I love the Muppets. If it isn't evident from yesterday's post, then I am declaring it now: I really do love the Muppets. When I was a kid, I would watch The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and even Muppet Babies. Jim Henson, to me, was a genius. He managed to create a show that kids would watch AND learn from AND not react badly to all at the same time. Now that being said, I did once devise a way to kill all of them once upon a time. Let's begin back when I was in high school....
Once upon a time, a younger Leab was a precocious high school student. Suddenly, his world was made askew by the news that Sesame Street would be killing off one its most popular characters (and one of Leab's favorites): Ernie. That's right, boys and girls, Ernie. He was originally going to be diagnosed with AIDS, then the change was made to Cancer. He would die so that kids could learn how to deal with death. (We all remember Mr. Hooper...don't we?) Why in the world would you kill your most bankable star. Sure, everyone recognizes Big Bird, but the songs you love are all done by Ernie.
Bert and Ernie are the very representations of Frank Oz and Jim Henson. An odd couple that worked so well together. At the same time, we could see the lovable duo (Bert and Ernie, that is) as two sides of our very souls. One side the fun-loving, child-like nature within us. The other is the serious adult we need to be in modern society. But I digress....
I was unhappy to hear this news. However, only a week later, after a large letter writing campaign by faithful viewers, the death was, well, canceled. Ernie would not die.
Now, a few weeks later, I was at a party with friends, and we decided to get inebriated. Ok fine, we got drunk. Happy? Anyway, while drunk, I told everyone about the whole "Ernie dies" thing and explained that if that happened, Sesame Street would have to kill more. I can even recall the speech I made (Cue wavy lines on screen as we flashback to the past):
"So if Ernie dies, what's Bert going to do. If kids have to learn about death, then maybe they should learn about suicide too. Here's what I see happening: After Ernie's funeral, Bert is distraught. Reallllly upset. He goes home and sees how empty it all is without Ernie. The apartment has no energy. Finally, he looks over and sees Rubber Duckie just sitting there. Bert's emotions get the better of him, and he starts crying. Bawling really. He decides he just can't live without Bert, so he writes a note about why he's killing himself, and then he grabs a shotgun. The camera zooms in as Bert, still crying, sticks the gun in his mouth. It gets quiet. We can hear the birds chirping as the camera moves up to the top of Bert's head and then beyond to a picture of the two friends. Then...BLAM! We hear the gun fire and yellow fluff flies on to the screen."
Now, everyone there (and probably you as well, dear reader) was in shock. They couldn't believe what they were hearing. "That's horrible!" I would hear. "You're a monster!" another would say. But...but...they laughed. That was the key. No matter what they said, they belly laughed at the idea. So, I started killing off more of the Muppets with help of my drunk friends. Below is a list of the ones I can remember. If your favorite isn't there, drop a comment with his or her name (possibly a description if it is a random character), and I'll tell you how we killed him or her (if we did). For example, when we did this Hector, the Hispanic Lobster did not exist. So we didn't kill him. Enjoy:
Kermit the Frog: Finally caught and turned into frog's legs.
Miss Piggy: Along with the other "Pigs in Space", she became "Bacon in the Atmosphere" when re-entry went wrong.
Gonzo: His nose hooked on the "O" in The Muppet Show, breaking his neck and killing him.
Statler & Waldorf: The balcony collapsed.
The Swedish Chef: The lobsters, fed up with his bad cooking and Shakespeare, ganged up on him and boiled him alive.
Animal: Sadly, Dr. Teeth's drummer was put down when he contracted Rabies.
Fozzy: Caught in a bear trap while trying to hibernate, he was shot by a hunter in Northern Minnesota. Folks say they heard, "Wolka, wolka, (BLAM), Waaaaaa).
Lew Zealand: He tried to throw a boomerang swordfish, and it impaled him.
Rizzo the Rat: Killed by a subway car in New York.
Sam the Eagle: Poached.
Camilla the Chicken: Was caught, covered in 11 spices and eaten by...
Dr. Teeth: who choked to death on a chicken bone.
Big Bird: Fell into a wood chipper (I don't like Big Bird).
Oscar the Grouch: Crushed in a garbage truck compacter.
Grover: Flew into a light pole and was electrocuted.
The Count: "Oh no, I've lost my keys, and the sun will be out in three, two, one, ha ha." POOF!
Elmo: played with matches and caught on fire. He ran up and down the street screaming, "Elmo hot, hot hot!" Thus, we had St. Elmo's Fire.... (a thank you.)
Cookie Monster: choked to death on a cookie.
The Entire Nation of Fraggle Rock: The hill collapsed and crushed all of them, except for one fraggle, Wembley, who was eaten by the guy's dog
Sprocket (the Dog): Choked on Wembley
Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker: Bunsen blew himself up in an experiment gone awry. Beaker survived...then fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck.
Rolf (or Rowlf to some) the Dog: Died when his new owner tried to have him neutered, and the procedure went wrong.
Like I said, if your favorite Muppet isn't here, drop me a line, and I'll tell you what happened. I still have most of the list with me.