their disposal, that they constantly challenged, innovated, and disrupted. They came up with things like motors and radio controls to makeMuppets more life-like than ever. Basically, this was the solution to a problem nobody thought was ever a problem: Muppets could have legs now. Moving legs.Legs that didn’t move in a way that reflected nature or reality at all. Legs that were deeply unsettling that occupied their own special place in the Hell that is the Uncanny Valley.
Like that dream when you find a room in your house you’ve never seen before, it’s unreal for Kermit to suddenly showoff his moving legs like they’ve been there all along because…they haven’t been there all along. If you can handle it, here are a few of the most terrifying instances of times Muppets creeped everybody out with their gross, unnerving legs.
It was cool in The Muppet Movie when Kermit played a banjo, inasmuch as playing the banjo can be considered “cool.” In the same movie, he rides a bike. Muppets with arms are fine. Muppet legs are weird little sticks that move like the twitching muscles of a recently deceased corpse.
Fun fact: Two-thirds of all episodes of Tales from the Crypt are about sweet-looking puppets that come to life for the purpose of murder.
Oh no, they’re back! This time Kermit and Miss Piggy—multiple Muppets—ride bikes. And do tricks. Like balance on one foot and scare me until I’m pale and shaking. I’m not sure which is more unsettling—Kermit’s tricks or Miss Piggy’s calm, collected, slow-and-steady destination-oriented method of bikery.
Here’s Bert doin’ the Pigeon while singin’ “Doin’ the Pigeon” on Sesame Street. Even if given the chance, I don’t think Bert would dance. (And he certainly wouldn’t dance like Usher.) Because he knows what is proper, and what is right. He would know his legs are all stiff and weird and behave like somebody learning to walk again after binge-watching the entirety of Oz in one sitting.
In Muppets Most Wanted, there’s an “evil Kermit” named Constantine. How do they show he’s evil? By focusing on the legs. He dances on top of somebody’s head, legs all flailing about as the ordinarily savage Ricky Gervais is too scared to do anything. The Muppet mucky-mucks are complicit is what I’m saying.
Baby Kermit’s legs flail helplessly about after he falls victim to an equestrian accident in this otherwise delightful “fantasy sequence” from The Muppets Take Manhattan. So…they developed all that technology so they could have make it super-realistic to show a baby—a Muppet Baby, no less—getting injured? What the hell, Muppets?
Elmo is as large as the Moon. He can be permanently exiled to the Moon, that’s fine.
Not only does Oscar the Grouch have working feet and legs, but also his can is bottomless. Has it always been bottomless? Didn’t he have like a whole luxury apartment down there? What the hell is going on here?
Here’s Kermit at work, planning more evil.