My Favorite Muppet of the Moment – Gonzo the Great

Published: August 10, 2018
Categories: Anthology, Feature

This article is the latest in our continuing My Favorite Muppet of the Moment series!

My favorite Muppet of the Moment is Gonzo the Great.

Why did I choose Gonzo as my Favorite Muppet of the Moment?

Look. We all knew this was coming. Someone was going to choose everyone’s favorite blue, extravagant, stunt-loving weirdo. When I saw we were doing this series, I sort of knew it had to be me. Maybe you knew this too. I haven’t exactly hidden my love of Gonzo over the years (see: my review of ‘Going Going Gonzo’ or my ‘Everyone Should Date a Gonzo’ article or, like, just have a five minute conversation about Muppets with me and I guarantee it will come up).

I briefly considered not snagging this character, since I feel like I’ve already delved pretty deep into the reasons I think he is, by far, the best Muppet, but when I thought of someone else doing a Gonzo write up I was just like, “Yeah………….No.”

So why did I choose Gonzo as my favorite Muppet of the Moment? I mean, Gonzo’s my favorite Muppet of every moment of every single day of my entire life. You’re telling me that’s not reason enough??

In all seriousness, my earliest Muppet-related memory as a kid was my brother and I throwing ourselves onto the floor as we hollered “TAXIIII!” (a la The Great Muppet Caper) and cracking ourselves up. Even as a kid, I knew Gonzo was something special. Since joining the Muppet fandom (which feels like eons ago now), Gonzo’s always been the character I’ve gravitated most towards time and time again.

And why is that? Well…

What makes Gonzo so great?

Because he’s Gonzo … the Great! [ba dum tssst]

Okay, besides having the declared title of “Gonzo the Great” (and also, while we’re at it, “The Great Gonzo”), there are many things that make Gonzo truly wonderful, hilarious, ingenious, and, well, great.

Gonzo embraces all things weird. This is showcased primarily in his zany, often death-defying stunts that he did way back on The Muppet Show (and even in more recent productions like Muppets Tonight and The Muppets (2015)). He’s done everything from demolishing a car while “Anvil Chorus” plays to reciting poetry while defusing a bomb to wrestling a brick while blindfolded. He’s done it all! After he did his first ever strange act (in episode one of The Muppet Show), he states off stage, “Yokels! What do they know about art?” and Gonzo has lived on this mantra for the rest of his existence. Everyone else is a yokel by comparison and just doesn’t appreciate his artistic style, but that’s not going to stop his bizarre form of self-expression.

What’s more, Gonzo as a character often has amazing one-liners (“What’s wrong with bus terminals?”), has a chicken for a girlfriend, and is a Muppet of many talents – artist, plumber, photographer, Charles Dickens impersonator, wannabe pirate, you name it! Not to mention he has a keen sense of style. From chili pepper shirts to argyle sweater vests to jumpsuits with capes to purple velvet suits, there’s no attire Gonzo can’t rock.

But the thing that has always made Gonzo stand out to me? His level of heart.

On the one hand, when it comes to his art, Gonzo couldn’t care less what the world thinks. But when it comes to anything else? Gonzo cares so very, very much. If there is a number from any Muppet production that can make me flat-out cry, more often than not it’s sung by Gonzo. He’s got “The Wishing Song” and “My Way” on The Muppet Show, “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” in The Muppet Movie, and I will be completely honest that “I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus” from Letters to Santa has made me tear up more than once. Hell, even in Muppets from Space the whole plot is that Gonzo just wants to feel like he belongs.

Gonzo is such a bold, brash character when he’s in the thick of performing or pursuing antics with friends, but when he slows down for a moment we see he is a sentimental, sensitive guy. He’s always looking for home – both a location and found in other people. In the end, he just wants his friends to love him and wishes to know his place in the universe, and dammit, who among us can’t relate to that feeling?

If anything, what better encapsulates the meaning and message behind the Muppets than Gonzo the Great? When it comes down to it, the Muppets are all about a group of bizarre characters being themselves, pursuing their dreams, and embracing friendship. Gonzo goes above-and-beyond in all these categories and more.

Gonzo is insanity, uniqueness, and stouthearted-ness bundled into one blue weirdo, and for that he is, truly, great.

Completely random Gonzo moment

This one was tricky. It was hard for me to not immediately choose one of Gonzo’s more moving numbers or a moment where he’s teamed up with Rizzo (they are my favorite Muppet duo, but I wanted to choose a clip that highlights Gonzo specifically).

So here’s Gonzo playing a bagpipe on top a flagpole. Classic ol’ Gonzo!

Click here to wrestle a brick while blindfolded on the Tough Pigs forum!

by Julia Gaskill

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