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In 2008, The Muppets needed a good boost of popularity. So, what's the quickest way to become popular in this day and age? Post funny videos on the Internet, of course!
The good folks at Muppet Studios started off by setting up individual channels on YouTube and other video sites for several characters (Gonzo, Beaker, The Swedish Chef, Sam Eagle, Statler and Waldorf, Fozzie Bear, and Rizzo the Rat), as if the characters themselves were posting the content. These videos soon caught the attention of Muppet fans on the Web, sending some of the videos' hits into the millions. One video ("Ode to Joy", starring Beaker) won a Webby Award in 2009.
Eventually, in 2009, all the Muppet viral videos were reposted under a singular channel, which still posts new content every now and then - and people are still watching, judging from the fact that the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video gained 13 million hits in the span of three months.
You can find the videos here.
These videos provide examples of:
- Berserk Button: An already ticked-off Sam is furious to discover that "American Woman" is by a Canadian band (The Guess Who).
- Black Comedy: All of "Stand By Me."
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In grand Muppet tradition. One notable example would be "Beaker's Ballad", where Beaker is almost literally attacked by negative YouTube comments.
- Butt Monkey: Poor, poor Beaker.
- Carnivore Confusion: The "Stand By Me" video
- Character Blog: The original point of the videos. Statler and Waldorf's solo videos took this a step further by actually being video responses to other popular YouTube videos!
- Christmas Episode: "Ringing of the Bells"
- Comedic Sociopathy: Anytime Beaker shows up, something horrible happens to him.
- DVD Commentary: Spoofed with the Special Webby Edition commentary of the Bohemian Rhapsody video, featuring just about everyone involved. Poor Kermit can't even do a video commentary without the whole recording studio--which happens to be a phonebooth--tipping over.
- Fun with Subtitles: When the Swedish Chef tries to make popcorn shrimp. During a break in the action the subtitler even starts chatting with the audience via the subtitles, admitting that he's just guessing at what the guy is saying.
- Halloween Episode: "Cårven Der Pümpkîn", "Muppet Labs Experiment 2Q975: Carve-O-Matic" and "Muppet Labs Experiment 5T832: Ghost Hunt", the latter being a Parody/Homage of ghost-hunting shows.
- Heavy Metal Umlaut: "Pöpcørn".
- Missing Episode: Two videos were made during Ode to Joy's Webby nomination -- one being a Montages of Beaker's abuse over the years, and the other being an Auto-Tune edition of the Ode to Joy video. Both of them are no longer online.
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: In the subtitles for "Pöpcørn":
"A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE CAPTION WRITER: If you have any idea what the Swedish Chef is saying, then you are waaaaay ahead of me. I've just been guessing, writing it up phoenitetic... phennotic... fein... Oh you know, when you write it down the way it sounds."
- Shout-Out: After Beaker gets set on fire in "Beaker's Ballad", one of the most prominent comments reads "BURNINATION!"
- Statler and Waldorf: Well, duh.
- The Stinger: Much like in the original Muppet Show, Statler and Waldorf close out most of the videos, commenting on what they just saw from their computer.
- Unexplained Recovery: In "Lab Experiment 5T832: Ghost Hunt", Beaker is killed by a ghost, yet he reappears in several other videos.
- The Unintelligibles: The main reason why Beaker (who only speaks in meeps), Animal (who can barely make a sentence) and the Swedish Chef (BORK BORK BORK) form the best Muppet trio ever. You can put them in any situation and not worry about the script.
- They even give a nice rendition of Danny Boy.
- Up to Eleven: In "Ringing of the Bells", Animal decides to take his "DING DONG"-ing to the next level with bigger bells. He eventually pulls out a church bell which falls on Beaker.
Statler: Well, at least these videos are short.
Waldorf: How would you know? You always fall asleep in the first minute.
Statler: I know. Delightful isn't it?