Lucas Ervin – Would you look at that… we’re halfway done with the 100 Days Until The Muppets! Next month, we’ll all be able to watch The Muppets! In this week’s collection of clips, we focus on one character who, in my opinion, never really gets enough attention. He’s sweet, kind, adorable, and, even though he’s been around since 1971, he’s only five years old. Robin the Frog, Kermit’s nephew, is one of Jerry Nelson’s greatest characters. Robin sang many great songs on the show with Muppets and guest stars alike. Robin may be the youngest Muppet of the group, but he is always a great balance of sweet and clever that fans never tire of him, which is a perfect example of what makes the Muppets work. So without further ado, let’s get started on the best of Robin the Frog.
51. Just One Person – When Bernadette Peters was a guest on the show during season two, we saw the first episode that was centered around Robin. He was feeling under-appreciated due to his size and age, and had planned on running away. Thankfully, Bernadette reminds him that he just needs to believe in himself, and sings “Just One Person.” This song was also performed at Jim Henson’s Memorial Service and later led by Robin on The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson. It is a fantastic, powerful song that could easily be done again in today’s world, and if they start up The Muppet Show again, maybe we’ll see Robin perform it once more.
50. Frog Kissin’ – During the Linda Lavin episode in season 4 of The Muppet Show, Robin sang a fun song called, “Frog Kissin'” with three other frog scouts, which is reminiscent of Robin’s first role in The Frog Prince, while also reminding us that everybody has beauty, potential, and self-worth, no matter who they are. If there’s one thing that Robin and the Muppets are good at, it’s sending a positive message without spoon-feeding it to viewers. So slow down, turn around, bend down, and kiss you a frog.
49. Two Lost Souls – In season two when John Cleese came on as a guest star, Gonzo was scheduled to sing a duet with Robin, but had to cancel due to an incident involving a cannon ball. So instead, Robin performed the song “Two Lost Souls” with the monstrous yet loving and lovable Sweetums. Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt had a great chemistry together, performing many character duos on The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock. So naturally, it was a perfect fit to have Robin and Sweetums sing a duet, despite their huge size differences. It’s amazing to watch this sketch and note how much Jerry Nelson had to move around with Robin so that no trace of puppeteer could be seen.
48. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – One of the weirdest shows in the history of The Muppet Show is undoubtedly in season two when Alice Cooper stopped by. Kermit’s collar got ruffled having to deal with Alice’s fiendish accompaniment, a suspicious contract with the devil, and monsters dancing around backstage. Luckily, there was one number on the show that week which completely contradicted the rest of the episode in a very good way. It was Robin singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the iconic song from Jim Henson’s favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. After the song was over, however, the show returned to chaos and mayhem… as it always seems to do.
47. If I Ruled The World – In the fifth season, when Hal Linden guest starred, Kermit finally decided to let Statler and Waldorf put their money where their mouths are and try putting on a better show than he can. The two old geezers find that it’s much harder than it looks to put on a show. Even the one musical number that went off without a hitch took place in Hal’s dressing room, not onstage. Robin visits Hal so to complain about how poorly the show is going. By singing Frank Sinatra’s “If I Ruled the World,” they vocalize how they would do things differently if they were in charge. The performance by both of them is a perfect salute to Old Blue Eyes.
46. Octopus’ Garden – Robin actually had a few opening numbers, and in this one, he heads out to the water with his uncle to sing Ringo Starr’s famous song. What really made this a unique number–besides another great use of Jerry Nelson’s singing voice–was the ability to show Robin, Kermit, and the other Muppets “swimming” around in full body form. Jim was always eager to try new things on the show, and this is still one of the most fun and interesting numbers to watch. Plus, who doesn’t love Miss Piggy as a mermaid and Animal vs. the stingray?
45. Halfway Down the Stairs – Since we’re halfway there, what better song is there to end with than “Halfway Down the Stairs”? It’s the first song Robin ever performed on The Muppet Show, and it’s still his most famous. As most of you know, it’s a poem originally by A.A. Milne, author of “Winnie the Pooh.” Robin’s rendition of the song was a huge hit in Britain, making it on the Top Ten for its recording on The Muppet Show Album. Years later, Jerry Nelson sang the song at Jim Henson’s Memorial Service. Jerry calls the song his favorite Robin number, and is quite proud of it. Yes, indeed… nobody can sing a song quite like Kermit’s little nephew, Robin the Frog.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org