Top Ten Tips – Image lessons I learnt from “The Muppet Show”

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I grew up on a TV diet of “Countdown”, “FAME” and “The Muppet’s”. Yep! Says it all really. Oh, also David Attenborough and Harry Butler.

It all comes together in the long run. Nature, Biology, Costume, pop culture…. love it.

The Muppet’s have stood the test of time. Even my technology savvy children love the Muppet’s. The daggy jokes, on the money characterizations and ridiculous sketches. They, of course, get the added bonus of laughing at the out of date fashion. We do have to explain who the stars are, Leo Sayer is their favourite, and why wouldn’t he be? For the uninitiated, here is a classic episode of The Muppet’s featuring Leo Sayer and some spectacular Miss Piggy tantrums. It’s a full episode so only click if you have time. If not here is a quick bit of nostalgia to get you in the mood.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE337D_V4vA&w=420&h=315]

Now for the Lessons (In no particular order):

10. Sam The Eagle

Sam02

photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: American Bald Headed Eagle.

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Cool Winter (I’d rather say Ice Winter but there’s no such thing.)

Physical characteristics: Ice blue grey fur and feathers, balding on top of course. Bushy black knitted brow, prominent frowning beak, and saggy, eye bags.

What Sam’s style tells us about him: Given that he wears no clothing this is a bit of a challenge. However he does like on occasion to drape the American flag over his shoulders or at least use it as a backdrop. Sam sees himself as the upholder of America’s values of “goodness and wholesomeness” on the show. When you combine his patriotism with his cold, conservative, old age associated colour with that frowning, grumpy expression and you know immediately he’s going to be an inflexible, uptight, conservative pedant.

Here is one of my favourite Muppet scenes where Sam concedes to assisting Rowlf with a song. Something Sam considers well beneath him.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueuA-9pqRok&w=420&h=315]

Lesson: No matter what you’re wearing if your body language says you’re a grumpy, stuck up, pain in the posterior, no amount of sunshine yellow and smiley faces will save you.

9. Animal

Animal bluebackground
photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Technically a member of Electric Mayhem but he’s kinda special so he gets a spot of his own.

Species: um pass… Neanderthal? Ok, human but behaving in an animalistic (sic) manner, hence the name.

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Clear Spring / Warm, Clear and Bright

Physical characteristics: Wild, orange and red feathery hair with purple highlights. Bushy black eye brows, bulbous red nose, crooked white teeth and an enormous mouth.

What Animal’s style tells us about him: Well, for a start if its necessary for you to be restrained with a neck collar and chain then the message is pretty loud and clear.

Watch out! We have a LIVE one here!

Wild, uninhibited, feral and quite possibly mad, Animal is the delightful embodiment of the primal urges in all of us. One of the Muppet’s most popular characters and certainly one of mine. Animal’s look is seriously feral rock and roll of the 70’s kind. Tight leather, stomach revealing rope tied top, and rope belt, he’s like an out of control rock and roll pirate. Reminds me of a certain legendary wild man of music’s recent foray into film!

Lesson: All that crazy hair, revealing clothing, and use of leather and rope, Animal’s look is sexual, on the edge and easy to recognize. I think the greater lesson however is more in Animal’s immense popularity rather than his look. So many people can relate to the completely puerile, instinct driven, pleasure-seeking life view of Animal. In other words whilst we might not all dress like Animal, we’d like to be that free.

Reportedly, Frank Oz, who originally brought Animal to life, once said he had his character down to five words: sex, sleep, food, drums and pain.

He also said, “You don’t mess with Animal. He eats glass, man.”

The lesson….. embrace your inner Animal, its liberating. And don’t mess with a man who eats glass.

Perhaps we should all get ourselves a piece of rope for a belt and a neck chain?

Animaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I love Animal.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qisaGTajtvk&w=420&h=315]

8. Dr Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

Electricmayhemposter
photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: vaguely human

Personal Colour Profile and Personality:

Dr Teeth – Warm Spring / Warm and Clear.

Floyd Pepper – Warm Autumn / Warm and Muted.

Janice – Soft Autumn / Warm, Muted and Soft (could also be Light Spring but because of her attire and personality I’m going with Soft Autumn.)

Zoot – Another tricky one. He has changed colour over the years and although he could easily be coded as  a Winter from this picture,  I feel the best summary of all his looks is a Deep Autumn / Warm, Muted and Deep. I’d like to see him try a more muted blue in his hair, but he is definitely his own man.  Anyone want to put in their two bob in on this one?

Physical characteristics: Too many to list. check out the piccie

What The Electric Mayhem’s style tells us about them: They are a group of individuals of course, but collectively they also tell a story. Scruffy, colourful, eclectic, laid back  and hip. The Electric Mayhem are not concerned with the complexities, social structures or niceties of conservative society. They value originality, authenticity, diversity, good music and good times. Yeah man.

Lesson: Clashing strong colours have a stage worthy impact. Combine with wild hair, bling teeth, sunglasses and attitude and create an impression of free-spirited, attention seeking, unconventional creativity wherever you go.

7. The Great Gonzo

Gonzo2
photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: a mystery

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Deep Winter / Cool, Clear and Deep. He has a yang, natural blend face, mustard brown eye lids and looks best in strong cool colours.

Physical characteristics: Blue fur with a purple tinge, one heck of a purplish blue, downward curved, rather large and crooked honker. A crooked beak-like mouth, mustard coloured eyelids and a couple of straggly purple feathers poking out the top of his head. So handsome.

What Gonzo’s style tells us about him: Gonzo is a true eccentric, exuding a genteel, quirky, sensitive yet clearly unhinged appeal. Most commonly seen in either his maroon dinner suit or one of his brightly coloured spandex daredevil numbers. These two contrasting visions eloquently describe the different sides to Gonzo. Both rough diamond and nutty, inept daredevil.

File:The Great Gonzo.jpg
photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Lesson: If at first you don’t succeed, keep on trying, and find the right venue for your talents.

That’s not an image lesson though. um… red and pink might stink except with a Gonzo in the drink? Oh I know…. people are complicated…. never judge a book by its cover. (yep, that old chestnut.)

P.S. I love Gonzo.

6. Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker

PDVD 121

photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: human

Personal Colour Profile and Personality:

Dr Bunsen Honeydew: Soft Summer / Cool, Muted and Soft,

Beaker: Warm Spring / Warm and Clear.

Physical characteristics:

Dr Bunsen Honeydew: With his melon shaped head, lack of eyes or hair and skin colour that ranges from apricot through soft yellow into green, Dr Honeydew is a hard man to pin down. However his congenial, stubborn, unfazed delivery and scientific nature indicate to me that he is a Summer.

Beaker: A shock of upright, brilliant, almost fluorescent orange hair, a complete lack of neck, a permanently frightened expression and a mouth that only reveals itself when he utters incomprehensible gibberish.

What Dr Honeydew and Beaker’s style tells us about them:

Dr Bunsen Honeydew: His attire is easy to read, wearing a lab coat, collared shirt and tie instantly indicates to us that he is a man of science. The key to Dr Honeydew’s character lies in his glasses but missing eyes. This is a man with great vision, yet cannot see.

Beaker:  Also wearing the attire of a scientist, the key to Beakers look is his body shape, in particular his complete lack of neck. Beaker is shaped like a test tube, which is what he is. Dr Bunsen’s test subject.

Lesson: It is unwise to trust your future to an individual whose vision obscures all practical reality.

Make sure you have a neck….that’s the image part.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mggl7cC8iys&w=420&h=315]

5. Statler (right) and Waldorf (left)

TMS-Statler&Waldorf-BalconyBox

photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: Grumpy elderly human

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Statler Cool Winter / Cool and Clear and Waldorf Light Spring / Warm, Clear and Light.

Physical characteristics: Statler has a long face, balding salt and pepper hair, prominent nose, knitted brow and cleft chin. He is the taller, grumpier looking of the pair and is usually seen on the viewers right. Waldorf has a round cheeky face, with  balding fluffy white hair and mustache and permanently laughing / sleepy eyes, he’s a short little mischief-maker.

What Statler and Waldorf’s style tells us about them: These boys are from the establishment. Statler’s three-piece pinstripe suit, white collared shirt and dark tie are pure old school money. Waldorf’s attire is a little more country but still establishment. He also sports a three-piece suit but this time in a deep warm brown with collared shirt and tie. The combination of their quality clothing and slightly scruffy grooming tell us that they are so comfortable with who they are and their position in the world that they don’t give a rodent’s bottom about anything or anyone! These boys play the misanthrope but really if they hate it that much why are they there every week? They are mischief-making raconteurs, who have traded the stock market for the theatre.

Lesson: If you want to get away with mischief, dress as part of the establishment and you’ll get much further. Great examples of this include the current Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14njUwJUg1I&w=420&h=315]

4. Fozzie Bear
Fozzie2

Species: Bear

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Warm Autumn / Warm and Muted.

Physical characteristics: Scruffy yellow ochre coloured fur, proud, small round ears capable of wiggling and waggling, a wide open smile, pink bulbous nose, close-set eyes with bushy, wiggly waggly brows.

What Fozzie’s style tells us about him: Fozzie aims to be a bear of distinction and style, yet like his jokes, his style misses the target. His scruffy head is adorned with a soft, beaten up Fedora, that he frequently clutches emotively to his chest. Around his neck he sports a wilted silky, white with pink spot neckerchief. Fozzie is a traditional guy, a little scruffy, a little hopeless but with a good heart. He lacks the sharpness of vision to create the slick image and comedic persona that he desires. He wants to be respected but tries to conform to an image of respectability rather than being comfortable and accepting of himself in his own fur. It’s interesting to note that apparently Statler and Waldorf were friends with Fozzie’s late mother, Ma Bear. Of all the performers on the Muppet stage it is Fozzie who receives the sharpest barbs from the heckling duo. Fozzie’s appearance also gives the impression he is trying to live up to someone else’s vision of how a bear should look. He’s like a child who feels he has fallen short of mum’s expectations.

Lesson: If you are not comfortable with yourself, others will find it difficult to be comfortable with you and will increase your insecurity. Strive for personal authenticity. If you have a tendency to be scruffy – own your scruffiness.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH2coWVi9Vg&w=420&h=315]

3. Scooter

Scooter

Species: human

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Warm Spring / Warm and Clear

Physical characteristics: A central mop of orange dread locked hair, round old-fashioned spectacles with eye balls on the outside of the lenses, a diamond-shaped face held mostly eagerly looking upward and a matching chirpy attitude.

What Scooter’s style tells us about him: Mostly seen sporting a very 70’s shiny green sports jacket, coordinating yellow skivvy and either a clipboard or headsets. Scooter is considered the Gofer at the Muppet Theatre, whilst Kermit handles the Stage Managerial duties. I think of him more as an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager) and I know of at least one professional stage manager who professes to have been at least partially inspired by Scooter. (You know who you are young lady!). Scooter’s style is neat, shiny, and comfortable. With his bright alert eyes, and cheerful, practical clothing, Scooter’s look says I’m here, I’m happy, and I’m helpful. This look is very warm and engaging and tells us that Scooter is not only enthusiastic, but competent and friendly.

Lesson: I’m afraid this is probably the most boring obvious lesson in this list. But here goes…If you look alert, friendly, interested, and are capable in your job, you’ll easily mix amongst people and gain respect. Yawn! Like you didn’t know that.

Although I do advise not wearing your eyeballs on the outside of your glasses.

Just in case you were thinking of it.

2. Miss Piggy
Miss piggy with frank-NEW

photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: Pig

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Cool Summer / Cool and Muted.

Physical characteristics: Pink skin. Long thick, bouncy, wavy, pale ash to platinum blonde hair. Heavy lidded, kohl rimmed, large blue eyes and long black curled lashes. Prominent upturned nose (snout), perky ears and curvaceous, bodacious body.

What Miss Piggy’s style tells us about her:  Miss Piggy loves a frock, the more glamorous old Hollywood in style the better. She is also keen on a little costume drama of her own, taking any opportunity to play dress up as an innocent county girl, a super spy or her alter ego First Mate Piggy, in Pigs In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccce.

Miss Piggy’s look screams seductive glamour with extra sugar on top.  All the flicking hair, pastel colours, feather boas, glimmer, glitter, bosom, and make-up tell us she is a highly romantic, sensitive woman who takes herself very seriously. She spends hours grooming and admiring herself and expects the respect and adoration of others to be commensurate.  High maintenance, complicated, self-centered and demanding, but not to be underestimated, she is quite adept at taking out her opponents, adversaries or even loved ones (poor Kermit) should the mood take her. This is no shrinking violet. I can’t help wondering if she had a damaged childhood.

 Lesson: Never mistake a beautiful girl in a frock for a doormat. On the other hand if you want to be judged by more than just your physical assets, tone down the drama a little.

Here is a wonderful scene from the Muppet show with Miss Piggy and Cheryl Ladd telling us all about their femininity. Sadly embedding it kept making me lose the rest of this post. Don’t know why.  Apologies.

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Ya!

1. Kermit

Kermit4

photo credit : http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki
click for original image source.

Species: Frog

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: A bit tricky. Kermit’s personality is definitely more that of a Cool Winter. In some shots he looks a neutral green but quite often he looks like a warm green which would be more indicative of a Spring. For the convenience of this (highly technical) article we ‘ll turn a blind eye and consider him as a Cool Winter / Cool and Clear.

Physical characteristics: Green skin, long thin, some might say gangly limbs, black eyes with bright whites and a large mouth.

Personal style: Kermit is a man of consistency and simplicity.  When necessary he might sport a tuxedo or trench coat and Trilby but generally he is a minimalist, keeping it simple with just a smart neat green collar.

What Kermit’s style tells us about him: Kermit’s neatness, consistency and simplicity of dress tell us that he is practical, down to earth, and reliable. He does not seek the limelight but his innate senses of reason and responsibility sees him step up into it to see a job done. He is a well-balanced, capable fellow but perhaps does not excel in any particular field. Whilst some might accuse him of being boring, it is the Kermit’s of our world that keep things on track, with a minimum of fuss, and generally in a most congenial manner. But don’t push him too far, he definitely has a breaking point!

Lesson: If you want to be seen as reliable and down to earth, keep it simple, neat and possibly even green.

Lastly, here is another classic Muppet moment. Enjoy

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaAiaoJXKNY&w=420&h=315]

That’s all folks.

Bella

Disclaimer: Whilst it may appear that I am completely bonkers by colour coding Muppets, I should mention that I was drawn to do so by my dear friend Jude who has had me colour coding all people and pets in her life for many years and is a devout Muppet fan. It’s actually quite fun, although sometimes a little fraught with complexity. I do not professionally vouch for the authenticity of these colour analysis and recommend that each Muppet seek an in person consultation if wishing to base wardrobe decisions on this information. Thank you.

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8 Comments on “Top Ten Tips – Image lessons I learnt from “The Muppet Show”

  1. I’m still going on this. Only half way through, but I love it! So insightful and essential reading for every right-thinking Muppet fan. We watched ‘The Muppets Take Manhatten’ the other day and I soooo wished you were there to colour code everyone! Zoot is rocking that olive-mustardy coloured jacket, so I think you’re right and he’s a Deep Autumn. Yes, and Janice is so Soft Autumn. She’s adorable. Rowlf is my favourite, possibly not surprisingly to you… What is he? Soft Summer?

    • Ha ha, you have called me on that one. I should have included Rowlf. Rowlf like many of the Muppets can look quite different between images but when I summarize all the different looks and put that with his personality I think Soft Summer / Cool, muted and soft is the best description for him. Interesting that he was apparently one of the earliest Muppets to become a celebrity and he is heavily identified with Jim Henson. I read a rumor to say that whilst other Muppets were recast after Jim Henson’s death, Rowlf was only recast relatively recently either as a mark of respect for Jim Henson or simply that they could not find a suitable replacement. So Rowlf appeared but remained silent.

      • He was on a Purina Dog food commercial before he was on the Muppet Show and was the first of Henson’s puppets to be built by someone else from Henson’s sketches. (Don Sahlin who went on to work with Henson for 17 years. )

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