• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Because, Talking Time. You are... A Top 50 Puppets Countdown

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I made a conscious effort to try and not make all my entries muppets/Jim Henson creations and seeing all the ones I passed over now is really making me regret my decision.
I didn't really think of that when making my list. My list did end up being about 40-50% Muppets.
 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the numbers:
vZFuFcI.jpg
and
cVEtzRA.png

GIZMO
152 Points; 7 Votes; Dracula (#5), Issun (#7), JBear, Purple, Beta Metroid (#17), Octopus Prime (#18), Falselogic (#19)


CgE1PQz.jpg

You know the rules and so do I
The Gremilins in general are all beloved practical effects, but our little Mogwai buddy tops them all. He's adorable, heroic, and voiced by Howie Mandel (who even did the singing, with no artificial alterations even). Like his Gremlin offspring, Gizmo had more than one model, with traditional puppetry and animatronics both being used. The animatronic version, because of the tiny parts required, continually broke down, much to the crew's chagrin, and the scene where he is strapped to the dart board reportedly came out of the crew's animosity for the model.

As I said, part of the draw for Gizmo is that he is the only Mogwai/Gremlin who prefers not to be destructive, an unlike his offspring resists becoming a Gremlin. This almost wasn't the case, though, as early on he was meant to actually become Stripe (which makes sense in a way, given that "Mogwai" is a transliteration of the Cantonese word for "monster"). Columbus, Dante and Spielberg realized, however, that having one heroic member of the species would anchor the film better, and they were right.

 

Issun

Avarice
;This entry is brought to you by the number:
QNWVQOK.png

GONZO
158 Points; 6 Votes; Lokii (#3), Johnny Unusual (#6), Purple (#7), Octopus Prime (#9), Kirin (#15), Dracula (#18)

F2djdMS.jpg

Sensitive Artist
Also known as "The Great Gonzo" or "Gonzo the Great", he is of... indeterminate origin. His debut was as a lackey in 1970's The Great Santa Claus Switch, where his name was "Snarl". His persona on The Muppet Show was originally as a performance artist, doing such things as eating a tire to The Flight of the Bumblebee, to predictable results. I think a lot of people didn't really grow to love him until 1979's The Muppet Movie, where he became truly fleshed out as one of the kindest and most thoughtful of Muppets.

Gonzo was originally operated and voiced by Dave Goelz.

 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
It's weird to see Gonzo's transition, starting as a low key sad guy and becoming the team weirdo. It makes sense, Fozzie is works better as the neurotic o e but it's easy to forget he is kind of the sad artist. But through out, he's the one who follows his muse and represents the Muppet artists love of being different.

I'm going to go back there some day is a song I use as a lullaby to my niece and nephew.

2009.09.08.gonzo.jpg
 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the number:
B0byZQO.png

GROVER
160 Points; 6 Votes; Johnny Unusual (#4), Torzelbaum (#7), JBear (#9), Falselogic (#10), Beta Metroid (#13), Octopus Prime (#14)

G3G9qEP.jpg

There's a monster at the end of this post
One of the most important lessons one must learn is that sometimes helping isn't helpful. There is no better example of this than our furry blue friend here. Always he tries to do his best, even when the other party has clearly lost patience with him. Grover's antics are funny, but also a bit sad. He wants so badly to be competent at something, anything. Fortunately, his earnestness also means that his friends will forgive him pretty quickly, though Mr. Johnson probably never will.

Grover debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show as a green, scowly version of himself named Gleep. It took a few years for him to become the Grover we know and love, and he's also another example of Frank Oz's knack for notable personality quirks, as Grover does not ever use contractions.

 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Grover is so great. He's loveably annoying in the best possible way and as someone who always wants to help but tends to get in the way more than he does, I relate. And I also always see kids wanting to help, truly, as genuine intent but also showing their capability and cleverness and running into trouble and Grover really reflects that, too.

I think one of the things I appreciate in a lot of Sesame Street is the nebulous ages. Elmo and Telly and Abby and a lot of the newer characters who are the focus of the more recent shows are specifically kids and there have been some who have always been like that (I don't think we know how old Prarie Dawn is but she does read kid). Grover has jobs but like Ernie and Bert, is kind of belonging to a quantum age and that's cool, because for kids, these characters can play all roles and still be someone we invest in and can relate too. We don't need to decode why Ernie and Bert act like kids but live without adult supervision. And Grover is like that, too, sort of a hapless everyman quasi-adult. But despite never getting everything right, we always love him.


Also, The Monster at the End of This Book is a stone cold classic. Seriously, it's a fun first foray into metafiction. It's not just we know the funny ending, it's that Grover is increasingly frustrated by the reader and impressed with their strength and ability to turn the page, even when he tries to brick it up.
 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the number:
GZJCAnP.jpg

TOM SERVO
175 Points; 7 Votes; Issun (#1), Octopus Prime (#7), Violentvixen (#10), Beta Metroid (#12), Johnny Unusual (#14),Bulgakov (#16), Torzelbaum (#17)

yqw1YpC.jpg

What a cool guy
For me, Mystery Science Theater 3000, was the first time I noticed how important the skill of a puppeteer is to the entire illusion. A puppet can be made of high-quality, expensive material, but if the person operating it doesn't know what they're doing, you're going to be bored. You can, however, have a puppet with no eyes, a gumball machine head, and inoperable arms, but if the puppeteer understands how to use the puppet's body language to convey personality, that puppet comes alive. Such was Kevin Murphy during his 9 year stint as Tom. This sarcastic, intellectual, egotistical, hyper-emotional robot seemed alive. Josh Weinstein did okay, and Baron Vaughn has followed in Murphy's footsteps admirably, but Kevin's skill, which only improved with time, made Servo a joy to watch every Saturday.

 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the number:
m3U54tX.jpg

CROW T. ROBOT
176 Points; 7 Votes; Issun (#3), Octopus Prime (#6), Johnny Unusual, Beta Metroid (#9), Violentvixen (#11), Torzelbaum (#18), Purple (#20)

BKxFIqo.png

That's one "O"!
While Tom often tries way too hard, Crow is usually allergic to trying, unless it's at some harebrained idea that causes more problems than it solves. He is even more acerbic than Tom, and less emotional (though he does love himself a good rant). He and Tom are always down to bully whoever the human living aboard the Satellite of Love is at the time.

Whereas Tom's puppeteer had to do more with less, Crow has a lot more moving parts, even if those parts are a bowling pin, a lacrosse net and ping pong balls. Trace Beaulieu provided a deft touch in operating Crow from the beginning, and like Kevin Murphy for Servo, Beaulieu's voice is the first that comes to mind when thinking of Crow. Bill Corbett did a fine job once he settled in (his puppeteering wasn't very good to start with. Corbett said it seemed Crow had suffered a small stroke between seasons 7 and 8), and Hampton Yount, Like Baron Vaughn, has kept his bot's personality alive in the new century.

 

Issun

Avarice
Going by Octo's Robot's list from the long long ago, Crow is the slightly better puppet, but Tom is a much better robot.

Do with this information what you will.
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
Love the 1-point difference.

Between Crow and Dr. F, Trace is my MST MVP, and it took me a long time to get used to Bill. Rifftrax (and his Twitter) really helped me come around on him, and unless I'm seeing a Rifftrax Live event, I always perceive him as Crow during any Rifftrax performance (same with Kevin and Tom).
 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the number:
gFzvF05.jpg

YODA
198 Points; 7 Votes; JBear, Kirin (#2), Violentvixen (#5), Issun (#6), Falselogic (#7), Torzelbaum (#13), Octopus Prime (#19)

yHVykVW.jpg

When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.
The Muppets on The Muppet Show and Sesame Street were fairly complicated, requiring two people to operate, but Yoda required a third person simply for the eyes. Frank Oz was the head, Kathy Mullen the arms and ears (which also required a level of articulation not usually seen in puppetry), and a third person operated the box that controlled the eyes. All three of them were at face level with the real mud covering the soundstage for Dagobah, and it shows the dedication to their craft that they toughed it out, with the raising of the X-Wing scene taking a bajillion takes on its own.

There is no doubt that Yoda is the most famous creation of the Henson shop outside of the Muppet Show/Sesame Street stable of characters. The performance of the puppeteers is a large part of why both his wisdom and his sense of mischief were conveyed so well. Then George Lucas used CGI to suck all the joy out of the character. Regardless of what one thinks of the prequels, I think we can all agree that Muppet Yoda is best Yoda.

 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
Yoda cackling like a loon when he finds Luke's flashlight is just inherently funny. Also, the way he drops the "crazy hermit" act on a dime inside his hut is just an incredible showcase of what you can convey with puppetry.

Not really related to the puppetry side of it, but even though Empire Strikes Back has slid from the status as my favorite movie ever made it held in my childhood, this is still one of the most soothing pieces of music I know of.

And in a completely different direction, I don't really have comments on this, but I'm taking the excuse to revisit it.
 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the number:
i59ft3H.jpg

OSCAR THE GROUCH
201 Points; 8 Votes; Violentvixen (#1), Dracula (#2), Torzelbaum (#3), Johnny Unusual (#7), JBear (#8), Kirin (#20), Octopus Prime (#22), Issun (#24)


STbyBq0.jpg

Scram!

While he was originally meant to represent the less fortunate members of urban society, Oscar eventually became the standard bearer for all of us who just want to be left alone. He's a grump, sure but only because he has different priorities than his fellow residents and therefore often clashes with them, leading to him just wanting to do his own thing. Where Daniel Striped Tiger is the quiet face of anxiety, Oscar is the aspect where we just get fed up and tell everyone to fuck off. He does appreciate when people treat him with compassion, though.

Oscar was based mainly on the owner of a restaurant that Jim Henson frequented with Sesame Street lead writer Jon Stone. The owner was, according to them, gruff, unkempt, and "magnificently rude". His trash can, much like the Tardis, is bigger on the inside for ease of operation. Since both he and Big Bird were voiced and operated by Caroll Spinney, one or the other of the Muppets had to be operated by someone else and dubbed later.

 
Last edited:

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Oscar is wonderful. Apparently Henson and Oz had differences of opinion on him. Henson thought of him as like a flawed guy with a different POV. Oz thought he was just kind of a shit.

Similarly in the Muppet Movie, Henson wanted to allow Doc Hopper to want to be better but Oz wanted someone who never gets better.
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
Winding down now! What a fun mix of hand-warmers it's been! Guesses on the top 3? Mine:

Okay, so Kermit's definitely winning this thing, right? The other two have a bit more mystery to them. I'd guess Cookie Monster is the runner up and Audrey II takes bronze. I don't know if I would have guessed Cookie Monster would be the favorite Sesame Street Muppet (I know, Kermit's a Sesame Street Muppet too, at least formerly), but thinking about it, I can see it. I could be wrong, but I'd be way more shocked that he was outside the top 50 than to see him make the top 3.

I would be a bit (very pleasantly) surprised to see Audrey II this high, but again, not as surprised as seeing it completely miss the list. I suppose it's a cross-section of things that I'm quite confident are well-liked on Talking Time: movie monsters, awesome special effects, good songs, Frank Oz, and Rick Moranis.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I voted for Oscar at #20 (@Issun looks like it got left out of the vote reporting). He's a good Muppet.

Beta, I also voted for the non-Muppet in your Top 3 prediction, and had expected it to show up earlier... I guess we'll see.
 

Issun

Avarice
This entry is brought to you by the number:
cPNQtp7.jpg

COOKIE MONSTER
206 Points; 8 Votes; Issun, Purple (#4), Johnny Unusual (#5), Torzelbaum (#6), Dracula (#10), JBear, Violentvixen (#14), Beta Metroid (#25)

BpkfgZE.png

C is for Cookie!
Cookie Monster began life as the "Wheel Stealer", one of three monsters Jim Henson created for an unaired General Foods commercial. The Wheel Stealer eventually appeared in close to his final form in a series of commercials for Munchos potato chips before debuting on Sesame Street, where he quickly became one of its most popular Muppets. His appeal to kids and adults is easy to see, since he's normally easy-going until cookies appear in the equation, then he becomes joyous, unbridled id. His vernacular and googly eyes also make him incredibly endearing, and as always with Frank Oz's Muppets, his comic timing is impeccable. He's so much fun that, when looking for a video to post with this entry, I had to stop myself from watching video after video of him frustrate the aspirations of his fellow Muppets with his obsession with cookies so I could get this written.

In 2006, Cookie Monster became more health conscious, with cookies becoming a "sometimes food". This resulted in the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth from conservative media, and consequentially, what was possibly Stephen Colbert's best interview ever.

 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
His vernacular and googly eyes also make him incredibly endearing
His eyes are a thing of sublime entropic beauty.

He's so much fun that, when looking for a video to post with this entry, I had to stop myself from watching video after video of him frustrate the aspirations of his fellow Muppets with his obsession with cookies so I could get this written.
So he also frustrated your aspirations?

C is for Cookie!
And that's good enough for
Issun, Purple (#4), Johnny Unusual (#5), Torzelbaum (#6), Dracula (#10), JBear, Violentvixen (#14), Beta Metroid (#25)
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I relate far too much to this monster.


I wish they did more of these...

Early Monster before he was Cookie (voiced by Jim Henson in the first clip and I don't know who in the second)
 
Top