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December 29, 2017

2017 Year in Review: ToughPigs Gets Political

Filed under: Feature,Fun Stuff — Tags: — Joe Hennes @ 4:57 pm

It seems like just a year ago when 2016 ended its reign of terror and introduced us to the potentially disastrous 2017.  And while we weren’t cursed with a canceled Muppet TV series, a botched election, and far too many unexpected celebrity deaths, 2017 was… okay.  We had a lot of ups and downs, and since it’s ending, we should look back and see what made it work and what made us scream with anger.

So, enjoy this blast into the past, which includes the ToughPigs gang taking a few political stances, some surprising behind-the-scenes change-ups, and one spectacular live Muppet show!


2016 Year in Review – Hey, remember 2016? It was… fine.  Okay, not all that great. Pretty awful, actually. So why not revisit it???

Hopes for 2017 – With a crummy 2016 behind us, we had a lot of hopes and wishes for a Muppet-filled 2017. And did we succeed? Stay tuned, we’ll answer all those questions and more soon.

Big Bird in AT&T commercial – Finally, a reason to switch phone providers.

I Am Jim Henson book released – Revealing the truth about Jim Henson’s giant head and tiny body for the first time ever!

Kermit hot air balloon removed from Disney World – How will we know that Disney owns the Muppets if we can’t see it from a mile away??

Sesame Street writer Robert Oksner passes away – Rest in peace, creator of Simon Soundman.

Donald Trump: The Anti-Jim Henson – ToughPigs takes a stance against the guy currently living in the White House.

Mary Tyler Moore passes away – You know Mary Tyler Moore. Star of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Jimmy Kimmel and the letter Yook – Jimmy invites the Sesame gang to his set so he can introduce a new letter to the alphabet.  Don’t worry, it’s not real.

John Hurt passes away – Thanks for all the great stories, Storyteller.

ToughPigs’ Oscars predictions – Continuing our tradition of cheating on Oscar pools with the power of Muppet connections.

Muppet Guys Talking announced – We’re finally getting the documentary we’ve been wishing for.  Thanks, Frank Oz!

Classic Muppet Show reviews: Charles Aznavour and Ben Vereen – Our retro reviews of The Muppet Show continue with a French crooner and Mr. Cellophane.


More Muppet documentary ideas – With the news about Muppet Guys Talking, we immediately get greedy for more.

Just a bunch of Muppet videos to distract you from the news – The news of the world is pretty grim, and only the Muppets can save us.

Al Jarreau passes away – We remember the singer who counted down to New Year’s with Kermit.

The Muppets’ Hollywood Bowl show announced – Wait. We’re gonna get LIVE MUPPETS???  2017 is already a winner.

Muppet merch at Toy Fair – Did we find Muppet merch this time?  Eh.

Sesame Street Muppets respond to frequently Googled questions – Strangely enough, no questions about Googling Cookie Monster’s googly eyes.

Musings on Sesame Street Live – Let’s talk about Muppets coming to your hometown, like, every year.

Judge Joe Wapner passes away – The Muppets Tonight star (and, I guess, judge) passes away.

Classic Muppet Show reviews: Vincent Price, Twiggy, Phyllis Diller, and Ethel Merman – The Muppet theater gets visits from a vampire, a model, a comedienne, and a lady with one giant voice.


Quiz yourself on what Muppets look like – Kermit’s the green one, right?

The Two Piggies – Investigating the difference between Miss Piggy and Miss Piggy.

A brief history of female Muppeteers – There aren’t as many as there should be, but we’re proud of them.

The lasting impact of “Women Can Be” – One of the great, early feminist movements on Sesame Street.

Interview with Julianne Buescher – The Muppet performer responsible for Yolanda the Rat sits down with us.

Sesame characters reenact famous movie quotes – “Rosebud!” – Bert

Muppet Guys Talking gets a poster – The Muppet performer documentary gets a hand-full of movie poster.

Sesame Street introduces Julia – The new Sesame character, who happens to have autism, comes to the Street.

ToughPigs stands with PBS – With the funding for public broadcasting threatened, we make a stand to keep Sesame Street’s longtime home.

Miss Piggy auditions to be the voice of Stephen Hawking – “Kissy Kissy” – One of the smartest men in the world

Julie’s Greenroom premieres – Longtime Muppet collaborator Julie Andrews stars in a new show with Henson puppets.

The importance of Cotterpin Doozer – A little Doozer goes a long way.

Billy Eichner visits Sesame Street – Miss! For a dollar, what screaming quizmaster got to hang out with Big Bird??

Classic Muppet Show reviews: Connie Stevens, Kaye Ballard, and Mummenschanz – Connie is a teenager in love, Kaye sings with Thog, and Mummenschanz… does whatever it is Mummenschanz does.


April Fools Day: No News Tonight – We use April Fools Day to complain that we don’t have enough Muppet stuff to talk about.  Little would we know the drama ahead…

Don Rickles passes away – The king of insults (and Muppets Tonight guest star) leaves us.

New game: Six Degrees of Muppet Wiki – Find the Muppet Wiki connections with your Muppet-obsessed friends!

Sesame characters make noise in HBO ad – “AAAAAAAHHH” – Big Bird

The Swedish Chef stars in PAM commercial – If the Swedish Chef didn’t use non-stick spray, he might not get as much of the food on the floor.

Grouches star in Real Housewives spoof – Oscar and Grundgetta got married and this is how we find out??

Slimey plush available at Sesame Place – Now can we get a giant Oscar plush to go with him?

Herry Monster Funko Pop – Stripey pants and everything!

The Muppets as advocates for science – The current political regime doesn’t put any faith in science… but the Muppets do!

Statler and Waldorf in Xfinity ad – Isn’t Xfinity also their age?

Classic Muppet Show reviews – Avery Schreiber and Juliet Prowse – Avery Schreiber sings a nonsense song, and Juliet Prowse gives us the nonsense that is “Mahna Mahna”.


Sesame Street wins more Daytime Emmys – Even more Emmys for Sesame’s Emmy pile.

Muppet Show season one reviews wrap-up – Year One of our 5-year project ends.  How’d we do? Or, more importantly, how’d the Muppets do??

Melissa McCarthy confirmed for Happytime Murders – Happytime makes us a little happier.

An asymmetrical Muppets quiz – Is it Bert and Ernie or Ernie and Bert??

The lasting horror of Ernie and Bert in a pyramid – The sketch that terrified millions.

Counting calories in Oscar’s B Sandwich – Finally revealing the caloric value of a basketball.

Netflix announces Dark Crystal series – Pretty soon, we’ll get to bingewatch some Skeksis!

Roger Moore passes away – The Muppet Show guest star and James Bond rides his Alfa Romeo into the sky.

What’s the deal with Janice’s uvula? – So many questions about a little throat dangler.

Thoughts on the Muppets Thought of the Week – Deep thoughts about some short vids.


The Great Muppet Casting Call debuts – Spending the summer casting humans as Muppets with increasingly ridiculous criteria.

Expectations for the return of Dark Crystal – The Dark Crystal is coming back, and there’s oh-so-much we want to see.

Muppet mug controversy – Grover? Rowlf? Growlf? Rowver?

Introducing Miss Piggy Day – The porcine diva deserves her own holiday.

Sesame Street characters are Muppets – They’re Muppets, but not Muppets.  Got it??

Janice and The Muppets poster – Three Janices, one poster, infinite questions.

Fake GIFs on Muppets’ social media – Are we the only ones complaining about this? Not anymore!

MuppetVision 3D gets a new marquee – The good news: Disney invested money in new signage! The bad news: They just made it way too easy to erase the Muppets.


Steve Whitmire no longer with the Muppets – Steve Whitmire is out, Matt Vogel is in, and we’re caught in the middle of the biggest Muppet story of the year.

Dinosaurs and Jurassic Park mashup – In the ultimate “I wish I’d thought of that” moment, an artist mashes up the Henson series with the slightly-better known dinosaur movie.

Jim and Jane Henson exhibit in Greenwich, CT – The Hensons are both featured in a new museum exhibit in New England.

Martin Landau passes away – The iconic actor, most famous for hanging out with Walter in a Disney short, passed away.

Sesame Street is the New Yorkiest show – More than NYPD Blue? You bet.

Sesame Street gang stars in Chrysler commercials – Did you know Bert had his driver’s license??

What is “Manhattan Melodies”?? – Does the show within a show have an actual plot?

Creating an NYC Muppets playlist – Muppet music for the Big Apple.

Where is the Muppet Theater? – Could it be… in our hearts???

Video tour of the Jim Henson Exhibition at MOMI – We give you a healthy tease of the fantastic new Henson exhibit in Queens, New York. We also learn who that Jim Henson guy is.

Sesame Street spoofs ’80s songs – Funny, considering how big they were in the ’80s.

Rudy debuts on Sesame Street – Abby’s stepbrother is the latest addition to Sesame Street.

Muppet Book Club: Bert’s Hall of Great Inventions – Let’s make fun of this classic, yet ridiculous, Sesame storybook!


There are lots of Muppets in museums – What a great time to be a Muppet-loving museum-goer!

Rudy writes thank-you notes on Tonight Show – Thank you, Jimmy Fallon, for helping to introduce Rudy to the world.

Emmet Otter DVD reissued with Kermit scenes intact – Pa would’ve bought that DVD.

Advice for journalists on how to write about Muppets – Maybe retire articles that start with “It’s not easy…”?

Disney World’s Muppets Courtyard is no longer Muppets Courtyard – It’s just a regular courtyard, which is far less Muppety than we’d hoped.

Bruce Forsyth passes away – The UK celeb, best known in the states for his Muppet Show episode, has passed.

Jerry Lewis passes away – Jerry invited the Muppets to perform in his Labor Day Telethon several times, and for that, we thank him.

Bert’s brother Bart returns – He’s still got that goofy laugh and those floppy arms!

Sesame spoofs “Despacito” with “El Patito” – Despacito, you’re the one…

ToughPigs interviews Ryan Dillon and Mark Gale – We talk to Elmo’s performer and his partner-in-crime (and puppets).

Matt Vogel’s Kermit the Frog debuts – And with one short video, a new era of Kermit begins.

More thoughts on Matt Vogel’s Kermit – Let’s talk about the elephant-sized frog in the room.


Chris celebrates 10 years on Sesame Street – We can’t believe Chris has been on the Street for a decade, and neither can he.

The glory of live Muppet shows – There’s nothing quite like seeing a live Muppet.  (Better than a dead one, I’m sure.)

Why the Muppets’ Hollywood Bowl show is the sort of show we need – You either become a dead franchise or you live long enough to reinvent yourself over and over again.

Sesame Street wins Primetime Emmy – Sesame stays up late and brings home the bacon.

Muppets Take the Bowl report – We recap everything from the Muppets’ Hollywood Bowl show!

Muppets Take the Bowl review – We review everything from the Muppets’ Hollywood Bowl show! (A subtle, yet important difference.)

Harry Dean Stanton passes away – Star of Monster Maker (and about a billion other films and TV shows) leaves us.

The untapped potential of Mahna Mahna – Maybe let the guy sing a different song?

Seth MacFarlane covers “The First Time It Happens” – The star of Family Guy and The Orville gives us a surprisingly sincere cover of the Great Muppet Caper song.

Frank Oz honored at MOMI – In a rare public appearance, Frank Oz bares his soul.

Dark Crystal’s Barry Dennen passes away – The voice of the Chamberlain Skeksis goes silent.

Classic Muppet Show reviews – George Burns, Rich Little, and Madeline Kahn – The second season of our Muppet Show reviews begins with a cigar-chomping comic, a terrible impressionist, and a new love interest for Gonzo.


Touring Jim Henson exhibit in Seattle – Good news for Muppet fans in the northwest!

Backyard with Bert video – Ernie terrorizes Bert in the outdoors for a change.

Muppets Phantom of the Opera book debuts – Uncle Deadly takes center stage (backstage) in a new Muppet novel.

Muppets on display at Lyndon Johnson museum – I didn’t know Johnson was a Muppet fan!

New animated version of “Monster in the Mirror” – Wubba Wubba Wow.

Below the Frame season 2 premieres – Matt Vogel’s series of behind-the-scenes videos on Sesame Street returns!

2017 Halloween Parade – Wanna see some Muppet costumes?  If the answer is no, you’re on the wrong website.

Fraggle Rock Funko Pops announced – Complete with extra-tiny Doozers.

Classic Muppet Show reviews – Edgar Bergen, Dom DeLuise, and Nancy Walker – Three hilarious people visit the Muppet theater.


Interview with Muppet production designer Andy Walmsley – Get a backstage look at the life of a backstage Muppet employee.

Muppet Christmas Carol’s Meredith Braun revisits “When Love Is Gone” – Belle herself re-records the song that was unfortunately cut from the film.

Sesame Street special “The Magical Wand Chase” premieres – It’s got magic, wands, and chases, but not necessarily in that order.

ToughPigs interviews Sesame Street star Gonger – The new star of Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck gets squozen by ToughPigs’ own Joe.

ToughPigs at the Magical Wand Chase premiere – There aren’t many Muppet fan sites that can also serve as paparazzi.

Sesame spoofs Stranger Things – I had a feeling the Demigorgon loves cookies.

Kermit and Constantine appear in Pentatonix Christmas special – Who needs instruments when you’ve got Muppet frogs?

Jim Nabors passes away – Well, golly.  The Gomer Pyle star, who also appeared on The Muppet Show, has passed away.

Classic Muppet Show reviews – Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Milton Berle, and Don Knotts – The Muppet Show gets canceled, Robin gets a pep talk, Fozzie gets a sidekick, and the Electric Mayhem gets a new bassist in this quartet of classics.


Rare Muppet appearance discovered – Trash Muppets find new life on YouTube. Also known as “recycling”.

Movin’ Right Along podcast debuts – ToughPigs launches a new podcast venture: The Muppet Movie, two minutes at a time! You’re welcome, world.

Mr. Snuffleupagus shares mind-blowing facts – Here’s one more: He’s not imaginary! Snuffy only has bad timing.

Miss Piggy appears at Fashion Awards – Poor Eric Jacobson, needing to appear as a fashion expert at events like these.

Celebrate 60 years of Wilkins and Wontkins – Amazing how the murderous duo has survived for six decades.

Grover turns 50 – Sharing our favorite memories of the cute, furry, blue, adorable, and slightly embarrassed monster.

Why Muppet Family Christmas is the best Christmas special ever – It’s not just the best of Muppet Christmas specials – it’s better than all Christmas specials.

Revisiting It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie – Does VMX hold up? Maybe if you prop it under a wobbly table.

Sesame performers explain how their puppets work – Step one: Put your arm in the air. Step two: Keep it there for eight hours.

The Muppet Christmas Carol/Fraggle Rock connection – Brool the Minstrel unites all Muppets.

Elmo’s Christmas Countdown revisited – Does Elmo’s Christmas Countdown hold up?  Maybe if you prop it under a… wait, I used this joke already.

Keely Smith passes away – The singer behind “That Old Black Magic” passed away, whose voice once came out of Kermit’s mouth.

Emmet Otter songs ranked by Christmassyness – It’s a perennial Christmas classic, but the songs… maybe not so Christmassy.

Brian Henson and Dave Goelz revisit Muppet Christmas Carol – The director and star watch and comment on the film, 25 years later. And it still brings a tear to Gonzo’s eye.

The true meaning of Christmas, according to Muppets – We’ve only heard about 90 interpretations of the meaning of Christmas. So here’s a few more.

Classic Muppet Show reviews – Teresa Brewer, John Cleese, and Zero Mostel – We wrap up the year with a misguided feminist message and two potentially insane guest stars.

2017 Year in Review – That’s this article! No, really! Yes really! I can’t wait to read it all over again next year.

Wow, what a surprisingly eventful 2017!  Thanks to all you Muppet fans who helped us have a fantastic year.  Here’s to a great, Muppet-filled 2018!

Click here to get another year older and deeper in debt on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

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