On September 8th, 1966 – 50 years ago today – Star Trek first graced the airwaves and changed the way we view science fiction and how we watch television to this day. It’s hard not to notice the effects the show had on today’s culture. Heck, you probably have a tricorder in your pocket right now!
Star Trek and the Muppets have crossed paths many times over the years. From memorable guest appearances to spoofs to every tiny detail of Pigs in Space, the inspiration is truly grand. While we could take any direction with our own Star Trek tribute, we opted to forgo listing out references for something a little… well, stupider.
With a new Star Trek series premiering next year, featuring an all new crew, we got to thinking about what the Muppets would do if they were suddenly tasked with helming the Enterprise. As we learned, the answers weren’t as obvious as you’d think. So without further ado, one of our more pointless articles: The ideal Muppet crew for the USS Enterprise!
Captain – Kermit the Frog
Who else? I honestly tried to think of one Muppet among the thousands that might make a better captain, and I failed. Not only is Kermit perfectly equipped to lead a ship full of weirdos, but he has loads of experience in alien diplomacy, from the Phoob to the Spooble. (I’m sure he’d pick up Darmok in no time.) I have no doubt that he’d do everything he can to maintain the Prime Directive and boldly going where no frog has gone before, even if his crewmembers drive him crazy in the meantime.
It was tempting to make Fozzie Bear Kermit’s Number One, but Fozzie has trouble doing much of anything on his own. He needs to be prodded and pushed into taking action, and half the time he deflates like a broken whoopie cushion. Telly, on the other hand, listens to orders, thinks outside the box, and knows exactly when it’s the perfect time to go full Red Alert. Don’t let his nervous demeanor fool you – Telly has the heart (and beard) of a Commander.
I know, it looks like I just swapped Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Data for the Muppet that looks and acts just like him. But no, the underutilized Jim Henson Hour star is actually the perfect Muppet to act as the researcher and tactician of the future. He’s far more advanced than other Muppet robots (I’m looking at you, Sam), he can plug himself directly into the Enterprise console for quick data sharing, and he already has experience keeping an entire cable network running. If that doesn’t qualify you for Spock’s old job, then nothing will.
Any job on the Enterprise requires a cool head, a steady hand, and a brilliant mind. Unfortunately, those are hard to come by in the Muppet world, which is why Grover, despite his shortcomings, is my pick for Chief Engineer. He is great at the trial-and-error method, and he doesn’t mind getting himself into tight situations to solve a problem, which may happen when you’ve got to fix a broken warp core. Plus, he’s had every other job in the world, so he’s got to check this one off his list eventually.
It was tempting to make Miss Piggy the Chief of Security, but then I realized that although she could kick any alien’s butt with ease, she would have too much trouble following orders and going where she’s needed. That’s where Sweetums comes in, as he’s great at listening to whoever’s in command, whether it be Kermit telling him to move scenery backstage or Mad Man Mooney making him tow a Volkswagen with his bare hands. Although given the choice, I might rather have to deal with an angry Klingon than an angry Sweetums.
We know he’s got the medical license (and the dog license) from his time in Veterinarian’s Hospital, but I also assume that Rowlf would be the best at bedside manner. Which is important, since he may have to be the one to tell some poor Ensign that he’s come down with the Romulan flu.
When you’re stuck in a spaceship speeding at light speed through the vast reaches of outer space for years on end, you’re likely going to go a little nuts. So a Counselor is pretty important to a ship like the Enterprise. Mokey would nail the job, singing songs to the crew, teaching them how to paint, and giving compassion to even the smallest creatures. She’d also be handy in an away mission, as she’s an expert at dodging Gorgs in their own garden.
Every ship needs some expendable crew members. They’re not quite important enough to sit on the bridge, but necessary for dangerous missions and collateral damage. The Muppet penguins are perfect, as there are a million of them, they’re used to being thrown around, and they don’t speak English, so they can’t complain!
And there you have it – Our Muppet crew of the starship Enterprise! Seeking out weird new life and bizarre civilizations. Boldly going where several human casts have gone before.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com