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December 30, 2016

2016 Year in Review: Worst Year Ever

Filed under: Feature,Fun Stuff — Tags: — Joe Hennes @ 10:40 am

Let’s be honest.  2016 has been a Trash Heap of a year (and I don’t mean that in a “wise oracle who gives advice to Fraggles” sort of way – more like an actual pile of garbage type).  We lost our new Muppet sitcom, tons of beloved celebrities, and don’t even get me started on the state of American politics.  If I could, I’d hitch a grappling hook to the Ghost of Christmas Past to go back to 2015 and warn everyone about the upcoming catastrophe of a year.

That said, there were still some wonderful things we did and saw in 2016.  What were those things?? You’ll have to read on to find out!

Take a stroll through the past 365 days below, including fun stuff from the Muppets, lots of great videos, and a bunch of ToughPigs features worth revisiting (or reading for the first time)!  Enjoy, folks!


2015 Year in Review – Remember 2015? Everything was so great back then. And now we live in a cesspool of misery. Thanks, 2016.

Spotlight on the Humans of Sesame Street – After the Muppets, I’d probably say that the humans are the most important characters on Sesame Street.  Probably.

Talk to Miss Piggy on Facebook – I can’t get her to return one phone call, but she spends hours on Facebook talking to strangers.  Typical!

Rumor: Walt Disney World’s Muppet*Vision 3D Closing – Thankfully, the attraction stuck around.  Unfortunately, we got a much more painful closure later in the year.

The Muppets at Midseason – Little did we know, it was the last midseason the show would get.

David Bowie Passes Away – Jareth the Goblin King returned to the Labyrinth.

Alan Rickman Passes Away – Best known as Severus Snape and Hans Gruber, but best known to Muppet fans as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Jimmy Fallon and the Sesame Street Gang Photobombs Kids – I tell ya, I’d take a lot more photos if I thought Big Bird might pop up in the background.

Jim Henson Museum Exhibit Opens in Atlanta – The Muppets are taking over the south! Starting with the Center for Puppetry Arts. That’s what we call “strategy”.

Responding to Common Sesame Street Complaints – People have been complaining about Sesame Street for almost fifty years.  And that’s our biggest complaint.

Michael Frith and Kathy Mullen’s TED Talks – Two Muppet legends share their genius on stage.

New Labyrinth Movie is Not a Reboot – Yes, there is (was?) a Labyrinth movie in the works, and no, it was (is?) not going to be a reboot.

The Muppets Sing The Muppet Show Theme Song A Cappella – I love it when Muppets play instruments, even when there are none.

Make America HATE Again: Sesame Street‘s Donald Trump Spoofs – At the time, we wanted to make sure we published this article before Donald Trump backed out of the election. Unfortunately, we were way off.


The Muppets Wins Production Design Award – Finally, the Muppets are recognized for the amazing design work.  Forget the dancing frog, take a look at those backgrounds!

Kermit Daydreams with Stephen Colbert – Kermit and Stephen lay back and ask the tough questions.

Muppet Minimates Released – They’re tiny and Muppety and so very poseable.

Elmo Sings with Hamilton‘s George Washington – You guys have heard of Hamilton, right?  It’s a pretty big deal.  Bigger than Elmo, probably.

Muppet Merch at Toy Fair – News flash: We were disappointed.  As always.

12 Reasons Why The Muppets Deserves a Second Season – Obviously Disney didn’t see this article, or else they would’ve have more than enough reason to renew the show.

ToughPigs’ Academy Awards Predictions – Our annual tradition of getting all the Oscar picks wrong.

Oscar Nominated Movies Get Muppet Parody Posters – We mocked up a bunch of movie posters spoofing the Academy Award nominations!  Probably stealing the job of a Photoshop artist at Disney in the meantime.


Grover Stars in Spike Jonze Video with Stephen Colbert – #TrueDetectiveSeason3

My Weeks with Muppets Tonight – We’re reviewing every episode of Muppets Tonight, because we weren’t blogging when it originally aired.

Beatles Producer George Martin Passes Away – Martin appeared as himself in an episode of the Henson production The Ghost of Faffner Hall.

The Muppets Wins Kids Choice Award – Oh, so the kids liked The Muppets? Yeah, that’s a good reason to cancel the show.

A Salute to Uncle Deadly – The breakout star of The Muppets has returned to us.  Please don’t let him out of our lives again.

Cookie Monster’s iPhone Commercial – Siri helps Cookie Monster wait for cookies.  Yeah, it takes a supercomputer to accomplish that task.

Correcting Jim Henson Quotes – Well, not his quotes. Just the ones he didn’t actually say.

David Smyrle, Sesame Street‘s Mr. Hanford, Passes Away – The former manager of Mr. Hooper’s Store has left us.

Muppet Writer Tom Whedon Passes Away – Tom Whedon, father of Joss Whedon, wrote for some early Jim Henson projects.

Batman v Superman: Muppet Edition – The horrible superhero film is just a little better when looked at through the lens of a Muppet fan.


April Fools: Up Late with ToughPigs – ToughPigs became a fan site for Up Late with Miss Piggy!  Just kidding, April fools!  You should see the look on your gullible faces!

Sesame Street Documentary, Street Gang, Announced – Looking at the inception of Sesame Street, starting with a green coat and two ping pong balls.

Disney World Gets Muppet Courtyard – Yep, a whole area named for Kermit and the gang.  As if Disney actually remembered that they own the Muppets.

Elmo, Rosita and Oscar Appear on Last Week Tonight – Talking about their favorite subject: Lead poisoning!

A History of Muppets at Disney World – The Muppets have done (and have almost done) a whole lotta stuff at the Disney theme parks.

Wild Speculation About the Muppets’ Future at Disney World – But it’s not enough!  Here’s our ridiculous list of what we think the Muppets presence should be at the parks.

Doris Roberts Passes Away – The Everybody Loves Raymond star got to talk about Sesame Street a bit on its 35th anniversary.

(The Artist Formerly Known As) Prince Passes Away – We’ll always remember him for his classic appearance on Muppets Tonight.  Oh, and for his music career or whatever.

Sesame Street Wins More Emmy Awards – And Sonia Manzano receives a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award!


The Muppets Canceled – And here we have it, the biggest and worst news of the year.  And that’s saying something – You saw what 2016 hath wrought.

We’re Really Upset that The Muppets Got Canceled – I mean, like, really really upset.

Celebrating 30 Years of The Muppets’ Celebration of 30 Years – Can you believe it’s been 30 years since the Muppets’ 30th’ anniversary?  Do you feel old yet?  Me too.

Sesame Street Songs and Similarly-Titled Pop Songs – I didn’t know that Usher covered a Grover song!  It’s the only possible explanation!

Jim Henson’s Very Brief Cameos – We ranked every time Jim appeared on screen!  Not counting all the times the top of his head popped into the bottom of the frame.

60 Minutes‘s Morley Safer Passes Away – Safer famously interviewed the Muppets back in the Muppet Show days, which was likely the high point of his career.

Dark Crystal Fan Film Winners Announced – That UrSkek should win an Oscar.

Fozzie Bear Finds Out The Muppets is Canceled – I’d never seen a Muppet cry before.

Muppet*Vision Week – Celebrating 25 years of the Disney theme park attraction with a whole bunch of articles about the magic of 3D, nets full of Jell-O, and Salutes to All Nations!

Fozzie Bear Appears on @midnight – I guess bears can stay up late and then catch up on sleep when they hibernate through the winter.

Cancellation and the Art of Muppet Fan Journalism – I deal with some difficult truths surrounding the cancellation of The Muppets and what it means to someone who writes about the brand for free every day.


Dark Crystal Documentary Canceled – The doc about the classic Henson film is as dead as the Skeksis Emperor.

Kermit and Fozzie Appear at Vulture Fest – The duo made their first public appearance post-cancellation.  Oh, and Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobson happened to be there too.

Muppet Tsum Tsums Announced – They’re cute and tiny and they kind of look like hamster hot dogs.

A Closer Look at Muppet Select Toys – Not quite as cute as the Tsum Tsums, but they make up for it in Points of Articulation!

That Elusive Muppet Thing – You know that thing you kind of remember?  We’ve got your back.

Very Brief Cameos of The Great Muppet Caper – They’re all so good!  And yet, so very brief.

Debauchery at the Dubonnet Club – We uncover a decades-lost secret hidden in the background of The Great Muppet Caper.

The Great Muppet Caper Script vs. Film – Comparing the Muppets’ second feature film to its script.  With some surprising cameos!  (No, not Elmo.)

Who Dubbed Nicky Holiday’s Singing Voice? – We still have no idea.


5 Things About This Famous Muppeteer Photo – You’ve seen it a hundred times: Jim and Frank and Richard performing Ernie and Bert.  Now look at it for your one hundred and first time.

New Jim Henson Park Installation – A small plaza in Maryland is dedicated to the early works of Jim Henson.  Finally, Mushmellon has been preserved in stone.

Read the Muppets’ Ghostbusters Spoof – They’re called “Grossbusters”, because Muppet Magazine thought they were as edgy as MAD Magazine for a hot second.

The Muppets Nominated for Emmy Award – And yet, the show remains canceled.  Come on!

Kermit and Fozzie Featured in Disney Emoji Game – Thankfully, the Muppets have yet to introduce their own version of the poop emoji.

Garry Marshall Passes Away – The Happy Days creator lives on in the Muppet spoofs of his creations.

Throw It Back Thursday: Big Bird on Soul Man – For some reason, Big Bird appeared on this terrible Dan Aykroyd TV show.  I guess he needed the cash so he could buy more birdseed milkshakes.

Fraggle Rock Returns to Vinyl – Dance your cares away while listening to music in the most hipster format!

Sesame Street Artist Jack Davis Passes Away – The talented artist drew some amazing pictures of the Sesame characters, and we’re still in awe.

Sesame Human Actors Departure Rumors – Bob, Gordon, and Luis were reportedly “fired” from Sesame Street.  While that’s not accurate, the trio will sadly not be appearing on the show as much as we’d like.


The Electric Mayhem’s Live Concert – The Muppet house band played live at Outside Lands, and now we’re all expecting a national tour.  I’m waiting…

Seth Rogen Denies Gonzo’s Entry to WE Day – To be fair, I’d be suspicious of a small blue creature of indeterminate origin too if I was in charge of security.

Star Wars‘ Kenny Baker Passes Away – Surprisingly, Baker did not appear as R2-D2 in the Star Wars episode of The Muppet Show, however he did work with Jim Henson on Labyrinth.

C is for Calendar: 1972 – Celebrating the art of Jack Davis in his classic (and gorgeous) Sesame Street calendar.

Sesame Street Musician Toots Thielemans Passes Away – You’ve heard his harmonica hundreds of times on Sesame Street.  Toots was unforgettable.

Disney World Getting Gonzo-Themed Bathroom – Yeah, we’ll gladly trade a great Muppet TV show for one public bathroom in Orlando.  Even trade, Disney.

ToughPigs Interviews Lisa Henson – We talked about all sorts of fun Henson Company things with an actual member of the Henson family!

Read ToughPigs’ Predecessor: MuppetZine – MuppetZine begat ToughPigs, so we scanned and shared the entire series for you to read!

Secret Origin of a Muppet Fan Blogger – Celebrating ToughPigs’ 15th anniversary by talking about myself.


15 Years of People Freaking Out About Muppets – Continuing our 15th anniversary by remembering 15 years of crazy, drama-filled Muppet news stories.  This is our legacy.

My Years with MuppetZine – ToughPigs founder Danny Horn returns to provide commentary on his old MuppetZine issues.  This really is our legacy.

Hillary Clinton’s Sesame Street History – If you weren’t with her already, seeing her with Big Bird might’ve changed your mind.

Recruiting the Muppets on the Enterprise – In honor of Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, we Photoshopped the Muppets in Starfleet uniforms.  I mean, it’s the least we could do.

Appreciating the Humor of the Sesame Street Humans – The Sesame humans don’t get nearly enough attention for being hilarious.  It’s the only way we can justify putting them in more ridiculous costumes and hitting them with more pies.

Cookie Monster Emojis are a Thing – Finally, the perfect way to break up with someone via text.

C is for Calendar: 1977 – Yet another spotlight on a classic Sesame Street calendar!  Be sure to use this the next time 1977 comes around.

The Fozzie Awards – Our star-studded awards show honoring the past year in Muppet TV.  We wouldn’t let them cancel The Muppets without getting them a bunch of fake awards first.

The Muppet Show: 40 Years Later Project Begins – We begin our 5-year project in which we’re reviewing every Muppet Show episode 40 years after their air dates.  We’ll see how this thing turns out in 2021.

Jim’s 80th Birthday Week: Muppeteer Duos – We’ve done a lot of celebrating Jim here on ToughPigs, so for his 80th, we focused on his relationships with some of his closest collaborators and colleagues.  Happy birthday, Jim’s friends.


The Muppet Mobile Lab Returns to Disney World – Bunsen and Beaker live again!  In mobile-form!

The Muppets’ American History Attraction Debuts – A new live show at Disney World?  It’s almost as if they had a TV show to co-promote!

Lennon and Maisy and Ernie Sing “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” – Considering how 2016 turned out, Ernie may want to reconsider his stance on relocation.

Fraggle Rock Returns to HBO – Apparently HBO cannot leave the magic.

Muppet Babies Reboot Announced – Let it be known that ToughPigs broke this huge news.  We’re really proud of that.  History will remember us.

Dave Goelz Honored by Henson Company – A huge honor for a great performer.  “Well-deserved” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Meet Hans Clausen: Muppet Model Maker – I mean, someone‘s got to make the Muppet models.

“Sesame Road” Released on Vinyl – Honestly, it’s worth the price just for the cover.  Frame that thing, nerds.

Halloween Parade 2016 – So many great Muppet costumes!  But not nearly enough Lew Zealands.  Can someone fix that in 2017???


ToughPigs Election: Miss Piggy vs. Big Bird – Every four years, we hold our own little election in tandem with the big one happening in the real world.  This time around, Miss Piggy ceded the election to President Big Bird, but she didn’t go down without a fight.

Muppet Broadway Parodies – ToughPigs’ own Ryan Roe got married (congrats, Ryan!) and made these Playbill spoofs to use as table markers.  Sadly, “Annie Sue Get Your Gun” hasn’t yet made it to Broadway.

Sesame Street Takes on the Mannequin Challenge – It looks harder to get puppets to stay still than you’d think.

Muppets Audition for Macy’s – …Which is weird, because they already had the job.  So, enjoy the pointless Muppet video, I guess!

PizzeRizzo Opens – A Muppet-themed restaurant at Disney World??? What year is this??

“Below the Frame” Series Debuts – Matt Vogel takes us behind the scenes of Sesame Street in his new webseries! Funny, I expected more cookie crumbs littering the floor.

Elmo and Cookie Monster Spoof Weird Japanese Viral Video – You don’t really have to know what PPAP is to appreciate this.  It’s super weird for everyone.

ToughPigs and Muppet Mindset Compare The Muppets Movie and Script – We teamed up with the Muppet Mindset to look into the crazy twists and turns of The Muppets script, and then we had a big fight over it and now we’re not talking.  The rivalry continues!

Florence Henderson Passes Away – We lost Mama Brady, as well as another classic Muppet Show guest star.

The Muppets Lead Off Macy’s Parade – It’s the only way to start a parade.  All other parades before this have been faux parades.

A Muppet Fan at Walt Disney World – Recently-married Ryan spent his honeymoon at Disney World, which is perfect timing because there was a bunch of new Muppet stuff for him to see!

Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas PremieresSesame Street‘s new Christmas special took us back in time without a DeLorean or TARDIS or even having to spin around the earth backwards.

Miss Piggy and Zosia Mamet’s Fashion Battle – It’s basically three minutes of the duo throwing stuff at each other in an elevator, and it’s great.


Miss Piggy Sings with Harry Connick, Jr. – But a bigger news story would be: Harry Connick, Jr. has a TV show.

Pigs in Space Returns – Captain Link Hogthrob, First Mate Piggy, and Dr. Strangepork put their shiny uniforms back on for a grand return to the Swinetrek!  This right here is the silver lining in a terrible 2016.

Cookie Monster’s Cookie Christmas Carols – Isn’t it nice to know that Cookie Monster wishes you a Cookie Christmas?  Yeah.  It is.

Investigating the Love of Pigs in Space – Look, I know people love pigs.  And I get why people love space.  But together???

Video Review of Labyrinth Art Book – There’s a new artist tribute to Labyrinth!  I never knew how badly I wanted to see a bunch of pictures of Hoggle until now.

Pigs In Space Spoofs Gravity – The second Pigs in Space video dropped.  Well, more “floated” than “dropped”.

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree: Book vs. Film – What may be the worst Henson production is based on a pretty decent book, thus marking the only time Muppets actively made something worse.

The Muppets’ Christmas Carols – The Muppets have spoofed, referenced, and adapted Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” enough times to be its own Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

The Muppets and Art Carney’s Christmas Universe – People love crazy “shared universe” fan theories, right?  Well, we’ve got a doozy for ya.

Cookie Monster’s Yule Log – ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, only one creature was stirring, and it was a monster mixing cookie dough.

ToughPigs Staff’s Favorite Muppet Christmas Songs – The ToughPigs writers share their favorite holiday songs from the Muppets.  And yes, narrowing down the list was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do.

Joey Mazzarino’s TED Talk – Murray Monster himself got on stage and talked about how to be a puppeteer.  Well, if Murray was actually there, I guess he would’ve talked about how to be a puppet.

Video Review of Labyrinth History Book – Another Labyrinth book, another video review!  Hey Henson Company: Keep these books coming and we’ll keep putting them on film.

2016 Year in Review – Aw man, remember 2016??  You should probably read our Year in Review all over again.  And then again.  And again.  Annagen.  Agin.  Gn.

Despite a challenging year, it seems that we really did have a lot to celebrate in 2016.  Huh.  I’m as surprised as you are.

Happy New Year, Muppet fans!  And have a great 2017!

Click here to never repeat 2016 as long as we live on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

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